Tagged "Android"

Jan 27
By Adam Philbin In Mobile Round Up 3 Comments

Though it was released quite a few months ago, Temple Run is the game dominating the App Store today – yes it’s free, but it’s also high up in the Top Grossing chart, thanks to the sheer volume of downloads and in-app purchases.

Tiny Tower developers NimbleBit rightly had a pop at Zynga this week, after Zynga shamelessly copied Tiny Towers to make a rip-off called Dream Heights. It’s nothing new for Zynga though, a company well known for copying, buying and sometimes stealing other company’s games – such as MyFarm and Mob Wars.

Now, how about some nice mobile game reviews.

Paper Monsters
version: iPhone

Paper Monsters iPhone

The monsters in the title might be a bit misleading, as they’re merely there for you to crush and jump on, as in Mario and countless other platformers. But regardless, Paper Monsters looks lovely. Really, quite pretty indeed.

It’s a fairly standard 2D platformer, as you run along at a fairly relaxing pace and jump to collect buttons and paper clips. The characters are all beautifully created, origami-style 3D creations, in a bright landscape full of flowers, mushrooms and rainbows. Ok, no points for originality, but it looks oh so very nice. Occasionally the frame rate struggles to keep up, and the controls can feel a little unresponsive at times, but… puurrrty!

iOS (£0.69)

Epic Astro Story
version: Android

Epic Astro Story Android

Kairosoft can basically do no wrong, we all know this by now. As the name suggests, Epic Astro Story is possibly their most epic game to date – this time, you’re in space! (Well, a newly colonised planet, with space tourists and interplanetary expeditions.)

Fans of other Kairosoft games such as Pocket Academy and Hot Springs Story might know what to expect, although Epic Astro Story crams a bit more in. You basically need to develop your colony – in a manner similar to Sim City or perhaps Civilization. Whilst at the same time, you need to train and level-up your “away team” (full of appropriately named characters such as “James Turk” and “Jean Luc Vicard”), as you send them on missions to other planets and unexplored lands. This is where it all gets a little bit Final Fantasy, as you arrange your away team members, equip them with appropriate weapons and armour, and watch them scrap it out with alien monsters. It’s mildly strategic and exceedingly cute.

It’s hard to say anything negative about Epic Astro Story, as it really does its name proud. Perhaps a sequel could be a little more in-depth… maybe the phone battery could last a bit longer. Probably if it was 69p more people would buy it. It’s close to flawless though, and exceedingly adorable at the same time.

Android (£2.99)

Paper Glider vs. Gnomes
version: iPad

Paper Glider vs Gnomes Neon Play

The latest Neon Play game. Those guys are great, huh, huh (wink, wink!). (Full disclosure – a Games Asylum writer may have worked on this game.)

What do you get if you cross Paper Glider, with one of those destructive, puzzly physics games (yeh, you’re all thinking it… Crush the Castle!). You get Paper Glider vs. Birds Gnomes, that’s what!

There’s a bit more to it than just flinging a rock at a tower though – you need to throw your glider, drop bombs, and use a little thought to deal with the various contraptions, switches and puzzles. Plus it looks quite nice, the gnomes sound funny, and it’s free (you can buy power-ups, but they’re really not necessary), so you can’t say fairer than that.

iOS (free) / Android (free)

Jan 13
By Jake In Mobile Round Up No Comments

The App Store charts look quite familiar at the start of 2012, with Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Bejeweled and so on all taking the top spots in an effort to make all other mobile game developers feel a little hopeless. At least Catchphrase is high in the charts, which should please Roy Walker.

Nintendo might be slightly annoyed with Mole Kart (we’ll avoid the hyperlink), a game which not only copies Mario Kart, but directly rips off some of its tracks too. Almost as blatant as Angry Chickens.

In another piece of self promotion, Paper Glider vs. Gnomes has just been released on iOS and Android, with a dozen or so levels crafted by the dainty hands of our own Mr Philbin. It’s free, so get that to shut Adam up.

Now some games about augmented sound and art.

Dimensions. Adventures in the Multiverse

Dimensions. Adventures in the Multiverse

A game based on augmented sound is a fascinating idea, and the initial noodling around with Dimensions doesn’t disappoint: noises around you in the real world come at you pleasingly translated and distorted through your earphones, over and above the soundtrack which changes depending on what you’re up to. The idea is that you leave Dimensions running in the background as you go about your business, and every now and then you’re notified that there’s an Artifact to collect or a Nephilim to fend off.

There’s just one problem with this. Both activities use up Quantum Cells, which appear around you relatively frequently, and can be collected by scanning the environment occasionally. But this requires you to pay constant attention to the game, which is not really the point: as I said, the idea is to have it as a background; Artifacts and Nephilim are relatively infrequent. The solution is to buy Quantum Cells with actual money. When the app itself is already at the pricier end of the scale, this is a bit much.

The game is quite a demanding beast, too. The different dimensions are unlocked by being quiet and noisy (fine), playing between midnight and 1am (bit specific), and promoting the game to your friends (sod off). Notifications, too, are on the bothersome side – though developers RjDj have taken note of this in a recent update, and they can of course be turned off.

It all adds up to a game that, for my money, just asks a bit too much of the player, in return for relatively little beyond the initial joy of discovering what the game does with augmented sound. It’s an intriguing curiosity, and there’s definitely potential in this area, but that’s not quite fulfilled here.

iOS (£1.99)

Race Against Time

Race Against Time

I enjoy a wander around Tate Modern as much as the next pleb, and developers Somethin’ Else – The Nightjar, Linkem – are a class act. Combine the two, and what’s not to like?

Not a lot, though initially it might not seem that way. You control a little chameleon guy, jumping through levels based around the art of each decade from the 20th and 21st centuries. For the first few levels, it’s all a bit pedestrian: the action is undemanding, and the background – inspired by the art styles of the time – doesn’t seem particularly varied to my idiot’s eye.

But the second half of the game is a different matter: the variation in scenery and music is far more noticeable, and all the better for it; the levels themselves become exacting sequences of jumping and power-up collecting, long enough to challenge but short enough not to irritate.

Not surprisingly, there’s a bit of education in there too: a nice modern art timeline, and explanations of the different art styles unlocked as achievements.

iOS (free)

Dec 17
By Matt Gander In Mobile Round Up No Comments

There’s a little bit of a retro revival happening on the App Store. Last week saw a new Dizzy game roll out and EA’s Theme Park get some new life pumped into it; this week Grand Theft Auto III gets a 10th Anniversary Edition and Sega has slipped Sonic CD onto the App Store.

It’s not just the arrival of these games that has got the big name news sites talking. Last week Microsoft launched an official Xbox Live app. My Xbox Live isn’t too much to get excited about though. You can send messages to people on your friends list, change your avatar’s clothes, view your achievements and, well, that’s about it. It could however prove useful to those who want to organise online games with friends while away from the Xbox.

Apple’s annual 12 Days of Christmas app is now available to download too. This rather lovely app gives you a free download every day from 26th December through to early January. Previous freebies from the past two Christmases have included episodes of TV shows (including Father Ted and Outnumbered) along with games, music downloads and the occasional movie.

Amusingly, people on the App Store have given it a bad rating thinking that it ran from 1st December to the 12th. A few others have also mistaken it for an advent calendar. Never hurts to read the description, does it?

Stupidity aside, let’s crack on with this week’s mobile reviews: Matt on Theme Park, Jake on Breakout: Boost and Adam on Majesty: Fantasy Kingdom Sim.

Theme Park

Although pleasing visually with all the polish we’ve come to expect from an EA game, Theme Park really hasn’t been made to please fans of the original. Instead it feels like it has been designed for those that like to waste an hour or so a day playing the likes of Tap Zoo, Farmville and Smurfs’ Village.

Theme Park - iOS

It’s a free download but you’re constantly nagged to purchase bundles of ‘super tickets’ to create new rides quicker and unlock new items sooner. A free rollercoaster can also be yours if you sign up to Origin. Prices of the extra packages range from £1.49 to a staggering £69.99. Seventy quid!

There’s an insane amount of tapping to do – rides have to be tapped on to collect their earnings while bins have to be tapped to be emptied. You can also improve the entertainment value of a ride by, you guessed it, tapping on it rigorously.

Some things are better than the original though. You no longer have to put paths down as they’re already there when you start. Placing paths on the Nintendo DS version was a nightmare as one little slip meant you accidentally ended up placing a path stretching right to the back of the park. You can also select themes for sections of your park, such as pirates and cowboys, and the surroundings will be automatically decorated accordingly. An achievement system adds incentive to keep playing too.

Not a bad game by any means, but you won’t find much nostalgia here and once you’ve built the free stuff there isn’t much to do without having to cough up some cash.

iOS (free)

Breakout: Boost

Breakout: Boost - iOS

I’m a sucker for a good bit of block breaking. It’s been done a million times before, but I’ll always have another look. So to Atari’s latest iOS example of the genre.

Its one concession to originality is a slider which controls the speed of the game, and with it your score multiplier. It’s a neat risk-reward idea, but I found myself just settling on a moderately fast speed and not really bothering to change it much. Maybe I’m just lazy. Otherwise it’s down to a fairly familiar selection of block and ball types to add some variety.

The free download gives you a not-particularly-generous five levels, but throwing 69p at it yields plenty more. It’s all very functional, but completely lacking in personality; the aesthetic is vaguely futuristic, in the least interesting way possible.

iOS (free)

Majesty: Fantasy Kingdom Sim

Majesty Fantasy Kingdom Sim

I was going to write about the interesting looking space building game Space Frontier, with its cute Korean to English mistranslations (“Tap to screen”, ho ho ho!), but the game was such a chore to play, and then I came upon a rather similar but much better executed game – Majesty: Fantasy Kingdom Sim. Best of all, it was only 10p (or $0.10) in Google’s 10 Billion Android Apps sale.

At first glance it appears to be a fairly typical fantasy strategy game. It’s not quite though. It’s set in a fantasy world, but it’s more fairy tales than Tolkien, and the game itself is basically about fortress/city building. There are warriors and wizards, but you don’t control them directly, they just go about and do their thing, guided by the buildings and upgrades that you create. It makes things a bit more basic, but the slower paced, simpler gameplay suits relaxing moments on a mobile phone. If you really want to get a bit more hands on, you do get the chance to cast a few spells should you wish.

The price will jump up to the regular £1.99 soon, but it’s worth it if you like this sort of thing. It feels satisfyingly polished, with very sharp gameplay and crisp pixel-drawn graphics. In some ways it’s like Tap Zoo or Happy City or whatever, although playable in hours rather than days, and not constantly asking you for money as you try to do anything. Quite good then.

iOS (£1.99) / Android (£1.99)

Dec 04
By Adam Philbin In Mobile Round Up No Comments

The last week has been a bit quiet for the various app stores, although Infinity Blade II, the sequel to the massively successful original, was a fairly noteworthy release. We haven’t bothered reviewing that though, as we’d probably just write “it’s almost exactly the same as the original, only better”. I suppose you could call that our review then.

ChuChu Rocket

A new release for Android at least, although the iPhone version came out last year, with the Dreamcast original now twelve years old. Jake actually covered ChuChu Rocket earlier this year, where he grumbled a bit that it wasn’t free like the Dreamcast version. It’s hard to complain at 69p though.

We may have reviewed ChuChu Rocket more than any other game on this site, come to think of it (on the Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, iPhone, and now Android, if you’re interested). So for that reason, long live ChuChu Rocket!

iOS (£1.99) / Android (£0.69)

Jelly Defense

Possibly one of the most overdone genres on the iPhone, this tower defense game does at least exude buckets of charm and simple yet beautiful graphics. The limitations on placing your towers make it a little more strategic than simply building a vast array of giant lasers. Even when the action gets quite hectic, with your base about to be overrun by bouncing jelly blobs, it still all feels quite calm and relaxing. That’s both a strength and weakness of the game – it’s thoroughly likeable, yet doesn’t always manage to suck you in.

iOS (£1.99) / Android (£1.99)

Traffic Panic 3D

Traffic Panic 3D

Another bit of self-promotion here, as one of the GA writers (this one) worked on the graphic and interface design. It’s still rather good on its own merits though, a deceptively simple game where you stop and start the traffic lights, to either flow the traffic through or cause big collisions, earning credits to unlock better and more explosive vehicles.

Matt said it was a bit like Burnout Crash for iPhone, which isn’t totally inaccurate, although it plays completely differently (you’re not driving a car, for starters). It’s out now on iOS, with the Android version following in the next week.

iOS (£0.69)

Nov 20
By Adam Philbin In Mobile Round Up 1 Comment

This week we’ve mostly been… well, playing Skyrim really. We did manage to find a few hours to play around with our phones though. The most notable new iPhone game this week must be Minecraft, which we covered last month when the Android version was released. Aside from that, we’ve got these three…

Shadowgun

From a technical point of view, Shadowgun is quite an achievement, right up there with the most accomplished mobile games. It wouldn’t look out of place on a home console, looking and feeling quite a lot like Gears of War. It’s all very polished.

If anything lets Shadowgun down, it’s the on screen virtual control pad, which makes moving and aiming a little fiddly. That, and the sci-fi “bald guy shooting thugs in masks” theme that borders on being the most over-done concept ever. Still, when you’ve got used to the movement and cover system, there’s a decently playable game here, with hours of content and a general ability to make you gawp as you realise you’re playing on a mobile phone. Although, the price difference between the iOS and Android versions is somewhat annoying.

iOS (£2.99) / Android (£3.49)

Stardash

It’s not uncommon for mobile games to borrow gameplay or art styles from established console games – sometimes it even borders on plagiarism (hello Gameloft!). There is a thin line between IP theft and nice homage though, and Stardash just about falls on the right side. This is essentially the Game Boy’s Super Mario Land, though minus the fat Italian plumber and with just enough differences for it to be acceptable.

The basic monochrome graphics work quite nicely on a mobile device, and show that the game’s clearly referencing the Game Boy original in a friendly, nostalgic way. Nintendo might not look too fondly on it, but until they start re-releasing their games on the mobile app stores, people after a bit of old school Mario-style gameplay probably won’t mind spending some spare change on a little title like Stardash.

iOS (£1.49) / Android (£1.39)

Scribblenauts Remix

Remember that Nintendo DS game from a couple of years ago, Scribblenauts, where you wrote things and they came to life? Yeh. This is basically that DS game, although for the iPhone and at a tenth of the cost.

To give a bit more of an explanation, the game involves lots of little puzzles and missions that require you to think of the right word to conjure up a way to solve the level. It’s all quite varied and fun – one level simply asks you to create five items to put in a student’s room (think books, computers, etc), another asks you to kill all the dinosaurs. There are usually dozens of ways to complete a level, limited just by the game’s dictionary and illustrators. It’s hard not to like it really.

iOS (£2.99)

Nov 04
By Adam Philbin In Mobile Round Up No Comments

After finally warming up to Whale Trail last week, Jake spent this week having a fiddle with Tiny Invaders. Exploring the depths of blatant IP theft, Matt has been dabbling with Cut the Birds, whilst Adam has been poking around with wind-up toys and helicopters.

Wind-up Knight

Wind-up Knight Android Game

It looks a bit like Clockwork Knight on the Saturn, but it’s arguably better, and certainly more visually accomplished. Which kind of highlights how far things have come, considering Wind-up Knight is a free (or freemium) Android game.

As usual, it’s all pretty simple – the wind-up knight in question runs forward continuously, as you tap to jump or slash away at enemies with a little sword, to collect coins and wind-up key boosts. It’s just about challenging and fun enough to be entertaining, although the gameplay can get a little repetitive and reliant on memorising the levels. Still, it’s all quite cute and charming, and kind of free (it takes the ‘additional levels cost money’ freemium route).

Android (free)

Cut the Birds

Cut The Birds - iPhone

Plagiarism is nothing new in the world of videogames – back in the early ‘80s just about every other game released for the cassette-based formats was a clone of either Space Invaders or Pac-Man. In this day and age though, it’s a whole lot more frowned upon.

SolverLabs’ Cut The Birds isn’t a mixture of Cut the Rope and Angry Birds as the title suggests, but rather Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds. Birds, which look uncannily similar to those found in Rovio’s hit, fly at the screen and you have to swipe your finger across in a timely fashion before they smash it. Every few seconds a bomb appears – hit this by mistake and it’s ‘Game Over’. One of the birds resembles the bomb, which certainly isn’t coincidence – they look alike in an attempt to fool you.

Controls are responsive and trying to beat your high score gives some replay value, but all too soon the game becomes complete chaos. If Apple decides to take it off the App Store then you wouldn’t be missing out on much.

iOS (free) / Android (free)

Tiny Invaders

Tiny Invaders - iPhone

Tiny Invaders is no shameless clone, but I can’t talk about it without at least mentioning contemplative iOS favourite Trainyard. Both are based around junction-switching puzzles, but their implementation couldn’t be more different.

Tiny Invaders is very much played on the fly, as junctions are switched while your germs are in motion, and against the clock. There’s indefinite time to consider the task ahead before you start, but thereafter it’s generally an enjoyably frantic flailing of fingers to avoid the white blood cells and collect all the orbs, completing the infection.

It’s slightly awkward, in that tapping not only switches junctions, but also speeds up moving bodies – and it’s not uncommon for the two to be confused. In a way, it serves to make the game more frantic, as you try to clear up the mess before time runs out. But it also makes it a tad frustrating when you’re trying to complete the level super-fast to earn those all-important stars.

iOS (£0.69)

Paper Glider Crazy Copter 3D

Paper Glider Crazy Copter 3D

Admittedly, another bit of self-confessed pimping, as one GA writer may have had some involvement with the making of this game, but still, it’s new and it is really quite noteworthy. Paper Glider Crazy Copter 3D is another branch on the Paper Glider tree, this time seeing you control a dinky little remote control helicopter through a series of quite vibrant and tricky courses.

There’s a nice learning curve and genuine satisfaction as the helicopter goes from being an uncontrollable little bastard to a nifty, agile little bastard once you pick up the required skills. It’s all free too (being freemium, you can buy coins to speed up your purchase of upgrades and customisations), and a certain GA writer helped sneak in a nyan-style rainbow boost (which is in no way gay or related to nyan cat…).

iOS (free) / Android (free)

Oct 21
By Adam Philbin In Mobile Round Up 3 Comments

Welcome to the first in a hopefully regular series covering the latest noteworthy mobile phone games. We’ve dabbled with the idea of mobile and download game round ups in the past, though now we’re going to attempt to do it semi-properly. A couple of months ago the Pickford Brothers referred to us as “yet another website that lumps mobile games reviews together in a round up rather than a page per game”, which we found mildly amusing, seeing as we we’re only just starting our mobile games review round up now and we have given our favourite mobile games full page reviews. There’s nothing wrong with a nice bit of round up though, is there?

So sit down. Stick your hand in your pocket. Grab your phone of choice (assuming it’s an iPhone or Android phone, all you Windows Phone and ironic retro Nokia owners can go piss off), and get ready to download some of these little gems should they tickle your fancy. Unless they’re really shit. We’re not just doing a round up of the most brilliant mobile games are we? Mmm, whatever.

Jetpack Joyride

A few months ago Jake wrote a post about the cost per hour of console games vs apps… Jetpack Joyride is one such mobile game that manages to eat away the hours and provide a surprising amount of entertainment for 69p.

Playing’s rather simple – tap the screen to fire your jetpack and hover upwards. Combined with charming graphics, satisfying sound effects and an OCD-like mission/achievements system that rewards you with coins to buy new outfits and jetpacks, it’s really easy to lose a few hours or more just tapping away at the screen like a small-minded imbecile. High praise indeed.

Download on iPhone/iPad (£0.69)

Whale Trail

Whale Trail might seem a bit familiar after playing Jetpack Joyride, as it’s essentially the same “tap to fly” mechanic – although in this case you control a whale flying through the clouds collecting coloured bubbles. There’s a bit of a Nights into Dreams feeling to it, as you follow the ball trail, building up a multiplier and occasionally pulling off loop the loops (speaking of Nights, now there’s a game Sega need to re-release for iOS).

The melodic Gruff Rhys soundtrack and cutesy visuals are the main reason for people to take notice of Whale Trail. It doesn’t have the same compulsive “one more go” gameplay of Jetpack Joyride, but it provides a pleasant ride through charming scenery, while it lasts. Actually, it might just be all about the music…

Download on iPhone/iPad (£0.69)

Pocket League Story

I feel like I’m doing Kairosoft a bit of a disservice by just giving Pocket League Story this “mini review”, though if you’re a fan of their previous games you’ll probably know what to expect here, and hopefully love it just as much. This is basically Kairosoft’s version of Football Manager. It’s so cute and charming though, even sound-minded non-football-fans may be smitten with it.

Essentially it’s still a game of levelling up, watching numbers increase and growing your team, but as you turn your training ground from a dusty patch to a luscious pitch complete with parking and world class gym facilities, you feel a certain sense of satisfaction. The matches are just about right, short and snappy, enough to enhance the immersion without getting too repetitive. Currently only Android users get to experience the fun, but it will almost certainly get an iPhone release in a month or two, just like most other Kairosoft games.

Download on Android (£2.99)

Minecraft – Pocket Edition

You’ve heard of Minecraft surely? The crafting/mining/lego-style indy game made by one guy that went on to sell almost 4 million copies (and counting). Well, this is the game in mobile form, for Android phones. Having Minecraft in your pocket is rather amazing in its own right. Although, it’s hard to completely recommend this version, as it’s still effectively an alpha (currently at version 0.1.2), and Mojang are charging a rather steep £4.29, when most other mobile games are less than £1 and £2.99 is considered high.

If you have a capable enough Android phone though, this is definitely a game to keep an eye out for. By the time it reaches version 1.0, it could be quite amazing.

Download on Android (£4.29)

Golf Putt Pro 3D

The most amazing golf putting game, like, ever! Or at least on the iPhone. Using the power of your finger, you putt balls… into holes! Ok, admittedly one of the Games Asylum writers may have had some involvement with this game. It’s not like we’re on the developer’s payroll or anything. Well, maybe. It’s free though, so you might as well download it if you like golf or trajectory-based ball games. 87 out of 10!

Download on iPhone/iPad (Free)

 
 

Jun 29
By Adam Philbin In Reviews 3 Comments

Grand Prix StoryI should be making my own game right now, but I’m not, I’m playing Game Dev Story. Oh wait, that was the last Kairosoft game. Now history is repeating itself, but this time I’m engrossed playing Grand Prix Story, which as the name implies, is a racing version of Game Dev Story. Kind of.

One of the most likable things about Game Dev Story, aside from the geek fantasy of making your own games (within a game), was that it played so heavily to your imagination. You chose a genre, a release platform and the game’s name, but other than that, it was largely a case of creating better games by grinding away to earn higher and higher skill levels and numbers. The cool stuff happened within the player’s imagination, where you created your own vision of the game. As such, I still have a fondness for my fictitious Sushi and Sumo game franchises (sidenote: one of which I’m releasing for real next month, in name at least).

Vroom vroom KairosoftGrand Prix Story is a bit more literal. This is probably a good thing in this case. You get to see the actual races play out. For the most part, you’re just a spectator watching your cars race around the track, although you can occasionally decide when to use a turbo boost. The races are short and sweet enough that they don’t feel too repetitive, and you don’t mind sitting through them for 30-60 seconds, watching your little driver and carefully constructed car whizz around.

The rest of the game consists of carefully deciding what cars and technologies to research, upgrading them with your experience points, spending money to train your drivers and mechanics, and picking appropriate sponsors for your race team. It’s all very similar to Game Dev Story in that regard – essentially a game of generating ever higher numbers, presented in a nice interface with cute little characters.

Construct your own race teamIt’s a bit like a role playing game where they’ve stripped out the game and kept just the leveling system, making the process of earning experience points the entire game. If you look at it cynically, that’s fairly accurate. But once again, a mixture of cuteness and imagination make it much more than the sum of its parts. If you happen to like the idea of a racing management game too, then you’ll be most pleased.

Grand Prix Story is perfectly suited as a mobile phone game (currently available on the Android Market for about £3, but surely an iPhone version will soon follow). In theory, it’s the type of little game that you can dip in and out of at will. In reality, it’s the type of game that has you staring at your mobile phone screen for hours on end, until the battery begs for mercy.

Well done Kairosoft for creating yet another nugget of digital crack.

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