Posts Tagged ‘android game review’

Mobile Game Review: Alpha Wave

20120909-011628Published by:  Hardline Studios
Available for: Android
Review is on: Wikipad
Cost: $1.25 though Alpha Wave Lite, which is limited to the first level, is free, but a great demo of the game
Genre: Arcade

If you have a love for the classic, fast action games like Astrosmash, Space Invaders or Asteroids and want to kill time while waiting for a doctor’s appointment, picking up a kid from an after school event, or between projects at work, then you just might enjoy Alpha Wave.

Alpha Wave is a fast moving shooter-style game, like Asteroids and Space Invaders, that has your ship at the bottom of the screen and you have to move it left and right to destroy the various items raining down on you – whether it be space debris, asteroids, UFOs, weapons firing at you, etc.

As you play, various bonuses will drop down to change your weapon type, heal your ship or increase your movement speed.  As you destroy things, you have two items that will build up power to 100%, when they can be used.  First is the Singularity Bomb which will destroy every object on the screen.  Then the Weapon’s Special effect (I’m not sure what it’s called) but it lasts for a few seconds and adds extra destroying power to your weapon till it ends.

alpha-wave-Image_4There are 65 waves per game per planet per level, each getting progressively harder with no way to stop until you die – yes, that means there is no pausing.  There is a huge variety of enemies as you progress through the game, each with unique behaviors.  You will also face final bosses to explode or they explode you – literally

The game plays very smoothly on just the tablet without the wikipad and plays just as smoothly with the Wikipad gaming accessory – perhaps even easier.  What I found playing on my phone is that I loved that if your ship got hit or when the super bomb went off, it vibrated, letting you know what happened – you don’t get that experience on the tablet or with the Wikipad.

Gameplay: 9/10
The game play is very fast and very crisp for being on a tablet.  If you’re looking for a fast game to play while waiting for someone or for an appointment, this is definitely one that fits it.  Games can last anywhere from less than a minute to 15 minutes if you’re good and you make it through the waves.  I’m not that good, I only make it 5 minutes and to wave 15.  There has been no lag on any of the devices I played it on and any errors were on my part.

alpha-wave-Image_2Graphics: 9/10
The graphics are very crisp on the Wikipad, but it was designed with games like this in mind.   While it is not a graphically intense game, the game does have a lot of detailed sprites moving down across the screen while your ship moves back and forth shooting them.  Whether it’s asteroids or UFOs you’re destroying, they are detailed and you know what they’re supposed to be no matter the device you play on.

Sound: 9/10
I enjoyed the music and the sound effects in this game.  Very fitting for all the levels and gameplay.

Overall: 9/10
This is probably one of my rare 9/10 reviews as I really found nothing wrong with the game.  It doesn’t have a storyline – it’s not needed.  It’s designed to be quick and challenging.  And as you progress through the game and waves, you try to best your own scores.  The game does have a number of achievements a well which makes it even more fun.

If you’re on the fence, download the Alpha Wave Lite version, which allows you to play Stonewall through wave 65 on easy, normal and hard levels.  if you find you like it and want to purchase the upgrade, there’s an easy, one-time purchase in the game to upgrade it.

This review was done by the reviewer because the game interested her.  No code was received to review this game.

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game Scoreboard.com, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.

Multi-Platform Game Review: Organ Trail

Organ-trail-logoPublished by: The Men Who Wear Many Hats
Available for: iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Linux and Steam
Reviews on: PC and Android
Genre: Choose-your-own-adventure Zombie survival
Released: Jan. 10, 2013

Depending on your age, you may remember playing the Sierra Games classic, Oregon Trail, at school. If you were really lucky, and your parents had a lot of money, you got to play it on an Apple II at home. Personally, I remember playing the game a lot at school and only getting to the end once. It was a hard game filled with a lot of hard choices for a 10-year-old. But it’s a game we look back on fondly.

“NAME died of dysentery” is probably one of the most common quotes people give from the game.

If you miss the game, or just want to revisit the classic, you can download it and play it through Chrome here: http://www.virtualapple.org/oregontraildisk.html

Organ-trail-8But if you want to see the modern take on the game, which is what this article is about, check out Organ Trail – a morbid twist on the iconic Oregon Trail game. Produced by The Men Who Wear Many Hats and released Jan. 10, 2013, the game is available for purchase, download and play via iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Linux and Steam. You can play a flash version of their game, for free, here: http://hatsproductions.com/organtrail.html

They describe the game as “a retro zombie survival game. Travel westward in a station wagon with 4 of your friends, scavenging for supplies and fending off the undead; Faithfully recreated it as if it were on the Apple 2. Packed full of zombie mechanics, themes and references; this is a must have for any zombie survival fans.”

I first encountered Organ Trail at PAX East 2012 when it was still in development and was enamoured with the idea and kept an eye on it as it developed. When Humble Bundle had it as a part of one of their Android bundles, I immediately picked up the bundle so i could play and test the game on multiple platforms. It’s rare that I get the opportunity to play games on more than one platform and see how they compare to each other.

Organ-trail-6You start the game learning there has been a zombie apocalypse. You have to fight your way to safety. As you are fighting, you are joined by a priest named Clements. He rescues you and asks you if you know of anyone who would be handy in this situation. You and him talk and head to D.C. to pick up your friends…in a station wagon.

I won’t spoil the story too much, but Clements isn’t with you for long, but gives you his diary to help you out, explaining how much of what things you need. You and your party leave D.C. to head cross country with the supplies you’ve scavenged thus far. Just like in Oregon trail, things break on your station wagon, friends get hurt. They may get by a zombie and you may be forced to put them down, or they may get dysentary, or one of 9 other diseases, and if you don’t heal them with medkits they eventually die. As you travel from city to city, you have to scavenge for supplies such as food, ammo, fuel, money, medkits and car scraps and upgrades to survive. You can also buy, sell or trade for items at each town or rest stop. Pay close attention to the health of your car and your party members. Rest to heal, but know for each hour you rest you consume food. Repair your car when needed. You can even take on jobs at towns to earn money or parts.

Organ-trail-2As you travel, you have to survive driving through a horde of zombies, being chased by zombie dogs and other animals or fighting off bikers and bandits. Factor in a day and night cycle and a weather system and the game becomes very interesting and challenging.

I have yet to reach the final location of the game on the West Coast on either PC or Android, but I have made it decently far before I died. The game creates a custom tombstone with a phrase of your choice when you die and your score can be posted to the leaderboards.

Gameplay: 8/10 for PC; 5 of 10 for Android
There is a huge difference in controls for this game depending on the platform it’s played on. For PC, the controls were great. You were able to aim your rifle with your mouse and move around better than when playing on Android. With Android, you can try to aim the rifle, but unless you are very accurate with your fingers and you don’t slip up, it’s hard to aim and hit the zombies coming after you.

Organ-trail-4Graphics: 9/10 for both
If you keep in mind that the game is 16-bit and still looks good while being a stylized-retro game, you’ll understand why I rate the graphics 9/10. It’s not designed to look like a modern game. It’s designed to look like a late 80’s game and in that aspect they did extremely well.

Sound: 9/10
Also created in classic, retro tradition, the music fits the 16-bit game. If you’re interested in the game’s soundtrack, you can download all of the tracks, for free from here: http://hatsproductions.com/organtrailsoundtrack.html

Story: 8/10
The story is very simple, very easy to follow and in the same mindset of Oregon Trail. Long story short, you’re traveling West to escape the zombie apocalypse with your friends in a Station Wagon.

Organ-trail-1Overall: 8.5/10
Packed full of zombie mechanics, themes, references and challenges, this is an extremely fun and frustrating retro zombie survival game. If you liked Oregon Trail as a kid, this is another game you would enjoy on any platform. If you want to test it out before you buy it, play the flash version linked above.

Disclaimer:  Author purchased the games through Humble Bundle and chose to review the game with her purchase.  No codes were given in exchange for review.

Check out the video below for a teaser of the game:

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game Scoreboard.com, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.

Mobile Game Review: The Sandbox

sandbox-screen568x568Developer: Bulkypix
Platform:  Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, Blackberry
Genre: Arcade

The Sandbox is a game not unlike a number of “particle simulators” you may have found online.  Like its free Flash-based cousins, The Sandbox gives the player an open canvas in which to place various “elements” and watch them interact.    Some of the basic reactions are intuitive enough – place dirt by a pool of water and you get mud (aka soil).  Put seeds in the soil and you get trees (aka wood).  Put fire near the wood and the fire spreads.  While most particle simulators would end there, The Sandbox is just getting started.  Burning trees will drop ash, and if you cover the ash with something heavy (like stone) the pressure will create oil.  The cycle only continues from there, allowing for a vast array of dynamic reactions.

What really sets The Sandbox above its browser-bound cousins, however, isn’t just the huge variety of different elements and objects that can be experimented with.  It also has various environmental options such as a day/night cycle and a handful of different temperature options.  Some reactions only happen at certain temperatures, or with certain light levels, or under other specific and unique conditions.  As a simple example, certain plants only grow in certain temperature ranges and with sufficient sunlight.

sandbox-water_en_iphoneThe game also has a large selection of electrical engineering style tools, such as metal for wires and batteries to power certain blocks.  Make a bottle out of glass, make a heating pad underneath, put some water inside, and then power the heating pad.  Soon the water will start to boil and evaporate, making steam.  Then you can have the steam collect into clouds and chill the clouds with cooling blocks to make snow, which you can collect near a cold sensor, which will activate and can send a signal to whatever else you have connected from there, like a light bulb.

The last thing that really stands out with this game is the optional wildlife.  Basic plants and trees have already been mentioned, but that kind of option is available in virtually every cheap imitator of the Sandbox.  Unlike the rest, though, The Sandbox offers players a chance to include everything from bees to humans, and even a bunch of different dinosaur species to be placed in their interactive world.  Of course, each species has unique properties.  Bees will make hives and build up small swarms.  Dinosaurs will eat plants if they are based off of a real-world herbivore species and will eat meat if based off of a carnivorous species.  No surprise, Humans are some of the most dynamic of the available objects, able to be designated as miners, hunters, builders, and more.  With all these options, players can create entire self-sustaining ecosystems on their screen.

The game has two primary modes.  The first is a simple creative mode which lets you throw together whatever arrangement of elements happens to strike your fancy.  The latter is a collection of different campaign modes.  These campaigns go level by level introducing the player to different elements and how they interact.  Each level is a puzzle requiring the player to use the new element in the right way to get the desired result before moving on.  The puzzles are a great way to familiarize yourself with the game, and the campaigns progress at a good pace from simple and obvious to clever and challenging.

sandbox-elements_en_iphoneThe major downside to this game is also one of its selling points.  The simple, pixelated art style is clearly intended to evoke a retro-style aesthetic, on top of simplifying the code to allow for the wealth of combination possibilities.  Unfortunately, the end result can make it hard to distinguish some of the different elements in play.  Another major point of frustration comes from the limited number of elements initially available to the player.  New elements are unlocked through the campaign, but even once an element has been unlocked it isn’t ready to use until it has been purchased with the in-game currency known as “mana”.  Mana can be earned through beating levels in the campaign mode, but not at a fast enough rate to purchase all the elements as you unlock them – especially if you spend mana on anything superfluous like hints or elements you think are cool but aren’t strictly required to progress.  This can result in a player playing through one of the other campaigns available just to earn the mana to purchase elements in the original campaign.  The obvious downside then is that once a player wants to play through that second campaign they will be even further behind and will have to mine mana from yet another campaign, which will set them even further behind there should the player ever choose to actually continue on to that one.

The only way to break the cycle is to succumb to the growing trend of in-app purchases.  For a real-world fee, a player can simply buy a supply of mana.  Or you can simply buy all of the elements and bypass having to spend mana on them entirely.  Of course, paying for the biggest mana pack, all of the elements, and all of the campaigns this turns the “free” game into a $20 investment; but to be fair you can’t blame this game for the microtransaction-based state of the industry.  Plus, even if you do turn to the in-app purchases for help there’s no reason you can’t just stop after a $1 mana bump and one or two $1-$3 campaigns.

Gameplay – 7/10.
sandbox-hippie_evil_en_iphoneThough not for everyone, the game certainly knows what it is trying to accomplish and it accomplishes it well.  Some players may get bored at the slow-paced gameplay, but more creatively inclined players will find no end to the ways they can manipulate the tools available.  One extra point was docked for the difficulty in precise placement of elements.  The game does have a zoom-in feature to help with this, but constantly jumping from zoomed-in to zoomed-out can really disrupt the flow of gameplay.

Graphics – 6/10.
Minecraft may have proved that blocky, pixelated games can still be blockbusters (no pun intended), but Minecraft also had the advantage of making those blocks gigantic with plenty of pixels comprising each one.  Few of the items in The Sandbox are more than a few pixels tall, and many are literally just individual single pixels.  This often results in a blurry mess that can be nearly impossible to identify if you don’t already know what you’re looking at.

Sound – 8/10.
The sound effects are probably the least important part of this game, but they do their job well.  Different elements have different sounds, all of which are pretty appropriate for the element they are associated with.  Menu buttons also have a satisfying ‘click’ sound to them.  The background music is a bit simple and repetitive, but it doesn’t distract from the overall experience.

Overall – 7/10.
sandbox-infinitie-possibilitiesAs mentioned, the game is not for everyone.  Players who demand high-thrill action will be sorely disappointed.  But if you’re just looking for a little something to mess around with for 10-15 minutes at a stretch, this game could be just what you’re looking for.

Zombie Toss Review

Developer: Flying Wisdom Studios
Platform: iOS

It’s the Zombie Apocalypse: there are too many survivors and not enough food to go around. When the locals get desperate, they try zombie meat and boy, is it delicious! Zombie salad, maybe sautéed in a red wine sauce, any way you slice em, Zombie Toss puts you in the role of a zombie hunter tasked with hacking and slashing your way through swarms of flying zombies in order to collect enough zombie meat before they touch the ground. Combos and special items make each level more fun than the last.

zombie-toss-1

When I was first presented with Zombie Toss review, my first thought was “Oh, great. Another Fruit Ninja.” My fears were quickly put aside as this fun and creative game from Flying Wisdom Studios kept me busy for hours. Using your finger, you swipe and slash through a variety of zombies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, while trying to avoid slicing open toxic waste barrels and other obstacles. If you can manage to collect the required amount of zombie meat during the round, you are rewarded with Gold Teeth which can be used to upgrade your arsenal of zombie-slaying tools including machine-guns, tank strikes and my personal favorite, the flying cyber-shark attack.

zombie-toss-2Zombie Toss is easy to learn and play, but challenging enough to keep me engaged for hours. New updates now allow Gold Teeth to drop during the level, making leveling up your weapons even easier than before. Over all, Zombie Toss is a fun and challenging game available for a bargain in the iTunes App Store for $.99 and for free in the Google Play store. And, of course, who doesn’t love zombies!

Check out the preview of the game below.

Game review code provided courtesy of Michael Meyers Public Relations.

Written by Anson Rotola.

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