Archive for November, 2011

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Penny Shoel HD review (iPod/iPhone)

November 20, 2011

“What do you do? Shove it, you can shove it”

10 word description: Dutch version of shove ha’penny. Unlockable skins. Game Center.

The intro scenes are the best looking bits of the game

10 word review: Frequent load pauses, rather basic gameplay, but it’s fairly entertaining.

The starter skin couldn't be less thrilling to look at if it tried

You will like this if you enjoy: Playing shove ha’penny on your iPhone.

This is fairly representative of a typical game

The good news: Intuitive controls and gameplay. Graphics are decent enough. Unlockable skins add incentive to keep improving your score.

Unlocking cheese world gives you this green skin and cheesy pucks

The bad news: Load times intrude whenever you move from one screen to another or select any option. The puck physics aren’t exactly the best ever.

The end result is still the same

Arcadelife verdict: It’s ok if you can live with the load pauses and very basic gameplay, but I can’t pretend I got particularly excited about this one.

Arcadelife rating: 59/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.4
iTunes link

Lump Apps website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
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Saturday night … it’s Skyrim night

November 19, 2011

Sorry there’s no review today; I’ve been busy doing non-gaming real life stuff and I just need to relax a bit, out in the frozen wilderness of Skyrim. I’m currently level 18, just starting to get into the quests of the two slightly less lawful factions … and it’s a ton of fun, of course.

Some recent screenshots…

 

 

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Snoopy’s Street Fair review (iOS / Universal)

November 18, 2011

“From out of the skies a hero arose
A funny looking dog with a big black nose”

10 word description: Help Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Peanuts gang organise street fair.

You start off in a fairly empty street, with the objective of making a load of money by running a street fair

10 word review: Dodge the IAPs and enjoy a Peanuts themed tycoon game.

The loading screen shows what you might be able to accomplish ... one day

You will like this if you enjoy: Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Tycoon games (Fruit Juice Tycoon 2 seems a good comparison). Smurfs’ Village – same company, same IAP model.

Tapping on a customer's thought bubble will show you what they think of the fair, and other random thoughts they may be having

The good news: Really good graphics; almost perfect Peanuts visualisation (at least on iPad where I’ve mostly been playing it). Plenty to do and it’s all fun to watch, with lots of animations going on all the time. The in-game money seems to come rolling in fairly quickly, at least quick enough to buy quite a few stalls in the first half hour.

This is as far as you can zoom in. The graphics and animation are really very good

The bad news: I’m the wrong person to review this type of game because I can’t see the point of blowing real money on virtual items, mostly consumables, in any videogame. I know, I know … the model works and these games make lots of money, but that doesn’t mean it’s right and I’m wrong – the world just isn’t that simple, I’m afraid. The bad news here, at least from my perspective, is that a great looking game – that could have been sold for a flat fee without all the rather crazy IAP bundles – will only be fun for me up to the point where spending real money becomes a necessity, when I will just stop playing it. Would I buy this game if it had no IAP and was priced realistically? Yeah, probably, because it’s a very good game.

If this doesn't strike you as utterly crazy, you need to go and get this game right now. You're going to love it

Arcadelife verdict: I think I covered it in the bad news section. I like the game, and I’ll play it until I hit the IAP wall, then I’ll give up. I’m not saying people are stupid spending real money just to keep playing this kind of Freemium title, just that I’d feel stupid if I ever considered doing it.

Organise a street fair to make loads of money ... Alternatively, licence a popular cartoon strip for a videogame and fill it with IAPs

Arcadelife rating: 80/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
iTunes link

Snoopy’s Street Fair website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0)
iPad (OS 5.0)
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Katana Jack! review (iOS / Universal)

November 17, 2011

“Katana, Katana, When it leaves your side to reap”

10 word description: BombJack inspired platform action game. 90 levels. Two modes. iCade.

One can only hope that's intentional... I'm sure it is

10 word review: Convincing homage to an arcade classic. Fun game, plenty of content.

I immediately spotted this level layout as being the first level from original BombJack, and that isn't pathetic or geeky at all I'll have you know

You will like this if you enjoy: Platform action in single-screen stages. BombJack.

Once you get through the tutorial, the levels are star-rated

The good news: Nice reinvention of BombJack. Decent 2D graphics. Controls work ok. Gameplay is close to the original (BombJack). Lots of levels.

You have to collect the lanterns, which were bombs in BombJack. So why is this one called Katana Jack? Probably because Lantern Jack sounds like a Halloween game.

The bad news: The on-screen joystick and big button won’t be good for everyone. I can see what they’re trying to achieve, but a choice of control types would be a good addition.

Arcadelife verdict: Overall, and speaking as a rather big fan of BombJack, this is a pretty good game and tends to do what it sets out to, which is give you a Bombjack clone on your iOS device, without skimping on standard (and not so standard) features such as achievements, leaderboards and iCade support. Retro arcade fans should enjoy it, particularly the levels that are direct copies of some of the BombJack level layouts.

Arcadelife rating: 85/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Katana Jack website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0)
iPad (OS 5.0)
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I Won’t Fall review (iPod/iPhone)

November 16, 2011

“Because falling’s not the problem
When I’m falling I’m in peace
It’s only when I hit the ground
It causes all the grief”

10 word description: Mother’s quest across beautiful, treacherous sky-world: find lost babies.

Sure that's easy, but the challenge comes from timing those jumps ... and not falling!

10 word review: Polished and enjoyable horizontal Frogger style game. Becomes fiendishly challenging.

You won't be surprised to hear that it all starts off fairly easily

You will like this if you enjoy: Frogger type games (albeit with simplified one-touch controls and continually evolving challenges).

Moving platforms and deadly spiked objects are the first problems that you encounter

The good news: Great evolution of simple Frogger concept. Smooth, with responsive one-touch control method. Nice graphics. Good learning curve and progressive difficulty.

The bad news: No obvious issues. I’d cite the omission of endless mode as a missed opportunity, but it’s already been announced as coming in an update.

You can probably figure out exactly what is going on here

Arcadelife verdict: There’s a sad back-story about a mother searching for her lost children, with suitably emotional and well drawn images when you succeed or fail. None of that is necessary, of course, but it adds to the overall feel of polish and care that has gone into the game. This is one of the more pleasant and fun games that I’ve seen for a while; enjoyable and definitely challenging.

Really big, long spiky things - the bane of videogame protagonists since the dawn of time

Arcadelife rating: 85/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
iTunes link

Agni Studios website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0)
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Evertales review (iOS / Universal)

November 15, 2011

“Stab, hack, slash kill
Stab, hack, slash kill”

10 word description: A tale of unlikely heroes … Action/platformer, play three characters.

The forest chapter puts you up against mushrooms, spiders, big insects and poisonous plants

10 word review: Good looks, archaic gameplay.  Varied chapters but very short game.

The mage has the prettiest attack effects but he is slow. Mostly, the elf is the best character in any given situation

You will like this if you enjoy: Traditional (i.e. old and generic) console platform/action games. Button-mashers.

Chapter 3 - the sea zone is easily the most impressive

The good news: Pretty graphics. A lot of visual variety between the different zones. Controls are ok. Earning in-game currency for unlocking weapons and outfits is easy (if you don’t mind repeating a few levels). Cloud sync includes all progress including the earned in-game gold.

A friendly ghost pops up to say "Boo" ...

The bad news: It’s a short game. It’s a bit too easy. Not enough is made of the three character types; the Elf/ranged character can do almost all of the game on his own. The puzzles are not puzzling, they just involve sliding a block near where you need to jump over something high, or breaking an object with another object. The action feels a bit sluggish at times.

The sea serpent boss looks great but requires very little skill to beat

Arcadelife verdict: I quite enjoyed this game, despite the fact that it feels like a mediocre game from the very early days of the original Playstation, possibly even further back than that. The variation between the different zones isn’t just cosmetic; the sea chapter – 3 – is probably my favourite and the rocky caverns of chapter 4 are the least imaginative and enjoyable. I don’t mind repeating levels to earn cash, as the levels are quite short and the cash comes in quickly. Unlocking all the weapons doesn’t take too long and the different outfits don’t bring any additional bonuses so there’s no real incentive (beyond OCD) to get them.

I blew 1200 gold on the ninja outfit, just because I could

Overall, the game is not bad but it isn’t really going to blow anyone’s mind and the action is decidedly formulaic and repetitive. Boss fights are incredibly simplistic dodge-hit-dodge affairs, with no advanced tactics or thought required. If you’re after a very basic, pretty looking platform hack-and-slash game that isn’t particularly difficult to beat, it’s worth a look.

Arcadelife rating: 75/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.01
iTunes link

Crescent Moon / Evertales website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0)
iPad (OS 5.0)
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Kick the Buddy review (iPod/iPhone)

November 14, 2011

“Go buddy, go buddy, go buddy, go buddy, go go go”

10 word description: Interactive stress relief. Kick the buddy, earn cash, unlock items.

I'm beating up an extra from Little Big Planet with a big iron mace. My family will be so proud of me

10 word review: Pointless yet rather gratifying. Plenty of content without the IAPs.

It's ok, there's no blood...

You will like this if you enjoy: Assaulting a helpless ragdoll character with an large arsenal of vicious weapons.

What kind of message is this sending out to impressionable 48 year-olds?

The good news: Graphics are ok. Controls are ok. There’s plenty of content to unlock with in-game cash without having to go anywhere near the In-App-Purchases. You can give the ragdoll character a face from your photo library.

He's covered in hand grenades, what a jape ... and ... oops, I think he's dead

The bad news: It’s not really a game, just a toy. I found myself mourning the fate of humanity after about 15 minutes. 15 minutes is way too long to play this game in one session.

Celebrating my mindless brutality with a ticker-tape party

Arcadelife verdict: Initially, I just thought “What is the point of this?” Then I saw something I wanted to unlock for $300 and kept smacking the poor little bastard around until I could afford it. Then I started wishing it had blood and gore, at which point I had to question my own sanity. So go ahead, get it, turn yourself into a desensitised monster, just like me.

Arcadelife rating: 65/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.10
iTunes link

App Zap website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0)