Posts Tagged ‘3.5 Stars’

Chuzzle

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Chuzzle

Popcap is a driving force in the casual game market and their games have proven to be a perfect fit for the iPhone platform. Chuzzle continues that fine tradition and, in my view, plays even better than its computer driven brethren. It is a match-3 game played on a grid filled with adorably fuzzy little creatures one can assume are called Chuzzles. What sets this title apart is that entire rows and columns are shifted by the player in order to create matches of 3 or more. While this initially feels like a constraint to players of Bejeweled 2, for instance, it can actually provide a sense of freedom, because matches can be made in any configuration, as long as the Chuzzles are adjacent. The game can sometimes run long, but it is a nice way to pass the time. My kid likes it too. You may want to wait for it to “do a Peggle”, though (come down in price).

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Train Conductor

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Train Conductor

This game fits loosely into the line-drawing/route-building genre and is more fun than a description of the gameplay probably elicits. A number of tracks run horizontally across the screen, numbering 5 at the most. When a tunnel exit lights up with a number, it means a train is about to emerge, which needs to be quickly routed to the corresponding tunnel entrance on the opposite side of the field. One does this simply by touching the train and dragging it to the appropriate track, which automagically places a track at the angle drawn. This can get hectic, when there are multiple trains coming from multiple location, so the player can always tap a train to temporarily hold it in place. Managing all this simultaneously and preventing collisions is gameplay and it’s fun. For everyday time track, there is also a corresponding nighttime, with a somewhat different set of rules. You see at night, only ghost trains appear which means they cannot collide, but they still need to be routed properly and the night time pacing and frequency of trains is much faster. There are online leaderboards and such, but the one disappointment is that there are only 4 locations, each with a day and night version, that need to be mastered and then the game is simply one of bettering your scores, unfortunately. Still good, though, and one hopes the developers will see fit to release some new levels either free or DLC. Rating may go up when new levels are introduced.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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BloodnGuns

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Blood n Guns

Another dual-stick zombie shooter, but this time, they took it over the top with gore…which we all want desperately, of course. They may have taken it a just a wee bit too far, in fact, because not only does the blood not disappear in 2 seconds as we’ve all become accustomed to, but it stays on the ground from game to game! As you can see, it turns into a red carpet that makes the enemies nearly indistinguishable from the gore. We applaud the effort though, especially since the tuning is immaculate. You remember how we were all hyped for MiniGore, but when it released it didn’t like it delivered on its promise? Well this game is just has frantic and it keeps the player engaged, wave after wave, because the weapons and powerups that drop are diverse and are well-suited to the task of dispatching a wide variety of oncoming enemies, each with their own discernible strong and weak points. After playing through each of the six game modes, I came away feeling it was a worthwhile buy, even though the modes primarily consisted of “shoot stuff”. In the end, the developers gave us exactly what they promised us, Blood ‘n Guns.

Update: OMG, this is hilarious! Tons of people were posting complaints like the following:

“I cant beat the chickens. Only have the pistols and could hold shy of 200 kills before being overwhelmed. How to unlock more weapons and progresss? How do i play the other game modes?”

“Hi I can’t seem to get past the first level. I’m too slow. Only a pistol. Too many chickens. Any help with that? Suggestions?”

The developers built and playtested an anti-piracy level; only punks that pirated the game get that level, and only that level, and it can’t be beaten. That is the second coolest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Hook Champ

Monday, November 30th, 2009

This grapple app seems to be pretty popular. You just grapple this dewd through caverns to collect gold and avoid the monster that chases you. It has an old skool vibe and it seems to have lasting power.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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NetHack

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Delete your iNetHack app immediately. Not only does this version include the original ASCI art mode (!!!), but it was retooled specifically for the iPhone. Everything is handled with swipes. You learn most of the oft-used commands very quickly and can look up the others (of which there are many) as you need them. I know this won’t be for everyone, but personally, I find myself addicted to it. Pro-tip: be sure to save prior to quitting a session, instead of losing two hours of progress, like I did.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Boost 3D

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Fly down the tunnel, hit the speed boost arrows, and don’t hit any obstacles. Really well done.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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33rd Division

Friday, October 30th, 2009

From the creators of Blimp, this path-drawing game shows that their first good game wasn’t a fluke. You have to path your little soldiers to their destination points, while avoiding the Metal Gear Solid-style view cones. They did a great job of making the patrol patterns discernible, but not always easy to avoid. There are several unit types, each with their own score total, and several powerups, such as invisibility and triple points. There are several different maps, all beautifully rendered and they use Open Feint online leaderboards. Good game.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 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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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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