Archive for the ‘Latest Mobile Games’ Category

Quick Look: Crocodile Crossing for iPhone

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

This whole corporate name game thing confuses me, but whether you know them as Crawl Space Games or Elevate Entertainment, one thing is clear: these guys know their way around a causal game.  If you don’t believe me all you need to do is check out Crocodile Crossing, their latest offering for iOS devices.  The game looks like it’s for kids and the controls are deceptively simple, yet playing it through once or twice on the third level will make you realize that this isn’t just for the young ones.  Besides, the pigs are cute and it is fun watching them bounce around seemingly oblivious to the crocodile below.

Two For One

Two For One

The premise is simple – the poor little piggies just want to get from one side of the swamp to the other without becoming croc food, and it’s your job to get them there.  To do this you control a trampoline at the bottom of the screen by sliding it back and forth with your finger.  A pig must be safely nestled on the dock at the right side of the screen in order to be counted.  You have to keep an eye on this, because it’s not uncommon for a pig to just miss a jump at the end of its journey and end up plummeting to an implied doom.  Of course this can also get you into trouble (or at least it does me) because at the last moment I’ll whip over to rescue said pig and lose one coming from the other side of the swamp.

The first level is pretty easy, with a decent sized island floating between the two docks that can give wayward pigs and your poor trampoline a bit of a reprieve.  In the second level the island is moving back and forth, and I believe it’s a bit smaller.  Finally, level 3 gets rid of the island and zooms out a bit, giving you a wider gap to contend with.  I hope they roll out more levels, because I’m eager to see what will be coming next.  Every level sports the hungry crocodile, though he’s really just there for intimidation since you never see him eat any pigs.

Quick While He's Distracted

Quick While He's Distracted

As you’re playing wings, a clock and a trampoline will occasionally fall from the sky.  The wings will remain with you and save one pig from plummeting to their demise.  The trampoline temporarily makes your trampoline bigger, and the clock slows down all the action for a bit.  The power ups are pretty easy to retrieve (you simply tap on them), the down side being there is no multi-touch, so you have to let go of the trampoline for a moment.  Unfortunately, in this game a moment can make all the difference.

All together there are 3 levels and 5 or 6 different pigs, most of which need to be unlocked by playing the game and some of which aren’t even available to be unlocked unless you make an IAP for the full version.  The game does have a leaderboard for each level via OpenFeint, but sadly there are no achievements at this point.  Hopefully that will come some day.  In the mean time you can feel some sense of accomplishment by rescuing enough pigs to unlock each new level and pig type.

Help!

Help!

The visuals are cute.  Each pig has their own look about them, though they do all share a certain sports ball like roundness.  The crocodile pops up every once in a while with a big smile across its mouth, licking its lips.  The only disappointment is that there is no animation in the background.  The sound effects are done well enough, with each pig having a unique grunt.  There is actually a different soundtrack for each level which is nice, and the first level even has some nifty ambient noise.

Crocodile Crossing is another fine casual game from the folks over at Crawl Space Games.  It has the perfect appeal for kids, yet it’s still fun enough for adults to enjoy, even if you don’t have any rugrats.  You can pick up the game for free, but I would definitely encourage you to get the IAP pack, because that has the best levels and pigs in it.  This is one group of pigs that deserve all the help you can give them.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link


Copyright © 2017 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Mixzle for iPhone

Friday, September 30th, 2011

When I was a kid I found some amusement in those little plastic sliding puzzle games.  Of course they were a lot more fun when you could take the pieces out and put them back in however you wanted – it made them a lot easier to solve!  I’ve never been much of a fan of electronic versions of this type of game, though there have been a couple of developers that have made interesting mash-ups using the sliding puzzle mechanic as a basis for a different type of game.  Mixzle is one such effort, and one of the most original at that.  Every level requires you to dunk a ball in a basket, and all the intermediate pieces to make that happen must be moved around the board via the sliding puzzle method.  It can get frustrating at times, but I also find myself actually getting addicted to the concept.

A-Maze-ing

A-Maze-ing

Each level has a ball at the top of the screen that must be dropped into a basket somewhere else on the board.  The position of the ball and basket will be different on each level, and occasionally you might even get to move the basket around the playing board.  More importantly is the fact that you must slide all the pieces into place so that the dropped ball can bounce, teleport or whatever it needs to in order to get to the basket.  So what are these pieces?

They start with simple wooden parts that might be horizontal, vertical or diagonal boards, or possibly even triangular pieces.  Then you get similar pieces that are wrapped in cloth so they provide a softer bounce.  Springs provide a stronger, quicker bounce.  Fans blow the ball or cause it to float, depending on whether they are horizontal or vertical.  Teleports allow the ball to move from one spot to another without hesitation.  There may be other objects as well, but that’s for you to discover as you play.

Are You A Fan?

Are You A Fan?

Just like the standard sliding puzzle game, the board is divided into an equal number of squares horizontally and vertically, but one is missing so that you can move all the rest of them around.  To move a piece, simply drag it to an adjacent spot, assuming that spot is open.  One caveat is that every board has at least one piece that can’t be moved.  Another interesting feature is the ability to rotate pieces on certain levels.  Unfortunately there is a specific place on the board where the rotation occurs, so it can be rather costly moving pieces to that spot.  You score appears to be based at least partially on the number of moves you make, so unnecessary trips around the board can be quite detrimental.

You start the board with 10, 20 or 30 balls – this can be changed in the settings.  When you think you have all the pieces in place, press the start button and see if you make the basket.  I also think that your score is based on the number of balls you have left, but nothing in the game confirms either of these suspicions.  If you miss, start rearranging the pieces again.  The nice thing is that you can always base your next try off of your last attempt, so if you were close it might just be a matter of sliding a particular piece up, down, left or right one square.  On the other hand, if you’re playing with 30 balls and you’ve tried 15 combinations that didn’t work, it becomes rather difficult to keep track of that all in your head after a while.  And, should you actually have to start the level over again, your back to square one so to speak.

Simple Physics

Simple Physics

The visuals are actually quite polished.  The pieces look good, and everything is animated when appropriate.  The basket even flops around as you slide it across the screen.  The sound effects are pretty subdued, but then there isn’t really a lot of need for effects.  I do like the robotic sound the arm makes when it drops the ball.  There’s decent music when the menu is up, but there’s actually no tune playing during the game itself.  That’s a bit disappointing, as it tends to be more noticeable in slower paced games like this.

I’m still not a huge fan of the sliding puzzle mechanic.  However, when it gets used in a situation like this, it actually becomes an interesting game play tactic.  The levels are well designed, and even when they seem impossible it’s usually just a matter of adjusting the location of a piece or two.  It can sometimes get frustrating playing a level through more than one “game over”, especially when you’re playing with the 30 balls setting, but there’s still a sense of accomplishment when you’ve finished a level.  For those that are patient, this will become an addictive experience.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link


Copyright © 2017 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: After The Fall 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
App Store Link
App Shopper Link


Copyright © 2017 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

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
App Store Link
App Shopper Link


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Monty And The Mugwumps for iPhone

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Monty and the Mugwumps is the first iPhone offering from Jatzan, and I’m not really sure what to make of it. When I saw the screen shots I wasn’t impressed, and when I started playing the game my suspicions were confirmed. The more I play the game, however, the more I realize there’s just a bit of genius to the whole thing. It’s not like I have to say that either, because I certainly have enough other action / puzzle games to play. Despite the game’s amateurish audio and visual elements and rough interface, there’s a rather addictive game lying underneath.

Two Keys

Two Keys

You are Monty, and it is up to you to traverse 90 levels of dastardly mugwumps, nasty lasers and other things, rescuing all the little Montys and escaping to safety. This task won’t be easy, as Mugwumps love eating Monty for any meal of the day, and if you or the little one gets too close you’re dinner. There’s also a pesky time limit once the escape portal has been opened before the air runs out and you must start again. Every once in a while they even throw in an extra little quirk like the entire level being timed or you only having a certain number of moves to complete a level. I actually wish there were more of the latter type of puzzle, though I could certainly do without any more timing obstacles than I need.

To move Monty you tap him and then drag where you want him to go. Once you lift your finger Monty is off, and he can’t be maneuvered again until he stops. One problem is that if you don’t tap just right then you don’t get hold of Monty, and this can either waste precious time or prevent you from getting out of the way of an enemy quickly enough. Also, it’s hard to be completely precise with this method of movement, which can cause issues when trying to navigate narrow areas. You also have the ability to jump by tapping on Monty, but again if you’re off just a bit he doesn’t jump, and that’s not good when you’re headed towards a laser. Finally there are power ups you can pick up like a speed boost and high jump. You just run over them to collect them, and then you tap on them before your next move to use them.

Flame On

Flame On

The level designs are interesting. Most every level has a bunch of coins you need to collect before the portal will open. Some levels have doors which require keys to open, others have lasers you need to avoid or jump over. And of course there are the different types of Mugwumps you need to deal with. I’ve only played about a third of the game so far, but I’d imagine (or at least I’m hoping) that there might even be a few more things in store for me. Part of my problem at the beginning was that the level designs seemed pretty ridiculous, but as I continue to play I realize just how good some of them are. There are some that are pretty silly, though with this many levels that’s to be expected. The important thing is that it’s clear the level designer tried to be as diverse as possible when designing the different levels.

The interface could stand to be cleaned up a bit. Level selection is cumbersome to scroll through, and sometimes hard to pick the actual level you want. When you die it should give you the option to retry the level, instead of making you go back to the menu and select it again. A reset at the top of the screen that can be executed at any time during the level would be nice as well.

Wacky Starfish

Wacky Starfish

The graphics are a bit of a mixed bag. Monty looks like a big yellow asterisk with eyes, which is actually kind of cool. The monsters are kind of cheesy, but they still look half way decent, and I love it when their mouths open up to eat Monty. The walls and lasers and stuff look pretty basic, which when combined with the overall interface give the game a bit of an unpolished feel. The sound effects work pretty well. I particularly like the sound of a mugwump eating Monty and the different noises Monty makes in response. The music is nice to listen to, while not really standing out from the pack. At least there is background music and it’s tolerable, though.

Monty is definitely one of those cases where you shouldn’t judge the book by its cover… or more appropriately, the game by its screen shots. The cool part is that you can get a full third of the game for free by downloading The Story Begins, so you can see for yourself what the game is like without spending any money. I think you’ll find that it’s worth an extra buck to get the remaining 60 levels. Monty isn’t my favorite puzzle game in recent months, but it certainly merits spending some time with.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link
App Store Link (free version)


Copyright © 2017 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

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
App Store Link
App Shopper Link


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

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
App Shopper Link


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Collision Effect for iPhone

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

My first inclination was to say that Collision Effect is like the Seinfeld of gaming – a whole lot of something about nothing.  Then it dawned on me that it’s more like an interactive fireworks display with points.  Now I don’t know what it is – except for the fact that it’s a whole lot of fun.  The game can get really frantic, and that’s when it is at its best.  The game is part action, part puzzle, and completely addictive.

Infinity And Beyond?

Infinity And Beyond?

Now that I’m done with my small sales pitch, you’re probably wondering what exactly Collision Effect is?  The game does little to explain what’s going on, but basically you have these entities called Zybbles, and you must make them collide.  In order to accomplish this you tap one Zybble of a certain color, and all others of the same color will head towards that one, culminating in a cool little explosion when they hit.  The thing is, you’ll quickly have multiple color groups on the screen at the same time, and you don’t want to (and often can’t) wait for one to clear up before you try to join another.  The other end of the equation here is that different colored Zybbles can’t touch (yeah, it’s Zybble segregation, but it’s only a video game).

Collision Effect has 3 game play modes.  Classic and Life Force are very similar in style.  Both require you to just keep on going until Zybbles of the wrong color collide.  There are a couple of power ups to help you, such as the meteor that blows up everything on screen when you touch it and the ice ball that slows down all movement temporarily.  The main difference is that in Classic mode one wrong collision signals the end of the game.  In Life Force mode, however, a bad collision starts a counter, and as long as you don’t get another bad collision before that counter gets to zero you can keep playing.  I do believe the counter gets longer every time you need it.

Four Corners

Four Corners

The third mode is Puzzle mode, and this one lets you take your time and think about your actions.  Don’t think this makes this mode any easier, however.  Each of the 120 boards starts with a static configuration of Zybbles, and you have to figure out which ones to tap and at what point to tap them so that each group can form without an incorrect collision.  At first it seems pretty simple, but it doesn’t take long before you realize that just a fraction of a second in timing makes all the difference in the world.  Some of these boards will definitely challenge most players.

The visuals are simply stunning.  There is no 3D, and not really even a lot of detail.  The Zybbles are basically balls of energy that leave particle trails, and the explosions aren’t that big.  However, when you start getting a bunch of particle trails of different colors crossing each other, and you watch Zybbles break the trails they go through, there’s something about it that just looks really awesome.  Of course the nebulous space background doesn’t hurt anything either.

Triangle

Triangle

The sound effects mainly consist of what sounds like a musical note when you tap a Zybble (especially cool when you tap multiples and hear the different sounds), a small collision sound, and interesting, almost angelic tone right before Zybbles of a group collide.  The music on the title screen is almost mesmerizing.  I’m not sure why I mention that, because hopefully you don’t spend much of your time at the main menu, but there you have it.  The in game music is really cool because it starts off subtle, and at moments when you least expect it ramps up to help get the adrenaline pumping.  It’s a nice compliment to the overall aesthetics of the game.

So after all my times playing Collision Effect I still don’t know how to classify it.  Maybe it is a “dodge ‘em” game with a big twist.  Whatever you want to call it, Collision Effect is one of those games that is way too simple in concept yet insanely difficult to master.  It’s also one of those games that are worth it every step of the way.  Currently at 99 cents for a universal app, I can’t think of a reason not to check Collision Effect out.  But, if you really don’t believe me, there is a lite version as well.

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Supermarket Scramble for iPhone

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

I’ve played many match 3 games before, and I’ve also enjoyed one or two grocery store time management games, but this is the first I’ve dabbled in a combination of the two.  It turns out that the mix works quite well!  There are a couple of limitations that the random nature of the food drop and the interface place on strategy, but overall the two concepts blend together nicely and actually make for a rather challenging game.

Lots Of Produce

Lots Of Produce

Like typical time management games, it’s all about the customer. Your customers will line up at the bottom of the screen, each one having a list of items they need to buy.  To fill their items you must make a sufficient number of matches in the match 3 board that takes up most of the screen.  Once you’ve match enough of an item a check will appear next to that item in the shopper’s list, and excess will go to the next shopper that needs it.  When all items are matched for a shopper a cash register appears.  The customer will eventually go away on their own, but you can clear them out early by tapping on them.

Of course every patron is losing patience as they stand around waiting, and I’m assuming they’ll leave if you don’t get their order filled before their patience runs out, though I haven’t had that happen yet.  The obvious cure for this is to fill their order in a timely fashion.  To help you random power ups will appear like candy to sooth the shoppers’ nerves and a cart to clear away rows of items and help shake things up a bit.  Each new power up is introduced after several levels of play, and once you’ve acquired a power up you can level up that power up to make it more useful.  The one thing I didn’t care for was that it seems like the hard candy, which only affects one shopper, always affects the first shopper instead of giving you a chance to pick.

I Did Good!

I Did Good!

Speaking of upgrades, once you’ve completed a level you’ll earn stars based on reaching your goal, your expert goal, and the bonus set out for the level.  In effect you can earn up to three stars per level.  These stars can be spent upgrading power ups, food quality (which I assume means you need less matches to fill an order), and the store itself (for instance, adding 10 seconds to the clock at the start of the level).  There are a lot of items to upgrade and a lot of upgrade levels per item, so each game really could be a different experience from that perspective.

The graphics are certainly pleasant, though not quite up to the standards I usually expect from time management games.  The match 3 board looks decent enough, and you can certainly tell what everything is. Shopper portraits look alright, as does the image of the shopkeeper on the results screen of each level, but it’s clear the artist isn’t quite as skilled with drawing people.  The sound effects are adequate, and I do like the voices.  It’s just a shame the diva never has anything nice to say!  The music pretty much sounds like what you’d hear while walking around a supermarket, so I suppose your affinity towards the tune would depend on how much you like that somewhat generic elevator type instrumental.  For me it works.

Plenty Of Upgrades

Plenty Of Upgrades

The main drawback to Supermarket Scramble is that unlike traditional time management games, you don’t have as much control over your resources since they come from the randomly generated match 3 interface.  That aside, this game has managed to take two of my favorite casual genres and mash them up in an interesting and fun way.  I wouldn’t mind seeing the game get a bit of a facelift aesthetically, but that in no way detracts from the game’s entertainment value.  Whether you look at it as “you got your match 3 in my time management” or “you got your time management in my match 3”, what you end up with is a whole lot of fun.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Treasure Seekers 3 – Follow The Ghosts for iPhone

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

It seems you can’t keep a good treasure hunter down.  Nelly and Tom are back for yet another globetrotting adventure.  This one starts out as a quest to recover a missing jewel, but quickly turns into a mission to settle supernatural forces around the world.  It’s certainly a worth successor to the Treasure Seekers franchise, with it’s nice blend of puzzle solving, hidden object scavenging and mini puzzle distractions.  It would be nice if it weren’t so hard to find your objectives on screen sometimes, but otherwise it provides for quite an enjoyable romp.

It's No Audrey II

It's No Audrey II

I’m not quite sure how to proceed with this review, because I don’t simply want to regurgitate my words from my thoughts on part two.  However, everything I said there pretty much applies to Follow The Ghosts, so you can check out my review of The Enchanted Canvases here.  One thing I really like about this series is the use of “key” objects, or items in the background that when tapped produce a list of objects you must find in the scene.  What’s nice about the way this is done is that unlike a normal hidden object scene where everything is purposely cluttered, these key object quests happen on the normal screens, so it feels like the objects you are searching for are more naturally blending into the environment.

I also like the fact that the mini games are just that – mini.  While they are used to uncover something about the game, they are fairly basic and unobtrusive, and typically make sense.  So far in Follow The Ghosts the main form of mini game has been of the “assemble a picture from torn parts” variety, though one mini game has you swatting flies.  It’s a way to break up the potential monotony of object finding without burdening the player too much.

A Man And His Cat

A Man And His Cat

As usual the game is a “tap the screen affair”, and aside from the occasional perceived lack of responsiveness the controls work quite well.  Fortunately you don’t get penalized for wrong taps, so there’s nothing to worry about in that regards.  The one thing I found a bit frustrating about Follow The Ghosts was that it seemed even worse than The Enchanted Canvases as far as actually finding key objects and the like.  Obviously finding the hidden objects should be a challenge, but when you can’t even determine where the starting point for your search is, that can be somewhat annoying.  At least you have unlimited hints to compensate for this, but I really don’t like using them if I don’t have to, and there have been times where even after I used a hint I thought to myself “I would have never thought of that”.

Once again the graphics are very well done.  The objects you need to find are easily discernable, unless you just don’t know what a particular object in the list is in the first place.  They haven’t upped the ante much in the animation department, though there are a few nice touches like a man petting the cat sitting next to him or the snapping plant.  Ambient sounds are a bit lacking in this iteration of Treasure Seekers, though the music is still certainly up to snuff.  One of these days I’d love to hear some voices put to Nelly and Tom.

Cute Little Monkey

Cute Little Monkey

There’s no question that Follow The Ghosts is yet another strong entry in the Treasure Seekers franchise.  I’m not sure that I like it quite as much as The Enchanted Canvases, but that opinion might change by the time I’m done with the game (we’ll have to see how the ending goes).  Whether you’re new to the series or a franchise veteran, there is plenty here to love.  I can’t wait to see what their next outing has in store for us.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link

[All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Turtle Fly for iPhone

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

It seems like if there’s not a “continuous running” game coming out then there’s a climb up / fall down as far as you can style game.  Well, Turtle Fly isn’t a “continuous running” game, so I bet you can guess what type of game it is.  I always approach this type of game with a “do we really need another one?” attitude, whether that’s really fair or not.  At first I wasn’t sure Turtle Fly would qualify for a “yes” to my question, but with all the upgrades available and the 4 achievements on each level, I find myself playing for days at a time every time I sit down to play (that’s game days, of course, and not real days).  It may not be the best of its type of game, but it has certainly kept me entertained long enough to earn its keep.

A Turtle Or A Crayon?

A Turtle Or A Crayon?

Apparently a scientist has concluded that if turtles can fly then humans can as well, and you get to be the lucky guinea pig to test out this theory.  All you have to do is strap on a rocket pack and sail into the heavens as high as you can.  Unfortunately, it appears that even though you are in a no fly zone, you can expect to see obstacles like hot air balloons, planes and more.  There are also strong pressure areas marked by arrows that will push you back down just a bit.  This might hamper you just a bit, but it could also save you from a nasty collision, as it gives you a chance to adjust your course just a bit on the way back up.  You also have to fight wind gusts, which are indicated by a directional arrow and number on the left side of the screen.

So how do you combat all this?  The most important thing is to stay in flight.  You start off with just your main rocket engine, but eventually you’ll be able to by a temporary booster.  Whether using the booster or not your main fuel will eventually run out, and your booster has its own fuel tank.  You can pick up red and blue cans respectively to reload your fuel.  You’ll also take damage when colliding into obstacles, but collecting the heart and wrench icon will replenish some of that health.  There are also gems to collect that help you earn money towards upgrades.  You also earn money simply for staying in flight, and each level has four achievements that provide you with a significant amount of money when completed.

Into Space We Go

Into Space We Go

Each upgrade has anywhere between 3 to 9 levels, and include things like better control, resistance to air and wind, less damage when hit, and more efficient fuel consumption.  Which order you perform the upgrades in depends mainly on your cash flow and what you think will suit you best, but chances are you’ll max out all the upgrades before completing the game.

The controls are pretty simple.  The left and right arrows turn the turtle left and right respectively, and the rocket button gives your turtle power.  Actually controlling the turtle is a different story, however.  While you can upgrade anything at any time as long as you have the money, I’d suggest working on things like air and wind resistance and the actual “better control” upgrade early on, as these items will make your navigational life easier.  As you start going faster and moving to more advanced levels, though, these options don’t seem to make as much of a difference, so don’t be surprised if you sometimes feel like you’re going out of control even if you’re barely adjusting your left or right directions.

Fuel Looks A Lot Like Coke...

Fuel Looks A Lot Like Coke...

One might label the visuals as “doodle like”, especially since many of the developer’s other games has Doodle in the title.  However, much like his other games, Turtle Fly has much better graphics than the average doodle game.  The vehicles look decent enough, and I really like the turtle as he goes through his different phases of shell, booster and plain turtle.  The different hats for protection are a nice touch as well.  The sound effects work well enough, and the fizz of a pop can being opened when you collect extra fuel is somewhat amusing.  The music is pretty good, though more than one song would be nice.  There doesn’t have to be one for each level, but at least have two or three songs that can be selected in an option screen or something.

I won’t tell you that Turtle Fly is this best this genre has to offer, or that it even really breaks any new ground, because it isn’t and it doesn’t.  However, Turtle Fly is certainly a very solid entry in the genre, and its level achievements and extensive upgrade system certainly give you plenty to play for.  My one concern would be how difficult the last few levels will be seeing as I’ve already almost maxed out all of my upgrades on level 4, but I don’t think I’ll have to worry about the for a while.  If you’re in the market for a new “perpetual climbing” games and you want to see a turtle fly, Turtle Fly is certainly worth checking out.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link

Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Quick Look: Neon Mania for iPhone

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

I never thought all that time I spent tracing pictures when I was a kid would come in handy, but I guess Vivid Games had different plans for my faux copying skills.  Neon Mania is all about tracing, and you’ll need a steady hand and quick reflexes to get the ultimate score.  I’m not sure older gamers will appreciate this quite as much, but kids will love it, and there are certainly a lot of puzzles to complete to make it worth your while.  Unfortunately, a lot of the images suffer from “small screen syndrome”, but overall it’s been a pleasant if not somewhat uninspiring gaming experience.

Classic Arcade Machine

Classic Arcade Machine

Neon Mania is currently comprised of 9 groups, each containing several images that look like neon signs gone dark.  It’s your job to bring the signs “back to life” by tracing the parts of the images to light them back up.  Once you start tracing a segment you must finish it, and once you’ve traced all segments you’ll get a ranking from 1 to 3 stars depending on how well you traced the image.  Personally, I’m not 100% convinced the scoring is accurate, because there were times where I’d trace an image and get two stars, then trace it again thinking I did a better job and get only one star.  Other times I’d stay at my current ranking even though I felt I did a much better job tracing the image the second time.

To trace the image you simply press where the flashing stars are and then trace the corresponding line to completion.  For straight lines this isn’t too bad of a proposition.  For curved lines, on the other hand, this task can be quite daunting, especially if the line has a lot of tightly wound curves or sharp angles.  This problem is augmented for me by a combination of the small screen and my larger fingers.  Kids should be fine with the game, but I think it would be a better experience for me on the iPad.  The other problem I have is that sometimes there are several stars close together, and when I think I’m starting one line I’ve actually started another.  I’m not sure how much of an issue this is because I don’t know what all goes into factoring the final score.

The River Flows

The River Flows

On the plus side, if you can get past all the nuances of the line drawing itself, there is plenty to do.  As I mentioned in the beginning there are 9 groups of objects.  The smallest group contains 21 items, and the largest holds 175!  There’s also the fact that you can earn up to three stars for each object, so while you might get through a group, getting through the group with perfection is a whole other story.  The game also has 16 achievements to earn and supports both Game Center and OpenFeint, so you’re covered by both the major social network players.

The graphics are pretty simple, but the objects still look really good.  I don’t think there’s a lot you could do to something that should look like a neon sign to make it flashy without ruining it.  The backgrounds are pretty basic as well, though the Easter image set has a couple of nice selections that it toggles between.  The sound effects are okay, with a nice little ding to confirm that you’ve completed a line or a slight buzzer to let you know you’ve made a “wrong turn”.  The music is nice and easy to listen to, but reminds me a little too much of elevator or lounge music.

Pizza

Pizza

This game was definitely made with the causal gamer in mind.  Beyond that, though, there are times where it feels like an iPad game crammed onto an iPod Touch screen.  Still, aside from not 100% understanding how scores are determined, I have enjoyed my time spent with Neon Mania.  I think hardcore gamers will be disappointed, but everyone else should consider giving it a try.  I’d especially recommend Neon Mania if you let your kids use your device on a frequent basis (or if you happen to be a kid reading this review).

Final Verdict: Recommend
App Store Link
App Shopper Link

Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Animal Pop for iPhone

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Casual games abound on the App Store, and while in theory that seems like a good thing, in practice it makes it that much harder to find ones that are worth spending your time on. That’s what people like me are here for, and I believe I’ve found another one to add to your “worth having” list. I hate to classify Animal Pop as a match 3 game, because I don’t think that completely describes the game play to be found here. However you want to categorize the game, it’s got bubbles, physics and cute animals. What more could you ask for?

Free The Rabbit

Free The Rabbit

Somehow cute little critters have gotten themselves trapped in bubbles, and it’s your job to get them out. Different colored bubbles will continually float to the top of the screen, and when two or more of the same color are touching you can tap the group to pop them. Ultimately your goal is to clear a path so that the animals’ bubbles will touch the top of the screen, at which time they will pop on their own and the animals will be free. There is no other way to pop an animal’s bubble. A level is complete when you rescue the designated number of animals. The game is over when your time runs out on a particular level.

Along the way you’ll get certain power ups to help you clear the screen. They are surrounded in bubbles as well, and must be matched just like any other bubble. The anvil floats to the top then falls to the bottom of the screen, destroying every bubble in its path. The lightening bolt gets rid of all other bubbles of the same color as its bubble was, and the mine destroys a few bubbles around its proximity. The clock obviously adds more time to the level. This power up is the one exception because it is encased in ice instead of a bubble. You free it by popping groups of bubbles around it, shattering the ice.

I'm Number One

I'm Number One

The main obstacle is of course the bubbles themselves. The board is in constant motion, so what one second might two touching bubbles another second might have just enough space between them to keep you from popping them. Also, it’s not uncommon to clear a path for an animal, just to have the space get filled up by other bubbles before the animal gets there. Time is an obstacle as well (at least when it runs out). Your ranking is also based on time. The other thing I’ve run into so far is animals that are wrapped in “layers”, where every layer except the innermost one must be popped first by combining it with a group of bubbles of like color.

Controlling Animal Pop is quite simple – just tap to pop bubbles. Power ups are used as soon as you free them, so there’s nothing additional required there. Unfortunately there is only one game play mode, and there are currently no achievements either for OpenFeint or Game Center. Hopefully both of these things will change in future releases. Granted the game as it stands right now is pretty fun, but it could use both these things I’ve mentioned to be even better.

Anvils Can Float?

Anvils Can Float?

The visuals are pretty decent. The bubbles actually look nice, the animals are cute, and the backdrop is simple but charming. The only thing that seems a bit out of place is the clouds, which are somewhat blocky in nature. They don’t look bad, but they don’t really fit the overall style of the graphics either. The sound effects are actually enjoyable, especially when it comes to the animal noises when they are freed. I don’t know how authentic they are (I’m pretty sure no animal goes “ewww” in real life), but they sure make for entertaining video game noises. The music is good and very light-hearted, but it would be nice if there were a couple of different themes mixed up between the levels.

If you’re looking for a lot of variety, this definitely isn’t the game for you. With one game play mode and no achievements, it can get a bit repetitive even if it does click for you. Thankfully I quickly grew to enjoy it, so the repetitive nature doesn’t really bother me. Besides, rescuing those cute little animals makes it all worthwhile. If you have kids, this is a game they will certainly enjoy as well. There are better matching type games out there, but the constantly shifting playing field and animal rescuing goal are twisty enough to make this one worth playing.

Final Verdict: Recommended

App Store Link
App Shopper Link

Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Ninja, Please! for iPhone

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Unfortunately, this is a fairly easy review to write, which is actually kind of bittersweet for me.  Technically, this game has it all.  80s arcade gun game play.  The silly “bad guys attack while innocents wander around aimlessly” level layout.  Guns, magic and insults as your weapons of choice.  Cheesy digitized graphics where backgrounds and characters may or may not blend.  The problem is, despite all this coolness, the game lacks any sort of difficulty balance.  That makes it nearly impossible to play after a point.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself now.  Let’s talk Ninja, Please!

Insult Time

Insult Time

You play the lone gunman, trying to take down a ninja clan that would just assume taunt you as shoot you.  Now don’t get me wrong – they will shoot you, so you might just want to level the playing field before that happens.  You start the game with a pretty much worthless pistol, but since it’s free you won’t be complaining.  As you take down ninjas you’ll earn money towards things like weapon upgrades and magic.  You can also earn money by insulting the ninjas, which is both more fun and more profitable.  I’ll discuss that more later on.  On the flip side, you can money when innocent bystanders dying.  And if you think you’re being extremely careful with your shots, don’t worry.  It won’t be you that dispatches the innocents most of the time.

The main allure to this game is the insult system.  When available, an arrow with the word insult will appear above a ninja’s head.  Being careful to tap the arrow, you will engage in a round of slinging hash.  If you start, you will lose.  This mode is just for you to learn the appropriate responses to the most heated insults.  If the ninja starts, you will only win if the retort to the ninja’s insult has already been revealed to you.  You will be presented with a list of retorts, and you either need to pick the one that goes with the insult or just pick one at random.  If you were able to select the appropriate retort you’ll earn $30 (and you can still shoot and kill the ninja for an extra $10).

Lift Him Up

Lift Him Up

Control in the game is primarily a matter of tapping.  You tap to shoot, tap to start an insult war, and tap to select choices during the insult war.  If you’re luck enough to afford magic, the electrocute and freeze spells work by tapping on the spell and then tapping on the recipient.  The only one that’s a bit different is levitation, where you drag the ninja you want to levitate and then let go once you have them where you want them.  The game does suffer a bit from “fat finger” syndrome (which I can say because I have fat fingers), but I haven’t run into too many shooters that didn’t.

The big problem I have with the game is in the balance of difficulty.  You start off with $100 and a free pistol, so all seems well.  The problem is that the least you need to spend to use a spell is $150 ($100 for the spell and $50 to buy some mana).  Health and bullets each cost $1 a unit.  The bare minimum for a gun upgrade is $200.  By the time you’ve theoretically racked up enough money to get a gun upgrade or buy a spell, you’ve wasted all that extra cash refilling your life and bullets.  Even if all I’m spending my money on is bullets (and life when I really have to), I’m out of bullets by the end of the 4th level.  No bullets and you’re dead.  Either the prices need to be more reasonable or there need to be power ups you can shoot to earn extra lives, bullets or money.

Not The Village People

Not The Village People

The visuals are lots of fun.  Whether or not they are, the characters have a digitized look to them, which for some reason reminds me of the old Sega Genesis game Pit Fighter.  The backgrounds look pretty good, though the characters don’t quite seem to fit with the backgrounds, adding to the cheese factor.  The silly animations of the innocents strolling back and forth doesn’t help any either.  The sound effects are pretty standard for the most part, but I do love the “woo-hoo” when a ninja first drops in.  There’s only one track for the music, yet for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on I really enjoy it.  That’s good, of course, since there is only one track.

Ninja, Please has the potential to be an incredible homage to those 80s arcade machines with the gun attachments.  The action is there, the graphics are solid, and the music is nice.  The insult system is a nice touch that even puts the game a step ahead of the rest.  However, the extreme difficulty sucks all the joy out of the game, especially when you know you’re going to consistently run out of ammo by the third or fourth level.  As I’ve said earlier, to me this feels more like a game imbalance than a true desire to make the game difficult.  As a result, until this problem is taken care of I sadly cannot suggest you spend your money on this game.

Final Verdict: Not Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link

Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Tiny Wings for iPhone

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Let me tell you a little story.  A few days ago I started seeing a lot of chatter on Twitter about how good a game Tiny Wings was.  Supposedly it had dethroned Angry Birds as the #1 game in the App Store.  Oddly enough, I hadn’t heard of it.  I say that’s odd because every week I write an article that requires me to scour all the new gaming releases from the week before.  Surely I must have run across the game as I was researching that week’s article?  The only thing I can imagine is that I saw the screen shots, read the description and figured, “eh, what’s the big deal?”

I Think I Can...

I Think I Can...

Not wanting to be the type to snub my peers, however, I picked up the game based on all the accolades it was receiving via Twitter.  I installed the game, and then… it sat.  I had other things to do, of course.  After a couple of days, though, the temptation was too much, so I loaded up the game and played it.  Then I played it again.  Before long I thought, “You know, I’d be remiss not to tell my readers about this game”.  So, here we are and now you’re all caught up.

In Tiny Wings you play a little bird that appears to love two things: flying and sleeping.  He’ll also eat any coins and boosters that are in his way, but that’s a whole other story.  To start the game your bird has a little bit of bounce in him.  It’s up to you to get the bird going and keep him going for as long as you possibly can.  The longer the bird stays on the ground, the more quickly dusk approaches, and as soon as the sun sets are fine feathered friend will go back to sleep.  Keeping him airborne is all about timing.

Hills And Valleys

Hills And Valleys

The landscape is chock full of hills and valleys.  Obviously as the bird goes down a hill he will gain momentum, and as he climbs back up he will lose that momentum.  You can help things along a bit by making the bird “heavy”.  You do this by tapping the screen, which will cause the bird to fold in its wings and weigh itself down.  Done at the right time, this action will help the bird accelerate enough that it can use the upward slope of the next hill as a launching mechanism.  Done at the wrong time, however, and you’ll slow yourself down even more.

If you get a good rhythm going you can eventually keep the bird aloft for extended periods of time.  However, there are also times where you actually want to keep the bird on the ground.  You start out with a score multiplier of ten, and you can raise that in increments of two by completing certain tasks.  Those tasks might be something like getting a certain number of perfect slides or collecting a designated number of coins.  Each multiplier increase will generally require several objectives be completed, though thankfully you don’t have to complete them all in one run.  Also, the game doesn’t actually come outright and tell you what the objectives are, so be sure to click the Objectives button at the main menu to figure out what you have to do.

Fly Away

Fly Away

The graphics are decent enough.  The bird is cute, and the randomly generated landscapes look like something ripped from a Beatles animated movie.  One of the ground textures even makes it look like you’re sliding around on the back of a really long stegosaurus.  The sound effects are simple but really effective.  Sometimes it sounds like the bird is actually saying thank you, and I chuckle every time he screams “yahoo” when drifting between islands. There’s only one song during game play, but it fits the whole atmosphere so perfectly you won’t care.  Besides, it’s a good song.

This is one of those games that sounds like it would almost be too simple to be any fun, yet it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had on my iPod Touch in quite a while.  I’ve seen a couple of comments claiming that the game is only worth “five minutes of fun”, but the reality is I don’t think I’ve ever played just one game in any given sitting, and I know I’ve gotten a lot more than five minutes of fun out of it.  The truth is that no matter how many times I’ve slipped down the slopes of island number one, it never gets old.  I may be singing a different tune in a few months, but the truth is there are almost no games that can hold my attention that long.  As for Tiny Wings, I’m confident my money was well spent.

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link

Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Escape Rosecliff Island for iPhone

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

While so many hidden object games are trying to blur the line between themselves and the more traditional adventure game, some offerings like Escape Rosecliff Island are bucking the trend and delivering more traditional item seeking game play.  Sure there are still mini-games to play, and your ultimate goal is to collect a series of items that will help you get off the island, but a majority of your time will be spent doing what hidden object lovers enjoy most – finding those illusive concealed items.  As it turns out, there’s something to be said for the more simplistic form of yesteryear.

The Treehouse

The Treehouse

The basic idea of the game is that you’re trapped on an island and are trying to escape.  This plot summary mainly comes from the title, because there is no exposition to be found in this game.  I do wish there were a bit of narrative, but it hasn’t dulled my enjoyment of the game any.  The structure of the game is that each area has multiple scenes with hidden objects.  You find all the objects, complete a simple mini-game, and then you are awarded with an object that will help you escape the island.

Each scene has 2 locks in it.  If you collect 25 locks you’ll open up the ability to play all the match 3 mini-games separately from the main game.  If you collect 50 locks you’ll open up a free roaming seek and find mode.  Ironically, I’m not sure how necessary these modes are, as there’s already plenty of content with 25 objects to collect in order for you to get off the island.  Still, it’s nice to have the other options available, and the locks are usually among the easiest things to find in a given scene.

Match 3

Match 3

The controls are pretty standard.  You pinch or double tap to zoom in and out.  Swipe movements slide the screen around when it is zoomed in, and tapping on an object selects it (or not if it’s not the appropriate object).  Mini-game motions are dependent on the game, but usually involve some sort of tapping and swiping.  The game suffers from the same pitfalls as any other hidden object game, but really doesn’t handle them any better or worse than any other game.

One thing about Escape Rosecliff Island is that it is big on scoring.  You get points for each correct object you find and bonus points if you find multiple objects in rapid succession.  You also get points if you find all the objects in a level without using hints, and you get points for finding all the locks.  Conversely, you can lose points for making too many wrong guesses, and you also lose points every time you use a hint.  The levels are timed, but if you’re careful you can actually study the scene and avoid false taps without running out of time.

Clean The Keyboard

Clean The Keyboard

The visuals are very nice.  The backgrounds are well drawn, and for the most part objects are hidden without being so obtuse that you can’t find them without using a hint.  There are a few scenes that are a bit too dark in my opinion, and most times I end up using one hint in a scene because either an object blends in too well or I just don’t know what the object is, but overall the visuals are sharp and don’t impede game play.

The sound effects are decent enough, but it seems like the same set of sounds for every scene.  That means that the island is full of flies, there’s one ornery fly chasing you around, or they need to mix up the sound effects a bit more.  The music is actually pretty good, though I will say that I don’t really listen to it all that much except for times like this when I’m actually doing something besides playing the game while the game is still running.  In other words, the music sounds good but it almost blends into the background too well.

Pick Your Poison

Pick Your Poison

Escape Rosecliff Island does nothing out of the ordinary, and some might even say that it’s a step backwards in the evolutionary chain of hidden object games.  Personally, I find that refreshing every once in a while.  The scenes are challenging but not frustrating, the mini-games are a nice diversion but are simple enough that they don’t impede your progress, and there’s plenty of content to keep you busy until you’ve played your money’s worth.  I wouldn’t want every hidden object game to regress in this fashion, but as long as the ones that do are of this quality, I’ll take it every once in a while.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link

Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Dark Woods for iPhone

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Back in December of 2009 I reviewed a game called Mystical Woods.  The game is no longer available, but in a way (a very big way, in fact) Dark Woods is the reimagining of that game.  The problem is that for all the improvements Dark Woods has made over its predecessor, it still lacks that certain something it needs to rise above the crowd and be a standout platforming adventure.  It looks better, sounds better and even controls better, but it is just too plain to be very interesting at this point.

These Woods Are Dark

These Woods Are Dark

You’re not presented with the story right away, and I’m not big on launching a story through the options screen, so I didn’t check it out.  However, I’d imagine it’s along the lines of the first game, where the forest has been overrun by evil and you have to thwart it.  The reality is the story really doesn’t matter, since it’s never expounded upon with cut scenes or anything.  All you really need to know is that you run through the forest, shoot everything that moves towards you (you can’t shoot what you’re not supposed to hit) and make it to the end of each level.

To control your character you have left and right buttons on the lower left side and jump and shoot buttons on the lower right side.  The controls seem a lot more responsive this time around, though there still are some issues mostly revolving around jumping and moving at the same time.  Collision detection is still an issue as well, mainly when dealing with the edge of platforms.  There are times where I can walk farther off a platform than I should be able to – which can cause problems trying to get to an area below it – and there are times where artificial barriers are too obvious.

Diamonds, Hearts... And A Mushroom?

Diamonds, Hearts... And A Mushroom?

The biggest problem, however, lies in level layout and variety.  The levels are pretty boring and linear.  There are a couple of hidden things and a few places that you have to backtrack to get to, but that’s about it.  Even platforms are no more advanced than moving up and down.  There are maybe half a dozen enemy types, and aside from the slightly aggressive bats, all of them just move back and forth in small areas, hoping you’ll eventually run into them.  I haven’t even encountered a boss fight yet, and I’m not sure that there are any.

The visuals are actually much better than the original.  The style is more consistent among all the designs, and the main character has some decent animation.  The backdrops are actually fairly detailed, and the ones when you get to the end are especially nifty.  The evil critters could still use some more movement, but Dark Woods was much more pleasant to look at than Mystical Woods.

A Slide

A Slide

One thing that originally attracted me to the series was the comparison to the old Sega game Castle Of Illusion, and that is most evident in the sound effects.  In fact, some of them sound very familiar (from what I can remember anyway).  The music is quite good, but that’s to be expected given the author is Kevin MacLeod.  I do appreciate the fact that BeanSprites chose some of his work that actually hasn’t appeared in 50 other iPhone games.

At the very end of the game I got a level that had disappearing platforms, and there was a final boss fight.  Sadly, this is too little too late.  I’m happy to see some marked improvements in the series, but it still has a long way to go before it becomes cream of the crop.  I hope BeanSprites continues to refine the Woods saga, but I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that the next iteration is a 100x better in quality, not just 10x like the difference between the first two.  Unfortunately, between the lackluster game play and the fact that the entire journey can be completed in about 15 minutes, I have to say…

Final Verdict: Not Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link

Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Burn The Rope for iPhone

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Obviously Angry Birds has been the most talked about puzzle game in the last year, though Cut The Rope received a decent amount of buzz when it was released as well (primary because it dethroned Angry Birds for a week or so as #1).  While these games certainly deserve the accolades they have received, a lot of good puzzle games slip completely under the radar.  Burn The Rope is one such game, and I feel it is just as creative as the other games I mentioned above.  I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve not played a game quite like it on your iDevice, and you really should check it out if you’ve not already played it.

The Actor's Dichotomy

The Actor's Dichotomy

The premise behind Burn The Rope is that each level has a shape made out of ropes, and you must set the ropes on fire and burn away as much of the shape as you can before the flames go out.  Like many puzzle games these days there are three levels to medals you can receive: bronze, silver and gold.  These levels are based solely on the amount of rope you burn away.  You can unlock the next level at a given location simply by earning a bronze medal on the highest unlocked level at that location.  Once you get into the game, however, you’ll find yourself drawn towards trying to earn the gold on each level.  It’s great for replayability.

To begin a level you just tap somewhere along the rope in order to ignite a flame.  As long as there is rope to burn the flame will stay lit… as long as your device is rotated in the direction the flame is pointing.  That’s the trick to Burn The Rope – you’re constantly rotating your device to make sure all of your flames stay moving.  It doesn’t take long for a flame to burn out, either, so if you need to focus on a particular flame make sure it’s the one that can do the most damage.  After a number of levels I’m still trying to get used to the whole thing myself, but I can give you one bit of advice: don’t try playing this with any kind of cables plugged in unless you want to get cords tangled!

A Firey Story

A Firey Story

As you would expect, the further you get into the game the more complex things get.  The shapes get more detailed, providing several paths that can all be alight at the same time.  Eventually you get introduced to bugs that cause the flames to change colors when they collide.  If a segment of rope is a certain color, it can only be burned by flames of the same color.  There are also bugs that explode when burned.  And just wait until they turn the lights out!  These are just some of the things you’ll encounter in the first set of levels, and the game in its current incarnation has three areas to explore.

The visuals are pretty decent in Burn The Rope.  Fire is almost always cool in the electronic world, and they’ve done a good job with the flame effects.  The bugs themselves look like bugs, so mission accomplished.  Probably the best part of the graphics is the dancing flames on the end of level screen.

Lots Of Circles

Lots Of Circles

The sound works well enough, though the bugs sound kind of odd when they get riled up.  The flames and explosions and such are all pretty much on target.  There’s a voice every once in a while that says things like “right on” and “oh yeah” that’s pretty amusing.  The music is fun to listen to, though it will get repetitive quickly if you’re just sitting and listening to it without actually playing the game.  It seems like there were more vocals in the title screen on the first version of the game, and I don’t know why they would have cut back on that.

If you are any kind of puzzle game addict you need to add Burn The Rope to your collection.  It’s every bit as entertaining as all those OTHER popular puzzle games, and it is different than anything you’ve probably played on your iPhone up until this point.  Besides, how often do you get to safely play with fire?

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link

Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Air Supply 1bit Run for iPhone

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Now I know you may be thinking to yourself “hey, isn’t Air Supply a washed up 80s rock band?”  Well, that may be true, but it’s also the name of what is quickly becoming my favorite “run as long as you can” style game.  What’s amazing is that it’s not a whole lot different than many of the other top tier running games, though its main gimmick is quite interesting.  What this game really does to hook you in is present you with a whole lot of options that can only be unlocked by continually playing the game.  I know it’s got me trapped!

A Green Pirate Monkey

A Green Pirate Monkey

You start the game out as Sam, and your objective is simply to keep running, shooting everything evil that crosses your path.  You don’t control the running, so all you have to worry about it tapping to jump (tapping twice will double jump) and tapping somewhere else to shoot.  Ammunition is unlimited, though you only get one type of gun to play with.  On the other hand, what’s not unlimited is your air supply, hence the title of the game.  You start out with 8 units of air which slowly get used up.  Along the way you can pick up units of air, and if you’re real lucky you’ll get a tank that will fill up your air supply.  If you get hit by enemies or their weapons you’ll lose air as well.  When the supply is gone, so are you.

In addition to units of air you can also pick up shields, which will temporarily protect you from anything on the screen.  There are “slow down” items as well, though, they don’t really seem to do all that much.  Finally, there are stars that you can collect along the way.  Stars are important because they allow you to unlock additional characters to play with.  Collecting air, in addition to keeping you alive, will help you unlock different musical tracks.  The number of kills both increases your rank and unlocks various color schemes (and by “schemes” I mean changing from one basic color to another), and your mileage run will unlock different stages in the game.  This is the toughest one, because you have to put in a lot of distance to unlock new levels.

Orange You Glad It's A T-Rex?

Orange You Glad It's A T-Rex?

I’m not normally a fan of games that make such heavy use of unlockable items, but in this scenario it actually works quite nicely.  I will say, however, that it gets frustrating sometimes when I run through whole levels without ever seeing a star.  Also, there are times where it seems like I get hit even though it doesn’t look like I actually touched anything.  I assume it’s a collision problem, but it can still be annoying, especially when my air is low.  The next thing I’d like to see is the ability to switch options without going back to the main menu and pressing start.  That may not be possible, but if so it would be nice.  Finally, something explaining the differences between characters would be nice.  I can guess with the two I’ve got available so far, but seeing it spelled out is always a benefit.

The graphics in Air Supply are deliciously retro.  And I’m not talking about that garbage where people draw really poor graphics and call it “old school”.  It’s clear that a lot of effort was put into making the graphics look like they belong on a pre-NES console.  What it proves to me is that such graphics could actually look pretty cool!  I also love how everything is silhouettes and lines so that you can actually have a setting that changes the color.  Genius!  The only issue I’ve had so far is that the alien city theme, which is the first theme you unlock, is kind of hard on my eyes.  It still looks cool but it is just hard to stare at after a while.

UFOs Are Not Your Friend

UFOs Are Not Your Friend

The music is a bit more upscale, weighing in at roughly the NES era of consoles and computing.  As you collect air units you’ll be able to unlock different tracks, and so far every one (I have 4 available) has been enjoyable.  The sound effects also have a retro feel to them, which isn’t nearly as impressive, but with the cool music, who cares about the sound effects?

The bottom line is that this game rocks!  As it is I’ve become strangely drawn to this genre of game, but Air Supply has kicked my obsession to a new level.  I love the look, I love the music, and I love trying to unlock all the unlockables.  There are a few minor things I’d like to see get cleaned up as I mentioned previously, but those items in no way hamper my enjoyment of the game.  If you do not own this gem yet, go out and buy it now.  Long develop Quantum Sheep!

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended
App Store Link
App Shopper Link


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter

Quick Look: Clumsy Bob for iPhone

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

In a genre filled with petite characters and stick figures running for their lives, Bob dares to be different.  Bob dares to be big, Bob dares to bounce, Bob… is an elephant.  Clumsy Bob is a nice variant of the traditional distance running game.  The visuals are great, the sound is well done, and it’s actually rather addictive.  That is, of course, until it crashes.  It’s a shame, because this could be one of the great distance games, but I like my game to stay running until I decide it is time to shut it down.

Guess Who's Dinner?

In Clumsy Bob you play the eponymous Bob, a happy go lucky purple elephant that just loves to bounce on clouds.  The problem is that things just don’t seem to have a habit of going your way, and there are lots of opportunities for you to cease bouncing merrily along.  It’s your job to keep the cute little pachyderm’s dreams alive as long as possible.  To control Bob you simply tilt the device left and right.  While jumping or floating this will literally cause Bob to move left and right. When you’re flying the rocket, however, tilting left and right will cause the rocket to go up and down, respectively.

Along the way you’ll get plenty of aids to help keep you going.  Springs will launch you farther than a normal jump.  Umbrellas will cause you to float to a landing, which gives you better control and potentially allows you to travel farther than jumping as well.  The aforementioned rocket lets you travel really far, though you might have to dodge some oncoming missiles during your trip.  There are also coins you can collect to boost your score.

Better Than A Jet

Besides the counter-missiles, there are hungry rats just waiting to get a taste of Bob.  Who doesn’t love a rodent that can consume an entire elephant?  There are also snakes that will attempt to gobble you up, and clouds that disappear after one bounce.  And naturally you can simply plummet to your doom with a badly timed jump.  The worst offender, however, is the crashing problem.  The longest I’ve been able to play Clumsy Bob without crashing is 15 minutes, but after playing a few other games that time frame drops drastically to between 3 and 5 minutes.  Seeing as I can run Dead Space for an hour with no issues, I think the developers need to tweak things a bit.  This is on an iPod Touch 4G, by the way.

In addition to addictive game play, the game sports Crystal integration.  There are a number of achievements you can work towards, and of course there are the whole leader board and challenge aspects that go along with the Crystal experience.  I understand the need to use Crystal since this is a Clickgamer game, but either offer me another social solution as well or please finally get around to fixing the problem where I have to log in every time I want to use Crystal.

Floating Along

The graphics are great.  Everything is colorful and well animated, and I love watching the rat eat Bob (not that I don’t want to see Bob succeed, mind you). The backgrounds are also pretty nifty, especially the one that has all the sea creatures in it.  The sound effects are amusing, especially when it comes to the noises Bob makes.  Certainly not something you’d expect from an elephant.  The music sounds good and is very upbeat, which just enhances the frivolous mood the game emits.  Aesthetically the game is quite pleasing.

Clumsy Bob has all the ingredients of a great distance game, and in fact is a nice change of pace from the norm in this genre.  It also has a very inviting atmosphere.  Unfortunately, until they get the crashing problem fixed it’s really frustrating wondering when the game’s just going to dump out on you.  Please get this fixed soon guys!  Until then, I can’t outright recommend this game.

Final Verdict: On The Fence
App Store Link
App Shopper Link

Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]


Copyright © 2011 Technobrains. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@www.technobrains.com so we can take legal action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Post to Twitter