A fine balance has to be achieved when you decide to go the freemium route in a dungeon crawler. If you’re too generous then the player will simply grind through enemies in order to get better loot; this is after all the appeal of these games anyway. Make progression too hard however, and you risk subverting the enjoyment of your hack ‘em up, and relegating it to the ‘play to win’ category. Many players of Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter 3 felt that the pendulum had swung to far in favor of in-app purchases, unsettling the tried and true compulsion loop of incremental improvements to carry your character just that little bit further each time. Dungeon Hunter 4 redresses a lot of the complaints leveled at that game, but the question is; does it do enough?
The first game in the Final Fantasy franchise was indeed intended to be the last. Director Hironobu Sakaguchi had decided to say farewell to the industry after a run of failures at Square Enix (née Square) after on last try, but the the game proved such a success that a genre defining series was established. The first two games haven’t aged as well as some of the later releases but Final Fantasy III was the game that set the standard and laid down many of the tropes that have become so iconic of the series such as the job system.
This remake comes to Android via Nintendo’s DS, a great proving ground for touchscreen gaming, and is a fully re-conceptualized world. Gone are the naive 2d sprites of old, replaced with, well, some equally naive 3d rendered graphics. There’s clearly been a lot of work and thought gone in to interpreting the old style and updating to modern standards, but it falls short of what we know is possible on android. Whether this was because it was originally conceived with Nintendo’s less robust hand held in mind, or because Square (assisted by Matrix software) were keen to maintain the feel of the original is moot. What we get is charming, chunky and a little rough around the edges and even though the technical side doesn’t hold up, the design of the world and the characters themselves are as good as you’d expect.
Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet – Everything You Loved On Steam Perfectly Transitioned to Your Tablet
On Gamewoof, lots of ports of PC and console games have been reviewed and discussed for Android devices. Most of them however, either even out with or fall short from their non touch screen counterparts. Few, if any, have matched and surpassed the original. Then there is Paradox Interactive’s Magicka game. Magicka is one of those games that gets lots of love from those who’ve played it; a fantastic little adventure game that does a lot with less. Magicka boasts more DLC than a Capcom game, yet it hasn’t achieved super commercial success. But then, you probably haven’t played released Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet for Android yet.
The controls for the initial version of Magicka are pretty simplistic; it’s nothing more than a user casting 8 different elemental spells to combat against monsters. These elemental spells can be combined to create bucketloads of different spells and effects. It’s a simple concept that opens the door to being a rich and full experience, challenging players to think quick and smart in order to deal with the various monsters and creatures your wizard will combat. That mechanic is translated onto the tablet as seven different spells the users has to work with that are selected by touch and then released upon whomever one wishes, even yourself if you so chose in certain situations. The speed and smarts demand on the player are increased due to the touch screen controls as it allows the game to make the enemies come at you a little quicker.
A few years ago I met a guy who told me that he was working on the PSP version of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. He explained that their plan was to do away with the open world structure of the PC and console iterations, but would rather have the Imperial city as a kind of hub level, with the different lands accessible from there. Even in this reduced state, it was an ambitious undertaking for what at the time was still a reasonably powerful handheld device. Needless to say the game never saw the light of day; reducing a game of such epic scope not only to a smaller screen, but to machine more comfortable with PlayStation 2 ports was a bit of a tall order. Now that technology has caught up with the ambitions of game designers, and the most recent android devices more than capable of handling whatever processor hungry apps we throw at them, Crescent Moon Games is trying once more to give the mobile gamer that fully immersive, and fully featured, RPG experience in the shape of Ravensword 2: Shadowlands. And for the most part they succeed. Mostly.
I say this all from the beginning because none of it matters. If you’re one very specific type of gamer, Roaming Fortress will sink its claws in you without remorse, pity, or any regard for any of your existing plans. If not, depending on what features in a game trigger your dopamine sensors, you’ll play it for somewhere between 20 minutes and three hours, then drop it. Either way, the flaws it does show probably won’t have much of an influence on your decision. If you think about it, that’s a weird thing to say about a game.
InXile, developers of Bard’s Tale, made Kickstarter history when they secured over four million dollars to fund the incredibly ambitious Torment: Tides of Numenera, the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the most fondly remembered and respected hardcore PC RPGs of all time. While the Torment games deal in a very traditional form of Western role-playing aimed at those who have a lot of time to invest in an epic story of conflicted characters and mind bending worlds, Bard’s Tale offers something almost completely at the opposite end of the spectrum, allowing InXile to indulge the sillier side of fantasy gaming. Loosely based on three classic–read: old–games of the same name (all of which are included in the package) The Bard’s Tale was initially released way back in 2004 for PS2 and the original Xbox, which should give you some idea of what to expect. While it failed to set the world on fire, it was reasonably well received and has now become somewhat of a permanent fixture on the top ten Google play charts, due in no small amount to the deep discounts it has had since it’s first appearance.
I like to think of Ben Paddon of PortsCenter as my soul brother from a different mother, mainly because of our shared interests, such as a strong liking of Dr. Who and our excitement for one little series put out by Team 17 called Worms. Naturally, when Team 17 announced on their Twitter feed the other day that Worms 2: Armageddon was out for Android, I jumped out of bed and downloaded it for my tablet like it was Christmas morning! Trust me, when you get to my age, you have weird things that excite you, such as one of your favorite game series’ of all time coming to your tablet or phone.
If you’ve been living under a gaming rock and aren’t familiar with the Worms series at all, it is essentially Scorched Earth but with worms instead of tanks. Teams of worms take turns destroying one another with a plentiful arsenal of weaponry and devices at their disposal. Battling physics, wind, randomly generated terrain and other Worms, you must battle through thick and thin with your 4 worms to achieve ultimate Worm superiority.
It’s not difficult to find a good match-three game these days. Every mobile marketplace is flush with different iterations on the theme, some keeping it simple and streamlined and others adding on additional systems to give the endless puzzle more purpose. Dungeon Raid takes the latter approach and does it’s best to enable the mind to run away on a fantasy RPG adventure while the finger drags across groups of identical tiles to delete them.
Although initially compelling me to strategically match tiles for hours at a time, the addiction to random items and upgrades eventually abated, revealing a somewhat broken system that required more time investment to see than necessary. Okay, that sounded really negative. I had fun with a lot of Dungeon Raid, I really did, but once I started to peek behind the curtain, I didn’t like what I found.
Once in a while a game comes along that creates a completely new genre and sometimes even defines a platform. For the iOS and mobile gaming in general, Infinity Blade did just that. Its at the time unparalleled graphics and intuitive control scheme was perfect for tablets and represented the closest thing to a “flagship” title the iOS platform had at the time. These ground breaking games are usually imitated to varying degrees of success. Dark Meadow, first released on iOS and now for Android with upgrades, is one of these imitators, but its unique setting and first person viewpoint brings a fresh perspective to the “dodge and slash” genre, making it one of the must download games on the Google Play Marketplace.
Maybe the biggest thing Castle TD has going against is that you can’t fit “crack” anywhere in the title. This is because the game is terribly addictive. Like World of Warcraft — excuse me, World of Warcrack — it’s the sort of title you turn on, sit down to play, and wake up a few months later with a headache and a sweet new beard.
I exaggerate, of course. I’ve only played the game a couple of days, so I couldn’t grow a (longer) beard or anything. It’s still really, really good however.
Tower defense is one of those genres I can understand people liking but don’t personally care for. Being an impulsive, easily distracted person, I don’t really have the patience or attention span to build up a huge defensive network and invariably watch it collapse because I don’t have the mental faculties to strategize. Castle TD changed that for me. The game’s beauty lies in the simplicity it displays on the surface — and the impressive depth you find once you spend a few hours murking orcs.