Back in the heyday of gaming (and by that I really mean my heyday) there were two seemingly universal rules to gaming. One was that if you couldn’t beat anyone else in a game, you could still beat your dad. The second was that licensed games always suck; but like Moore’s law, there has been increasing evidence that both of these rules no longer hold water. Gamers are getting older and for the past decade or so there have been an increasingly large number of quality games based off of beloved franchises. Batman games in particular have been a bright spot for gaming and it hasn’t hurt that this Renaissance has coincided with a string of Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan. The Dark Knight Rises for Android, however, is a good first attempt but doesn’t quite live up to the level of its inspiration.
Built ostensibly as an open-world adventure, The Dark Knight Rises is frustratingly linear. There simply isn’t enough for the Caped Crusader to do besides progress the main story by dutifully obeying the commands of Commissioner Gordon and Lucius Fox in pursuit of Bane, the dastardly villain of both the game and movie. This issue is further magnified by a battle system that sacrifices depth for accessibility and a story line that does little to make the player want to keep playing. That isn’t to say that there aren’t positives to The Dark Knight, there is a solid base to an entertaining game here, it just needed to ramp everything up one more level.
At first glance, Drop 7 would appear to be just another tile-matching game. While this puzzler does involve placing tiles in such a way that it and others might disappear, it is completely set apart from the large crowd of lookalikes. Whether you like the somewhat mindless fun matching 3 or not, the things that make this game so unique might just win you over.
Originally developed by Area/Code Entertainment, the Drop 7 now carries the Zynga brand name along with the team that created it. Unlike other titles stamped with that little red dog, this one isn’t hampered by microtransactions or unnecessary social hooks. It’s three bucks, which seems steep for such a straight-forward puzzle game with so little flair, but the price of admission is worth it, if you like a good challenge
Demanding much more of your brain than most of it’s kin, the game asks players to drop number numbered circles onto a grid, one at a time, attempting to place the tile in a spot where either the row or the column it lands in will then have the number of tiles in it that matches the one in the bubble. For instance, if you’re given a four, you’ll want to try and drop it in a place where it can land fourth from the bottom of the screen or touch a group of only three sequential tiles of any sort in the same horizontal line. As difficult as Drop 7 is to explain, it’s far more difficult to master.
Gameloft is no stranger to First-Person Shooter (FPS) games. I’m sure you are familiar with Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance (N.O.V.A.) 3 and Modern Combat series. This time, you have to choose sides, either Axis or Allied forces, in their new Android game, Blitz Brigade, an ultimate multiplayer FPS face-off that seems to pay homage to Team Fortress.
Before diving in the action immediately, it is best advised to work on your skills in Training Missions. It has 120 action-packed missions which allow you to master different skills. You could also navigate a helicopter and fire off enemies on the ground. Further, you could even control a tank and flatten your opponents.
A couple of months ago, I reviewed Com2US’s 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2013. I lamented on how this game was a great concept in the making, but fell just a few feet short, kind of like every time Joe Mauer tries to hit a homerun, but usually hits into a ground ball double play. In an attempt to give Com2US another chance with America’s former pastime, I downloaded an older title of theirs, Homerun Battle 3D. The idea behind this title is pretty self explanatory; rather than being an entire baseball game, this title is just the beloved at of smashing a baseball to absurd distances. The only good part of MLB All Star Weekend if you ask me.
Of course you get a bonus for artistic impression, as you smear the entrails of an innocent pedestrian across the highway. Of course you do, why wouldn’t you? That’s what racing is about isn’t it?
As a kid growing up in the UK, we never had access to the uncensored original 1997 version of Carmageddon. Instead of fragile screaming pedestrians to run over in your spike encrusted vehicle of death, we had gloopy green blooded zombies. The game had garnered a bit of controversy before release and would only be given a certificate if all the blood was removed. The fact that back then games didn’t even need a certificate to go on sale didn’t seem to matter, developers Stainless Games had asked for one and were denied it. Blood or no blood, it was still enormously satisfying to plow through a bewildered crowd, locking the car in to a tight handbrake turn and broadsiding them for a multi-combo. The question is whether it still holds up today? Now that the novelty has worn off and games have progressed so far since the late nineties, does Carmageddon have what it takes to make an impact on your precious gaming time? (Spoiler Alert: it does.)
I have been a fan of baseball ever since I was a kid. Fell head over heels with St. Louis Cardinals’ brand of baseball. Followed the game through the internet and I have been fond of the players from Mark McGwire and Darryl Kile to Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter. I once wore number 57 in one of the basketball summer leagues here in our village as a tribute to Kile who died that year. I also played various baseball video games from text-based simulation on the desktop (Out of the Park Baseball) or via console (MLB: The Show). That’s why I was happy to see a baseball game – Baseball Hero – on the Top New Free section on Google’s Play Store. That cloud nine feeling easily faded as soon as I play the Android game.
Baseball Hero features 3 distinct game modes; quick play, career and practice. The quick play mode lives up to its name as it allows you to play a quick three innings without having to worry about your roster. This could also serve as your guide on how to use the controls. During career mode, you’ll also play the same number of innings. After each game, you’ll get coins depending on the result on the field. Get the W and you’ll collect more in-game currencies. You can use the coins to increase your team’s abilities like power, contact and speed. It can also be used to avail of various boosts in your next game like upgrade the contact, speed or power, increase the likelihood of Quick Time Events (QTE), add more chance of hitting in the game, score one more point for hitting a homerun and a coin doubler. Finally, in practice mode you could run-through hitting drills to improve your timing.
When given this game to preview (yes, it’s not out yet), I didn’t really know what to expect out of it; I hadn’t heard of one of the company’s behind this game (Open-Reset), nor had this title even been on my radar of games I had been anticipating. Open-Reset’s website doesn’t even have much on this title either, just some rendering they had done for the likes of Doom 3 and other various imagery and video. As a reviewer, there’s always a sense of fear when getting a new IP, especially when it wasn’t a buzzed game, as you’re never quite sure what you could be getting, though the other company behind this game, Kerosene, did give us the wonderful game, Bladeslinger. Boy, was I glad to discover 5 minutes in, I didn’t have much to worry about. While we were given a beta version of the game, we were told this is pretty close to what the final build will be. If the beta was this good, I’m stoked to see what the final game will bring us.
War drives innovation. For all the hardship, blood, and horrors of war, the silver lining for humanity has been the innovation and the progress it has, for better or worse, provided technologically. So what happens when you take thousands of gamers across four platforms, give them tools to innovate and then set them loose on each other in turn based naval warfare? Leviathan: Warships is what happens.
Strategy games are a dime a dozen on the Android platform. Everything from real time strategy games to reverse tower defense games to RPGs have been done seemingly hundreds of times on the mobile platform. That is why it is a pleasure to find a strategy game on Android that is as refreshingly unique, deep and balanced as Leviathan: Warships is.
It has been a while since I have been as obsessed with a game as I became with Leviathan: Warships over the past few weeks. While it does include a short single player campaign, the real fun in Leviathan comes from jumping online and battling friends or strangers. The amount of shit talking that has been going on between me and my friends these past few days has hit a level I haven’t seen since the long nights of Starcraft and Battle.net.
Creating a completely Interactive and then jumping online with it and either winning or losing would cause me either great shame or pride that few games can match. Its not just that I won or lost, its my creation, the thing I spent hours perfecting, beating or getting beat by something someone else spent hours perfecting themselves. When someone out flanked me and destroyed my flagship before I even got a chance to implement my strategy, I felt as dumb as Alonso Perez Guzman in 1588 (look it up kids!). When things went according to plan, on the other hand, I felt like Chester Nimitz after the battle of Midway. custom fleet using the very robust tools provided by developer Paradox
For a while there, I couldn’t put Plague Inc. down. I was having absolutely too much fun watching the world burn. It sounds heartless, maybe even evil, but that’s what this game is. You start with just the seed of a sickness, which slowly spreads on its own, and mutate that germ until those it affects aren’t just coughing, but coughing up blood. The only way to win is to completely wipe out the world, leaving the virus the victor. If anyone lives at all, even a pair of people to repopulate the earth, you, the plague, are defeated. This difficult win state both makes and breaks the game.
Racing games need multiplayer. Ever since the original Mario Kart on the SNES, multiplayer has been an absolute requirement for any game that includes a start line, finish line and some sort of motorized vehicle. That is why it is such a shame to see a game that has so much going for it, like Riptide GP, throw it all away by completely ignoring the most crucial game mode for its genre.
First, what Riptide GP does have going for it, which is a lot. It is the best 3D jet ski game currently available on the Google Play Marketplace. Partially because it is the only 3D jet ski game on Google Play, but also because everything about the game, from the graphics to the water effects to the level design to the sense of speed is extremely solid. All of the elements needed for a great racing game are here.
Furthermore, by the nature of racing on water, this is the first racing game I have played where I found the tilt controls to be tolerable, and the game was still a lot of fun without physical controls. Less precision is needed when controlling a jet ski going over wakes than a car drifting through streets and it felt a lot more natural making a character lean on a jet ski by tilting the device than it does trying to simulate driving a car.