‘Mobile’

Pokémon Shuffle Review

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Developer: Genius Sonority
Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Platform: 3DS, Mobile – Android, iOS

It’s funny how much I’ve begun to embrace the idea of mobile gaming (though I obviously still vastly prefer consoles and handhelds). I used to be extremely against mobile games for a variety of reasons, but I finally caved sometime in the last year or so and begun playing several different ones. Pokémon Shuffle is my most recent mobile game obsession, and for a good reason.

Basically, Pokémon Shuffle is a match 3 puzzle game. You must match the same Pokémon in order to deal damage to your opponent and beat the stage. Pokémon Shuffle keeps things interesting by allowing you to use a bevy of different Pokémon on your team. Furthermore, you must keep in consideration the attack power, types, and skills of your Pokémon in order to assure victory and high stage rankings. Some stages are pretty simple and easy, especially in the beginning. However, they eventually become more complex and require a bit of critical thinking due to opponents creating “disruptions” that can make things quite hectic. There are also “expert stages” that are timed, and as such, really test your puzzle skills and dexterity!

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Now, I tried to play the original version of Pokémon Shuffle on the 3DS, but I just wasn’t feeling it after trudging through the initial tutorial stages. I decided to give Pokémon Shuffle a second chance when it released for mobile devices, and boy did I instantly like it much more on my phone than 3DS. Maybe it’s because of the vertical one-screen layout, or it could be because it’s easier to use a mobile device’s touchscreen versus the 3DS’s. It’s also way more gorgeous and vibrant.

Unfortunately, the mobile version of Pokémon Shuffle retains some of the same annoyances that were present in the 3DS version. For one, the wait time between regaining hearts (or energy) is ludicrous at 30 minutes. Another issue includes absolutely ridiculous stages and capture rates that pretty much require you to spend your precious coins on power-ups and great balls. Alas, this is a freemium game, so such problems are expected and have to be tolerated.

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Even weeks after release, I’m still fervently playing Pokémon Shuffle. It’s just too addicting and fun, and has me hopeful for Nintendo’s future on mobile platforms.


Pink Score: 4
4 out of 5 alpacas


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Steven Universe: Attack the Light Review

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Steven Universe Attack the Light Logo

Developer: Grumpyface Studios
Publisher: Cartoon Network
Platform: Mobile – Android, iOS

As fantastic as RPGs are, many folks simply don’t have time to play them. They’re long, full of grinding, and sometimes the battle mechanics are more complex than necessary. Steven Universe: Attack the Light distills the turn-based RPG formula into something short, and immediately enjoyable. This is true even if you haven’t watched the show, though existing fans are the target audience.

Steven Universe: Attack the Light positions players in control of a four character party – Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, and Steven. Each offers their own attacks and special skills, while Steven serves primarily as support. Fights themselves take inspiration from Paper Mario wherein timing touchscreen presses lends to stronger attacks from your team or weakened hits from enemies. As a fan of Paper Mario it was news of this mechanic which urged me to give the game a download (despite having not watched a single episode of Steven Universe at that point!).

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With that said, even at the price of $2.99 it’s obvious this isn’t as expansive a product. Each dungeon is quick and story interludes are incredibly brief, serving more as dressing than anything else. My biggest complaint is simply that I don’t know what device Steven Universe: Attack the Light is made for. On tablet, the wide distance between areas you’re meant to touch is cumbersome. On smartphones, the radial attack menu is quite small and imprecise. Basically, the game presents a literal strain on my hands after a chunk of playtime when compared to others.

Despite my frustration with the game’s interface, the actual RPG play is easily enjoyable. If not for my troubles I would have blown through chapters far quicker! If you’re looking for a simple RPG to play on the go this is a fine option. Finally, if you’re opposed to paid products, Steven Universe: Attack the Light is a much better proposition than those free games littered with ads and confusingly labeled in-app purchases.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


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Alpaca Party Review

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Developer: Meow Puff Games
Publisher: Meow Puff Games
Platform: Android, iOS (coming soon)

When we at Pixel Pacas first saw Alpaca Party on Kickstarter, there was absolutely no hesitation before pledging towards the project. After all, we obviously love alpacas! Thankfully, it did meet its goal and now the world finally gets to see the adorable, fluffy fruits of Meow Puff Games’ labor. But is there more to Alpaca Party than just cuteness?

The main gist of Alpaca Party is, well, to throw the ultimate alpaca party. In order to do so, you must buy party favors, upgrade your tunes, and invite different alpacas. All this requires coins, which is simply done by shearing your grooving partygoers when their wool grows long enough. At first, you’ll only be getting alpacas that give very little coins. But as you continue upgrading your alpaca license, you’ll be able to invite rarer alpacas that give out tons of coins.

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There’s also an extra little mini game that Alpaca Party offers called Floaty Alpaca, which plays exactly like Flappy Bird. While Floaty Alpaca does offer coins, it’s nowhere near the amount that you’re able to earn by simply shearing your alpacas in the main mode. It is a nice and charming distraction, however!

Honestly, that’s pretty much all the gameplay that Alpaca Party has to speak of. However, there’s something oddly addictive about it. While I’m doing other things, I’ve been letting Alpaca Party run on my phone on and off since its debut in late December in order to shear my alpacas and earn coins. It’s such an exhilarating feeling when you’re finally able to afford a new party favor or alpaca license! Though the best part, of course, is finding a brand new, super cute alpaca to add to your dancing menagerie.

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So far, Alpaca Party is only available for Android devices. iOS users need not fret, as Alpaca Party should also be available for them soon enough. In any case, if you’re looking for something adorable, captivating, and different, then definitely download and check Alpaca Party out. Best of all, it’s free!


Pink Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


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80 Days Review

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Developer: inkle
Publisher: inkle
Platform: Mobile – Android, iOS

Around the World in 80 Days is one of those novels that has inspired an incredible amount of creative thought. Somehow, I’m not sure that there was ever a game based off the classic journey before now. 80 Days places you into the role of Phileas Fogg’s valet – rather than Fogg himself. It’s an interesting role to play as you must both determine what route you travel upon as well as keep your gentleman company.

80 Days falls strongly into the gamebook mold and that’s anything but a bad thing. As each day passes you must choose where to go, who to talk to, what to talk about, and how to best care for Fogg as well. Talking with others not only passes the time (and reveals some great writing) but can unveil new pathways for the illustrious trip. Of course you could simply stick to the default path but that would be the most boring adventure ever. Explore, converse, and enjoy this stunning world inkle has put together!

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Unlike the novel from which it’s based, 80 Days stick you in a sort of alternate reality where steampunk and sci-fi aspects are everyday. This injects the game with more excitement as you can never be sure what awaits you in the next location. Unlike most mobile games, this one looks incredibly unique. The stylish framing of letters, excellent use of colors, map travel animations, and everything else come together to make this experience as visceral as travelling around the world via your smartphone can be.

Days are your biggest currency and worry. Get to a location too late, or simply waste your time and you’ll have to spend days before the next mode of transportation arrives. Sure, it’s the player’s fault, but it’s annoying all the same. And, while this is an odd complaint, 80 Days doesn’t feel like a “mobile” game because it is a title you want to play for long stretches at time. In any case, this is a standout title which Android and iOS gamers are lucky to have access to.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


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