Archive for August, 2009

Mini Golf Wacky Worlds

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Outstanding Mini-Putt game! Vibrant colors, characters oozing with personality (eww), creative full-on 3D level design, and simple, intuitive controls. There are several diversely themed courses, several game modes (although they don’t seem to add that much), and a pro shop, where the player can purchase functional and/or vanity items. This game is far superior to every other direct competitor in the app store, currently.

Update: Some of the levels can be pretty frustrating, due to the insane timing needed. I hate you ice level. Down a star!

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Jojo’s Fashion Show 2

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

I have yet to find a single other person on planet earth that is willing to play this game, besides me, but it is actually a really good game. The goal of the game is to put on successful runaway shows, all across the globe. The player is presented with a group of three fashion models that have to be suited up for a runway show. Prior to the show, you are provided with examples of three style types that are being featured at the show, such as Bollywood, Sockhop, and…uh…Military. You are then presented with a selection of clothes at the bottom of the screen that you have to identify as a certain style and then drag-n-drop onto the corresponding model. Powerups can be obtained to switch styles or wardrobe, when needed, and accessories that can compliment any outfit are opened up, as well. When a model is fully clothed, her icon will light up, indicating that you can send her to the runway. If you are fast and efficient, you can send multiple models out simultaneously to score a chain combo multiplier. When they get to the runway, they are scored for each clothing type (torso, legs, and feet), based on how well it fits the style category that she is sporting. If you exactly match one of the predefined “signature” outfits, shown on the left, you also score big.

Semi-frequent, bonus photo shoots offer a different type of gameplay, in which a large number of fully dressed models are standing around, waiting to have their photo taken. You are scored based on choosing the correct model style (and sequential hits provide additional score) and framing the photograph properly. Each of the five unlock-able cities, such as Los Angeles and Berlin, contains 15 diverse levels, each of which contain a number of different styles. Dragging clothes onto models is not always as responsive as I would like, but overall, the game is really polished. This really is a textbook example of good casual game design; great presentation and player feedback, both visually and aurally, good decision-making, good pacing and progression, and intuitive gameplay. My 3-year-old loves it and can play it all by herself, which demonstrates how approachable it is.

Update: Jojo’s now has OpenFeint social features, achievements, and awards. Downloadable Content is also now available; 2 level packs, each containing two full locations. Rating increased accordingly.

Rating: ★★★★★ icon
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The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition

Friday, August 7th, 2009

The original is one of the best examples of humor in video games and it still holds up to this day. Now you can point-and-click your way through this classic adventure while driving! No, don’t do that. The voice acting is great, there is an old-skool VGA mode, and most of all, it’s hilarious. There are some control issues that can be maddening and it is not always obvious what you need to do, but it’s a puzzle game, get over it. The game also offers a tiered, shake-to-hint feature, for those hard to reach places. Really just an all-time classic ported lovingly to the iPhone.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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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
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Balloonia

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

This game takes the pipe connect gameplay of games like Music Neon and CabLink and puts a fresh coat of paint on it; great graphics and effects, good progression, and loads of content. The goal is to connect pipes on the left to pipes on the right. Clicking a pipe rotates it 90 degrees. When you create a viable path, the used pipes explode and more pipes drop into view. Powerups appear throughout the game that make it more challenging or rewarding, such as one-way pipes, multipliers, and static pipes. This is one of the most polished pipe games that I’ve played.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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The Deep Pinball

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

From the makers of Wild West Pinball, comes The Deep. Just as polished as the previous title, this game offers a multi-screen, single-table pinball experience with great physics and replayability. The table is just off-center, which makes me a bit seasick, but maybe that was the intent. This shot doesn’t so it justice at all; you really need to see the whole table.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Dungeon Scroll

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

This is a fascinating mash-up of Textropolis and a Dungeoncrawl, that most closely matches the gameplay of Popcap’s Bookworm Adventures (which is brilliant, BTW), if you’ve seen or played that game. The player is presented with a tray of letters and must tap them in the proper sequence to form words. A monster will attack from the inset dungeon room and the spelled words inflict an amount of damage that corresponds to the length of word spelled and the quality of tiles used. It’s quite fun, but it does end, unlike most of the competing word games that don’t include the monster mash elements.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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MiniGore

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

The much hyped MiniGore has arrived on the scene, but ultimately it suffers from that high profile status, because the shipping game has very little depth. It is a twin-stick shooter, like iDracula, but it focuses solely on the experience of shooting masses of greeblies at a maddening rate, but with out all the extras like upgrades, levels, achievements, global high scores, etc. WYSIWYG. I still really like the game, though, because of the pacing, progression, and personality. The one to watch for from these guys, though, is called HardGore, It’s uses the same art style, but it’s a Tower Defense game, and it is at the top of my wishlist. I’d buy this just to give them an extra dollar to develop HG.

Update: The developers at Mountain Sheep have added a ton of new characters, some unlocked via number of kills and others that are purchased via DLC with the new snow map. I’m glad they added the kill totals, because it got me to play the game more and enjoy it more for what it is. Some have special abilities, such as dual-wielding shotguns or grenades. The character you open up for 32,000 kills is…Enviro-Bear!!!

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Bomb Commander

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

This is a really fast-paced tap shooter, with good enemy design and core mechanics. If you’ve ever played Sneezies or Bugz, you are familiar with chain reaction gameplay caused by triggering a sequence of explosions. The devs on this title decided to wrap a full-featured game around the mechanic and they were very successful. The player must protect the earth from various enemies that plummet towards its surface. Your ammo is limited, but is refreshed by powerups that drop (earth shield powerups drop too). Different enemies require different tactics; little enemies can trigger chain reactions (that provide an escalating score multiplier that is lost if a single one penetrates the shield), aircraft dart around and must be tapped directly, and the mothership needs to have power units destroyed into order for the shields to drop. This game is really fast-paced and fun.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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