Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Fist of Awesome Review

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Developer: I Fight Bears
Publisher: I Fight Bears
Platform: Mobile – Android, iOS, Ouya PC – Humble Store, Steam

For better or for worse, sidescrolling beat ’em ups have mostly disappeared from the modern gaming landscape. It’s up to indie developers to keep the genre alive with unique twists. Fist of Awesome attempts to reinvigorate audiences by punching intelligent future/past bears. It’s weird, wacky, and fairly short but a neat little brawler.

The star of Fist of Awesome is lumberjack Tim Burr (yep!). Things start out all lovely with his flannel-clad family celebrating something or other when things go completely wrong. Suddenly, Tim is alone and his fist has grown in size and begun talking to him. This apparent future fist explains that the present has been destroyed by time-travelling causing bears to take over the world. How can you set thing straight? Just punch all the bears!

Fist of Awesome Featured

Fighting is incredibly simplistic. You can kick, punch, jump (kick), and a teensy bit more. By holding down on punch you charge a special fist attack. There is an upgrade system in place but increasing your attack or speed doesn’t change much. All in all, levels blend together really quickly as you rarely need to switch from rapidly pressing the punch button. You pound on groupings of bears before reaching a boss. Each stage is short which means the game takes under two hours to beat. After that, you can try out arena mode or a harder difficulty.

As simple as the fighting mechanic is I had fun trying to punch and kick my way through each chapter. I appreciated the lanky pixel art and definitely enjoyed the soundtrack. Fist of Awesome is definitely a simple game and as such may be better purchased on Android or iOS for $3.99. That way you can get your bear-punching on the go and at a lower price!

Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas

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1024 Review

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Developer: Veewo Studio
Publisher: Veewo Studio
Platform: Android, iOS

If you’re at all interested in smartphone games then you’ve likely played Threes! or one of the many, many copycats available for download. Although I now own Threes!, my first experience with the card pushing puzzler concept was 1024, hence this review is for it. As it turns out, the games are practically identical except 1024 is free.

1024 is a simple puzzle game that takes place on a 4 x 4 grid. You start with a couple rectangular pieces that have numbers on them such as 2 or 4. Your goal is to slide like tiles together, adding them together. For example, two 8 blocks become one 16 block. Skilled players can make increasingly massive blocks but it is tough!

1024 Screenshot

The hard part is that every time you slide tiles up, down, left, or right it affects everything on the screen. Unless they can’t slide, everything moves in the chosen direction. Also, a new number block is laid after every turn, cluttering the screen further. Although it is possible to just randomly slide things around it is most satisfying to come up with strategies.

Right now 1024 is something I have to play at least once a day. The simplistic gameplay encourages a “one more game” mentality. Despite the possibility of being a strategic game, it can also just help relax your mind in between tasks. Pick it up to see if the gameplay is to your liking, and if so, consider purchasing the original game Threes! by Sirvo.

1849 Review

1849 Featured

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Developer: Somasim
Publisher: Somasim
Platform: Mobile – Android, iOS PC – IndieGameStand, Steam

There is something about city management sims that hooks people. Most of us probably have no desire to ever deal with the realities of legislation, building codes, and the vast expenditures that a real city planner has to deal with. Put them in a game though and suddenly it’s fun. What if you could manage a city during the California Gold Rush? If that sounds awesome to you then you’re definitely going to want to check out 1849.

In this game, you’re the mayor of a newly settled town somewhere in Northern California. The goal is to hopefully capitalize off the sudden immigration of people as Gold Rush fever sets in. With good enough planning, the town will boom with people. Fail to provide them with the right resources though and they’ll simply move on to another town.

1849 Screenshot

Maps come in three varieties (small, medium, large) and have an isometric viewpoint. Players must build their town up with homes, wheat fields, jailhouses, and a good deal of other buildings. Many buildings require a chain of other buildings to produce any items at all. For example, you can make fancy clothes for the citizens but that requires first harvesting cotton, turning it into fabrics, then transforming the fabric into an outfit. This same style of mechanic holds true for creating wine and other specialties.

Getting all the buildings required for these types of chains is expensive, but pays off. Other towns need things that you can provide. Some may spend money for your excess fabrics and wood, while others offer to sell pickaxes to you. For the most part, players always have to manage both exporting and importing because no plot of land has everything. Sometimes, events crop up that task the player to do certain things before the time runs out.

Although it might seem a bit simpler than other games of the genre, 1849 is fairly difficult to do well in. Many of my missions ended in failure as I bought the wrong buildings or didn’t realize what other towns would want to trade for. After a while you do get the hang of things, though. It’s a total joy to see your town grow into a bustling, successful place.

1849 Featured

There are a few ways in which the experience could be improved. The view cannot be rotated, only zoomed in on. This leads to many times you can’t see where exactly to click or tell if something was placed properly. It is also unfortunate that there is no easy reference to view what chain of item creation is needed before creating specific buildings. Finally, it appears there are not multiple saves for sandbox towns, which is a definite disappointment.

Even with a handle of troubles, 1849 is a game I find myself coming back to often. The core gameplay mechanics are fantastic and easy to learn. It’s always fun to try fussing around in a new town to see how much it can expand. As such, anyone with a taste for city management games should definitely embark on a digital Gold Rush journey with 1849.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas

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Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! Part 1 Review

Steve Jackson's Sorcery! Part 1 Logo

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

As a huge fan of visual novels, it will probably come as quite a shock that I’ve barely ever touched any gamebooks. Gamebooks, as their name implies, are books that grant the player some direct control – or gameplay – at many junctures throughout the story. Many have played something from the Choose Your Own Adventure catalog. However, Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! is a  huge step above that. Initially a part of the Fighting Fantasy series in the 1980s, developer inkle has smartly re imagined it for the mobile market.

Sorcery! Part 1 is just the first leg of an epic journey and it is a blast to play. The storyline is fairly common: You are a young, inexperienced adventurer who must travel to many dangerous locations to obtain the Crown of Kings. Along your way, there are many choices to make that shift the whole tone of the story that’s unfolding for the player. With so much choice, you really feel like the narrative matches your decisions.

For example, I imbued my hero with a very courageous, smart, and caring personality. She would fight for what was deemed right if it were necessary but not get into battles for the heck of it. When offered food from poor townsfolk, she would refuse it as they needed it much more than her. Any time it seemed a dangerous situation was around the corner I would even tense up a bit, trying to rightly perceive which option would be the right one. It’s all thanks to the great writing that made me invested in my character as well as her quest.

Steve Jackson's Sorcery! Part 1 Screenshot

Alongside the many choices of what to say and where to go, there is also a battle system that is quite neat. When you’re in an inescapable battle the screen switches to show both your hero and the enemy as cool black and white art. It then plays out a bit like rock, paper, scissors where you must determine when they’ll strike hard or when they’re bluffing and only going to defend. It’s not random as the descriptions hint to what will come next. Unfortunately, sometimes the touch controls didn’t function properly which made it hard to switch fighting stances without trying multiple times. This touch screen issue also persisted on the map menu at times.

Although Sorcery! Part 1 is just the first of Steve Jackson’s fantasy adventures, it is still a great start that will last players a good deal of hours (especially considering the likely short gameplay sessions on phones). It comes tremendously recommended if you enjoy those sort of classic fantasy adventure tales as well as gamebooks. If you’ve never played a gamebook before then this is also a great way to start thanks to its superb writing and fun gameplay!

Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas

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Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe Review

Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe Featured

Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe Boxart

Developer: Agharta Studio
Publisher: Agharta Studio
Platform: Mobile – Android, iOS PC – Steam

If you were a PC gamer back in 1989, then perhaps Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe will look familiar to you. That’s because it is Agharta Studio’s homage to Shufflepuck Cafe. It turned the relatively tame world of air hockey into a pretty cool video game where you faced off against odd (often unhuman) enemies. Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe definitely follows this formula and with a lot of modern flourishes.

This time around, the game takes place in a cantina not unlike something you might see in a Star Wars movie. At the start, you can only enter the first floor and play air hockey against three opponents as you learn the ropes. Characters each provide missions for you about who to beat or how many times to beat them. Completing these missions is integral to progressing your character up the ranks from a total newbie to a skilled player.

Beating missions is also useful if you ever hope to obtain a lot of Credz for your character. Obtaining enough currency lets you head into the shop and buy new pucks and paddles. Some confer advantages such as a super wide paddle which will make the game easier. There’s also a way to buy the backstories of characters to obtain their special skills or even get to swap your character for theirs.

Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe Featured

Of course, all of this is just the dressing for a fun, simple way to play digital air hockey. The first enemies might seem simple, but venturing to other levels of the cantina shows just how ruthless it can get. Enemies each have their own specials, some of which are hard to block. Then there are powerups on the board that can help you, help your opponent, or cast an unfortunate effect on you (such as making the paddle tiny). Pair that with some tough challenges and Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe becomes quite difficult after a while!

Still, this is a pretty entertaining experience. It’s funny to see these fantasy and sci-fi characters playing air hockey. The base game is enjoyable and it’s always possible to “grind” for more Credz if you can’t yet beat certain enemies. Having not played it on mobile devices, I’m not sure which is the better way to play, but it was easy to control on PC. If you do opt for the PC version and own an Oculus Rift, there’s even a beta available to let you get your virtual reality on. Shufflepuck Cantina Deluxe is a must-buy for Shufflepuck Cafe fans and a nice choice for those hankering for air hockey.

Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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