Archive for the ‘Line-Drawing’ Category

Tattoo Ink – Hollywood

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Tattoo Ink - Hollywood

Patrons come into your tattoo shop and request a tattoo and you are scored based on how well you accomplish your goals. In this game, that involves choosing a tattoo that best fits the patron’s tastes, including embellishments, outlining it in black, then airbrushing in the color.

Choosing the right tattoo is simply a matter of reading the patron’s comments and bio, then selecting the tattoo that best fits that criteria; not super exciting, but I guess it adds some flavor. Inking the tattoo tries to be a little more realistic, showing a needle that moves and tilts pretty convincingly as you adjust the speed and location of your finger. If you successfully ink over several key areas marked in blue, you enter a zen state in which the needle tracks much more tightly to the outline. When you lift up your finger at corner, the needle properly reorients to ease you into the next line. Completing the loop prompts you to wipe the excess ink away and begin the coloring process.

Coloring is a bit different, because you are guiding a wide-nozzle airbrush over the interior of the tattoo trying to get solid coverage, without going outside the black outline that you laid down previously. When you get your fill, you wipe it away to reveal the completed tattoo and are scored based on how much pain you put your client through and also your completion time, I believe.

Pain can be caused in either stage and it is represented by a gauge. I think speed is the primary trigger, but jacking around in the same area too much may have an effect too (not sure). If the gauge fills four times, presumably they leave, but that hasn’t happened to me yet.

There are three different tattoo artists that you can play through with and three different locations. The first shop only has 4 or 5 tattoos, each of which can be modified by 4 or 5 embellishments like blood or a crown. When you get to the next shop, I think that number doubles for each. There is a “boss” for each shop that you have to fight, as well, but I didn’t notice how they differed, although I’m sure they probably do in some manner (update: boss tattoos are unique).

I like that the developers went more for a realistic approach, as compared to Tattoo Mania Deluxe , for instance, but I feel like the artwork falls short of the stylized approach found in that title, both in the patrons and the tattoos themselves. Tattooing is an art, so this factor weighs pretty heavily for me, but I do realize opinions on artwork are subjective. Having played Tattoo Ink to completion with one character, I can say that the title needs more polish, more challenge, and more tattoos. Personally, I miss the time-management aspects of Tattoo Mania Deluxe and feel that it is a better game overall.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Valet Hero

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Valet Hero

In this recent addition to the line-drawing genre, you are gently ushered into the exciting and glamorous career of…valet parking! Wait, wait, before you go anywhere, it’s actually pretty good. The player is tasked with parking each and every random car that enters the parking lot into a space that corresponds to the color of the car (there is a colorblind mode that adds symbols to the cars and parking spaces, which is a nice touch). You simply swipe your finger from the car to the space to park it, much like Flight Control.

What really matters in this game, however, is how well you park each car. Park it crooked, you get a “sloppy” penalty. Park on the wrong color, you also get a penalty (and in Marathon Mode, this is disallowed entirely). Park two or more of the same color car in sequence, you gain a multiplier. Bonus points are added for rear-in parking, pull-through parking (when you drive over another space before coming to rest in the adjacent space), and if your combo meter has juice, you can press-and-hold the boost button to speed up all cars on screen. This becomes necessary on levels with a ton of cars to park and in levels that have obstacle cars, like the po-po, that are all up in your business.

There are five different parking lots, each with a Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Marathon level. You can play any of the lots, but for each one, you have to complete the Bronze, before you can play the Silver, and so on. The devs switch up the content a little bit in the medal levels, but the Marathon level of each lot follows separate rules. It’s endless, spots are colorless until the corresponding car enters the lot, and you are required to park in the matching spot or it’s game over. Same way with hitting a car or other obstruction; you’re dead, kid.

I think it’s a fun take on traffic control, but it’s hard to say how much lasting power it will have. It is OpenFeint enabled, though, so you can compare your scores with your fellow valets.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Train Conductor

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Train Conductor

This game fits loosely into the line-drawing/route-building genre and is more fun than a description of the gameplay probably elicits. A number of tracks run horizontally across the screen, numbering 5 at the most. When a tunnel exit lights up with a number, it means a train is about to emerge, which needs to be quickly routed to the corresponding tunnel entrance on the opposite side of the field. One does this simply by touching the train and dragging it to the appropriate track, which automagically places a track at the angle drawn. This can get hectic, when there are multiple trains coming from multiple location, so the player can always tap a train to temporarily hold it in place. Managing all this simultaneously and preventing collisions is gameplay and it’s fun. For everyday time track, there is also a corresponding nighttime, with a somewhat different set of rules. You see at night, only ghost trains appear which means they cannot collide, but they still need to be routed properly and the night time pacing and frequency of trains is much faster. There are online leaderboards and such, but the one disappointment is that there are only 4 locations, each with a day and night version, that need to be mastered and then the game is simply one of bettering your scores, unfortunately. Still good, though, and one hopes the developers will see fit to release some new levels either free or DLC. Rating may go up when new levels are introduced.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Harbor Havoc 3D

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

The latest in the long line of traffic control games, Harbor Havoc 3D actually offers something new, which is a 3D component, as the title suggests. There are several terrain heights on each map and this adds new challenge when steering your crafts. Notice “crafts” is plural, because you now have land vehicles or submarines and helicopters present in the same level. Most everything else is lifted from other games in the genre, like the lighthouse from Sea Captain, but it is still a quality title.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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33rd Division

Friday, October 30th, 2009

From the creators of Blimp, this path-drawing game shows that their first good game wasn’t a fluke. You have to path your little soldiers to their destination points, while avoiding the Metal Gear Solid-style view cones. They did a great job of making the patrol patterns discernible, but not always easy to avoid. There are several unit types, each with their own score total, and several powerups, such as invisibility and triple points. There are several different maps, all beautifully rendered and they use Open Feint online leaderboards. Good game.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Boom Brigade

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Finally, a line-drawing game with guns. Your small group of military minis must defend their hexagonal base from destruction by the incoming alien hordes. As you can see by the splats on the ground, these bugs do pop. You choose your force, which increases in number from level to level, from among a minigun, shotgun, and Bazooka dewd. When the creeps start coming, you need to start making choices, while keeping several factors in mind: location, number of allied units, number of opposing units, weapon range, and weapon effect. This is not a sit-and-watch game either as you will have to continuously re-evaluate your tactical choices as the battlefield conditions change. It’s simple, smart, fun, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Update: New Pyro class, world, aliens, bosses, and a new shop and upgrades.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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FareCity

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

I don’t know that this title is technically better than Taxi Jam, because I haven’t done a direct comparison between the two, but I do know that I’m putting a lot more time into this one. One of the primary reasons, I think, is that the devs made some really good choices graphically, to make sure the player has proper feedback at all times. Toward this end, the city backdrop is a very clean grayscale map, to better highlight the motion of the taxis. They also very clearly color-coded cars, pick-up points, destinations, and even the path they take, which is brilliant. AFAIK, it doesn’t have the fire engine gameplay (to muck up your route-building) or the risk/reward mechanism that Taxi Jam does, but instead sticks to the simple pick-up and drop-off of patrons, which scales quite nicely over time. The jazzy soundtrack is also made of win.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Peter und Vlad

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Save herds of sheep from a giant, mobile weather-making machine, by eating sparkly, pulsing mushrooms. 10 bucks says the dev had this idea during Woodstock. Anyway, it a decent line-drawing game, that’s worth a look.

Blastination

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Anyone that likes the core gameplay concept of this title, needs to get this game immediately; I can’t imagine anyone coming up with a better implementation. The graphics are just insane. The colors change every level and oftentimes you’ll see brand new effects too. The blocks in the background are constantly in motion and the explosions are perfect. Your goal is simply to collect all of the goodies on-screen, by drawing deflectors to guide the ball. The obstacles present are different each level. Every few levels you are given a new ability, like cross explosion, speed, or giant ball, that is triggered by tapping its icon. There are 120 levels, but they go pretty quick.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Tattoo Mania – Deluxe

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

This is an innovative title that uses the iPhone interface quite well. Your task is to run a tattoo parlor, so when a customer enters the screen zooms into the outline of the tattoo they are requesting. Your finger controls an airbrush-like tattoo gun that fills in areas with color. The correct areas are masked, so the ink will stay within the lines, but you still have to worry about proper coverage and not harming the client. Pressure outside the lines will not only leave a red mark, but will increase the client’s anger meter, which will cause the client to leave if it fills up completely. Laying down ink too quickly, without a break to decrease the meter is also a no-no. You are paid based on how well you perform, which I assume is a combination of proper ink coverage and not harming the client. The graphics are rendered in a very appropriate thick-edged cartoon style, which is perfectly appropriate for the subject matter. The gameplay is quite good, as you not only have to tattoo well, but also have to be good at time management (swapping customers in and out of the chair to keep everyone happy). There are quite a few tattoos of varying levels of difficulty. There are no progression systems or shop upgrades, which would have been a nice component, but overall, it’s a really solid title.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon

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