Run review

Run app iconRun is an Android app from Albino Blacksheep. The ad-supported game is now available for free on Google Play and carries no additional in-app purchases.

Run is a direct port of an Albino Blacksheep Flash game. The game follows the same style of other endless runners like Temple Run and Sonic Dash, where the player gets control of an always-running character who must be told when to jump and how to move. Unlike those other games, Run is much simpler. There’s no turning, no obstacles to avoid, and no structures to slide under. The only hazards present are holes, which can be jumped over or ran around. The other key difference between Run and other runners is the ability to shift the field. By running toward the wall, players can rotate the field, which makes avoiding gaps much easier.

That isn’t to say Run is a difficult game to begin with. Most players won’t face any struggle due to difficulty level. Run feels much slower than similar titles, making it easier to react to upcoming hazards. Players will have more than enough time to notice gaps in the road and have more than enough time deciding if they want to jump, swerve, or rotate around them. As players progress through the game, either in the level-based or infinite modes, the game gets a bit harder, but its speed is more than reasonable for most players to deal with.Run screenshot

Just because it’s slow doesn’t mean players won’t die. In fact, players are likely to die, and die a lot. Since Run is a direct port of a Flash game, the only noticeable change is the buttons for moving and jumping, replacing the keyboard controls of the Flash game. The problem with these controls is that they’re frequently unresponsive or delayed. The precision required for a button to register is likely to cause numerous headaches for players, and when a press does register, it occasionally takes a second to activate. These controls will lead to a boatload of failures for players. Luckily, there’s no serious penalty for falling down holes — users will instantly restart the level, which is typically short. Then, there’s the issue of the game asking players to press the “r” key to restart a level, a feature obviously not removed in the mobile version of the game. (more…)

Robot Unicorn Attack 2 (iOS) review

Robot Unicorn Attack 2 is a new release from Adult Swim and its regular collaborator PikPok. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.

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The original Robot Unicorn Attack, which began life as a Web game and then saw numerous ports and quasi-sequels on both the Web and mobile, was one of the games that, alongside Canabalt, helped to popularize the “endless runner” genre. Marrying simple controls with challenging gameplay, the original Robot Unicorn Attack was an immensely addictive game that saw players challenging a series of randomly-generated levels in a constant attempt to better their score. The only controls were a jump button and a dash button, the latter of which could be used to break through certain obstacles.

Robot Unicorn Attack 2 hasn’t tampered with this existing formula all that much, but there are a few notable changes. Firstly, rather than randomly-generated levels, players tackle a different stage each day. There is no play-throttling mechanic, so players may challenge the level as many times as they please in a single day and, because it is the same each time, theoretically get better and better each time as they learn where the various obstacles are.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run (iOS) review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run (hereafter Rooftop Run) is a new iOS game from Nickelodeon. It’s available now as a $1.99 download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases. The game displays a prominent advisory message about in-app purchases upon being run for the first time.

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Rooftop Run is, as its name suggests, another in the long line of endless runner games available on the App Store. Taking on the role of one of the four Turtles, the player must survive as long as possible against endless waves of Foot Clan ninjas while simultaneously ensuring they do not fall off the rooftops or run out of “speed” — a constantly-diminishing resource that causes the game to end if it depletes completely, but which can be replenished by collecting glowing green energy orbs scattered around the play area. Filling the speed bar completely causes the game to switch to “Turtle Time,” at which point the player can gain bonuses by fighting off incoming Foot Clan ninjas with taps on the screen in indicated positions. After Turtle Time ends, play continues, but the speed bar begins to deplete more quickly, making it more difficult to fill again.

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iSniper World (iOS) review

iSniper World is an iOS game from Triniti Interactive. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases. It’s currently showing up in the New & Noteworthy section of the App Store.

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iSniper World is a simplistic first-person shooter game with, as the name suggests, a focus on picking people off from a long distance away. The game places the player in the role of a skilled sniper sitting atop a building opposite a compound filled with generic “terrorists,” and must simply pick off as many as possible before a timer expires. Shooting targets in the head kills them instantly and rewards the player with a two-second time bonus; each successful successive kill without missing a shot — regardless of how many shots it took to actually take the target down — adds to a combo meter, which provides the player with a score bonus at the conclusion of the mission.

Controlling iSniper World is very simple. The target area is initially viewed from far out so the player is able to survey the entire battlefield. Upon spotting a target, a simple tap on the screen zooms in and looks through the sniper scope. The player may fine-tune their aim by either dragging on the screen or tilting the device depending on their preferences, and a shot fired by tapping the fire button in the corner of the screen. The scope may also be zoomed in and out with an on-screen control, but in practice this is largely unnecessary.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us (iOS) review

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a new iOS game from Warner Bros. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries a variety of in-app purchases. The game is rather demanding due to its high quality graphics, requiring an iPhone 4 at the bare minimum and regularly complaining of a lack of memory if anything else is running in the background.

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The mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us is an adaptation of an upcoming console-based fighting game of the same name, set to launch this month. The game — in both its mobile and console incarnations — pits various DC Comics heroes and villains against each other in fighting game-style battles, though the exact execution varies between the two versions. On the console versions, fights unfold over a single round, though characters have two health bars, while on the mobile version, the game unfolds in a “tag team” format, with three characters per side, all of which must be defeated for victory in a match.

Injustice: Gods Among Us on mobile makes use of a simple touch-based control scheme that eschews the clumsy virtual stick-and-buttons configuration used by many other iOS fighting games. Instead, the game removes all responsibility for movement from the player and instead simply requires them to focus on attacking and defending. Tapping the screen performs a quick attack, while swiping left or right performs a more powerful attack. Landing a combo of several attacks in quick succession causes an arrow to appear on the screen, and swiping in the direction of that arrow before it disappears allows the character to perform a more complex move that typically does more damage. Tapping with two fingers, meanwhile, causes the character to block, while tapping one of the character icons in the corner of the screen “tags” them in and replaces the current character with the new one.

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Extreme Road Trip 2 review

Extreme Road Trip 2 is a new Facebook game from Roofdog Games. It’s currently highlighted in the “New Games” section of Facebook’s App Center, and is also available for iOS and Android-based devices via the App Store and Google Play respectively. This review is based on the Facebook incarnation of the game.

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Extreme Road Trip 2 is a combination of two popular casual game genres: the endless runner and the physics-based stunt racer. Players take control of an out-of-control vehicle and must try and survive for as long as possible over an increasingly-unduluating course littered with various obstacles, coins to collect and landmines that fling their vehicle into the air. Controlling the vehicle is a simple matter of using the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard to spin it when it is in the air, and ensuring the car lands the right way up when it hits the ground. The speed at which the car hits the ground is not important — so long as it is still wheels-down when it lands, it will continue driving. Particularly accurate landings will reward the player with a speed boost.

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Crazy Penguin Wars: Tiny Duels (iOS) review

Crazy Penguin Wars: Tiny Duels is a new iOS game from Digital Chocolate, and a simplified form of the company’s popular Facebook game Crazy Penguin Wars, which we reviewed here. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.

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Much like its Facebook-based predecessor, Crazy Penguin Wars: Tiny Duels (hereafter Tiny Duels) is a social take on the format popularized by Team 17’s Worms series, in that it is a physics-based combat game in which players use a variety of heavy weaponry in an attempt to inflict as much destruction on their opponent as possible. Unlike the Facebook version, which allowed competition between up to four players at once, the new mobile version is a strictly one-on-one affair, and is designed for asynchronous rather than live multiplayer action.

To battle against an opponent, the player must take control of their penguin, move them around and use various weapons to attack. Movement is handled via some simple on-screen left and right arrows. Penguins are affected by physics, so if they stop movement on a steep slope, they will slide back down again. Jumping may be accomplished by tapping and holding on a special “handle” that appears beneath the penguin, then pulling it back and releasing it similar to flicking a rubber band — or firing a bird in Angry Birds. Range of movement and jumping is limited by an energy bar at the bottom of the screen — when this is depleted, the penguin may not move any further that turn, and the player must ensure they leave enough energy to fire if they would like to attack, too.

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Nimble Quest (iOS) review

nimblequestNimble Quest is a new iOS game from Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes developer NimbleBit. It’s available now from the App Store and, like the developer’s other titles, is a free-to-play game with additional in-app purchases.

Nimble Quest is a significant departure from NimbleBit’s two previous hits in several ways. First of all, while the aesthetic is still heavily based around retro-style pixel art, the higher resolution of the new game makes it look more like a title from the 16-bit era than the chunky 8-bit style of Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes. Alongside the change in aesthetic comes a change in play style, too — rather than being a relatively conventional “tap and wait” business sim both Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, Nimble Quest is an arcade action game. Specifically, it’s a cross between mobile phone classic Snake and the venerable arcade RPG/shooter title Gauntlet — and it’s excellent.

Basic gameplay in Nimble Quest is very simple. Play begins by selecting one of several different hero characters, each of whom have their own strengths, weaknesses and special abilities. When the game proper starts, the hero character begins walking around an enclosed arena and is unable to stop. Swiping in a particular direction on the screen causes the character to start moving in that direction — though like Snake, it’s impossible to simply reverse your direction, and only horizontal and vertical movement is allowed.

Enemies spawn into the arena at regular intervals — some as individuals, others in snake-like formations — and the player must defeat them to progress. Each enemy defeated adds to a bar at the top of the screen, and when this bar fills the level fills with gems to collect for a few seconds before proceeding to the next arena, which has a different graphical theme and enemies. As players progress through the levels, they unlock new heroes that they can use as their “leader” in subsequent games. (more…)

Frontline Commando: D-Day (iOS/Android) review

Frontline Commando: D-Day is a new iOS and Android game from Glu Mobile. At the time of writing, it doesn’t appear to have hit the two platforms’ respective app marketplaces as yet, but it is set to do so later this week, and will be a free download with additional in-app purchases, much like Glu’s other titles.

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Frontline Commando: D-Day is the follow-up to Glu’s previous title Frontline Commando, but exchanges the earlier title’s modern-day setting for the Normandy landings in World War II. Several years back, the first- and third-person shooter market was saturated with World War II-themed shooters, but the trends have shifted back in favor of modern-day conflicts these days. Glu’s return to the D-Day landings helps distinguish the new game from its numerous contemporaries.

Gameplay in Frontline Commando is more of a gallery shooter than a true third-person shooter. Players automatically move from cover point to cover point in each level, and must then eliminate all enemies in the area in order to progress to the next hotspot. Once all the hotspots have been cleared, the level is complete and the player receives rewards. Three objectives in each level provide the player with specific challenges to accomplish such as beating a particular completion time or performing a certain number of headshots, and successfully achieving these rewards the player with stars, which are used to unlock additional rewards and new campaigns at regular intervals. (more…)

Ridiculous Fishing (iOS) review

Ridiculous FishingRidiculous Fishing is a new iOS game from independent developer Vlambeer. It’s available now as a $2.99 download from the App Store, and is presently featured as an Editor’s Choice app at the time of writing.

Ridiculous Fishing is the follow-up to one of Vlambeer’s earliest games, a Web-based title known as Radical Fishing that originally launched on Bored.com. Vlambeer and Ridiculous Fishing made the headlines back in 2011 when Gamenauts announced its then-new game Ninja Fishing — a title that appeared to share a considerable number of gameplay mechanics and design features with Radical and Ridiculous Fishing. Public and press backlash against Gamenauts’ alleged cloning resulted in Vlambeer announcing Ridiculous Fishing much earlier than it had intended to, but it’s taken until now for the game to finally hit the market. This, as it turns out, was a wise decision; the two years of development time has given Vlambeer plenty of opportunity to refine and perfect its own product and release it to the public to be judged on its own merits rather than compared to Ninja Fishing — in the meantime, the developer has also been building its reputation with a number of other game projects on a variety of platforms, so they’re now in a much better position than they were two years ago.

Ridiculous Fishing’s concept is relatively straightforward and true to its Web-based predecessor’s roots. Players tap on the screen to cast their line into the water, and must then tilt their device side to side to maneuver their hook and avoid as many fish as possible while attempting to let out as much line as they have available. When the line reaches its maximum length or a fish bites the hook, the line starts rising again, and the player must snag as many fish as possible on the way up by, again, tilting their device from side to side. When the hook breaks the surface of the water, all the attached fish fly into the air and the player must use their equipped gun to kill as many as possible by tapping on them. Killing fish earns the player money — with a few exceptions that actually cost the player money to kill — which can subsequently be spent in an in-game shop to upgrade the player’s abilities with longer lines, better guns and various other special abilities. Catching a particular proportion of all the available breeds of fish in an area unlocks access to the next one, and the challenges get progressively more difficult as the game proceeds. There is no real “fail state,” but as the game becomes more challenging, it becomes more and more difficult to make money efficiently without purchasing upgrades. (more…)

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