Tagged "iPhone"

Jun 28
By Jake In Mobile Games No Comments

I bloody love a match-three puzzler, and the tile-swapping variety is that rarest of things: a game mechanic born on a controller that actually benefits from a touch screen. Certainly that’s one reason there are so many on iOS. And very nice they are too.

Increasingly though games are playing with the formula – games like Scurvy Scallywags. Its notoriety is not down to innovation though, more that it’s from the brain of Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert.

Scurvy Scallywags

Which goes some way to explaining the convoluted set-up: the pirate theme comes courtesy of a theatrical production, with the game’s storyline switching between the real world of the theatre and pirate world of the play. It’s not as clever in execution as that might have made it sound. The dialogue – pirate sea shanties, the theatre manager fretting – is gently entertaining, but not enough fun to carry the game on its own.

And what of the game? Your main task is to defeat enemies as they appear on the board. Matching swords increases your power, and once it’s above an enemy’s, you can defeat them by manoeuvring next to them. Fighting depletes your power though, so match more swords before encountering the next enemy, or you may die.

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Jun 05
By Matt Gander In Mobile Games No Comments

You’d have to be either very dumb or incredibly naive to deny that Dumb Ways to Die is a blatant clone of Nintendo’s Wario Ware. Unlike many of the App Store’s copycats though, it’s very easy to look past the plagiarism on the account that it has clearly had a bit of love and attention put into it.

DumbWays4

A little bit of history: Dumb Ways to Die began as a safety video from Metro Trains Melbourne to prevent stupid people from messing around on train tracks. Thanks to a daft sense of humour and lovable cast of characters the video went viral, spawning the game seen before you. There is still a hint of educational value present here, but don’t let that put you off.

Like the game it imitates, Dumb Ways to Die offers a quick-fire burst of mini-games lasting just a few seconds each. Tapping, swiping and tilting the screen are common themes – tapping wasps off a little yellow chap’s face, wiping puke off the screen and keeping somebody upright by tilting your iDevice are just three of the tasks at hand. Every mini-game is as smartly presented as the last, complete with a few little nice touches here and there.

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Ridiculous Fishing
Mar 20
By Jake In Mobile Games 1 Comment

There are a lot of ‘angles’ on Ridiculous Fishing: the tortured development; the indie supergroup that eventually finished it; the chart success since last week’s launch, despite having been preceded by a blatant clone; the active eschewing of IAPs in favour of a £1.99 upfront price tag. And 45 degrees: the angle that the graphics rigidly stick to.

Ridiculous Fishing

But only one thing really matters: it’s bloody good fun.

The mechanic is simple: drop your lure into the ocean, guiding it into the depths by avoiding the fish on the way down, using tilt controls of rare quality; when a fish is finally snagged, guide it back up, this time grabbing all the fish you can; when they the hit surface they’re launched into the air, which is your cue to shoot the heck out of them by tapping the screen. Simple, slick, ridiculous.

It’s everything that surrounds this that elevates it from simple fun, to alarmingly addictive.

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Sonic Dash
Mar 12
By Jake In Mobile Games No Comments

There are two video game characters obviously ripe for an endless running revival. Sonic Dash ticks one off the list, but someone needs to get Naughty Dog to stop wasting their time on PlayStation 4 and give the public what they really want: mobile Crash Bandicoot. And hey, Jason Rubin might have some time on his hands after the unfortunate events at THQ – ideal!

Sonic Dash

But it’s Sega who got their fingers out first, and realised that the only difference between an auto-runner and a Sonic game is the imprint in your thumb from pushing forwards. And the in-app purchases, of course. But more of those later.

With swipes left and right to move between the three lanes you run in, up to jump and down to spin, there’s little lost in the translation to touch screen. It’s reliable enough, except when obstacles come at you unexpectedly – from behind other obstacles, for example, which is more a flaw in level design than control method.

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Mar 01
By Adam Philbin In Mobile Games 15 Comments

Freemium gaming has no shortage of critics. It’s understandable, given that such games have earned a reputation for nickle and diming their players. EA have taken the concept further than ever with Real Racing 3, their attempt at combining the freemium model with AAA production values. The result? Possibly the most depressing thing to happen in modern gaming.

This article started life as a review, but seeing as Real Racing 3 is less a game and more an attempt at flagrant money grabbing, providing a score would be tricky. Ethically it doesn’t feel right writing a typical review.

“Gameplay not included. Fun may cost extra.”

On the surface, Real Racing 3 is an impressive game, bringing almost console-quality graphics to mobile devices – although the sparse trackside visuals don’t quite match the pretty cars. The racing experience itself is adequate, but with the vague tilt controls, auto-acceleration and feeble opponents, it’s not remotely near the same league as anything on a console. That’s probably because EA haven’t really made a racing game, but a car-themed credit-grinding simulator, in an effort to part you from your cash at every turn.

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Year Walk
Feb 25
By Jake In Mobile Games No Comments

A thread of darkness is part of the appeal – and indeed function – of folklore and fairy tales. Simogo’s Year Walk – based on the Swedish tradition of year walking, a ‘vision quest’ meant to offer a glimpse of the future – puts the darkness firmly front and centre.

It’s a puzzle-adventure, where the aim is as much to mentally stitch together the underlying narrative as it is to ‘complete’ the game. That’ll take a couple of play-throughs and some time with the Year Walk Companion app – a very clever idea, which places the story is a strangely believable reality. All this is best experienced in one session of a few hours – ideally with a good pair of headphones.

Year Walk

The audio is sparse, heightening the isolation and matching the barren pop-up papercraft landscape, your feet crunching in the snow as you traverse the game’s layers with swipes of the screen. The delivery is restrained, curious scenes and eerie creatures arriving without fanfare, making the occasional full-on stab of horror that much more effective. Make no mistake: this is a tense, at times outright scary game. It achieves a wonderful conflict: intrigue drawing you in, but not wanting to look because you don’t know what’s in there.

A reasonable logic generally lies behind the puzzles, and the need to take notes is welcome. There’s very little in the way of guidance though, which does helps the game maintain a consistent atmosphere, but also risks the player missing a detail or going down the wrong track. And some of the puzzles do require a certain sort of thought.

That’s really the only criticism: that this ‘gamey’ nature of the puzzles might prevent Year Walk from finding the widest possible audience. Which is a shame, because the puzzles are almost secondary: first and foremost it’s a smart piece of original storytelling, that ought to be enjoyed far and wide.

Version: iPhone
iTunes App Store: Year Walk (£2.49) / Year Walk Companion (free)

Rescue Rush
Jan 30
By Jake In Mobile Games No Comments

There’s a lot to be said for novelty. This doesn’t sound like a terribly original concept for a mobile game: a cute giant cat roams the streets setting free animals held captive by evil scientists. But when it’s your streets, well, then you’ve got my interest.

The level select screen is an OpenStreetMap of your current location with a grid overlay, but the levels themselves – each square in the grid – are several orders of magnitude cleverer. The transformation into a chunky, colourful world for the massive wonky-eyed cat to stomp around really is quite pleasing.

Rescue Rush

The streets are plotted accurately enough for more unusual street plans to be instantly recognisable, but inevitably buildings are rather homogeneous – other than certain landmarks which have been catered for specifically. Areas of green space and bodies of water are rather more effective in adding definition to the neighbourhood, and add a welcome splash of colour.

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Hundreds
Jan 15
By Jake In Mobile Games No Comments

Hundreds is confident: it sees no reason to explain itself, and assumes you’ll figure it out. That’s admirable, but there’s a fine line between confidence and, well, being a prick. Thankfully, Hundreds isn’t a prick – most of the time.

Hundreds

And it’s right, you will figure it out. Touching a circle makes it grow, and the number inside increase correspondingly. When all the circles sum to 100, the level is complete. But if a circle hits something while it’s growing, it’s game over. That’s basically it.

The game riffs on this idea for a while, testing your reflexes with fast moving circles, or your delicate touch with a tightly packed screen. Most of all it tests your patience, failure usually being a result of pushing your bloody luck. Waiting for your moment is crucial.
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