Archive for May, 2010

Fruit Ninja

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Fruit Ninja

For Ninja, it is way of life. Ninja must eat. For the rest of us, it is the simple pleasure of slicing fruit, not bombs. That’s all you do, really; no chain combos, no skill shots, no mercy. Miss three fruits, you’re dead. Slice a bomb, you’re dead. Sensei say: The fruit speak to you…just listen.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
icon

Espgaluda II

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Espgaluda II

The Japanese developer, Cave, is responsible for some of my all-time favorite Bullet Hell shooters, with DoDonPachi for Sega Saturn at the top of that list. Having been fortunate enough to travel to Japan, on occasion, I have played several of their arcade releases as well, so it is no surprise that I immediately shelled out the cash for Espgaluda II. If you are at all a fan of top-down shooters, you should do the same, because this title will be an outstanding addition to your game library.

There are three different characters to choose from, each with an insanely powerful ship which progresses through multiple stages of screen-crushing upgrades. As Bullet Hell fans are aware, the real threat comes from the enemy bullets. At times, the screen is covered in a wall of bullets that the player must deftly navigate their way through at all costs. This is the core mechanic of the genre and this title nails it, in each of six killer stages, on each of three difficulty levels. There is really little else to say, as this is a near-perfect game released by an industry giant. Espagaluda II is my favorite shooter on the app store, by a fair margin, and this is unlikely to change…until Cave releases their next title.

Rating: ★★★★★ icon
icon

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
icon

ZombieSmash

Monday, May 17th, 2010

ZombieSmash

ZombieSmash brings a lot to the Castle Defense genre and looks great doing it. Instead of troops marching in from a distant castle on the right, as is typical, zombies swarm in from either side of your broke-down shack. The zombies come in many flavors, including high-speed dashers, hoppers, bombers, and snipers. Killing a zombie produces a floating star that provides cash when tapped. Cash buys upgrades: mines, grenades, cement brick drops, wrecking balls, meteor showers, and many more. Weapons often require some level of skill to use effectively, which makes the game much more interesting than many of the competing products out there. The pacing is excellent and the challenge is high, particularly on the upper levels of difficulty. The artwork and animation are top notch. If you enjoy swipe-the-baddies Castle Defense games, this is definitely one to check out.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
icon

The Impossible Game

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

The Impossible Game

Much respect to this developer for delivering on their promise, because so many games don’t. The promise, in this case, is that The Impossible Game is indeed impossible. Decidedly low-rent graphics don’t keep me from returning time and time again to see if I can best my previous efforts and prove them wrong. I mean, all you have to do is jump over scrolling obstacles, right? Trust me, it’s a daunting task, especially since you have to begin again from the start point every time you fail. The repetition does allow you to feel good about the sections that you have learned, though. And learn them, you must; the timing, spacing, and rhythm of your jumps needs to be dead-on, otherwise, it’s back to square one. They did include a Practice Mode, which allows you to drag your spawn point along with you, but clearly if you use it…you’re a cheater. Monotonous? Yes. Ghetto graphics? Yes. Worth it for the challenge? For me, the answer is definitely yes, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
icon