Most games these days that toss things in the air at you expect you to slice and dice them. The Balls takes a different approach to the subject, and as a result stands out nicely from the crowd. It’s kind of like Hacky Sack on steroids, and it’s definitely the sort of balancing act most of us would only attempt electronically. Thankfully, though, the end result is a fun game that doesn’t involve ninjas or samurais, fruit or vegetables, yet provides a similar sort of satisfaction.
I’ve been playing electronic games for a long time, and one of the best genres since I can remember has always been the platform game. Sure they’ve evolved greatly over the years just like any other type of game, but the basic premise has always been “start at point A – run, jump and do whatever to get to point B – collect things and bop bad guys in the head along the way”. Pixeline And The Jungle Treasure exemplifies this tried and true formula. The truth is that it adds nothing new to the genre, and actually hearkens back to the simpler days of platform gaming in a lot of ways. Still, I’ve quite enjoyed it thus far, and hope we see more of cute little Pixeline in the future.
20 years ago, Altered Beast was one of the first games I played on my brand spankin’ new Sega Genesis. Playing the emulated version on my iPod Touch brings back fond memories of my 16 bit gaming days, which are probably among my favorite as far as consoles are concerned. It’s also a great reminder of how it takes something special to stand the test of time. Honestly, I’m not sure that Altered Beast has that something special. I’m quite enjoying the game as it’s a part of my gaming past, but I’m not sure how well modern gamers will take to the limited control scheme and basic game play.
When Lemmings arrived in 1991 the world took note, because there really hadn’t been a game like it until then. Unlike many game styles today I don’t think this one really “took off”, but there have certainly been a number of clones and variants since the original firecracker-popping critters came strolling along. Aqua Panic is one such game, but instead of manipulating individual creatures to guide the pack you actually direct the course of the stream of water the creatures are swimming in. The game is interesting, but I’m not sure I’m real keen on the interface, and so far I don’t have a compelling urge to sit and play more than a couple of levels at a time.
Dragon Fire is the prefect example of why buyers cringe when they see the GameSalad logo come up on their screen. The real problem is that Dragon Fire is not a terrible game, but rather a mediocre game marred by some issues that make it not as enjoyable as it should be. It’s also fairly representative of the offerings that come from the aforementioned game authoring tool. If this game were given a bit more TLC it could rise above the ever increasing number of vertical shooters that are making their way into the App Store, but as it stands right now the unique premise of playing a dragon doesn’t help the rest of the game.
On November 26th you’ll be treated to a new distance running game in the form of Dino Rush, and I have to say that the game does a decent job of setting itself apart from similar games. You play a little dinosaur that has a series of missions to complete, but it just so happens that you’re always hungry. To keep your strength up you must consume all the fruit you can find, as well as avoid all the other nasty dinosaurs and things like quicksand and lava. You’ll receive various power ups like a spiked helmet, fruit magnet and super-dinosaur suit that will help you in your quest (and are often imperative to your survival).
I tend to like tank games, because at a base level they all tend to involve blowing things up. Tank Raider is no exception, except it throws the convention of collecting gems into the mix. In theory that should make the game more fun, but it tends to make it more tedious instead. Add to that controls that aren’t real conducive to fast action, and what could be a nice change from the run of the mill tank game feels like a bit of a mess instead. It’s certainly not a terrible mess, but it doesn’t stand out like it could, either.
There are certain genres that seem to remain fun even though each new game in the genre isn’t necessarily that different from the last. Time management games are one such anomaly, and so to, it seems, are “marble poppers”. Granted there have been some that weren’t quite as engaging as others, but there’s something about the whole concept of trying to whittle away a string of objects before it reaches its destination that’s simple yet challenging, and ultimately enjoyable. Aqua Pearls is no exception to this rule, and what sets it apart from many of the others I’ve played are some new game modes as well as the general atmosphere of the game.
So far I’ve been pretty lucky with hidden object games on the iPhone. Most of them have had something different to offer from all the others. Of course I realize that’s because the genre hasn’t been oversaturated like certain other ones, but I’ll take it while I can get it. Mystery Of The Crystal Portal is no exception to the rule. In fact, in some ways this is one of the most original hidden object games I’ve played, iPhone or otherwise. It’s not without its shortcomings, but its strengths keep me coming back for more.
I had the opportunity to play the PC version of Mushroom Age briefly at one point, but I actually jumped into it in the middle of the game to pass a section for someone. Now that I’ve had the chance to go back and play it from the beginning on my iPod Touch I’m finding that I really like the game. The story is quirky and keeps you wondering. The characters are amusing, especially when you get to talking to creatures you never thought you’d have a conversation with. The actual meat of the game is a combination of hidden objects, puzzle solving and mini-games. Overall it’s a well rounded package that delivers the goods quite well.