Archive for May, 2009

KenKen: Train Your Brain

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

KenKen: Train Your Brain

Capcom has released the official version of KenKen (which you may recall from a previous 2Doku review), which is based on, and sanctioned by, the original designer of the game. For those that have just recently come to the dark side, KenKen is an evil and addictive game from Japan, in which the player is tasked with inserting the proper numbers in each “cage” to equal the callout in the corner, using the mathematical operator shown, and without duplicating numbers in a row or column. A simpler way to describe it is, “do the math”. I’m not a mathematician, nor do I play one on tv, but even I find this game thoroughly addictive. For the most part, the interface is good, although the highlighting is kinda wonky. This particular version of the game has three primary things going for it; it’s great for beginners, it is really polished and pleasing to eye, and the inventor signed off on all of the puzzles.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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ShapeShape

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

ShapeShape

This title is one of the many that utilize Erin Catto’s Box 2D physics engine, that is an open source project available here for FREE: http://www.box2d.org. The player must pilot our little friend through a series of levels to collect as many stars as possible and reach the exit. This is accomplished simply by nudging him in a direction with a tap of the finger and maneuvering him to avoid various obstacles. The game is really good, but what really puts it over the top is that it ships with a level editor! That’s right, you too can create your own boring green corridor and not share it with your friends (although an online component is in the works, I believe). Seriously, though, it’s a good game, and I consider the inclusion of an editor to be a positive portent for things to come (not only for this dev, but the app store, in general).

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Moonlights

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Moonlights

Yes, it’s World of Goo, minus a bunch of stuff. Or, if you prefer, the iPhone game, Tiki Towers, minus the monkeys (which is a great game that everyone should own, for a buck). The player must build a tower to the moon (Tail of the Sun, anyone?), by placing nodes on their tower-to-be. A stripped down implementation, but with the addition of  a new mechanic, which is tilt-controlling the tower. It doesn’t have the production value of either of the aforementioned titles, but it does satisfy the itch for players that have already beaten both of the other games and want more.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Buka

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Buka

This is a very simple and adorable game. The player must get little Buka to her “happy place”, which means of course, destroying her enemies and feeding her. The grumpy purple baddies stream in from all sides of the screen and if they hit your little Buka, she will take a beating, which is displayed by giving her a black eye and bruises. If she’s beaten enough, she goes to her bad place, apparently, and the game is over. Tapping the screen will ping a subtle knockback to enemies. Press-and-release will create an explosion and clever placement will destroy multiple grumps. You can also tilt or slide her to safety and help her to collect little green goodies. In between each level, she will deliver the cutest/strangest little phrases, which are quite endearing.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Diabolika

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Diabolika

This game is the brainchild of Derek Yu, an accomplished artist and the creator of several indie PC titles, including Aquaria and Spelunky. The goal is to blow up the red demons that populate the board before each turn; those that aren’t blown up, persist. A row of incoming greeblies is shown at the bottom of the screen, which the player can drag ‘n drop to the battlefield. What makes this game interesting is that each greeblie has it’s own explosion pattern; a cross, 3 adjacent squares, and entire column, etc. Explosions can trigger other greeblies, so it’s all about min-maxing your placement to create chain reactions. It turn-based, so there is no time pressure. While it’s not the all-time-best-game-EVARS, I like indie projects like this and I hope he does more for the iPhone.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Wild West Pinball

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Wild West Pinball

This is a good pinball game, with a scrolling table and good physics. It is styled after an old fashioned pinball machine, without too many bells and whistles, but what it does, it does well.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Pinball Destruction

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Pinball Destruction

Hmm, what if everything on a pinball table exploded? This game answers this age-old question. It has a very minimal design, has several tables, and decent physics. Oh, and did I mention, everything blows up real good?!? Pretty fun and pretty funny.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Bloons

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Bloons

This is port of the casual PC hit of the same name, in which the player controls the angle and shot power of darts, in order to pop the requisite number of balloons to move on. Tons of powerups, obstacles, and levels make this a good puzzler.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Koala Dartz

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Koala Dartz

This is a Bloons clone that is actually really good. I’m not sure that it’s better than Bloons, but the artwork is nice and is scaled better for iPhone gaming. And, no, you don’t get to shoot darts at the koalas. Sorry.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Ancient Tribe

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Ancient Tribe

This looked good; I thought it was going to be Virtual Villagers with cavemen, but it’s not. You kill mammoths to get meat, which adds tribe members, which allows you to upgrade your civilization. The graphics are nice. Unfortunately, the AI sucks, the pathing sucks, the collision sucks, and the decision-making sucks.