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.
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).
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.
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.
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…).