Archive for the ‘Simulation’ 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
icon

iGibbets

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

iGibbets

I downloaded iGibbets, sat down, and proceeded to play through every single one of the 30 levels provided. On one hand, this shows the developers nailed the fun-factor and this makes it worth the price of admission. On the other hand, it shows how fleeting the experience is and that the outcry for additional content will ring out across the land (although you can activate Hard Mode, which seems to be replaying the same levels, but with fewer arrows in your quiver).

Each level presents the player with several poor souls hanging from gibbets, soon to be executed. It’s the player’s job to “save” the victims, by shooting each noose with an arrow. If a stray arrow or two happen to graze one of these fellows…hey, it’s better than dying, good sir knight. To sever the cords, the player simply presses the convenient bow and arrow icon, drags it to set angle and distance, and then releases to let it fly. Arrows are a valuable commodity in this line of work, so the player is sometimes presented with a powerup that provides three additional arrows when shot. For those hard to reach places, a ricochet powerup can be shot, which bounces the arrow in a predetermined direction.

Sometimes, the player must shoot down a stack of boxes in order to take aim at the vict…uhh, rope…the rope…the one that suspends the victim. I mean…shooting directly at the guy would just be sadistic…*nervous laughter*. Anyway, these stacks of crates may seem out of place, but after a little research, I found that this practice is somewhat historically accurate. Executioners would oftentimes stack boxes at various locations near the gallows, in order to prevent some sissyboy from spoiling a perfectly good execution by “saving” the victim with a well-placed shot.

The physics model is good, the challenge is adequate, and let’s face it, piercing a guy in the neck…and then the elbow…and then the ankle is just inherently fun! I don’t think anyone would dispute that, particularly when the target is hanging from a noose; now that is Comedy Gold, “Arterial Sprays for 200, Trebek.” In fact, the overall experience this title provides is so real and so compelling that it may even serve as a safe outlet for people who enjoy shooting criminals down from the gallows, in real life.

To the potential naysayers, let me assure you, no actual prison inmates on death row were harmed during the filming this video game.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
icon

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
icon

Civilization Revolution

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I’m including this because I only gave it a brief mention before and promised to update you after I had played it more. Well, I’ve played it more and it is freakin’ awesome. I started writing up a detailed review, but it started to feel kind of pointless. Simply put, if you like Turn-Based Strategy, you need this game. Full stop.

Rating: ★★★★★ icon
icon

F.A.S.T. — Fleet Air Superiority Training!

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

This is an amazing flight simulator. A variety of aircraft, each with its own statistic loadout, can be launched into the skies to dogfight a number of opponents. The player can opt for a first or third person viewpoint, but either way, all of the necessary functions are to hand. The fighters have machine guns, rockets, and flack. The controls are really fluid and permit the freedom of movement that a game like this requires. If you are in any way a fan of flight sims, this is a must-have title. I’m not even a flight-sim guy and I like it.

Update: “Don’t Update!” That is my update for you. The developer switched the entire game to an in-app purchase model, but unfortunately it totally borked current users. After updating, it wanted me to re-purchase ALL of my planes for $18! Real world dollars! I earned them and they are gone. I understand that bugs can creep into a game, but this obviously wasn’t tested properly, because this happened to most of the current owners.

Update 2: Supposedly, the bug is now fixed, but I have not reinstalled to check. I’m over it.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
icon

Tradewinds 2

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Tradewinds 2

This is almost exactly like Chocolatier; buy ingredients at a low price, sail to another port, and then sell them for a higher price. Instead of the chocolate shop mini-game, it has a kill pirates mini-game. There are various buildings in each port that provide missions, tips, and gear. It’s good, although the graphics are a bit off-putting.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
icon

Real Racing

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Real Racing

This Firemint racing sim finally dropped and it is outstanding; tons of cars (48, although not licensed), tons of tracks (12), good controls (with several control types), good AI, decent feeling of speed (especially in cockpit view), and online league competition. The career mode is extensive, with almost 80 events in which to participate. An impressive local wifi multiplayer mode allows 6 players to battle it out. Yes, I wish it had a mini-map, but it’s a sim (and I’m a cry baby). This game raises the bar.

Update: Just a point of interest: the shipping version allowed 6 cars on-screen with no slowdown whatsoever, but the Firemint crew did a test to demonstrate the capabilities of the iPhone 3GS and they were able to handle 20 cars on-screen simultaneously!

The Sims 3

Friday, May 15th, 2009

The Sims 3

Damn, this thing is full-featured for a mobile platform. Everyone knows what The Sims is; the goal is to get a life- be happy, make friends, and be successful. I’m still early on, but I’ve already been presented with some interesting decisions and have met some interesting people. I would say if you are a fanactic of The Sims, this is a must-get, but for me, it didn’t have the staying power I had hoped it would have.

Update: To keep the game fresh, EA have released 4 content packs as downloadable content, but I have not played any of them, because I’m over it. I thought this was worth a mention, because one of my initial complaints was lack of staying power.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
icon

New York Nights: Success in the City

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

New York Nights: Success in the City

Believe it or not, I’ve actually put more time into this thanThe Sims 3, so far (almost solely due to the fact that you can be a h4wt schoolgirl, I’m sure). The goal is to make friends and have a “successful” life. It’s a more than a bit disturbing that the first and only job I’ve been offered thus far is a table dancer at a bar, though. You have a wide variety of stats that you must manage and figuring out which actions improve each is primarily what you do; that and talk to people about their interests to improve your relationships. Personally, I prefer the 2D artwork over the 3D Sims look, but that’s just me. The gameplay is fun, but sometimes limiting and I hate the way you can’t scroll the screen, but instead tap to move to auto-trigger a pan. The first in-game apartment had the exact same layout as the apartment in Friends, which is possibly the least interesting thing I’ve ever shared with others.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
icon

Kaloki Adventure

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Kaloki Adventures

A port of the excellent XBox Live title that plays quite well, other than some minor control issues. If you want to set up a lemonade stand in space, here’s your chance. There are all sorts of decisions one has to make when one manages a space station; how to control inflation, which upgrades to buy, when to buy said upgrades, and how to best serve the needs of a very diverse customer base. This game is hilarious and fun.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
icon