Archive for November, 2013

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Hatch review (iPhone / iPod Touch)

November 25, 2013

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10 word description: What if a tiny pet hatched on your phone? (Copied from the app store description).

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10 word review: Nice intro sequence followed by not a lot of anything.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Very simple pet games where there is no challenge, no gameplay and not very much to do or see.

Really? Get a life, mate

Really? Get a life, mate

The good news: The intro sequence is nice (but it is let down by the rest of this app). Graphics are quite pleasant. 

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The bad news: Nothing to do, hardly anything to see. The Fugu (I’ll pronounce it Fugger because that’s quite apt) isn’t cute, it’s just there, with its 3 or 4 different random animations. The Fugger sounds like Mr Bean frotting a bucket of poodles. The frequently passed stools are sadly underused. The Fugger doesn’t feel like a pet, or a victim. Hatch has less in common with video games than a 5 year old’s crayon drawing of a space rocket.

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Arcadelife verdict: See, I went into this with an open mind. I thought I’d give it a chance. What a mug. It’s the payoff of an empty promise, a coffee table app for the clinically gullible. In the advert, a 20-something career woman drops her car keys on the table, flops onto her sofa and starts tapping her Hatch app, which is a great euphemism but sadly it’s just her and her iPhone. Now this is just bollocks. She isn’t even looking at Hatch. She’s got that generic “career going nowhere, so glad my agent got me this gig” expression of scripted awe-struck wonder that you only ever see on the faces of young actresses pretending they like playing games on their phone.

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I could improve this app very easily. For a start, I’d do a lot more with the excrement. Leave enough of it piling up and next time you visit your Fugger, there’s a giant shit sculpture of the Eiffel Tower, his gift to you. Starve him for long enough and, instead of running up to lick the screen in adoration, he pelts it with dung, initiating a mini-game where you have to wipe it off quickly before he writes “I HATE YOU” in the brown streaks.

There you go, Fugger. You sleep in that pile of dung all night

There you go, Fugger. You sleep in that pile of dung all night

Now that I’ve had it on my iPod Touch long enough to get some screen images and to prove to myself that it’s the sub-mediocre vacuum I suspected, I’ll be deleting it. Even calling my pink Fugger “Lemmy” didn’t add more than about 2 seconds of entertainment value. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is. If you own this app and are somehow managing to convince yourself that it isn’t a dreary, pointless waste of your time, then I think you need to reassess your perspective on life.   

Just imagine the emotional bond you will form...

Just imagine the emotional bond you will form…

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 6/10
Visuals – 6/10
Controls – n/a
Content – 1/10
Fun – 0/10
Final rating – 1/10

Pretty Dull

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.0
iTunes link

Impending.com website link

Arcadelife stared in a blank depression at, and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.4)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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SoulCalibur on sale (iOS)

November 22, 2013

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I needed an excuse to write about SoulCalibur (iOS / Universal). I could have reviewed it, but it has been out for ages so that felt a bit pointless. It’s on sale for 2 weeks (from today, Friday 22nd November) which seemed like a justifiable reason to talk about it, seeing as how it’s one of the most expensive iOS games around at its full price and has been criticised purely because of that. I love SoulCalibur and I think it’s the best fighting game on iOS. 

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Ivy is the main reason I love the game, and not just because of the skimpy outfit. When I first started playing she was the only character I would use, until I gave in to the temptation to unlock more than one other additional character, which meant beating arcade mode with different fighters. There is even a Game Centre achievement specifically for performing Ivy’s Summon Suffering move. You can practice the move as much as you like, but you need to perform it in a proper fight for the achievement to register.

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That’s what you have to do. This is the achievement:

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Apart from the high price (when it’s not on sale!) SoulCalibur on iOS also gets some negativity directed at the touch controls. I don’t understand this, because they’re great. The 8-way pad is as precise and responsive as you could ever want and, in control options, the buttons can be moved around and there’s the additional option to add multi-function buttons such as A+B and A+K, which make the more complicated moves easier to perform.

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The game is visually very appealing, with detailed characters and backgrounds plus some simply stunning animation and effects. Although there is no story mode, or a mission mode (from the Dreamcast version of the game), you do get Arcade mode, Time Attack, Survival and the very entertaining Extra Survival (first hit wins each bout) and the Bluetooth VS mode. There’s a museum with an AI battle theatre and an exhibition theatre with a separate sequence for each character who beats arcade mode.

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Practice mode has several options, such as choosing whether or not your opponent does anything. The command list shows the button sequences for each move and you can select any move to watch the character perform it, together with a visual guide to the button presses to accompany the action.

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Arcade mode at the default settings is not too hard. Whether you spend time learning the more impressive moves is really down to personal choice, as it’s not difficult to beat Arcade mode with basic moves and fairly quick reactions.

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New characters and arenas are unlocked by beating Arcade mode with different characters. There are 9 extra characters to unlock and 3 extra arenas. If you’re going for speed, it’s quite possible to get through Arcade mode in around 4 minutes, in fact there’s an achievement for beating Time attack within 4 minutes, so it won’t take too long to unlock a decent selection of new characters.

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If you’re interested in getting a fighting game for your iOS device, SoulCalibur is a very easy recommendation. If the normal price has always put you off, maybe because you weren’t sure about the controls or you thought you wouldn’t get value for money from the game, it’s on sale for a couple of weeks at less than half its usual price, down from £10.49 (which I paid and have never regretted it) to £4.99.

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Of course, it isn’t perfect; there’s only the Bluetooth option for multiplayer and there’s no progress syncing between devices. Also, the game doesn’t display full-screen on a 5th gen iPhone or iPod Touch and it won’t run at all on a 1st gen iPad. However, apart from those mostly technical issues, I can’t think of anything else to complain about.

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Although there’s no story mode, you do get a few pictures and a bit of a closing comment or punchline when a character beats Arcade mode. Ivy’s ending is well rounded, ha ha ha. And that’s pretty much it; it wasn’t a review, even though it looked like one. If you decide to get SoulCalibur while it’s on sale, I wish you a lot of fun with it!

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Air Supply – Infinite review (iOS / Universal)

November 17, 2013

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10 word description: Planet-jogging infinite runner. Unlock planets, characters, colours and music.

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10 word review: Spaceman Sam is back, running circles around the endless genre.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Running endlessly and jumping over things, in space, while listening to very cool music and wondering why nobody has thought of doing it quite like this before. Air Supply – 1 bit Run. Proper games, with no IAPs.

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The good news: Plenty of control options, enough to please everyone. The ultra retro yet immediately recognisable Air Supply graphical style returns. Loads of unlockables to run for – characters, colours, planets, etc., all with not an IAP in sight. The same compelling one-more-go gameplay as Air Supply 1-bit run, meaning it’s very addictive. In fact, it’s even more addictive due to the permanently displayed counters, counting down to each new unlock. Great quotes and references in the achievement titles, etc.

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The bad news: A couple of little tiny bugs that are being fixed right at this second. Unless you are reading this review in the summer of 2014, in which case they were fixed 6 months ago.

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Arcadelife verdict: Anyone who thought the endless runner genre was either Temple Run clones or Canabalt clones, you really need to  check this out to see what can be done by applying just a tiny bit of genius to the concept. I’m not going to hide the fact that I was involved with the beta testing, I recommended some of the alternative control options and I have a character named after me, but that doesn’t alter the fact that I genuinely love this game and I play it a lot.

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It’s a great iOS game, a wonderful variation on the endless theme and it’s very addictive. No IAPs and lots of support from a very conscientious developer who loves video games as much as I do. Do your freemium bloated device a favour – uninstall some of the crap and put this on there instead.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8.5/10
Visuals – 8/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 9/10

Sheepyhugs

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1
iTunes link

Quantum Sheep website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.4)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.4)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Tesco – you’re having a laugh

November 17, 2013

I’m not criticising “money off” vouchers, I love a bit of money off, but when I got this one I thought they were taking the piss just a bit:

tesco_pennyI haven’t redeemed it, so feel free to grab the code and use it online if you are desperate to save yourself 1p.

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Air Supply – Infinite (iOS) – coming tomorrow!

November 14, 2013

Due out tomorrow (Friday 15th November), the latest Quantum Sheep game, Air Supply – Infinite. A variation on the endless running theme, AS-I sees you, initially in the guise of Spaceman Sam, running in circles around a planet, jumping over aliens (or nuking them with smart-bombs), collecting pick-ups, developing high-score strategies and trying to avoid the tragic emptiness of a lonely death in outer space. I think it’s going to be 69p/99c and it definitely doesn’t include any additional in-app purchases.

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The game does feature some great music, a whole bunch of unlockable characters, planets, tunes and colours. In addition to being involved with the beta testing – and you can thank me for suggesting some of the many and varied control options – I also appear as an unlockable character called John. I’m obviously not going to let any of that influence my journalistic scruples, so don’t expect to see this game getting anything less than a perfect score. What? You know what I mean.

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I’ll save most of the screen images for the review, which you can expect to see right here on release day, which is Friday 15th November. Good luck out there…

 

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Danmaku 2 vs Aftershock

November 12, 2013

danmaku 2 pic 0880 Motörhead_Aftershock

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purely out of boredom, during the flight from Birmingham to Larnaca a couple of weeks ago, I played Danmaku Unlimited 2 while listening to Motorhead’s new album, Aftershock. Completely nuts and easily one of the most intense ways to entertain oneself during a flight.

If you fancy trying this, and you should, remember to turn off the game’s own music or you’re going to implode. 

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Meltdown review (iOS / Universal)

November 11, 2013

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10 word description: “Become the most skilled soldier and get the best upgrades.” Copied from the app store description. Thanks, Bulkypix, that helps a lot!

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10 word review: Fun, addictive shooter if you pretend the IAPs aren’t there.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Isometric view shooters, relentless shoot ‘n’ dodge gameplay, unlocking and upgrading weapons, levelling up with new skills.

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The good news: Visuals and audio are very high quality, characters and objects detailed and colourful. Combat is entertaining with a progression of increasingly dangerous enemies. New Character skills and weapons constantly become available for unlock or update. Plenty of campaign missions, plus a dynamically adapting Quick Play mission that sets its difficulty according to your level. Online multiplayer co-op mode – yes, I did try it and I liked it. Lots of nice little touches such as the mission/level number displayed on the elevator at the start, all of which make the game feel very polished. 

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The bad news: The version reviewed has (possibly sorted by the time you read this) a couple of crash bugs such as allowing you to equip a melee weapon in the second gun slot. Easy to resolve once you’re aware of it. No sync between devices – come on, add this in now!

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Arcadelife verdict: This is a great game. I got it on a whim because the graphics looked nice (yeah, I know), but the gameplay is so kinetic and addictive, the constant levelling and upgrading such a great hook that I can hardly stop playing it, even with other similarly excellent recent games such as Blocky Roads and Rayman Fiesta Run on my iOS devices. It would be easy, and a bit of a cheap shot, to dismiss the environments and action as repetitive, to point out that some grinding is required to buy everything as soon as it’s available, but none of that is particularly important.

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Ultimately, what you have in Meltdown is a game that feels like the exciting bits of XCOM where things are actually shooting at you, but here you have the ability to dodge and shoot back in real time. It’s fun, it’s pretty, the graphical excellence and audio subtleties make it seem more epic and less like a phone game than it actually is, all of which is rather nice. Recommended, with hardly any reservations.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 9/10
Controls – 8.5/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 9/10

SUPER

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.1
iTunes link
Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.3)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.3)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.