Posts by tag: retro
When it comes to RPGs there are a lot of nuances that people either love or hate. I’m talking about the multitude of fetch quests or how strangers always seem to come to you for help. Like for any genre it is good to kind of poke fun at these points every now and again. Paradox Interactive seemed to take it upon themselves to do just that with their highly praised game Knights of Pen and Paper. While Knights of Pen and Paper has been out for quite some time and even has upgraded (+1 edition), the gameplay and humor stands as one of the most engaging and fun turn-based RPGs out there. In fact, it made our list for Top 5 best Android turn-based games which we published earlier this year.
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.
Let the retro game ports continue! The trend of retro games from the 90s and earlier continues with DotEmu’s latest announcement of bringing Little Big Adventure to Android devices quarter 1 of 2014. For those of you who may not know, Little Big Adventure also known as Relentless: Twinsen’s Adventure was an action adventure game for the MS-DOS and eventually the Playstation back in 1994. Back in 2012 there was talk of the game being ported to mobile devices but the game has obviously been delayed from that first date and now a semi-firm date is set in stone.
Little Big Adventure is considered a classic and utilizes pseudo-3D graphics with its isometric viewpoint. Gameplay wise, you take control of the main character Twinsen as he tries to save his people from the evil Dr. FunFrock. The interesting aspect is that Twinsen has four different behavior modes which influence what skills he can use. These behaviors are normal, athletic/sporty, aggressive, and discreet which each having different skills as you can imagine. The original Little Big Adventure was a hit and people have been excited for it to come to mobile since it was falsely promised, so now hopefully the wait is almost over.
Level 22 is Noego Games first title on Google Play. This Android game is a stealth-based strategy game set in a frantic workplace.
Your relationship with Another World certainly counts towards whether or not this 20th anniversary re-release and update is worth your time. This atmospheric 2D platforming adventure marked a significant evolution in games on its initial release, and pointed the way forward for what was possible with the medium.
A lot of made Another World stand out still works today. The wordless intro where you’re whisked through space to an alien planet is an effective piece of story telling, and sets the tone. Once you survive the first few minutes of the game, where everything seems out to get you, including the iconic silhouetted beast that stalks you in the background, you meet up with an escaped prisoner and the both of you solve puzzles, and shoot your way to freedom.
From a story perspective the evocative encounters cannot be beaten. Another World is constructed from memorable set-pieces, some requiring deft reflexes and a keen trigger finger, others involve a serious amount of lateral thinking backed up by a lot of trial and error. It’s is a very visually involving game and tears by at a brisk rate. There’s a real sense of adventure in the lean story which is perfectly paced leading to one of the most memorable climaxes in any game I can think of (never before will you have willed a character to crawl faster).
The gun play is worth singling out for the inventive way that it’s handled. When you fire, you don’t always hit your target, but neither do the aliens firing back at you. This creates a cinematic lazer battle, with bolts of light whizzing past you head, which might seem like something has gone wrong, but adds to the real-ness of the world. A tactical element is introduced by powering up the gun then firing out an energy field, or wait a bit longer,and you can unleash a devastating blast perfect for tearing through barriers, or in one memorable early puzzle, flooding the entire level. Another World is a lot more action oriented than I remembered, especially towards the end, which is not a bad thing.
The game is played across a sequence of static screens, so that if you run off to the right, you appear in the next room on the left. It’s an out dated system that really shows the game’s age, and it would have been nice to experience it with fully remade levels that stitch everything together.
This might sound like blasphemy to those that hold Another World (and its direct sequel Heart of the Alien) in high regard, but the most significant change–the completely overhauled graphics–is oddly one that I didn’t immediately spot.
For this update, developers DotEmu have given the game a new lick of paint. The job they have done in reinterpreting the original rotoscoped graphics is of such a high quality that I just assumed that it was the way that I remembered the game to be. That’ll be the nostalgia creeping in again. In reality the old graphics, which can be instantly switched to and from with a two fingered downward swipe, are shockingly bland. All the neat tricks with perspective are intact, but the modern update really brings the whole game to life.
The animation is the thing that survives the transition and is as slick and full of detail as ever. Moments like when one of the alien guards grabs you by the throat and you lose your gun, only to break free then dive on the weapon, twist and blast your attacker to dust, come alive with the skillful fluid movement of the nameless main character. Using techniques similar to Prince of Persia–or even early Disney–the animation remains a highlight.
With the graphics never looking better, but being respectful to the original, and the atmosphere intact, and effective as ever, it’s really down to the gameplay, and the controls specifically, to make another world work. Unfortunately this is one area which lets the side down.
The shortfall in this department has a lot to do with the base game. Another World was never a particularly forgiving, and the switch between discreet screens exacerbates the fiddly controls. There are two options, neither being particularly good. The standard directional pad, and single button combo works well enough, and is the most authentic way to play, but putting ‘jump’ on the up arrow rather than on a separate button seems like a missed opportunity to improve the game. Touch controls make an interesting change, but are ultimately too inaccurate for some of the more intricate platforming sections.
Another World is not a particularly long game, but it is artificially extended with miserly checkpoints and save states. Too often you’ll find yourself repeating the same task over and over again. Your tolerance depends for this depends on how familiar you are with the game–this is one for gamers revisiting the experience rather than newcomers.
Showing its age despite reinvigorated graphics, Another World has too many clumsy gaming relics to be an outright recommendation, but for those of us that want to relive the nail-biting do or die action scenes and the environmental puzzles it’s a real blast.
And get this… coming to Android devices if it meets its goal!
Just starting as of today, the creator and lead designer of the EA smash hit Mutant League Football has taken to Kickstarter in order to bring this game to Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network, iOS and of course to Android devices.
But this new rendition sets out to be a little more ambitious than the Sega Genesis classic. In addition to bringing in a lot of talent from artists who’ve worked on such comic series’ as DC’s Lobo, to talent behind Tony Hawk Pro Skater, the game’s developers have this to say:
The game will go beyond moment to moment football game tactics, so in addition to deciding if you’re going to punt or go for it on 4th and one, you’ll also need a good strategy to keep your star players alive (while destroying as many players from the opposing team as possible). The game features will include the use of brutal enforcer players, field obstacles, hazards, player weapons and dirty trick plays (where throwing a bomb is literally throwing a bomb). All of this will be packaged as a hilarious parody of all that we hold sacred and dear (football, star athletes, sports networks, videogames, mega-corporations, sports licensing and merchandising). There will be plenty of laugh-out loud humor to be had by all.
Obviously, we at Gamewoof don’t need to tell you how excited we are for this. As of this morning, it’s already racked in about $1,500 of its $750,000 goal. While that is a lofty amount, I have a feeling they’ll meet that goal, considering how many people have been clamoring for this for years, myself included.
You can donate to the Kickstarter and read all about the development team, stretch goals and more in the link below.
Source: MLF Kickstarter
Paul Bunyan, the popular folklore character, is probably smiling as lumberjacks are slowly invading mobile gaming. One of my colleagues has reviewed Jack Lumber and another has previewed Fist of Awesome. This time, we take a look at Lumber Jacked, the latest game from Everplay Interactive and Fire Fruit Forge to hit Google Play. This Android game is a platformer featuring challenging puzzles and incredible physics.
With the 1990′s coming back in style (or perhaps it never went away), it amazes me it took Namco Bandai this long to bring their mobile game… to mobile devices. If you think about it, during their hey dey, kids ran around with Tamagotchis in their pockets, constantly whipping them out and checking them, just like kids now do with their smart phones. So why did it take so long, especially with so many knock offs already existing on the Google Play marketplace? Like the riddle of the Tootsie Pop, the world may never know…
That being said, Namco Bandai’s Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. app brings players right back to the hustle and bustle of 1990′s Japanese pocket toys. This game is everything and more that those little odd shaped digital pets gave us so many years ago. All the same pleasures and pains will come rushing back to you like a tsunami of nostalgia so bad, you’ll go searching for Jnco jeans and your Tupac CDs.
He-Man: The Most Powerful Game knows that it’s main character is inherently tacky and old fashioned, and it plays up to it all the way through, starting with that title. If you remember the show that this game is based on, you’ll be getting pangs of nostalgia. That’s okay, we all have misplaced affection for our childhood favorites no matter how bad they were, and boy, was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe a terrible show. It was created solely to sell a toy line and featured some of the worst animation, and the most condescending stories. What it did have was plenty of action, bizarre characters and a giant green cat. It was enough to keep kids entertained between adverts for action figures.
This latest inexplicable resurrection of the franchise by Chillingo opens with a not only a lengthy loading screen, but an age gate too. He-Man has always been a been a little controversial; outraged mothers had to be placated with tacked on ‘morals’ at the end of the original cartoon when complaints were made about the excessive violence. This game is no more violent than any other game available right now so it seems odd to make you input your date of birth before playing. Maybe they were checking to see if you were old enough to remember Prince Adam and his insta-pectoral sword. Note to kids: Prince Adam turns in to the muscle bound He-Man by summoning the power of Greyskull. Just go with it, it doesn’t have to make sense.
The most powerful game is an App that long time nemesis Skeletor has created to entice the hero of Eternia then capture him. It’s a hare brained scheme that was bound to work. Once captured He-Man immediately escapes and fights his way through a series of side scrolling platformer levels, filled to the brim with enemies.
From the very first level you know that your in for a treat. The Most Powerful Game has it’s head firmly in the 80′s and brings back the gaming of that era as well as one of it’s cartoon icons. The classic platforming is an absolute blast as you power your way through waves of Skeletor’s henchmen across seven different world’s, each with their own unique style.
The controls are decent and the animation smooth, although I did find myself unable to turn once committed to a sword combo, which does mean that enemies can get a few cheap shots in from behind. It’s not so bad once you’re in the thick of battle and you’ve upgraded your moves, but it’s an oversight that is a concession to old school gaming too far.
You’ll definitely want to upgrade your skills as this game is enjoyably tough. Not only will you com up against endless sword fodder minions, but all the pitfalls, spiked ceilings, and rising lava you’s expect from this blast from the past. you can spends crystals collected in game on extra combo moves, and aerial attacks as well as the Eternian equivalent of a smart bomb: Man-at-Arms. Your trusty sidekick can be summoned to dispatch foes with a barrage of laser fire that makes you wonder why he just didn’t go on the mission by himself.
You can of course fully upgrade He-Man with IAP’s if you choose, but seeing as you’ve already paid for the game, why would you want to do your self out of enjoying the increasingly difficult and well designed levels? Each new area brings something unique to the gameplay. In one environment you have pyroclastic bombs raining down from and exploding volcano which obliterate friend and foe alike. It’s good to see enemies being caught up in environmental hazards for once, to often in games they get away with so much.
Graphically He-Man:TMPG hits all the right notes. It’s an updated version of the old cartoon, and even though at one point Skeletor mocks He-Man for his limited animation, the game runs smoothly with a lot of detail, and a lot of sprites, being thrown up on screen. There’s plenty of incident and invention too, like the boss fights that play out in interesting ways that use the possibilities of platforming level design to their fullest. Your encounter with Beastman is preceded by a wild chase in which you can barely keep ahead of the furry freak, and ends with him making one last bid at disposing you only to fall in to a lake of mud. It’s the game’s sense of humor that really won me over though. The script is constantly mocking the very concept of He-Man, and the fact that he hasn’t been around since the 80′s.
She-Ra, the sassy female equivalent of He-Man, also makes an appearance as an alternative playable character. Oddly she’s a lot more enjoyable to play as. Her jump in more athletic, and her double jumping will take her to places that were unreachable before, allowing you to get the hidden tokens that unlock comic book art. She runs faster, attacks faster and her special move is more useful than He-Man’s lame ax tossing. If I’d known that She-Ra was the better choice I would have picked her from the start, but her missions are exactly the same as He-Man’s save for a slight change in dialogue her and there, so going back and doing everything again wasn’t as appealing. Although she does have a unicorn as a companion which might be a deal breaker for some.
I have fond memories of the ultra-tough side scrolling platform / shooter Contra (or as we called it in England – Probotector) so when I saw that it had been released for android, I knew I had to dive back in after all these years. Nostalgia can only do so much to paste over the cracks in the gaming hits of yore, so fortunately Konami have wisely decided to give it a full revamp with completely overhauled graphics and gameplay.
The visuals certainly have been updated from the blocky pixel sprites of the original release, unfortunately they’ve been updated to a Playstation 1 level. It’s not that it’s particularly bad looking, just wildly uneven. Some of the bosses look good, but in other parts the backgrounds are completely black as if the designers had simply forgotten to add something in. It no doubt comes from a desire to to both indulge in fan service whilst attracting new players, but the result is an odd mishmash of styles that doesn’t quite do the simplicity of the original justice.
The controls are just as weak as you would expect. The digital accuracy of an old school console is replaced with a sloppy virtual stick and there’s no support for a controller either, which seems like an oversight. One of the big features that set Contra apart from its rivals was the eight-way aiming. With the over sized virtual stick this becomes problematic when attempting to use the diagonals. Furthermore your character can sometimes get lost behind your thumb. Firing has now become automatic (of course, why would you not fire?) which only leaves the jump button and two extra buttons that bestow you with power-ups at will (for a price), but more on that later.
On the positive side, the game itself is reasonably intact, and offers a brand of platforming we rarely get to see nowadays. Levels are crammed full of cannon fodder with very little to do with their short lives than to run at you soaking up bullets. You start with a simple machine gun, but floating upgrades can be shot down to bolster you arsenal. There are overpowered heat-seeking missiles, the classic spread gun, the odd laser rifle and a rapid fire rifle. Boss encounters are the main draw here and come in two varieties, the ‘death from above’ and the ‘wall of guns’. In a strange bit of level design, the first boss encounter has been rendered ridiculously easy to beat. Because the game is played in landscape mode, a vital few extra inches have been added to either side of the game screen, but the enemy itself has not been optimized for this new configuration and just launches missiles impotently at your feet meaning that all you have to do is fire and forget.
Inserted between levels are in to the screen 3D sections, which differ from the main sequences only in that you tend to be firing upwards a lot, instead of sideways. This is the part that has benefited the most from the graphical improvements, with transitions between rooms being channeled through actual 3D corridors, but sadly it lacks anything compelling to do other than shoot static targets whilst rolling left and right. Ah those were the days, when games knew how to spice things up.
Beyond the two initial characters, Bill and Lance, you can unlock two additional female characters by completing arcade mode or racking up points in the Mission mode which challenges you with hopping in to certain levels and completing certain tasks. Mission mode a nice little bonus to have, but doesn’t offer much new in game play experience, and the new recruits Ricci and Sally are too similar to the default option.
Additionally a simply stat boosting RPG element has been grafted on which presents you with a skill tree which you can choose to get increased lives and better weapons. The benefits of gaining more exp are hard to notice when you’re equipped to complete the game from the outset. Konami were no doubt expecting the game to be a little to difficult for the modern gamer and chucked in a few concessions to our lapsed hardcore skills. The problem is they almost completely bungle it.
Contra is still a fiddly one hit kill affair, and on top of that you’re limited to five lives, so you might think that Contra is going to last you a while. Well the game that once took up weeks of my time as a child, lasted just under an hour. The reason being is that you’re given in game currency to buy extra weapons and lives, which all feeds in to a completely unnecessary IAP section. Without buying any extras though, I managed to fumble my way through the game all the way to the end by hitting continue when ever I died. I’m not entirely against a game selling extras even when you’ve already paid for the download, especially if it’s one with an unforgiving reputation like Contra’s. As long as it doesn’t become mercenary, or compromise the integrity of the game in anyway.
That said, Contra has essentially been neutered by the desire to squeeze money out the player, but not in a cynical way that makes things harder, but by making it so easy that the whole reason it was included in the first place is negated. The balance of currency to benefit has been so poorly misjudged that it makes you wonder if anyone was paying attention.
Odd IAP missteps aside, Contra does retain the frantic fun it has always had, and if you can be strict with continues, will last you sometime. It is however one for the fans, for those who don’t mind donning rose tinted glasses and indulging a decidedly old fashioned game.