Archive for the ‘3 Stars’ 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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Pew!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Pew!

This unassuming little shooter actually has a lot going for it.; it’s challenging, it has a compelling upgrade system, and it has good replay value. I played through the whole game and still plan to play through again, if only to get the early completion achievement. While the achievement design itself isn’t stellar, they mesh so well with the upgrades that you can’t help but try to get them all. Repeated plays earn cash that can be spent on upgrading each and every section of the ship: left and right weapons, armor, and combos. Each section has three different categories to upgrade and, in the case of weapons, can also be replaced with different armaments. For instance, if you don’t like the basic weapon upgrades, rate-of-fire, damage, and number of cannons, you can purchase a deadly laser cannon or heat-seeking missiles. Which item to upgrade at what time is actually an important decision each time, because you have to take into account the types of enemies you are currently encountering. The enemies themselves have a decent amount of variety too. All in all, I would say this is a decent shooter with enough challenge to offer at least one play-through.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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B-Boy Beats

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

B-Boy Beats

This game really has the potential to be an extremely good rhythm title, with clever mechanics and a great soundtrack, but it is bogged down by difficult controls, an unnecessarily steep difficulty curve, and the inclusion of repeated and somewhat demoralizing negative feedback.

As with most rhythm games, the goal is to tap the screen in the proper locations, while staying on beat. The play area is a top-down view of a busted up cardboard box, perfect for breakdancing. Your fingers loosely represent your feet. You plant your “feet” firmly on the two start points to start and then tap the next circle when its outer ring scales down to fit the circle. This may sound easy, but the timing and placement is more difficult than many other games in the genre. You have to keep your inactive finger seated on the screen, which is somewhat counter to the quick  ”tap tap” feeling of other titles. On top of this, the developers have layered on several other techniques that are explained fully in the tutorial including the Moonwalk (tap-slide), the Reverse Moonwalk (slide-tap), and the Handplant (+2 finger press), among others (10 total).

“Break your fingers with…B-Boy Beats” is the tagline for the game and I found that after playing it for hours, it’s not far from the truth. Holding the iPhone and tapping with my thumbs seemed to be the most comfortable control usage, but when handplants are added, you need to find two extra fingers somewhere. They suggested using the ring finger, which would be horrible, so I opted to switch my main stance to index fingers and use my thumbs for the additional beats, which was non-optimal, but at least doable. The other major issue is the new user experience. Whenever you drop below a certain point on the “Break-o-meter”, the crowd starts to boo. I understand you want a certain amount of attitude in a game of this ilk, but because the game has issues recognizing when your feet are replaced properly after a failure, the problem is compounded a great deal. I did persevere and beat every crew on their own turf in the city, but I have the feeling many new users would give up quickly.

Even with this laundry list of issues, I still enjoyed the game a great deal, personally. B-Boy Beats could easily be a 5-Star game if it was better tuned and less punishing, but as it stands, it’s hovering around 3.5 Stars for me. The soundtrack, by the way, is well above average; if you like underground hip-hop, then you may like what is on offer here from the likes of Optimus Rhyme and Magitek.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 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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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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Cross Fingers

Monday, December 7th, 2009

From the developers of EDGE (which is awesome, but available infrequently, due to ridonkulous copyright battles). This is an interesting spin on tangrams, in which you slide the light pieces to properly fill the dark areas, but oftentimes needing to temporarily move the brown pieces, using multi-touch. I think it is one of the better implementations of this type of gameplay, although the snap-to-grid is sometimes wonky.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Starball

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Use accelerometer tilting to guide the green ball to collect stars, while avoiding the red balls. Each new star, spawns a new red ball. Powerups like Shrinkage, Ball Buster, Ball Bomb, and Inviciball keep the action lively. After reaching a certain skill level, it seems like your scores are dictated by the number of red ball-reducing powerups you get, but the game is fun.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Goals! Pro

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Very nice top-view Sensible Soccer style game. Very simple, sometimes sluggish on the controls, but still a ton of fun.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Phoenix Project

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Dual-stick shooter like MiniGore, but with tanks. The controls are nice and fast, as is the fire rate; makes it easier to blow stuff up, but it doesn’t feel like a perfect match for the theme.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Drag Racer: Perfect Run

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

As you can see, interior graphics = acceptable, exterior graphics = horrible, but what really matters here is the gameplay and I like it. You drag race against an opponent, hopefully win money, upgrade your car. Wash, rinse, repeat. The upgrades are actually quite useful and range from simple paint jobs to necessary performance mods, such as exhausts systems, nitro, and engine upgrades. All mods follow a strict rule-set with regard to weight and such, which is actually somewhat believable. The shift controls are sometimes wonky, which can be frustrating, but you can make up for a miss-shift if u got skillz. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you are looking for something different, this could be it.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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