Archive for December, 2009

Beat It!

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

How’s that? An innovative rhythm game, whathu? It’s true, you listen to a short song sequence and then attempt to recreate it using the instruments provided. You can play back the original at any time, but the exercise is timed, so if you take too long, you get zero points. The artwork if off the block and everything is blipping around in the background like crazy. You need to see it to believe it. This one is really challenging, but I like it alot for its innovation. A Free Play mode is also included, which lets you create songs with the full complement of instruments and no timer or other restrictions.                                                                       

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Rogue Planet

Monday, December 14th, 2009

This is a multi-unit, turn-based Advanced Wars clone, with excellent character art in the cut scenes, an interesting and watchable storytelling approach. It does miss the mark on some of the gameplay basics like controls, for instance. There are several different unit types that use a rock, paper, scissor mechanic, so the game is all about positioning the right units, at the right place, and at the right time. When you don’t do this, your attacks can be ineffectual. It uses a mission-based structure and, while the early missions aren’t thrilling, they do serve to progress the story, although as I mentioned, the characters are outstanding and their dialogue is more compelling. Control-wise, it should be way easier to move a unit and it is way too easy to suicide a unit. The balance is not perfect either, but it is still playable. It currently has 1v1 multiplayer over Wifi and Bluetooth and Internet games are promised.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Mystery Mania

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Mystery Mania

Guide this goofy robot through a decent-sized mansion, solving logic puzzles in each room to proceed. The humor is good, the puzzles are varied, and my wife loved it. In fact, she played the whole thing through in a couple nights, before I even finished 4 levels. My three-year-old loves it too, but some of the puzzles are out of her league.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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MiniSquadron

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

This is a really nice effort, similar to the PC game Altitude, which is a great game, in its own right. This version lacks the upgrade choices, but it does offer a huge variety of planes to unlock (50+, I think). The controls are excellent; in fact, I prefer them to the PC game. The graphics are amazing, as well; you really should see it in action, because the planes execute perfect barrel rolls and loops, with smoke pouring out the back the whole time. Instead of stationary, preset powerup locations, the devs opted for random ones that drop from the sky, which removes a bit of the Quake-style map grok and increases the difficulty. It’s a really good game, regardless, and you can play against a friend via wifi or against AI in a sequenced campaign mode. This one is definitely worth a look.

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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Dictator Defense

Friday, December 11th, 2009

I bet these guys crunched like Arnold to get this Plants vs. Zombies clone out, prior to the iPhone version of PvZ. It may lack the brilliance of PvZ, but some of the basic gameplay elements are there, and in no way is it a shoddy production. This Casual Tower Defense game, has the player drag offensive and defensive units onto the field to battle the troops entering from the top of the screen that are attempting to blast your base at the bottom of the screen into oblivion. You also have an uber-weapon that can only be used once per battle. If PvZ didn’t exist, I would most likely be very excited about this game, but if that were true, this game probably wouldn’t exist either.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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geoSpark

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

From the artists that brought you geoDefense, paired with the minds that brought you Harbor Master, comes a game that plays like neither. Drag a shape to a corresponding shape (or shapes) and score. HIt the wrong shape, game over. There are a small number of powerups that aren’t very exciting, but the game still has plenty of replay value. Apparently, there are strategies that allow scores over 200k, which I am nowhere near.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon

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Pocketball

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Colored balls drop from the top and must be directed into the corresponding colored box, by placing bounce lines between pegs that are static. Any two pegs can be connected by physics-appropriate rubber bands. When a ball crosses an arrow icon, it receives a nudge in the corresponding direction. It’s really polished and somewhat challenging, because the solutions are not always obvious and there are other obstacles not represented in the screenshot above. My only complaint is that deleting placed bands is unnecessarily difficult.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Implode!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Great art style, clever gameplay, and tons of levels. Place the explosives in the best locations to blow the building, but be sure that all of the rubble falls below the dotted line and does not blast into the edges. Recommended.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Angry Birds

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Really nice catapult game themed around the idea of…um…birds that are angry at fat pigs, for some reason. Guess I didn’t catch the story, but the game is good. There are several different types of birds: one that splinters into three, once that explodes, one that gets a straight boost. There are several types of bricks too and the physics are convincing.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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