Posts by tag: free to play
Make sure that you’ve got a heavyweight device to play your games on, because the 3D hack and slash ghoul gutting, chainsaw wielding, Grave Stompers attempts to give you a full console experience right in the palm of your hand. It’s just a pity that the console in question is a N64.
Grave Stompers tries so hard to be a well rounded experience. It certainly has ambition, but in its attempt to create a fast paced action game, harking back to the heyday of over-the-shoulder platformers, it falls somewhat short of greatness. The concept is simple enough: you play one of the Tim Burton-esque Gothic creatures, including a selection of movie bad guys like the killer from Scream. For no discernible reason (as if one was needed) you must slaughter hordes of undead in a variety of grisly and spooky arenas.
To assist you with the re-genocide of the living dead you have at your disposal a vast arsenal of weapons ranging from the melee classic chainsaw, to missile launchers. Enemies come thick and fast, and you have to be heavy on the trigger finger if you’re going to survive. On paper this sounds like a perfect game to while the way the time, but unfortunately in practice it soon becomes a slog. There’s no real variety in the objectives, and although the enemies are well designed, they do little more than come straight for you. Where games like Dead Trigger 2 have experimented with intuitive touch screen control schemes, GraveStompers settles for the classic twin joysticks, which when coupled with separate fire and lock-on buttons, it becomes necessary to employ unwieldy manual contortions. You’ll get a lot more out of this game if you have a joypad, or even an OUYA, but if you’re looking to play this on the go, consider the free to play version first to test the waters.
Graphically the game is pretty good, with the design making the best of the dated graphics. There’s not a lot of visual variety which is understandable with the horror theme, but it would have been nice to come out of an arena once in while.
While I certainly did have a lot of fun with the game, I was left wanting more from the game
Tiny Tower is a business simulation game from NimbleBit which partners with Mobage network to bring this 2011 iPhone Game of the Year in the Play Store. This Android game, which we named as one of the best Android simulation games on the market, allows players to manage a tiny tower, at first, and expand it eventually to become the tallest skyscraper, enticing virtual individuals called bitizens to move in and work.
Heroes is the spin-off from Gameloft’s successful Order & Chaos MMO. It recasts that game’s cast of monsters, demons, wizards and warriors as pawns in the videogame genre du jour, the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena).
The rules of this deeply tactical yet action packed take on the real time strategy are simple enough to understand, but near impossible to master without dedication. You select one of the numerous heroes, a collection of weird and wonderful fantasy tropes ranging from Van Helsing style hunters to huge glowing Rock Golems. You team up with up to three others, either controlled by the CPU or found from the thousands who log on everyday, to hack and blast your way across the map to ultimately destroy the opposing team’s tower, as they do the same to you. There is a time penalty every time you die (which you will) but these can be skipped with purchased magic scrolls. Experience and cash are earned in each match, but does not carry over to the next one, so you have to constantly keep your avatar competitive with the rival team by upgrading on the fly with new gear and enhanced magic.
Playing with real people is the far superior option but it is advised that you acquaint yourself with game in a solo match first as the whole thing can be quite overwhelming for the beginner. There is no attempt to dumb this game down for the perceived casual mobile gamer; make no mistake this is hardcore through and through.
Graphically H O&C is on par with it’s big brother PC counterparts. The art style, while a pretty standard take on traditional fantasy settings with a dash of steampunk thrown in for good measure, is superbly realized on all levels. The broad selection of playable characters are well designed and the environments are rich with detail and are easily traversed with touch screen controls.
With five game modes on offer and plenty of room for expansion, Heroes is a great all-round package, giving you everything that you’d want from a MOBA while compromising nothing. Just beware, this is not an easy game for beginners.
Just when I thought I’d managed to shake my addiction to the last gem swap puzzle game, along comes Puzzle Trooper by Kabam to ruin my life by having that compulsive ‘one more go’ magnetic pull that locks you to your screen.
A lot of the appeal comes from the flawless presentation. Block matching games are rarely noted for their good looks, but this is one area where Trooper (I can call him that, we’re old war buddies) really excels. The Saturday morning cartoon level visuals pop with a colorful vibrancy matched only by frenetic pace of the combat. The amount of different characters is staggering–two hundred in all–and each is animated with a fluidity and wit reminiscent of SNK’s Metal Slug arcade shooters, a comparison I guess they were aiming for.
A selection of these characters form your attack squad and can be augmented and evolved like a deck building game, except that here action is governed not only by the RPG-lite stat grinding, but by your actions in the puzzle section of the game.
Each new entry into the genre needs its own gimmick, whether it be the sliding rows and columns of 10,000,000 or the chain reactions of Candy Crush. Here the unique selling point is a little off putting to begin with. You can slide your gems where ever you want on the grid to form combos of three or more, the resulting points go to your troops based on the colored gems collected, where they become attack point launched against enemies in groups, on their own or in Boss form.
This free wheeling approach to matching initially seems to easy, and with no deeper mechanics. It is in fact a lot harder than it first seems. The rest of the gems on the board are displaced in the wake of the moving piece, and to figure out how they rearrange themselves, is essential is creating devastating combos.
Puzzle Trooper is one of those games that not only gets the addictive puzzle element right, but marries it to well thought out character progression, and stunning graphics, in a three way bigamist videogame version of perfection.
There’s something about 16-bit era RPG’s that cannot be improved upon. Games like Zelda, Oasis, Secret of Mana and the rest created a high watermark that that more modern games can’t seem to better. If you go back and look at any final Fantasy game after FF6, they look really dated, even the excellent PS2 efforts. The hyper detailed 2D art lend themselves to exploration and distil the fairytale quality of the stories. It’s no wonder then that titles like Queen’s Crown 2 attempt to recapture those glory days, and in this instance, pulls it of perfectly.
There’s no messing around in this game, you’re tossed right into the plot from the very start. An ancient evil called Agatar shows up and starts causing havoc, so it’s up to you Queen Ann to pick up your twin blades and go clobbering some bad guys. So the plot’s nothing new, apart from the fact that you’re the damsel not in distress which is a nice change. Thankfully the game is very well written, with amusing asides and decent character progression. Your trusty sidekick is a ghost and is a highlight in the large cast of dwarves, goblins, wizards, slimes and more.
Although the game looks like a lush version of a Zelda adventure, it plays more like a hack and slash in the mold of Zenonia. In fact the enemies respawn within seconds so battle is a near constant issue. Thankfully this is one of the slicker elements, as the Queen is nimble and can switch between an array of weapons on the flay with no need to dip in and out of menus.
To help you on your quest you can visit various villages and their range of traders, who will set you up with additional quests as well as weapon enhancements. As a free to play game you can expect to pay a premium to get past difficulty spikes, but Queen’s Crown is of such a high standard, you may just be tempted, even though the model does seem to be shoehorned in.
Over all Queen’s Crown 2 comes highly recommended if just for the absolutely gorgeous graphics, but the story itself has a lot going for it too.
Star Wars: Tiny Death Star is a business simulation game from Disney Mobile and NimbleBit. This Android game was published by LucasArts and is based on NimbleBit’s mega-hit, Tiny Tower, but is set in the Star Wars world. The shift to the Star Wars universe means more characters and additional elements to work with.
Hero Academy is a two-player turn-based strategy game from Robot Entertainment. This Android game runs on an asynchronous gameplay where players take turns moving units on a nine-by-five board. With this kind of gameplay, gamers may send their turn at their own pace. One game can take a day or two, depending on your opponent’s availability.
Card based strategy games have had something of a renaissance on mobile platforms. I’m not talking about the endless Mobage offerings that offer no real gameplay, just an excuse to empty your wallet, but the more considered, well thought out games like Ticket to Ride or Magic 2014. It’s the perfect medium for board games to find a new lease of life, where a decent rule set can be made immediate and visually and compelling. Decromancer falls clearly in to this new strategy wave, and is as good a representative of what’s possible, as any full priced game.
The plot revolves around having to escort a Necromancer diplomat on an epic voyage after having been ship wrecked. It’s not long before you are thrust into battle, with the almost universally hostile inhabitants of a strange land where all the animals are sentient.
You are given a limited deck of cards, each representing a particular type of troop. These can be long range like the archer, immobile defensive walls, healers, or standard soldiers. You can check out the stats for each card, but you won’t know what their worth until you play a game against an opponent.
Battles take place on a tile 4×5 grid. the bottom two rows are your, and the enemy at the top. You can summon three cards each turn, slowly building up your army, and place them where ever you want on the board. Obviously working out the best formation goes a long way to securing victory; put the siege walls up front, and archers behind. Any tiles that remain exposed are open to attack, and lead to your army losing morale points, and when these hit zero you must retreat. There’s a great depth to the strategy, and as the battle unfolds, new tactics must be employed and your troops redeployed. New cards must be bought with looted gold, and there always seems to be something available to bolster your deck.
The story plays out over a large map, as you move from encounter to encounter. As this is a free to play game, there are wait times which can be skipped with purchased ‘spells’. Cleverly, even the F2P elements are woven in naturally as travel time, but it can lead to a very slow game if you’re just trying it out before committing to a purchase. Despite the stilted pace, it’s a very satisfying game, that will make you lose hours honing your strategies, and refining your army.
Trial Xtreme series from DeeMedya is back with its latest installment and is looking to set the bar higher from its predecessors. This Android game is one of Play Store’s Play Picks and now has improved graphics, enhanced physics engine, and a number of other features that make it a better sequel.
Voxel Rush isn’t a simple game. I don’t mean that it’s not easy to understand; it’s an endless runner where you tilt left and right to steer – a setup we’re all familiar with. I don’t mean that it has overly complicated rules either – avoid obstacles for as long as you can, crash, then do it again. Voxel Rush isn’t simple, it’s pure.
The monochromatic visuals are a a large part of the game’s purity. You start in a head long dash through a bleak gray cityscape of solid monoliths, that spread across the horizon as far as you can see. It’s like the world of Tron under an Orwellian dystopic regime. The only hint that things are going to get interesting (asides from the aforementioned monoliths hurtling towards you) is the trip-hop beat slowly gaining momentum.
The first splash of color comes when you avoid your first collision, and the whole world changes to a sold blue. Every time you make a near miss, the world swaps colors, chain a few together and you’ll be cycling through the whole palette in seconds. Maintain the combo and your score rockets, and the beats get more urgent. The reactive music does a lot to propel you forward, and soon you’ll be making risky maneuvers through tight alleyways just to keep the points flowing.
There are power ups scattered around too like invulnerability, and slow motion , although I have no idea why you would want that when the thrill of Voxel Rush is the speed at which you skim through near-gameover experiences.
Adding to the the odd ethereal quality are “The Events”. Every now and then something will happen to disrupt you run. These random game changing intrusions vary in effect, but are always fun. Sometimes the world will start to crumble around you, or a vast wall will emerge from the fog like some thing from Game of Thrones, with only a tiny ravine to slip through.
Voxel Rush is a pure game, and because of that it is utterly addictive. It understands the joy of the highscore, and doesn’t need more than that. Except that you can unlock an anaglyph 3D mode. Which is awesome.