Archive for October, 2012

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Wimp: Who Stole My Pants? review (iOS / Universal)

October 30, 2012

“Horace Wimp, this is your life…”

10 word description: 2D platform action/puzzler. 50 levels. iCloud support. Game Center.

10 word review: Silly name, awesome game. Do yourself a favour: get it.

You will like this if you enjoy: Platform games. Not being disappointed by platform games on your iOS device.

The good news: Everything is pretty much spot-on here; graphics, controls, level design, evolving game mechanics, visual effects, sounds. They’ve even got iCLoud saves working without some of the problems other games have exhibited with that system.

The bad news: The stupid name will lose them more customers than they could possibly imagine. Why they would cripple the sales potential of such a great game in this way is beyond me.

Arcadelife verdict: Brilliant game. Get over the whole “I’m not playing a game about pants and toilet rolls” hurdle and just buy it. If you want a direct comparison, this is the game that Sola Rola should have been but completely blew it. If you were thinking of buying Sola Rola, don’t do it; buy this game instead. I may have to reassess the “best platform game” category when it comes to the Arcadelife end of year awards, if not the “best game of the year” award itself…

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9.5/10
Audio – 9.5/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 10/10
Fun – 9.5/10
Final rating – 97/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.2
iTunes link

Flexile Studio website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)
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10000000 – Halloween half-price sale

October 29, 2012

Dungeon Crawling RPG Matching Game10000000 – will be going on sale at half price for the 30th and 31st of October. You can read the Arcadelife review of this game here.

In other news, Arcadelife will return to some semblance of normal service very soon. I’ve just been a bit too busy during the recent half-term holiday to be able to spend much time playing video games, let alone writing about them.

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Carmageddon review (iOS/Universal)

October 19, 2012

“Oh, but I’m always crashing in the same car”

10 word description: The full original “banned” free roaming, bloodthirsty, anarchic driving  game.

10 word review: Ban this sick filth! Sorry, my mistake – that was 1997.

Spot the eyeballs

You will like this if you enjoy: Video games where you drive around like a maniac, running pedestrians over for points and wondering if you’re going to eternally burn in hell for enjoying it way too much. Personally, I enjoyed the surprise of a 15 year old game – one of my favourites – completely living up to my memories of it.

Wasting the other competitors is often the easiest way to complete a race

The good news: Carmageddon is an insane amount of fun; sick, depraved and stupid but definitely a lot of fun. Graphically it looks like what it is, a game from 1997, but there have been some enhancements and the overall visual impression is pretty good. Tons of tracks and cars to unlock as you progress, and an optional single IAP if you’re too eager to unlock all the cars by playing the game. Note – that IAP is completely optional and does not involve in-game currency, or nags to buy it.

I love the smell of burning vehicles in the morning

The bad news: At the time of writing, there’s a problem with saved games where your iCloud save can completely disappear. This is apparently a Game Center / connectivity issue and can be resolved by closing the game down completely (in the task bar), restarting it and waiting for Game Center to connect before going to the saved games screen. Hopefully this issue will be properly fixed soon, as I experienced it and had a few minutes of despair before my saved game miraculously reappeared.

Arcadelife verdict: I have fond memories of Carmageddon (1997 – PC), specifically the patched ‘Splat Pack’ version where all the blood, guts and other banned content had been reinstated following the nanny state do-gooder censorship of the initial release. I was concerned that the iOS release would fall far short of my admittedly rose-tinted (gore-tinted more like) memories and I was very surprised and impressed when it didn’t.

Greedy fat bankers must die

As a touch-screen driving game, Carmageddon is a delight to play; the controls work very well and can be configured quite extensively if you don’t get on with the defaults. Visually it is nowhere near as pixellated and blocky as I feared it would be, thanks to some graphical enhancements and probably the fact that it’s running on a much smaller screen than the original version.

Look out, it’s the police!

The game is a lot of fun, although I don’t expect everyone will appreciate the gloriously violent, gory and very silly gameplay and subject matter. The great news for fans of the original is that this version isn’t an embarrassing museum piece that you’ll play for 20 seconds and never go back to, it’s a great chunk of chaotic driving fun and it’s still the hilariously addictive and entertaining guilty pleasure that it always was.

Top marks to Stainless for getting Carmageddon onto the iOS devices and a personal thanks from me for not ruining my memories of this great game!

If you missed the special offer to get Carmageddon free on release day and you’re not completely convinced you will enjoy it enough to spend actual money on it, there’s now a permanently free lite version available.

You can’t beat a good splatter bonus

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 8/10
Audio – 8/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 10/10
Fun – 10/10
Final rating – 92/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Carmageddon website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)

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Fire Escapes review (iOS / Universal)

October 17, 2012

“Fireman Sam and all the crew, they’ll be there to rescue you”

10 word description: Bouncing babies retro game updated for iOS. Save the babies!

10 word review: Very simple and rather addictive. More modes would be nice.

You will like this if you enjoy: Simple, retro/arcade style games.

The good news: Graphics, sound, controls, performance, UI and overall feel of the game are all pretty much spot on. It’s very easy to play with a progressive difficulty curve.

The bad news: There’s only one mode, which feels like a missed opportunity. There’s no high score table or even a high score display on the main game screen; you have to look on Game Center to see your own highest score. I’d love to see a high score displayed on the game screen while playing, just to give me a target to beat.

Arcadelife verdict: Fire Escapes works really well, borrowing heavily from an original 1984 incarnation (Bouncing Babies – MS-DOS) and translating convincingly as a pick-up-and-play touch screen game. Sure it’s limited, shallow, pretty repetitive, and arguably not a very politically correct theme for a game, but it nails that one-more-go high score chasing hook, pulling you back again and again. Shame there’s no in-game high score – maybe they can add that just for me. Although it has a handful of GC achievements to add a bit of an extra challenge, I think some more game modes would raise the appeal of the game and make it a much more entertaining app.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 7.5/10
Audio – 7.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 3.5/10
Fun – 8.5/10
Final rating – 72/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.1.1
iTunes link

Fire Escapes website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)
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Topia World Builder review (iOS / Universal)

October 15, 2012

“I want you to fill my little world right up”

10 word description: 3D world creation simulation. raise and lower land, add animals.

10 word review: Impressive tech, nice visuals, simple interface. It’s a good start.

This planet looks familiar…

You will like this if you enjoy: Morphing entire planets with your finger. Writing your name as a chain of oceanic islands. Playing with plasticine.

The good news: Great concept with convincingly powerful and smooth running game engine to back it up. A huge number of initial worlds due to the random/seeded generation tool. Controls are very simple and easy to use.

The bad news: By its own admission this is an initial sandbox release, lacking any actual game components. Saving is based on recording a replay, then watching it play out in real time with the option to take over at any point – not the most convenient save mechanism I’ve ever seen. In spite of the almost infinite number of starter worlds, most people will have seen everything this version of Topia has to offer within the first 10 minutes.

As an example, I created and populated that foreground island in about 2 minutes

Arcadelife verdict: Topia is a very encouraging taster of what could be a wonderful iOS game. The results of your interaction with the planet surface are immediate and very satisfying – wait a little longer and you will see the surface of your new landscape altering, as if millions of years were passing in a matter of seconds. Tress will begin to grow on appropriate areas; if you zoom in close enough you can watch this happening in fairly decent detail. Add a few animals and they will reproduce and run around like, well, like simple animals in a computer game really.

Watching trees grow. I always knew that sounded like fun

And … that’s about it. Sure, there’s a significant “gosh, wow, look at that” moment the first time you fire Topia up and marvel at the colourful ball of plasticine – sorry I mean the fully realised and freely deformable planet – but, without any objectives and only the raising and lowering of terrain to really keep you entertained, Topia ultimately feels like a demo for something far grander. All we have to do is keep our fingers crossed that this is what it is, and that the small but talented team behind it brings all the updates and additional game features that this version of Topia appears to promise.

Coming soon: More game modes, world sharing, challenges, leaderboards. Let’s hope so

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9.5/10
Audio – 8.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 3/10
Fun – 3/10
Final rating – 66/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.1
iTunes link

Crescent Moon / Topia website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)
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Angry BABA review (iOS / Universal)

October 13, 2012

“Hit me baba one more time”

10 word description: Action game with batting. Strike all the flying objects. (Taken from app store description and, yes, I know it’s only 9 words).

10 word review: Ridiculous, inexplicable and repetitive. One of the funniest games ever.

You will like this if you enjoy: Getting drunk or wasted and howling with laughter while playing delightfully stupid video games.

The good news: I can’t begin to explain how daft, yet utterly enjoyable this game is. The app store description alone is worth the price of admission and the game exceeds even the wildest expectations you might have after reading that.

The bad news: Nobody will play it and the world will be a sadder place because of this.

Arcadelife verdict: So picture the scene: My son has just cleared the first 4 levels of Polyroll (good for him, at least he’s leading a productive life, right?) and he gets a bit bored of that – no criticism of Polyroll, he gets bored of everything very quickly – so he starts looking at the icons on my iPad and decides he wants to play Angry BABA. Don’t ask me why – the icon is as bizarre as the rest of the game. So anyway, after I explain how to play – like I have the slightest idea – he has a few goes and declares it to be the best game ever. I’m not one to argue with a 4 year old’s logic, particularly when it involves video games, so I start getting into the game and discover, much to my surprise and not a small amount of horror, that he is right. It is indeed the best game ever. It’s silly, incomprehensible, completely bonkers and none of that really matters. Any game that prompts the questions “why are those mammoths helping us?” and “do all cavemen punch  flying rocks?” is an essential purchase as far as I’m concerned.

Defy logic, ignore the voice of reason, get this game and forget for a few minutes that your life outside video games has any real meaning, assuming that it does which I very much doubt anyway.

If you need to know more, all I can tell you is this: You control the timing and vague direction of the punches delivered by what appears to be a caveman, defending the smouldering ruins of a planet (earth, probably) from incoming meteorites, UFOs, giant insects and other random objects. When those objects ultimately return to the surface, there’s a chance that a mammoth will punt them back into the sky. If the flying objects hit one of the pelicans, manta rays (possibly) or other flying creatures carrying large pink gems, swipe or tap those gems to spend on upgrades and other characters in the store.

Anyone who doesn’t laugh, or at least smile wryly at the absurdity of it all, while playing this game needs to punch themselves in the face a few times. And, for the more observant among you, of course the ratings don’t reflect my claim that this is the best game ever. I’m taking the piss just a little bit, ok?

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 7.5/10
Audio – 7/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 8/10
Fun – 10/10
Final rating – 83/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.1.0
iTunes link

PIGMENT website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)
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Polyroll review (iOS / Universal)

October 11, 2012

“Oh well I’m rollin’ and a tumblin”

10 word description: 2D run ‘n’ roll retro platformer. 28 stages, boss fights.

Of course it’s unoriginal. Now shut up and play the game

10 word review: Convincingly entertaining albeit unofficial offspring of Sonic and Mario. Recommended!

At last, a pit full of spikes. Why do I feel a strange urge to take one small step forwards?

You will like this if you enjoy: Classic retro platform games such as Super Mario Land and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Hmmm … if only I could find that bomb power-up…

The good news: Finally, someone has managed to do a Sonic/Mario game for iOS that does what it promises, looks and sounds the part, has good controls, and hasn’t been turned into a tedious speed-runner or crippled with IAPs – there are no IAPs. Graphics – varied and accurately retro looking. Sound – decent music and effects. Controls – very reliable and responsive with separate button sizes and positioning for iPhone and iPad. Level design – excellent, with a nice twist involving hanging onto the right power-up in order to reach the special gem on each level.

The bad news: Polyroll sounds like a product for DIY wallpapering. The main character could have looked a bit nicer, although I’m happy to accept that this is just my opinion. There’s no iCloud save – I’m starting to expect this as a standard feature in universal games. No Game Center. Controls could have a bit more customisation than just the two predefined choices.

Arcadelife verdict: Ignore my pathetic whining in the bad news section, this game is very, very good and a heck of a lot of fun. The basics – controls, level design, varied enemies and environmental hazards – are all present and correct, but the game really shines with its attention to detail. Running and jumping around is fast, smooth and intuitive; the challenge comes from learning the movements and attacks of the various enemies, collecting the right power-up at the right time and figuring out how to reach the special gem and collect all the smaller gems on each level. Rather than pressurising the player with a fun-spoiling timer, Polyroll gives you a series of wonderfully entertaining levels with some tough, but optional, goals to complete. True, you can’t progress until you reach the Goal flower of each level, but that part isn’t particularly difficult; collecting all the gems is where you decide whether you’re in it just for laughs or for the win.

Although there’s no score, each level has that special gem to find, with a running total maintained on the level select screen and, for every 10 of the smaller gems that you collect, you add 1 heart to your store of lives. Ok, not lives as such, just the number of hits you can take before you have to restart the level. It’s a simple idea, but it adds a level of compulsion to the gem collecting because collecting as many as possible can improve your chances of beating each level.

Overall, Polyroll is a great platform game – mostly action-oriented fun, with a bit of thought required in order to collect all the special gems – and I have no problem recommending it to anyone fancying a Mario/Sonic style game with its own spin on the genre on their iOS device.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9/10
Audio – 9/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 9.5/10
Fun – 10/10
Final rating – 93/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Spicy Gyro Games on Facebook – website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)