Posts by tag: game review
There is no doubt that Mario remains the biggest face in gaming. Nintendo may no longer be the 800 pound gorilla it once was but the round plumber and his red cap is still the most iconic image in the industry. Not without good reason, the franchise sports some of not only the most influential game play but also some of the best and most balanced 2D platforming ever made. Mario is gaming’s version of The Beatles, and like The Beatles, his hits still hold up well and his influence is readily visible, even in games made today.
Enter in HEAVY sword. HEAVY sword takes no shame in its inspiration and proudly displays backgrounds and enemies that are clearly clones of ones from Mario games, players can even jump down pipes and headbutt blocks for coins. Where it breaks away from the iconic franchise is what makes HEAVY sword special. Rather than jumping on enemies and depending on magic stars and hippie fire flowers, the protagonist of HEAVY sword, named Pike, takes a more logical approach: he uses a big freaking sword, at least when he can. Unsurprisingly, the result feels a bit like Mario and a bit like playing as Zero in one of the Mega Man X games, and it is fantastic. It is only a few annoying bugs and the underwhelming length of the adventure that prevents HEAVY sword from being a must own game for side scrolling fans.
Great Big War Game is the third in what many consider the gold standard in turn based strategy games for mobile devices. The first two, Great Little War Game and its expansion Great Little War Game: All Out War still represent some of the best traditional war gaming on Android more than a year after their release. While the second game, All Out War was more of an expansion pack than a true sequel, Great Big War Game has been billed as the true next step for the beloved franchise. Unfortunately, as great as the game is, it still holds to much to its past and utilizes too many assets from the previous games to feel like a true sequel. Great Big War Game ends up feeling like yet another expansion, albeit one that includes one of the most sorely missed features from the last two games, online Multiplayer. Fortunately, this is enough to make the purchase a wise one for most strategy fans.
First, for the uninformed. Great Big War Game (and its predecessors) are turn based strategy war games, meaning players are tasked with raising funds, buying and deploying units, with the goal of conquering the map by destroying the headquarters of the other players. At their disposal players have eight infantry units (plus one more available in the DLC) ten vehicles, four planes/helicopters and six different ships. Spread throughout the map are oil fields that can be captured and are the primary source of income in the game, each player’s headquarters and a few barracks, factories, seaports and airports for building units.
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.
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.)
There are just some games that will not work on a touchscreen. There is either too much going on, or the precision needed is just too much for touch buttons to work well enough to be enjoyable. Castle Crashers, it could be argued, is one of those games. Hardcore Beat-em-ups require some split second movements and the idea of your character sitting still and taking hits because your thumb fell off of the virtual stick it can’t even feel, isn’t appealing.
Rather than try to pigeon hole a similar experience onto touchscreen controls, Battleheart takes everything that we loved about Castle Crashers (minus the co-op) and gives it a brand new feel and a few extra levels of depth by giving it a control scheme that is designed from the ground up for touchscreens. In doing so developer Mika Mobile has made a game that is completely unique and a ton of fun. It is a bit like if you mixed Castle Crashers with an RTS and threw in a few extra RPG elements to round it all out. The result is addicting and captivating.
I slowly snuck my head around the corner, I could see at least a dozen of the damned Volterites waiting in the next room, I knew that once I started more would be on their way. I aimed down the scopes of my sniper rifle, formulating my plan as I did, and picked a Volterite on a catwalk hanging from the ceiling. “No reason to leave them the higher ground” I thought as I moved the scopes to his head and slowly let my finger touch the trigger.
My first ever memories of Talisman were with me watching by my mothers side as she sent her ‘big green dude’ (a Troll, I later found out) out on quests to tackle hordes of enemies, cross over the bridge guarded by the giant sentinel, and slowly make her way through to the centre tiles where the amazing ‘Crown of Command’ was kept. I didn’t know too much about the game, or how it worked, only that my mother would cackle with witch-like glee whenever she received the crown, and her friends would look crestfallen. It was the game that got me into games, moreso than Monopoly, RISK, Scattegories or any childrens game, and now that game has come to Android.
I’m going to present an image of Hungry Shark Evolution — a visual one, unfortunately, because I couldn’t take any screencaps — that should make anyone with any taste whatsoever download the game immediately: a shark, clad in a Santa Claus cap and a flak jacket, leaping out of the water to pick a parasailer out of the air.
Yeah. Seriously. This is something I did many multiple times in my time with Hungry Shark. Frankly, I’m fighting the urge to go do it some more as I write this.
And this is all for a game I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like from the onset. Something about the logo, namely the fact that it’s a near-direct ripoff of the Finding Nemo branding, made me wonder how good the title would be. Not because I care either way about some Pixar movie, mind you, but because games that “borrow” minor stuff like that sometimes aren’t of the best quality.
Well, I say “sometimes” specifically because of this game. I very much enjoy it, as I assume most people who try it will. Whatever creativity it lacks in the logo department it more than makes up for in the actual gameplay. It’s a good tradeoff.