Archive for June, 2015

h1

Xenowerk review (iOS / Universal)

June 23, 2015

xenowerk_img_3692

10 word description: Alien-blasting twin-stick shooter. 50 levels. Lots of guns.

xenowerk_img_3679

10 word review: Great looking and cathartic, but repetitive and way too easy. 

xenowerk_img_3673

You will like this if you enjoy: High-score chasing blast-fests. Killing aliens. A top-down Dead Space without the story, variety or challenge.

xenowerk_img_3680

The good news: Presentation is top-tier. Visuals, sounds and effects create a great atmosphere. Controls are reliable, responsive, and can be customised. Loads of impressive weapons. The IAPs are purely there for the terminally impatient weapon-shoppers – there is absolutely no need to spend more money on this game in order to play it and enjoy it.

xenowerk_img_3690

The bad news: Challenge is completely unbalanced in the player’s favour, which I’ll explain in the verdict section. Gameplay is repetitive, despite cosmetic attempts to make it seem like it isn’t. Missed opportunity for massive boss fights.

xenowerk_img_3682

Arcadelife verdict: I like Xenowerk, but I also loved Space Invaders, Asteroids, and Smash TV. Xenowerk feels very much like the most recent version of Alien Breed, or an isometric Dead Space with the same lived-in space station vibe and darkly amusing messages and warnings scrawled on the walls by former inhabitants.

The first few levels introduce a game that could be the perfect touch-screen sci-fi shooter. There are weird, shambling organic aliens, a decent pair of starter weapons, a very helpful map, and a great, if not altogether original atmosphere. “Cool,” you think, as you back away from a lumbering blobby monstrosity, seeing it quivering under your concentrated fire before bursting apart in a shower of green alien guts.

xenowerk_img_3691

A few more levels further in, and you begin to suspect that you have seen everything that Xenowork has to offer. Corridors, aliens, explosions, terminals to tap, and an elevator to reach to end the level. And that’s pretty much it. It’s fun, and tugs compulsively in a way that the old-school shoot-everything-that-moves arcade games did, but it is very simple and very repetitive. It’s also extremely easy, which isn’t blindingly apparent during the first few levels.

xenowerk_img_3702

The main problem, as far as I can figure out, is caused by the fact that the weapons and armour can be bought at any time, in any order, if you have enough cash. The cash comes in quickly enough that you can buy a game-changing super-weapon by the time you have played most of the way through the first set of ten levels. Up to that point, the starter weapons and armour are more than adequate. Once I had bought what I like to call “The Gun That Makes This Game Too Easy” (purely because I liked the look of it), it didn’t take long to earn enough cash to go straight from the starter armour to the best armour in the game. Completing levels became a sequence of risk-free speed-runs, which is arguably what the high-score chasing is all about. I know I could have stuck with weaker weapons and armour, but the player shouldn’t have to gimp his own gear in order to keep the game challenging – that’s the job of the game developers and testers. If the available weapons were restricted based on level progres, that would go a long way towards fixing the balance issue.

xenowerk_img_3703

Ultimately, Xenowerk is an addictive, flashy looking shooter with a couple of gameplay flaws that are not critical or impossible to resolve. Blasting corridors full of slimy alien blobs is a lot of fun. If you enjoy doing it with overpowered weapons in what feels like a cheat-mode then this may just be the game you’ve been waiting for.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9.5/10
Visuals – 9/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 7/10
Fun – 8/10
Final rating – 8/10

GAME OVER, MAN

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.2.1
iTunes link

Pixelbite website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPad (iOS 8.3)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
Advertisements
h1

Hitman: Sniper review (iOS / Universal)

June 11, 2015

hitman sniper img_025810 word description: Fixed position Hitman shooting game. 150 Missions, 13 rifles, upgrades.  

hitman sniper img_3651

10 word review: Only one zone, but a hugely entertaining and atmospheric game.

hitman sniper img_0260

You will like this if you enjoy: Hitman games. Sniper games. Target shooting. Blowing stuff up and watching ragdoll bodies fly through the air.

hitman sniper img_0248

The good news: Great theme and style that fit perfectly into the Hitman universe. Control method is flawless enough to feel far more natural than using a mouse/keyboard for the same type of game on PC. Very nice graphics, sounds and effects create a compelling and believable atmosphere. Target and guard behaviour and AI, while not completely realistic, are plausible within the constraints of a video game about creative assassinations, and consistent enough to be used as a reliable mechanism in a variety of set-pieces and hit set-ups. New weapons and upgrades are acquired using in-game currency which can only be obtained in-game, meaning no currency IAPs. The IAP guns are completely optional, not necessary for playing or enjoying the game. 

hitman sniper img_3670

The bad news: Only one map/zone. Action is arguably repetitive: shoot things from a single sniping location. IAP guns – does the game need them? No. Do they spoil the game? No, but I would argue that all weapons should be unlockable without spending more real money on a premium price game.

hitman sniper img_3669

Arcadelife verdict: 

I can overlook all the bad points (above) purely because the game is so much fun, so utterly addictive, a fantastic touch-screen game, and just a very cool example of how to take a basic video game concept, keep it simple, and build an immersive and stylish experience out of it.

hitman sniper img_3668

It’s initially a bit disappointing that there is only one map, with a single sniping location, but any doubts about the depth and entertainment value of the game quickly dissipate when you start to discover the amusing subtleties of gameplay and the attention to detail and opportunities for lethal pranking in the environment.

hitman sniper img_3658

Hitman Sniper’s “one more go” capacity is unquestionable. What does have to be questioned is whether shooting the same blissfully unaware victims in the head, over and over again, is appropriate content for a game. Who am I kidding? Of course it is.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 10/10
Visuals – 9/10
Controls – 9.5/10
Content – 7/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 9/10

A HIT, MAN.

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.2.0
iTunes link

hitman.com website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPhone 6 (iOS 8.3)
4th gen iPad (iOS 8.3)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.