Archive for the ‘Casual’ Category

Eco Punk

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Eco Punk

From the creators of Rasta Monkey, comes this sordid tale which begins on a street corner of a what looks to be a major metropolitan area populated with dispicable people that dispose of garbage out the windows of their gas-guzzling cars; cardboard boxes, bottles, stand-up basses, full cases of Brillo pads, piggy banks, gameboys, underpants, you name it. Apparently, these tossers are ignorant of how litter affects our environment, but luckily, the protagonist of our story is enviromentally conscience and he is here to save the day.

Our hero looks to be some type of a skateboarding Anarchist punk rock rabbit cookie-head and his job is to skate around the city block picking up refuse by running over it with his skateboard, all the while, avoiding the careless motorists. Picking up multiple bits of garbage in sequence provides a progressive-scoring chain combo that scales with the number of items snatched. That’s not all, sometimes power-ups drop, such as a laser machine gun or invincibility, so you can mow through the pigs on their goofy Segways. There are three modes of play; Classic, Timebend, and Blitz. Classic is the basic mode that ends when you become roadkill, cars in Timebend only move when you do (making it much less hectic, but still lethal) and Blitz is simply a timed mode.

Since there is only one map that covers just one street corner, the developers were able to render some beautifully lit  and detailed artwork. The game has personality and I love the stylized look and, even though it is somewhat limited in scope and depth, I still played it for 50 games straight and even got an achievement to prove it, thanks to the OpenFeint support. The touch controls are amazingly fluid and make D-Pad controls seem outdated. It’s a fun diversion and you may even decide compete with your friends to see who can become the most celebrated Eco Punk.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Alice Greenfingers

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Alice Greenfingers

This is one of the many farming sims on the App Store in which you control a cute little girl that must grow crops to sell at the local market, to make money to buy more seeds, to grow more crops…you get the picture. The starting sequence goes like this: dig plots, plant seeds, water them, harvest them, bring them to market, and set a reasonable price for them. Customers will come by your stand and purchase them or express their interest in buying a different type of fruit or vegetable. New seeds become available, over time, that you can buy from the local store to increase the variety of your harvest and sell more. The store also sells harvest baskets, watering cans, pumps, sprinklers, chickens to lay eggs, cows and sheep, and fences to keep them in check. You just run around each day of the month, repeating the sequence described above, while you expand your business and experiment with pricing. This may pull you in at first, but it gets really repetitive, as you may have guessed. There are no target quantities of items to sell or pressure to produce, so there isn’t much depth or challenge at all. It can be fun for a while, but eventually, you just feel like you are going through the motions. To be fair, many casual players and children don’t like being stressed out and they might like this, but for more seasoned players, you probably want to check out a more sophisticated game like Ranch Rush.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Parachute Ninja

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Parachute Ninja

You are little blue ball. Evil black ball kill your parents. Your house in flames. You flee to hut of uncle, Master Yo, a yellow ball. He teach you to be ninja. You must regain control of ninja scroll. Only this will avenge death of your family. Aaand…scene.

Picture a level filled with the slingshots from Must.Eat.Birds. Your ballboy is snug inside, while it’s stretched to the limit. You see an arcing, dotted line that shows your intended path, much like the system in Ignite (which I predicted ‘everyone ‘would copy…and I was wrong). You bounce between slingshots, collecting glowing goodies, until you reach the sacred lamp, at which point the level ends. If you miss your landing and you are plummeting to the water, which is deadly to your ninja ball, you can press-and-hold anywhere on the screen to pop open your umbrella to slow your descent. Tilting the iDevice left and right controls your directional vector. As you progress through the levels, springboards, giant fans, manually rotatable springboards, timed slingshots, an evil spiked ball, and other obstacles and modes of transport increase the level of challenge. BTW, don’t hit the spikes; it hurts. Although, it doesn’t matter that much, because blue ball has infinite lives.

The colors are gorgeous and the artwork too (especially the map), the music is soothing, the opening cinematic is super-cute, and the mechanics are good and scale properly. What bothered me at first was the pacing of the story mode. I thought it was a snoozer until figured out the rhythm of hitting the slingshots and parachuting to the nearest neighbor slingshot, then it became more interesting. You really need to embrace your inner zen. The endless mode is a bit speedier, though, the water level rises, and the obstacles are semi-randomized. It’s definitely a polished effort, although I don’t know long it will stay on my springboard.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Ghosts’n Zombies

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Ghosts'n Zombies

What a pleasant surprise; this game came out of nowhere, from the developers of Cell War, and it is a blast. The first thing you’ll notice is that the artwork is superb. For instance, the protagonist is an ornery old monk with bushy eyebrows and a bright read nose, presumably from sampling his monastery’s fine brews.

In the first level, he enters from screen-left and must fight off a horde of ghosts haunting his place of prayer. He begins with a buckshot pistol that is fired simply by tapping the screen, but this is not a run-of-the-mill tap-to-shoot duck hunt. You see combos can be scored when nailing multiple ghosts with one shot, so position is of the utmost importance. The player controls the monk’s movement by simply tilting the iDevice left and right and he will automatically pick up fallen gems that serve as ammo.

If he runs out of ammo, freakin’ Death appears and lops his head off with a double-bladed scythe, dripping with blood. To keep from reaching this point, the player can upgrade weapons sequentially by scoring combos and he has quite a killer arsenal, up to and including a chaingun. I haven’t seen a flamethrower yet, but this game has me praying that there is one. When you do tap your upgraded weapon, a glorious angel descends from the heavens and provides to you the blessed tool of destruction. I know, right…best thing ever!

While the gameplay may seem rudimentary, it’s not; the developers, TipCat Mobile, have really put some thought into how this game plays. Aligning shots is important, as I said, but there are a variety of enemies that can potentially hinder your performance; pesky rodents running across the floorboards, meatheads that enter from either side and continue to hassle you even after their heads have been blown off, and also a number of flying enemies whose movement patterns and speed keep you on your toes. There is a Story Mode and an Endless Mode, in which every enemy and their momma are thrown at you. Good thing a holy cross shows up once in a while that obliterates every enemy on screen.

The whimsical and twisted theme, the beautiful artwork, the pacing, and the core gameplay mechanics all come together to deliver a game that, for me, is a must have title. It’s even OpenFeint enabled, with achievements and all, so be sure to pick this one up.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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2 Minute RPG

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

2 Minute RPG

As the name suggests, this lolfest packs as much stunning gameplay as possible into the 2 minutes allotted per game. You move around the barely drawn landscape, talk to NPCs, battle monsters, grind in the dungeons, collect phat lewts, and then register a score after your 2 minutes expires. It is a clever idea and it’s actually kinda fun, to tell you the truth, but it’s too bare bones to really taken seriously. What the developers have proven is that it possible to make a Pick-Up-and-Play RPG and I applaud them for it.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ icon
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Bird Strike

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Bird Strike

This game offers the same approachability,  intuitive controls, and replayabitlity as some of the best casual games, with the added bonus of some delightful artwork. If you are a fan of games like Scoops or Doodle Jump, this is really worth checking out. The graphics are top-notch and loaded with character. It starts off as a simple Winter Bells clone, but soon diverges from the formula by adding different powerups and obstacles. The best part, though, is when you reach the maximum sky height, by grabbing rocket powerups, you encounter a UFO that blasts you back down through the vertical level at top speed. It’s even more fun on the way back, because you score big for destroying any of the obstacles that you originally had to avoid. At the very bottom, if you tilt your little blue bird perfectly, he plummets down through an open sewer lid to grab even more goodies. Great stuff here, for the most part, but the end-game can sometimes degenerate into an un-winnable state, if you overuse your rockets. Once you play through all the levels, you either return to compete more on the OpenFeint leaderboards or simply delete it with a satisfied feeling.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Tomena Sanner (US)

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Tomena Sanner (US)

Okay, this game is pure genius. The gameplay consists entirely of timing moves for your little man in a business suit to execute, WHILE BREAKDANCING, in order to keep his pace and reach the goal before the timer runs out. It is loaded with wacky Japanese goodness, including a rhythm section at the end of every level. The crazy factor most closely resembles that of a old playstation game I have called Incredible Crisis (which is a must-play); while the gameplay is completely different, the humor and style is similar. Over the course of the 9 game levels, you will accomplish all of the following important tasks:

  1. Moonwalk with Santa…on the moon
  2. Ski down a dinosaur’s back
  3. Disco-dance with a panda
  4. Play Baseball with a man in a Godzilla suit
  5. Get a kiss from a Swedish maid
  6. Line-dance with Japanese schoolgirls
  7. Slam dunk on a 20’ rim
  8. Do the robot…with a robot

    By the way, if you play through the whole game, you will be able to visit both heaven and hell. Buy this game and make Konami filthy rich.

    Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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    Yipe 5

    Friday, December 11th, 2009

    This really is a bare bones RPG, but one that has held my attention since it dropped. The developer has a quirky sense of humor, as evidenced by the skateboard riding zombie kid shown above, and an excellent sense of pacing. The item game isn’t stellar, but again, it’s very funny. The benefit of this game, is that you “get it” right away and can enjoy it in short sessions.

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Dictator Defense

    Friday, December 11th, 2009

    I bet these guys crunched like Arnold to get this Plants vs. Zombies clone out, prior to the iPhone version of PvZ. It may lack the brilliance of PvZ, but some of the basic gameplay elements are there, and in no way is it a shoddy production. This Casual Tower Defense game, has the player drag offensive and defensive units onto the field to battle the troops entering from the top of the screen that are attempting to blast your base at the bottom of the screen into oblivion. You also have an uber-weapon that can only be used once per battle. If PvZ didn’t exist, I would most likely be very excited about this game, but if that were true, this game probably wouldn’t exist either.

    Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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    geoSpark

    Thursday, December 10th, 2009

    From the artists that brought you geoDefense, paired with the minds that brought you Harbor Master, comes a game that plays like neither. Drag a shape to a corresponding shape (or shapes) and score. HIt the wrong shape, game over. There are a small number of powerups that aren’t very exciting, but the game still has plenty of replay value. Apparently, there are strategies that allow scores over 200k, which I am nowhere near.

    Rating: ★★★★☆ icon

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