Play-Mobile: Two for one

Recently we at TBOD towers have been playing an insane amount of GTA V. Alas there are times when we simply cannot be attached to our consoles and thus cannot become lost in the world of Los Santos, during these moments it is absolutely vital that we keep our thumbs exercised and I’ve been doing so with a couple of real quality titles on my mobile.

I don’t usually like tower defense games but Ironhide studiosKingdomRush” was one of the best in the genre in terms of flash efforts, the mobile port was excellent and the new to android sequel “Frontiers” is an absolute delight.

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It’s pretty much your traditional build, kill, earn, build, upgrade format but with a slight twist in that you can deploy soldiers from your barracks to block the path of your unyielding attackers. The theme of the game is taken pretty much straight out of fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings or World of Warcraft, fully equipped with Dwarven explosives experts, Elven archers, stout Paladins and crafty Wizards fighting for the side of good against waves of Goblins, Orcs, Lizardmen, Undead, Giants and overgrown insect pests.

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What makes the “Rush” franchise so engaging is it’s upgrade system, not only do you have the opportunity to upgrade your towers as you go but each round see’s you acquire stars which you can use to bolster your troops abilities permanently. There are also hero characters available, these heroes can level up and improve their abilities through a basic talent tree upgrade system, one gripe I have is that despite having paid for the game there are still micro transaction to unlock further hero characters. It’s a massive pain but I can understand the dev’s desire to do so and can’t think of another example where IAP is handled so un-obtrusively.

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This sequel improves drastically on the original in many ways that wont be immediately obvious, this isn’t a bad thing as the format of the first title was pretty much perfect but as you go through the levels you unlock extra tower upgrades, all of which are intelligently designed and oh so satisfying to use.

The second title I have spent some time with this week on my Android is a reworking of an all time favourite of mine, manage your planes, trains and automobiles in the triumphant return of “Transport Tycoon“.

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I have spent way more time than I would care to admit with “Open TTD” and have loved every minute of it, when I was younger I was really into “Railroad tycoon” and “Sim City“, OTTD provided me with even more ways to interact with my city and meticulously plan train routes and station placement. I know it may sound boring to some of you but hey …. I don’t grief any of you for loving “My Little Pony” do I? Each to their own when it comes to entertainment eh?

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So you can pick up an OTTD port on Android, but that’s all it is … a port. As impressive and achievement as that is it’s still somewhat buggy and the touch screen controls are pretty much non-existent. As such a genuine touch screen version is a welcome addition to the Play and iOS library. Add to this the cooperation of the original games developer Chris Sawyer and surely we must be onto a winner? In short yes, the game feels every bit as immersive as it’s PC counterpart which is an impressive feat. The interface has been simplified somewhat but just enough so that it is manageable on a four-inch screen you never feel like your missing out on anything. The game-play is almost identical to what you would expect from a tycoon game and despite the edited touch screen controls being a little tricky to get to grips with you will soon be joining towns with all the efficiency of the Japanese rail system.

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I may be somewhat biased due to my love of this classic game but I cannot fault this port, it has a bunch of great challenges to complete and even the ability to play a sandbox mode. If you love city sims, strategy games or if you just have a penchant for playing with trains then this title is a must have.

To sum up, it’s really nice to see some titles coming to mobile that clearly have a lot of heart and soul poured into them and it’s refreshing that they aren’t hampered by ridiculously over the top price tags (*ahem* Square-enix)  or riddled with in game adds (everything ftp on the Play store) hopefully this will usher in a new era of games that are priced well and play amazingly.

While we are on the subject of Mobile games with pure class…. please, please, please go check out Nicoll Hunt of I fight Bears debut title “Fist of Awesome” , I had a brief love affair with it at eurogamer and am off to go play it to death right now as it’s just come out for both Android and iOS. Review to follow.

You’re welcome.

– eremenko

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Play Mobile: Futuridium EP

It seems the only gaming I get to actually do as of late is during those snatched moments on my iPhone and when I buy a game I want to get my money’s worth. Futuridium Ep definitely makes you work for it.

Futuridium on iOS

On their site the developers of Futuridium describe the game as a “retro fast paced shoot’em up with a modern twist” and to be “insanely fast, [with an] insanely hard difficulty level” and boy are they right. I’m not going to lie, if like me you think you can breeze through this game, think again. The difficulty curve on this space em up is steep enough to make you pass out from the G-force, but if you persevere the reward is a definite draw to play on.

The art style of Futuridium for reason makes wonder if this is the creation of some unholy carnal act between the movie Tron and the PS1 classic Wipeout, all polygons and sharp edges. It’s pretty pleasing to look at with its Technicolor palette and could never be described as dull. Not the most graphically refined which I think was the intention this title as just enough polish to make it nostalgic rather than dated.

The touch based control scheme took me a bit of time to adjust to, unintentionally banking into the dreadnoughts below numerous times, I think this partly may be down the to the responsiveness of the touchscreen being a little lacking. However once you have had a couple of test flights so to speak then the challenge really begins – The premise is to fly your ship and shoot the blue cubes, when all are destroyed then you unlock the core and away you go to the next level. All the while you energy is sapping down only to refill at the end of each level, so efficient gun play is essential. Continues are given dependant on your score, but if used your score is wiped and you continue from where you left off with nothing to show, great if you just want to see what the next level looks like but if you are looking to set a high score this game is unforgiving with your shortcomings.

The soundtrack itself should be quite pleasing to fans of glitch hop and electro, jazz flute fans less so, regardless the soundtrack goes really well with game play and if you want to listen to the tracks sans space flight the option is there in the menu. Another nice little feature not really seen on the iOS store that can also be found within the menu is the ability to gift the game friends who co-exist in the Apple ecosystem, if you can’t persuade your friends to buy and you think they must play then buy it for them! I do think a slight trick was missed here would be if the game was multiplayer, then this kind of gifting would mean more but still, nice nonetheless.

Overall if you can get used the ever so slightly awkward controls and the punishing progression mechanic then this should keep the hardcore gamer and the masochist in you both entertained. Its available on iOS now for £1.49 or your currency equivalent. Insert coin and get blasting.

Ticket to Ride

Howdy,

You would be forgiven for thinking I’d given up the writing game but alas I am back once again to delight and amuse (read: annoy and bore) you all with another little review of another lovely little title that has captured my heart.

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A Ride into the Mountains

Android & iOS

Chia-Yu Chen & Lee-Kuo Chen

69p/99c

Those of you who listen to the podcast will already know I have been struggling to find a game worthy of sinking my teeth into after beating “The Last of Us”, little did I expect that the game to snap me out of my funk would be such a simple little gem.

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The premise is not an original one, you play a young man, an evil has been released … you must stop it, hardly ground breaking stuff but it’s the presentation and the execution which has won me over. It’s always nice to stumble across a title which tries to do things a little differently, not satisfied with being a just another build and go title or a rehashed  puzzle game or a blatant rip off of another succesful title, a game that takes on and brilliantly utilises all of the functionality of our ever-present pocket pals is difficult to find …. this is one of those games.

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The core of the game play surrounds guiding our pixellated hero through a series of levels taking down evil shadow creatures with your bow, whilst dodging their attacks with the maneuverability granted by your trusty steed, it all feels rather easy at first but the learning curve proves pretty steep. Every shot counts and the game can be brutally punishing should you let yourself down with a mis-timed loosing of your bowstring. The enemies get smarter, faster and more aggressive as the ride goes on and the end of stage bosses can and will destroy you time and time again.

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Being both simple and brilliant at the same time is a feat few manage to achieve but here we have a game that pushes the boundaries of mobile gaming, which all the while retains a strong sense of familiarity kind of like an exotic oriental tea in your favourite old mug. By combining elements from all kinds of genres the Chens have come up with a formula for guaranteed success, I think I have figured out that formula have a look for yourselves and see what you think.

Can you figure this one out? I’ll give you the cheat sheet at the end.

As with another of my favourite mobile games (Super Bros “Sword and Sworcery”) this game opts to go with a pixel art style rather than attempting to create console level graphics on your smart device. This coupled with another excellent midi soundtrack lends the whole thing a delicious vintage gaming feel which I suppose is part of the reason it feels so familiar to me, but this familiarity should never be confused with a lack of imagination because the world created here is one of much mystery and intrigue. Anyway what are you still reading this for? The game is less than a buck/quid go buy it and see for yourself.

eremenko

P.S. For those of you who are interested and didn’t already figure this out the formula…. it means nothing it was just an obscure way to reference a load of games that this one is influenced by without actually naming names as such, the rundown of the games is below.

If you take the epic adventure nature of SotC (Shadow of the Colossus) and divide it by the serene peaceful surroundings of JnY (Journey) times that by the simple controls of aBrds (Angry Birds) add the square root (side scrolling beat em up mechanic) of SoR (Streets of rage) and take away the shitness of build and go games like  FVil (Farmville) you’re left with x i.e something marvelous like “A ride into the Mountains“.

Thanks for reading.

Bigger isn’t always better

Micro Machines (3)

Micro Machines – Like Puppy in my Pocket … for boys

Every boy who was around in the 80’s or 90’s will remember Micro Machines, those tiny heavily stylised toy vehicles that were cheap to buy but insanely expensive to collect. The toys were immensely popular and the were literally thousands to collect cars, trucks, planes, helicopters etc at the height of their popularity these little belters even out-sold the toy car giants hotwheels. Anyway getting to the point these toys eventually spawned a series of video games.

micro21Everything is more fun in video game form

My main memory (aside from hours spent playing with the toys) was of a particular game on the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis for you American folk) Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournement a stupidly brilliant title which saw you racing across pool tables, bath tubs and desks through gardens and bedrooms just the types of places you would be playing with your toys. This kind of miniature racing game was never bested despite numerous attempts (Notably the Revolt games on Dreamcast) but now we have a new challenger.

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Mini Motors available on Android and iOS from The Binary Mill provides a similar experience to the classic mini racers of the past albeit without quite the same imaginative settings. The tracks are based on your more classic racers with High speed race tracks and battles through winding city streets taking the spotlight rather than jumping over plant pots and trying not to drop into the vortex of a toilet or pool table pocket this may not seem at first glance to be quiet as much fun but the game actually handles really well.

superchargedOne of the many great looking cars available

There are options for controls but I prefer to stick with the default mode of having the little wheel down in the bottom left hand corner which you spin to the desired direction. It starts out a little challenging to get to grips with due to the games static viewpoint (something which will be familiar to those who have played Micro Machines V3) but you will soon get the hang of it and be drifting around the courses like a pro. Once you get the hang of the controls the difficulty jumps up a notch the AI racers become more skilled and highly aggressive  luckily the game has an upgrade system which will allow you to ensure your tiny car has enough oomph to keep you ahead of the competition.

grand prixTracks galore

You can unlock a few cars just through playing but many others have to be purchased with  in game cash, however since you are going to want to focus on upgrades rather than making rash purchases of cars the pricing seems a little off. In some respects I feel this is a bit of a cheap shot since it means that to fork out for the new car you are likely going to have to make some in app purchases, don’t fret however none of this is actually necessary because you can just repeat a few races to earn the dough, though that may take the patience some folk don’t have.

fruit ninjaLiscenced tracks and vehicles inspired by other games

It may not be a groundbreaking title but it’s a neat little racer than uses the touch screen to it’s advantage rather than struggling with it, the tracks are well designed and fun to play (with the odd exception) with various surfaces on show (dirt, sand, tarmac, gravel etc) actually affecting the handling of your vehicle. The cars are well designed and each one does handle very differently which gives you ample opportunity to find and max out your favourite model. I appreciate it when a app dev puts out a game for a reasonable price (£0.69 in this case) and doesn’t over use the in-app purchase side of things which is far to often the case now, there is an extra championship on show here that rather than being a paid for dlc is actually purchasable with the money you earn from playing the game which is a real nice touch.

Perfect for playing a few quick races on your daily commute Mini Motors is a title that doesn’t take itself too seriously and rewards you for playing rather than being something you need to throw money at in order to progress. In short this is the type of game I would like to see more of on phones and tablets from a dev who clearly deserve to be taken seriously.

eremenko

Play Mobile: – The Hobbit – Kingdoms of Middle Earth

The Hobbit Kingdoms of MIddle Earth Logo

If you have been living under the Lonely Mountain for most of the Third Age you may not know that The Hobbit just came out, which for me is one of the most anticipated films of this year, what can I say, I love short dudes with hairy feet and a taste for pipe weed. Anyway the hype and marketing has been building up to a frenzied pitch for a while now and has spawned many different products to keep people hungry for their precious. One of which was this decent mobile game that I think you should give a go, unless of course you are related to or represent the Tolkien estate in which case you probably won’t enjoy it.

Lets kick off by saying as a kid I always liked to play the odd strategy game with Age of Empires taking up more than its fair share of my misspent youth, Civilization was another title but to a much lesser extent (because I didn’t know the cheats) and The Hobbit KOM falls into Civ’s turn based approach. The premise hasn’t really got anything to do with the book or indeed the movie that its name heralds from but is at least set in Middle Earth. The game behobbit KOM viewgins with Gandalf telling you how Elves and Dwarves don’t think all that much of each other, at which point your job is to choose which side your sword swings toward and after an obligatory tutorial you are left to start constructing your city. During the early stages of the game completing the quests is relatively straight forward and will earn you some quick resources but as they get more difficult and your building upgrades get more costly you are going to have to venture out, cave some other poor saps skull in and take all his shit. I found this out quite early as I was that poor sap on a daily basis for the first few days of play, with the bigger boys grabbing my pitiful yet hard gained resources and gold leaving my backside sore. Just as I was about to run crying to mother I found that building a vault at least helps protects a certain amount of resources if not your gold from the grubby mits of your would be rapist, I would recommend getting one of these built pronto.

Building your city up and getting troops together are just two of the many layers to this game, if you are to progress and build the might of your city to higher levels then researching new skills to higher levels is essential – and time-consuming. This particular feature is probably the most rewarding because even though it can take fucking ages to get all the necessary resources I personally feel I have achieved something when my new super pimped troops roll out of the barracks. Of course if you are a particularly impatient you can purchase mithril with real money to help you buy resources, buffs and time deductions to hurry things along. Now I know this kind of pay to win philosophy is in the eyes of some controversial but if there is a demand from players for it and as long as there isn’t any ‘one item to rule them all’ in the store then I personally don’t have a problem with it.

Being a game built for mobile and social networking sight as you might expect player hobbit mapinteraction us heavily emphasized, whether it be in-game with the aforementioned raids on players, joining an alliance or just having a natter within the apps chat room, or going social by tweeting, instagramming and connecting to facebook and telling your friends how utterly addicted you are to KOM. Of course you don’t have to do any of this you can be a lonely hermit if you so wish, however strategically raiding fools is a good way to get some resources as is joining an alliance, which can score you stuff just by asking the bigger boys and interacting with social media wins you mithril, bonus items and more.

Anyway just thought you guys might want to give this a shot as it is honestly the only mobile game that I have played consistently every day for weeks now and it has loads to keep you interested

Its free on the iOS App Store, Google Play, Facebook and I think even Google+.

—–UPDATE—–

This game is purely for mobile devices as someone in the comments has rightly pointed out. I have double checked and Facebook and G+ do in fact just redirect you to the relevant mobile app store to download. Thanks Travis for originally bringing this to my attention and sorry to all of those who wanted to play on your PC or Mac, but seriously if you don’t have a smartphone or a tablet by now then loosen those purse strings a little.

—–UPDATE 2—–

Still playing this and thought I would give a tip or two on keeping hold of your gold and stop getting robbed. I was getting looted quite often in my old position by one player in particular and was getting a little frustrated so I hit them back and took like 2 million gold from him and spent or gave it my alliance, of course I stupidly sent a few gloating in messages to him, this of course made matters worse and the frequency of attacks upped. In the end I used a Radagasts Gift and moved elsewhere. When the attacks picked up again from multiple sources I took a different tact, I just asked nicely for them to stop and you know what? It worked and I have been able to keep my hard earned taxes for longer. Of course if you are more of an aggressive type and like to raid often then this underhanded tactic might be more your style. It only works if you have a mobile device but basically set up another account and get it to a stage that it can at least join an alliance and transport resources and gold, now get raiding and start sending your gold and other I’ll gotten gains straight there. The seven day protection keeps everything you snatched away from vengeful armies, then when you need some coin for your research simply ship over just enough to pay for the lengthy research time. A bit of an exploit but all is fair in love and war between elves and dwarves. You’re Welcome.

– The Quim Ninja

The Swource of all Evil


Resource gathering, troop training, construction and research can all take a loooong time in “The Hobbit, Kingdoms of Middle Earth” so while I’ve been waiting for my little Elves to perfect their bowman-ship,  my tax collectors to refill the coin purse and my master craftsmen to construct majestic improvements to my city I have been filling the time trying to get to grips with a little belter I picked up for a holiday bargain on the Google Play store.

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In Sword and Sworcery you take on the role of the Scythian as she searches for the mysterious mega-tome and attempts to seal away the darkness which plagues the world she has entered. Starting out there is no simple tutorial to play through you just have to figure things out as you go, abandoning the virtual pad which is overused to the detriment of most touch screen adventures this game is controlled with a series of taps, swipes and gestures which makes for a far more pleasing experience. To move the Scythian you can use a simple double tap on your destination or a hold to follow function this means you can concentrate more on your surroundings than struggling to move around and this is something you will find both useful and enjoyable. The pixel art styling of the game is exceptionally detailed and stunning to look at, the art work and the sound are the heart of this beast and it is something that begs to be absorbed and prodded.

a house that looks oddly like a face

The game recommends using headphones and that is a good call, the ability to hear what’s going on in your enviroment from the tip tap of footsteps to the rustling of the undergrowth is a massive advantage in helping guide you along in the early stages of the Scythians tortured journey. The game itself pays almost like a point and click adventure but without any of the tedious item searching and pointless conversations, there aren’t many non-player-characters in the game Logfella, Dogfella and Girl are the only three you meet in the first two chapters and they are not what you would deem conversationalists. The real star of this game is the world in which it takes place there are puzzles cleverly woven into the environment and interestingly tied in to the cycles of the moon and it does prove something of a head scratcher in the later stages.

the door

The music is beautiful and haunting if you’re not already listening to it I implore you to hit the play button at the top of the post and soak up the score provided by Jim Guthrie  fits so well with the games sound effects and adds to the atmosphere in a way that would make most video game composers green with envy.

Playing this title has renewed my faith in the touch screen adventures whilst your Zenonia games and similar are all reasonably decent I always find them to be lacking somewhat in innovation. Most of us now carry around in our pockets a touch screen device capable of so much more than a traditional controller, why don’t we see more games in the vein of the DS Zelda titles which optimise the use of the touch screen over the game pad? It’s a more difficult feat to achieve it would seem, it’s a lot easier for a developer to simply throw in a virtual pad rather than imagine new control techniques or in this case re-imagine control techniques to work with your game. Switching your device from landscape to portrait to perform actions, tilting on an angle, pinch to zoom and sweeping the camera with your fingers to get a better view all work brilliantly here and lend the gameplay an organic nature which is sorely missing in most mobile rpg/adventure games.

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From the introduction we are guided through the story by a mysterious, creepy but snappily dressed cigar smoking host the Archetype, who will explain the basic premise behind the coming chapter and throughout chapters will offer handy hints via your mega-tome (once you acquire it) I mention him mainly because something about him really freaks me out and I wanted to put a picture of him in.

You will feel a connection to the strange folk  you meet along the way (despite their monosyllabic nature), a yearning to learn more about the mysteries surrounding the Scythian and the evil that follows the mega-tome. The strange way in which the story is narrated with really obscure references and just down right ridiculous lines keeps the entertainment value high throughout you can even post your favourite peculiar lines to twitter. Check out #sworcery to see for yourself some of the weirdness for yourself.

scythian and dogfella

An adventure not unlike “Journey” in so far as it it focused on style and substance rather than flashing images and explosions Sword and Sworcery is a compelling title which begs to be played and deserves a lot more attention than many of its high ranking mobile game rivals.

eremenko

Ready, Jet Set, Go

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Ever since the death of thier final console the Dreamcast Sega have been rebuilding themselves as one of the top dogs in publishing bringing out a plethora of new IPs but also bringing back old titles that we gamers had once thought of as long dead. XBLA and PSN releases are one thing but more recently our old friends have been breathing life back into old classics on various mobile devices. One game I never expected Sega to resurect was the Jet Set Radio (Jet Grind Radio in the US) series, a quirky, design heavy, fast paced and unique title though it was I had never realised just what a huge following this game had gathered over the years.

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If you don’t like bright colours, this game is not for you

Having picked up (with great difficulty) a Japanese imported version of the original Dreamcast title in Y2K I instantly fell for this game. A cell-shaded style which was at the time totally unique and an insane J-pop/Hip-hop soundtrack (some of the tracks still get stuck in my head to this day) for some reason really drew me in despite the fact I had no idea what I was doing or what was going on due to being unable to understand a word of Japanese. As a result I could never really get that far with the original title due to the objectives of later levels being something of a mystery to me. Later I picked up the sequel Jet Set Radio future for the original Xbox and that is where my love affair with this series really began.

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Imagine my delight then to find out mere days ago that I would be able to rock out to ‘Oldie but a Goodie’ once more while covering the walls, cars and buses of Tokyo-To with tags all the while being able to actually understand what was going on ….. all this for the bargain price of £2.99 for my android device… yes please Sega … gimmie!

Installing this game plus the initial game set up is a bit of a monumental effort for my little HTC but it made it eventually and the results are something delightful. Sega America have managed to pack pretty much everything from the original into our little devices and that is an achievement to be respected. Imagine the future possibilities, a Dreamcast in my pocket? God yes give me that right now. How does it stack up against the original? Fairly well really, it does have a slightly laggier nature due to a heavily lowered framerate (something that might be less obvious on a tablet rather than a smartphone) and the directional stick leaves a little to be desired but I find this to be the case in almost all smartphone games. Apart from these very minor flaws this game is well worth the price tag. A full on gang battle/adventure through the neo-Tokyo streets avoiding the fuzz while raising the fame and increasing the territories of your in-line skating punk gang the “GG’s” is still a lot of fun and the tunes are easily as catchy as ever.

BeatJSRBeat knew cucumbers worked just as well as Lenses

You start out as Beat guided by Professor K (the host of the pirate radio broadcast station Jet Set Radio) who keeps the plot ticking over with little interludes not unlike D.J from the movie the Warriors. You must first defend your own turf from rival gangs before sweeping into their side of town and taking your revenge by leaving your mark on any flat surface you can find and avoiding the cities increasingly psychotic police force led by the bumbling Captain Onishima. Seriously these guys are nutjobs who take real pleasure in harming innocent young inline skaters, they’ll run you over doing wheelies on police bikes, they’ll chase you with machine guns and tear gas they even call in the attack helicopters at one point. Luckily for you they are about as well trained as the henchmen in an Arnie movie.

Jet-Set-Radio_4It’s tricky but soon enough you’ll be pulling tricks and spraying graff like a pro

Playing the game on a phone screen isn’t ideal, comboing tricks and grinds was never easy in JSR but the small size mixed with the lack of responsiveness from the control stick and some mammoth lag makes things trickier than ever here but it never renders things unplayable. The games mechanic for spraying your graffiti translates pretty well onto a touch screen however I cant help but feel they could have done a little more to integrate this input method into the game, the responsiveness is often not quite what you would hope for and you end up having to try your tags more than once before achieving painted perfection. That said it isn’t too far removed from the original stick input so you shouldn’t have any real trouble painting the town red or blue or whatever. All in all JSR is still great fun and it’s style still looks great Tokyo-To feels alive and vibrant and getting to those difficult to reach tag spots is as frustrating and rewarding as ever. Sega it seems are finally realising just how much love people still have for their old DC titles and I for one am hoping for many more revivals, if they ever manage to get Shenmue onto a phone I think i might just cry with delight. So get over to the google play/ App store now and pick it up it’s not a featured game and needs to have as much support as possible folks if the Dreamcast is going to continue to have the respect it deserves.

tumblr_mau330nCZz1r03fmso1_1280Buy this game or I’ll haunt your dreams bitches

Break out your roller blades, get out your headphones crank up your volume and roll with the GG’s.

– eremenko

Get Your Rat Out

As you may have read in our last post eremenko has gone the awesome route and bought Dishonored, I have gone for the slightly less awesome and certainly cheaper option of getting the Dishonored Rat Assassin App for iOS. If you give rat’s arse *ahem* then read on.

This little slice of the full game is just as polished its triple A titled older brother, on the shiny scale its definitely towards the sparkly end. Not that you should expect any less since the app was made by Bethesda themselves whose work speaks for itself in the looks department. For those of you who have played the insanely popular Fruit Ninja then the premise will be fairly familiar, in Fruit Ninja the objective is to slice various portions of your 5-a-day by swiping your finger across the screen as a blade. Rat Assassin puts a macabre twist on things and instead hurls squealing rodents in front of you to split clean in two. For those of you with a fondness for all of Mother Nature’s creations you might want to give this one a miss.

The app presents you with a couple of different modes in which to butcher rodents in, in the timed mode you have cut through as many as possible, in challenge mode the object is to not hit the bombs and score a certain amount of points and the assassination mode is pretty similar but the rats are lobbed up with bombs and you have to murder the vermin without letting any fall from view. To keep you interested there are a multitude of unlockables from new blades and backgrounds to music and, if you get sick of the squeaks of pain, objects to mutilate. Most of these are gained as you progress but some also become available through fairly simple means such as tweeting your score.

Powerups are  available in-game as well to spice things up, my favourite being this bomb blade thing that when fully powered will kill all the sewer dwellers on-screen when you slice just a single rat.

All in all its a solid little title to help fritter away any spare moments you might have, but for the love of P.E.T.A don’t try to recreate this in real life, rat guts are a nightmare to get out a cream carpet.. err so I hear…

Oh and the icing on the cake here is the price, it costs nothing so if you want to do your bit and rid Dunwall of its infestation then just click this link and away you go.

-MS Dosser

Get yer tackle out

I’d like to start with a confession: I’m not what you would call a “good” gamer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m good at games, I mean I have the odd flash of genius amongst the marginally-better-than-mediocre norm, it’s just that I have my own style of gaming.

I don’t really follow the big franchises like Halo, Assassin’s Creed etc. or get excited for the latest releases. I don’t research updates and new DLC. I don’t look at my stats on things like Halo Waypoint and the EA Gunclub. And although I’ve played pretty much all of the “big games”, I mostly dip in and out depending on my mood and how bored I am.

All this being said, I would class myself as a gamer and I play a lot of games.

Now that’s out of the way, I’d like to talk to you about a game which has taken up much of my time recently, New Star Soccer.

I play on my Android-powered HTC Desire HD and can comfortably say that this is not only the best game I’ve played on my phone, but one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played full stop (period for any American viewers).

Harking back to the days of Sensible Soccer and similar to the already popular Jumpers for Goalposts, NSS is a combination of text and action sequences where you control your player from the very beginnings of their career.

Starting out as a precocious 16 year old, you complete a series of trials which serve the dual purpose of showing you the basics of the game whilst maintaining a more realistic beginning for a young footballer. After the trials you embark on your quest for world domination and enslavement of the proletariat!  um sorry about that, *cough* footballing deity, by playing games (obviously) and buying stuff.

The gameplay is fun and involving without being exclusive through difficulty, and the extra detail in the home screens are informative without being superfluous, insightful to the very border of nerdy, and fun enough to keep you playing, even when between games.

New Star Soccer

My current life section

In the ‘Life’ section (shown above), you can buy almost anything any self-respecting footballer would want including stables, luxury jets, even a castle. You can also visit the casino where you can play blackjack, roulette, and slots, as well as buy, train, and bet on horses. Also within this section is an ‘Awards’ tab showing an extensive list of achievements.

My career stats

The stats for my player

All in all, I can’t see an end to me playing this game (barring any serious new update cock-ups of course), and whilst I hesitate to use the uninspired “addicted” tag, this beguiling game will keep you playing way past the shelf-life of most others.

-Garreedo

Links:

Android

iOS

Flash

Homepage/PC

Three and a half inches of fury

To all of you who follow us @TeaBagOrDie on Twitter you will know this already, to those who don’t we are excited to welcome some awesome new writers to the TBoD team. You will get to meet the others over the coming weeks but to kick things off we have a post by the multi-talented Salmonfin. I would link to a little bio about our aquarius blogger but he is getting up to some water-sports in Ibiza as we speak and didn’t have chance to send me one so he will have to remain an enigma for now. Anyway read/comment/subscribe/cheers. -MS Dosser

Its true what they say you know; it’s not the size of the screen that counts, it’s the way you use it. Or did I hear that wrong? Anyway, the rather astute developers at Lake Effect Applications have certainly done no harm to this particular, be it dubious, claim. And in the process have given hope to mobile gamers looking for a shooter fix with their latest creation Trigger Fist.

While I usually avoid shooters on the iOS platform, my mate thought it would be a good idea if I picked it up so we could play together (read: kick my ass).  So, being the great friend that I am, obliged and paid £0.69 of hard-earned student loan for the privilege. After jumping into a game the first thing that struck me was the absence of a y-axis. Meaning, you simply swipe left and right to target your virtual enemies. While this sounds strange for a shooter, I found it to be a stroke of genius as it allows to you focus more on your aiming, rather than flailing round in the heat of battle like an epileptic octopus at a rave. Cue flashbacks to Call of Duty for the Wii. Granted, it does leave the game a little…horizontal, but, less is definitely more in this case. Movement is controlled by a floating joystick on the left of the screen, while aiming is done by swiping anywhere on the screen. Swiping down will allow you to crouch and you change weapons, reload etc. using the icons in the bottom right.

Almost got him

The game has four game modes; team deathmatch, free for all, king of the hill, and my personal favorite, sacred goat. The first three are pretty much self-explanatory. Sacred goat, however, is essentially capture the flag but instead of a flag, you guessed it, you have to pick up a goat who will jump on your back until you’re killed at which point it will continue on its random journey like nothing happened until someone else picks it up. The winning team is the first to keep the goat on their back for 120 seconds. Each of these game modes can be played in 4 different ways, single player with bots, online matchmaking, with friends (via Game Center), and via Bluetooth. Each team consists of 4 players, although, one thing to note is when playing online you’ll only ever have 3 other human players in the game and the rest are bots. This is down to limitations with the Game Center which sucks but c’est la vie.

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a ladder in the game

As one would expect there are a number of classes you can choose to be, each with their own progression path. Gunner (LMGs), Rifleman (Assault rifles) and Scout (SMGs) all have their own unique benefits and weapons. Weapons are unlocked individually for each class by gaining points as that class in-game. However, you can buy the next weapon unlock for £0.69. You get the sense that the unlocks are dragged out to entice you to pay for the next weapon, while I don’t mind this strategy in free games I don’t feel they should be forced on you in a game that you have paid £2.99 for (price after the sale, apparently). Perks offer a nice way to customize your load-out and don’t seem to imbalance the game as much as *cough* recent Call of Dutys *cough*.

Ultimately, Trigger Fist understands what its supposed to be and that’s exactly what it is, a pocket shooter. By not forcing over the top graphics or even including a single player campaign it’s given the game a very streamline feel, allowing you to hop on for a quick game or two while on the john. Which is a good thing, too many times I’ve started playing Infinity Blade only to snap back to reality 45 minutes wondering what the time is and why my back’s aching. Anyway, you can pick this bad boy up for £1.99 on the App Store while it’s still on sale.

I hope this rather amateur review didn’t bore you too much. If it did, feel free to abuse me in the comments or if you’re not in the mood to hurt my feelings or have a suggestion for a game I should try, let me know too.

-salmonfin

Perfect Cell Reception

Thought to keep this post relatively short because 1) No one likes rambling in a review and 2) I have spent far too much time being pleased with myself over the title of this post. It’s dark now. Anyway since my last post on mobile games I have moved on from both Blockado Desert in which I made a pitiful attempt and ultimately got stuck somewhere in World 2 and Robot Unicorn Attack which I pretty much rage quit for the same reason. My new flavour of the month plays easier and unlike Robot Unicorn Attack actually has an end and because of this I bought this nice little title.

Perfect Cell on iOS £1.99/$299

Perfect Cell

What initially grabbed me about this game was its premise. A meteor crashes to earth and a secret team of scientists are sent to investigate and what they discover is a microscopic alien organism. So they squirrel it away in some super top-secret base under water and the life form turns out to be a total dick to any other living thing it encounters and begins to grow and eventually busts out of containment. This is where the you pick up the controls….as the Perfect Cell.

Looking like a cross between a squid and a bouncy ball your goal is to escape the clutches of your captors by evading lasers, solving puzzles and destroying every puny human you come across. The levels are as linear as they come so there is only way through them, but the well honed difficulty level presents you with increasingly moreThe professor never did like calamari challenging obstacles for you to glide and dash past. I don’t mean to go on about it (I do really) but personally I’ve found the steady ramp up of difficulty throughout my play time so far pretty much spot on. The tutorial pop ups are ‘at-a-glance’ simple and easy to digest delivering just enough information so you can get to grips with playing the game very quickly.

So how does it scrub up in the sparkly department? On my iPhone 4 the HD graphics are  pretty tasty looking and I imagine it can only get better on an iPad. The loud colour of your organism is a stark contrast to the moody kind of 80’s industrial lab environments you find yourself in. The whole presentation is quite old school sprite’esque all wrapped in shiny HD polythene, very palatable on the old eye holes. My one gripe would be that in the game description it states you will travel “across 5 different worlds”, I have currently just finished the 3rd world and the total number of “worlds”  I have encountered is precisely 1. I am certain I will see daylight eventually but just not nearly enough of it.

"on the head son.."On the plus side though each level takes between 5 and 10 minutes to slither through as the difficulty increases, so with 35 levels in total it gives you more than a couple of hours worth of play, which if you think about it is quite some time given that most people will pick up and play one or two levels at time. That and the fact your cell unlocks some pretty awesome abilities (no spoilers) as you progress which become more vital to your continued success, again adding to the feeling of how well paced the learning curve of this game is.

For those who are wanting a bit of replay value the developers recently brought out an update containing some extra colour skins for your extra terrestrial that only unlock once you have killed all the humans and collected all the hidden prisms, which are either hard to spot or I suck at spotting secrets. I personally would like to say a little from column A and column B but in my heart I know its 92% of the latter. Given the price tag on it I would expect a new batch of levels to be released at some stage too.

Overall this has definitely got enough quality to keep you coming back for more when you have a spare few minutes. So if you are sick of drawing the same 13 ‘somethings’ for your friends over and over give this a shake.

P.S. Kill the Humans.

-MS Dosser

Smart Casual Gaming

This post has been in my head for some time now but I have been mesmerized by DICE’s Bedouin concubine who calls herself Battlefield 3, whispering of double xp events, tempting me with the sweet scent new weapons to unlock and gyrating its custom server features and other spinning tassels.

I only tore myself from this cushioned tent of FPS to become a thrall to a new siren known as Minecraft, causing my ship of productivity to be dashed hopelessly on her rocks and compelling me to dig through them. Concerning the latter game that I inappropriately sexualised we have a new dedicated page in the works which will eventually surface as soon as we do, but enough of this nonsense, I have other bullshit to talk about

There are a couple of mobile games I have been playing in my spare moments when not near my PC or XBox that you might want to give a go. So if you find yourself with a free minute or 5 on the bus/train/latrine/during a conversation you have grown tired of maybe give these a go.

N.B. None of these games involve hurling poultry or a rope in dire need of cutting and both are 69p on the iOS app store, although I got the first one free from a cool  app called App Gratis, giving you free daily apps alongside a witty description. No Android version of this app in the UK yet but its coming soon according to the site.

Blockado Desert is traditional puzzle game which as you may have deduced is based round a desert theme, but if you hate sand getting everywhere Blockado Jungle and Blockado Deep Sea are available seperately too. The basic object of the game is to get the chests into the pink square by moving obstructing blocks accordingly. It has for 4 worlds each with 10 or more normal levels and 2 optional harder levels if you are insane. Difficulty level goes up at a reasonable rate, creeping up from ‘medium’ to ‘alarming how stupid I am’. In my opinion graphically it looks like plenty of polish has been poured on it and its pick up and play value is excellent, auto saving a level when you stop playing either out of necessity or infuriation. Overall its great value and will keep any mobile gamer with an IQ less than 150 busy for some time. If puzzles are your thing it is available in the App Store now.

Robot Unicorn Attack. Yes you read that correctly, this is a blinder of a game that a couple of my college class mates, who are much more in tune with what happens on the interwebs than me, introduced me to. It started life as a flash game on Adult Swim with the aim that you (the robot unicorn) dash and rainbow attack your way across a neon landscape collecting fairies and stars to amass the highest score possible before you meet your maker. If this didn’t sound trippy enough the music that fills your ears during your unicorning is provided by Erasure…. Seriously? Yep it amazing what a grasp of flash and a lack of a grasp on reality can create.

Any way this if you want to try out the flash version of Robot Unicorn Attack then click here and once you are suitably addicted then you can get your paws on it in the iOS App Store here as well on Android via Google Play here for 9p less than your Apple counterparts. So get to chasing your dreams!

Oh but before you do a friend of mine showed me this and I thought it was fitting, if you like rap parodies and you like casual gaming which lets face it who doesn’t like at least one of those things, you will love this

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