Posts by tag: Ian DeMartino
How do you review one of the best games of all time that is ported almost perfectly, except for the fact that it is missing its best mode? A fighting game without multiplayer seems like a game that is missing the point and origin of the genre. Yet, that is exactly what we have been presented here in Soulcalibur for Android. Can the milestone franchise stand the test of time as a solely single player affair?
Soulcalibur, like most fighting franchises, started as an arcade game. Most gamers developed their fond memories for the game however, from when it launched on the Dreamcast as a launch title (in the U.S.) on 9/9/99. The amazing graphics (which were actually improved from the arcade version) fluid animations, solid control and incredibly balanced cast of fighters made Soulcalibur seem like the first “next-gen” fighting game, and after its release the genre would never be the same.
719 games later and Soulcalibur is still arguably the best game to ever be released on the Dreamcast. Its re-release on Android hits all the right notes on the surface. The characters, the levels, the cheesy commentator are all there. The controls are slightly simplified in order to fit on a touchscreen but not nearly to the extent that Street Fighter IV did in its mobile edition. Playing the game with touchscreen controls (HID controllers are not supported) takes a little bit of getting used to, but it actually performed far better than I expected and soon enough I was destroying the CPU competition. Still, not including controller support is a major oversight. Namco did a great job with the virtual stick but nothing can replace the physical thing and to not include it in this game, which had such tight control when it was original release, is bordering criminal.
The lack of physical controls could be overlooked, as I mentioned the touchscreen controls do perform surprisingly well for what they are, but the lack of multiplayer cannot be. If not including physical controls is bordering criminal then not including multiplayer is a class 1 felony. There are no options here. No Bluetooth, no WiFi, nothing. There is supposed to be Google Play integration, which would at least implement leader boards but weeks into its release it still has not worked. And even when it does, it will be a piss poor replacement for epic Mitsurugi vs Nightmare battles against your best bud.
Fireman by Magma Mobile has the look of a simple and forgettable children’s game, but if you give it a chance you will find a challenging, rewarding and balanced 2D platformer that is not only free but keeps the completely optional IAPs out of the way, doesn’t hit you over the head with obtrusive ads and utilizes an interesting and fun water jetpack mechanic that instantly brings to mind a 2D Super Mario Sunshine.
It isn’t nearly as extensive as Super Mario Sunshine, of course. What Fireman is, is disgustingly cute. Nearly to the point of absurdity. Players take control of a large headed fireman looking kid, traversing levels, putting out fires and saving stuffed animals. That’s right, you aren’t risking your life and putting out fires in order to save living beings but instead ultra cute inanimate objects. I’m not really sure what message that is actually sending to kids but that isn’t really the point. The point is the fantastically tight gameplay that anyone of any age can enjoy.
The protagonist runs around levels, putting out fires and saving the stuffed animals before exiting through a door. There are a few fire enemies, walking flames, burning centipedes, things like that. The game never attempts to explain any of it, why fire has sprung up and is apparently trapping or attacking stuffed toys, or how this kid became a firefighter, or why he is risking his young life for the benefit of something likely made in a sweatshop in Vietnam, but it is all good fun.
There are currently 39 levels available for free spread across two worlds, with two more worlds available for purchase using either coins earned in the game or with actual money. The character can also be upgraded in the same fashion with the in-game currency being common enough to allow a reasonable amount of customization without actually spending a dime.
Skee-Ball is an American institution. According to Skeeball.com it was invented in Philadelphia in 1909 by J.D. Estes and went into production in 1914, soon taking America by storm. If you were born in the United States and don’t have fond childhood memories of sliding wooden balls into plastic holes then there is a high probability you were either neglected, your parents displayed communist tendencies or you are Amish (in which case, what are you doing on the internet, shouldn’t you be selling handcrafted furniture down the street from the outlet mall?). It is easy to see how, the soothing experience of gently rolling wooden balls down a polished wooden or plastic miniature alleyway and hearing the plop of the ball, succeeded in being both challenging and rewarding. While we are nearing the 100th anniversary of Skee-Ball’s commercial production, a new Skee-Ball game has been jumping up the ranks of google play, but is Skee-Ball Arcade any good?
Ninja Boy has the makings of a hit. Stylish graphics? Check. Innovative and more importantly intuitive control? Check. Wide variety of levels with a ranking system to keep you playing? Check. A pricetag of free with one completely nonessential IAP? Check. Game breaking bug? Che– wait. Yes, Ninja Boy by all rights should be a great game, but it has a game breaking bug. I should be debating if it deserves a 4 or a 4.5, instead I am wondering how many points should be taken off for something that will likely be fixed in the future. But lets talk about what Ninja Boy does right first.
Gameloft has some talented teams at its disposal. Its latest addition to the realistic racing series GT Racing, aptly named GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience, is proof positive of that. Disregarding its monetary scheme for a second and GT Racing 2 is one of the most impressive mobile games currently available. The graphics, mechanics, level design and car selection are top notch. If this game came out on what has recently become the “old” consoles a few years ago at full price, it would be a worthy contender against the Project Gotham Racings, Forzas and Gran Turismos of the world. It wouldn’t necessarily best any of them, but it could stand shoulder to shoulder and say that it is a “worthy choice” standing next to the best games of the genre on any system.
Twin-stick shooters, along with endless runners, are the WWII FPS of mobile gaming. There are tons of them. More than necessary. That doesn’t mean they can’t be fun, in fact just like WWII FPS games on consoles, games in the genre continue to come out that force you to take notice, no matter how many times you have sworn them off.
Tank Battles is one of those games. It could also be argued that it isn’t a twin-stick shooter, even though that is clearly where its roots lie. Players control a tank with one virtual stick (or joystick if using a controller) and simply taps on the screen where he or she wants to shoot (When using a controller the player aims with the right stick and presses a button to shoot). Levels are small. That isn’t to say levels are simple, they are often filled with doors, traps, portals, all sorts of things to add to the complexity, but they are all contained in a small space, usually not much larger than a single screen and maxing out at two or three screens.
Solar Flux, which had already received heaps of praise from critics for its iPad version, including a recent TIGA nomination for best game design (an award eventually won by Forza Horizons) have been released in two versions on Google Play. The first, designed for the smaller screens of cell phones, is called Solar Flux Pocket and is completely free of charge. The second version, dubbed simply Solar Flux or Solar Flux HD is for tablets and as you may have guessed, includes High-Definition graphics. The HD version costs a respectable $1.99 and also includes a larger number of levels than its free pocket-sized counterpart. Solar Flux Pocket, however, is more than just a shrunken down “lite” version of the game, as its levels have been redesigned to play properly on smaller screens.
Catequesis was one of the first games we covered here at GameWoof, with our interview with the developer, Pakarico Games, running back in April. We have been waiting patiently for more information regarding the amazing looking 8-bit survival horror game ever since. Pakarico Games has finally pulled the curtain back a little further, releasing a fantastically creepy trailer on its blog on Tuesday.
The news is cause for some celebration because it means progress is happening in the development of one of the most intriguing survival horror titles to grace the indie mobile scene in quite sometime. However, the news comes with a significant downside. Catequesis, originally planned for a late 2013 release, has been delayed until 2014. Further putting a dampener on the situation is that the Android version of Catequesis has been delayed even further, likely until 2015.
No, it doesn’t have anything to do with the phenomenal west coast burger chain with a similar name, but ins and outs, was released today on Google Play by New York Indie developer aukStudios. The minimalist puzzler looks like it has a ton of free fun for Android gamers, boasting 900 levels for free, with an additional 900 available for a small fee.
The lane defense/offense tug-of-war style genre is steadily growing. I previously reviewed Bitbattle, a two player same device game available for free without any IAPs and gave it high marks but it was lacking the single player campaign (or online multiplayer) that would have made it feel like a complete game. Warmongers takes the same formula, drops the multiplayer completely and adds a more complete and full fledged single player campaign, complete with unobtrusive and unnecessary IAPs.