Archive for the ‘Action’ Category

Above

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Above

This is a simple one-thumb sky-jump game with stellar anime-influenced artwork. Press and hold anywhere to charge your businessman’s jump and release to jump upward accordingly and hopefully land on a platform. Wash, rinse, repeat. The timing and strength of these jumps is the core gameplay, which benefits from a small number of platform types; stationary, moving, trampoline, and disintegrating. There are three different environments, each with beautifully hand-drawn backgrounds. For me, this doesn’t have the addictive quality of other pick-up-and-play titles like Doodle Jump, but it still has a nice level of polish.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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The Hero

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

The Hero

Zombies? Check. Ninjas? Check. Swarms of killer bees, giant tanks with heat-seeking missiles, UFOs that spawn replicating green blobs from outer space? Check, check, check. Babies plummeting from tenement buildings? Check baby, check baby, 1, 2, 3. Well, it seems as though this title has something to please everyone…and to be fair, the babies do have parachutes…

You are a Superhero. Meanies invade the neighborhood. You look at your directional radar and fly at the meanies. You defeat them simply by flying into them, but using a little of your boost gauge helps. To fill your boost gauge, you give high-fives to the local residents that pop out of the windows frequently. You also have to put out fires, destroy uber-bombs, and make sure you don’t destroy too many civilian cars in the process. Killing creeps and high-fiving peoples increases your Fame meter. Do neither and your Fame meter decreases to nothing and your game ends. The further you get into the game, the more things you have to manage simultaneously, which is the core focus of the game.

The controls provide very fluid movement, albeit with a limited turning radius. Managing your boost is key as are your special powers; the two I’ve unlocked thus far are Freeze and Boom; both act as you would expect. There are two modes, Campaign and Survival, each with their own set of challenges. The soundtrack is upbeat and well-crafted, there are a number of achievements to gain, and the whole package is very polished.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Sword of Fargoal

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Sword of Fargoal

This remake of the classic Commodore 64 Roguelike really plays well in short bursts on the iPhone. I’m a big fan of dungeon crawls and this one is no exception since the C64 was my computer of choice as a child, due to the great selection of games and the low barrier-to-entry (which here means, “rock-bottom price point”).

This translation may include the same old skool sid-chip sound effects, teleport traps, and buried treasure that you know and love, but what it adds is the real surprise. The developers have obviously put a significant amount of work into updating this to modern-ish standards. The artwork for the random dungeons is now in smooth 3D, the character art is much better (if you can believe it from the screenshot), they’ve added super-smooth fog-of-war, and also swipe controls (which act a little strange, but you get used to it).

What it has over similar games like NetHack is that it is very accessible. No pages and pages of cryptic commands, no ASCII graphics (*sobs*), and in turn, not as much depth. Still, it’s a really fun romp through a multi-level dungeon, as it always was, and its arrival on the iPhone is a pleasant surprise.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Doodle Army

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Doodle Army

This game owns. Your soldier enters Boot Camp, with nothing but a government issue pistol, and is asked to face an onslaught of hundreds. Hundreds of helmeted stickmen, that is. Don’t worry, along the way you’ll receive a generous portion of life power-ups and a Rambo-grade arsenal of weapons. Traversing the side-scrolling battlefields has you hopping over barbed wired, stacks of tires, and various scaffolding-style obstacles. This no simple affair, either; Boot Camp itself is 1000m long and is peppered liberally with hotzones. There is real decision-making and tactics needed, as well, so be prepared to learn which weapons pwn in which encounters and to conserve ammo. Believe it or not, the game actually models real-world weapons pretty effectively, noticeable both by their silohuette and their firing characteristics. This game has great pacing, hilarious style, and solid gameplay. It is so rewarding to hear the little stickmen scream. Dewd, there’s blood and heads everywhere; just buy the game!

Rating: ★★★★½ 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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    Eliminate Pro

    Monday, November 16th, 2009

    After a brief heads-up last installment, I thought I would return with my impressions after having a chance to put the game through its paces. My verdict is…GET THIS. It’s a freakin’ online First Person Shooter on your iPhone! You learn the controls, which are decent, against bots and then quickly go online to rip face. Doing so provides credits that allow you to upgrade your gear, buy new weapons, and improve your stats. As I mentioned previously, the game itself is FREE, but the way they get your money is by Down-Loadable Content. After a few matches against real players, your health (energy) will be low. You either wait for hours for it to recharge, buy some for real money, or play without the possibility of obtaining credits. You want the credits, though, because upgrades make a noticeable difference in power. Frankly, I’m amazed by the level of customization offered, the steady framerate, and solid gameplay that this title provides. This game marks a milestone in iPhone game development, with regard to what is possible. Psst…first one’s FREE, kid.

    Rating: ★★★★★ icon
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    Samurai: Way of the Warrior

    Saturday, November 14th, 2009

    A beautiful 3D world with amazing parallax, peach blossom trees, rivers, little floaty clouds, and believable towns. The soundtrack is perfect for the time period and theme. Your job as the lone Samurai, is to rid the towns of all the pesky ne’er-do-wells, using an extensive combo system, that consists simply of directional sequences of swipes. Oftentimes it is unclear which combat move is best for which encounter, but it is fun to simply swipe the crap out of people. As you’ll note, there is a good amount of torso-splitting and blood gushing, much of which ends up on the camera. To be perfectly honest, I was hoping the game would have an unplayable framerate, just so I could refer to it is as “Samurai Slowdown”, but alas, it plays great.

    Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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    Horror Racing

    Saturday, October 17th, 2009

    Rock ‘n Roll Racing with somewhat awkward controls.

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Dungeon Hunter

    Saturday, October 10th, 2009

    This is the Diablo clone to have. There are three hero archetypes, Warrior, Mage, and Rogue, each with their own progression path and skill tree. The item game is both broad and deep, with plenty of decision-making for the hardcore guys and an auto-equip for those that aren’t. Loot is auto-pickup, as well. The controls are good, since they offer both tap-to-move and analog joystick controls, but not great. The stick could be tighter and the UI can potentially interfere with the tap controls, but your favorite of the two will probably serve you better than most games of the genre so far. Holding attack will auto-attack, which can be alternated with any of three special attacks and one of several magic fairy powers. As you can see, there is an overworld map, outdoor regions, dungeons, and a jam-packed pause screen with inventory, skill tree, magic, character info, and quests. It’s done by the Hero of Sparta guys, so the graphics are great and the gameplay is much, much deeper than that title. If you like dungeon crawls, you need this game.

    Rating: ★★★★★ icon
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    GeoDefense Swarm

    Monday, September 21st, 2009

    The long-awaited sequel has finally arrived (in the iPhone marketplace, one month = one year, BTW). First of all, if you don’t have the first one, get it immediately and play through it; it’s one of my all-time favorite games on the iPhone. I haven’t played this one long enough to truly compare the two games, but so far, I actually prefer the original. For the sequel, they chose to move the game to a build-your-own map system, much like Fieldrunners. I really enjoyed the tight level design of the first game, but maybe the shift in focus to keep this fresh was a good idea, particularly with the popularity of Fieldrunners. I also love the fact that they added a hex grid. Placing towers the old way seems broken now. They added one new tower, for which they never describe the functionality, and new hexes that affect the creeps in some way, such as altering movement speed or health. It feels like the devs assumed you had played the first one, because there is zero hand-holding and the difficulty level is rough. If you’ve beat the first game and you need a fix, this is a no-brainer, but if you can only get one, my advice would be to get the original.

    Rating: ★★★★☆ icon

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