Baseball Slam is an iPad and iPhone game from Zynga. It is available now on the App Store as an ad-supported free download and contains additional in-app purchases.
Baseball Slam takes the simplicity and excitement of a home run derby and combines it with outrageous levels, crazy power-ups, and an easy-to-use touch control system. There’s not much to the gameplay, and the game explains its controls and mechanics in the first couple stages. Players will take control of their batter, tap the screen to receive a pitch and drag their finger from home plate to the area they want the ball to go. It’s possible to miss the pitch by swinging too slow or too early, but it won’t count against the round’s number of pitches.
Each stage has its own goal. Early stages work well in place of a tutorial. Goals in these stages often involve hitting special targets or using abilities. After players get past these stages, the game gets a bit more difficult. Goals eventually turn from tutorial to challenges, such as landing high scores. While most of these are on the fun side, they can occasionally be downright challenging. (more…)
Sprinkle: Water splashing fire fighting fun! is an iOS and Android release from Mediocre AB. It is currently available as a free download on the App Store and for 99 cents on Google Play and carries additional in-app purchases.
Sprinkle is a level-based physics puzzle game that puts players in the role of a one-eyed (but two pupils) monster working as its city’s fire fighter. Every stage starts off the same way: Part of the town is on fire. The player needs to control and aim the vertically-situated fire engine and sprayer in order to extinguish the fires before the town’s residents lose their homes. The process feels very simple and the game’s first few stages provide visual hints as to how certain objects and tools work. Most of the work is done with the fire engine. While players can’t move the vehicle, they can change the water gun’s height and angle, then press and hold the red button to shoot. Water is a limited resource, however, so players need to use it wisely.
After the first couple of levels, Sprinkle stops with the idea of “Just point and shoot here” and starts requiring the player to consider the physics of gravity and water. In Sprinkle, water doesn’t sink into the ground until it sits on a level surface for a second. So, when water is blasted onto a hill or over a cliff, it’ll create a stream or waterfall that keeps going until its momentum is stopped or it falls off-screen. This requires players to carefully (but quickly) map out how the water will flow, and adjust their plans accordingly. To make things more difficult, there are occasionally interactive elements within levels. Usually in the form of boulders, players can shoot various objects in order to move them around, creating new pathways. Stages that feature these tools usually require them to be used, but figuring out how is often the challenge. (more…)
Jewels Saga is an Android release from Words Mobile. It is available now as a free download from Google Play, and contains additional in-app purchases.
Jewels Saga is a level-based match-three style puzzle game that will seem all too familiar to players who enjoyed King’s Candy Crush Saga. Between the “Saga” in the name and the vast amount of gameplay similarities, the only players that will find Jewels Saga worthwhile will be those who enjoy the genre but somehow didn’t play Candy Crush Saga. That’s not to say Jewels Saga is a bad game, because it’s not. It simply does nothing to stand out from the game that inspired it.
Jewels Saga starts off with the main menu, offering standard options: Arcade and Time modes, a help menu that explains how the game works, and a settings menu. All of this is standard fare, and the help menu doesn’t add anything that the game won’t describe. Arcade mode is the main focus of the game. Like Candy Crush Saga, Jewels Saga is presented in levels. When starting Arcade mode, players will be given a goal, usually something along the lines of “Earn X points in Y moves.” Early levels also give basic hints and tips for the first few moves, in order to help new players get used to the game. These tips can be turned off, but experienced players will breeze through the early levels and hardly notice them. (more…)
Block Block Block is an iOS and Android release from Noodlecake Studios Inc. It is available now as a free download from the App Store and Google Play and contains additional in-app purchases.
Block Block Block is a level-based puzzle game that is based around the foundation of match-three puzzle games. The goal is to slide three same-colored blocks together in a straight line. Each level ends when all the blocks have been grouped and cleared or when there are no moves left. This alone wouldn’t be difficult for most fans of the match-three genre. Where Block Block Block starts to stand out is the limited number of moves players are given in each stage. Most of the stages early on only require one or two moves to clear all the blocks, but as time progresses, more difficult levels begin to open up and players will find themselves with new challenges.
The first batch of stages has a relatively simple concept: Drag the three blue blocks together. There’s nothing too difficult about these. Eventually, the game starts adding in immovable and/or unusable blocks. Dealing with these requires a bit more strategy, but it’s still generally simple to work with. The game starts to get a bit harder when puzzles require groupings of four or more blocks, which often require multiple steps to create. Fans of match-three games will still not have much difficulty knowing the process of setting up these lines and seeing various patterns. Where the difficulty starts to come in is when other colors start to pop up. (more…)
Layton Brothers Mystery Room is an iOS release from Level-5 Inc. It is available now as a free download on the App Store and contains additional in-app purchases.
Layton Brothers Mystery Room is a sequel of sorts to the popular Professor Layton series on the Nintendo DS and 3DS. Players will follow two characters: Inspector Alfiendi Layton (son of Professor Layton) and his newest assistant Lucy Baker. Together, they’re tasked with digging deep into some of the most puzzling and challenging crimes facing Scotland Yard. Headquartered in the “Mystery Room”, Layton and Baker will encounter tons of unique and enjoyable characters, as well as a variety of puzzles.
There are numerous elements in Layton Brothers Mystery Room that provide various layers of depth. One of the first things that players will notice is that there’s a lot of conversation. This is necessary for the experience, but there are likely to be some players who are turned off by the large amount of required reading. For most, this shouldn’t be an issue since the dialogue is well-written and the characters are enjoyable. Outside of dialogue, players will also need to carefully read statements and testimonies from witnesses and suspects. Most of these statements have key words highlighted for easy reference, as players will need to look back on them later. (more…)
Puzzle Retreat is an iOS and Android game from The Voxel Agents. It is available now on the App Store and Google Play as a free download and contains numerous in-app purchases.
Puzzle retreat is a very simple game based around physics and careful planning. When players first open Puzzle retreat, they’re greeted by the main menu. It’s strongly recommended that players start with the “Welcome” level pack, as it is the easiest and it helps prepare players for the various gameplay mechanics. (more…)
Beejumbled is an iOS and Android game from 2K Play. It is available now for free from the App Store and Google Play and contains numerous in-app purchases.
Beejumbled is a word find game similar to Boggle. Players will be given an assortment of letters and they need to draw lines from one letter to the next (without overlapping) in order to form words. Each letter is assigned a point value based on its complexity, and players are able to re-use the same letter tiles as much as they’d like, provided they don’t try to do so in a single word. Unlike similar games, Beejumbled doesn’t take place on a square grid. True to the game’s bee theme, the letters are arranged on a hexagon array, much like a honeycomb. (more…)
Dots: A Game About Connecting is an iOS release from Betaworks One. It is available as a free download from the App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.
The game is a fast-paced puzzle that’s all about connecting dots of the same color. There are no gimmicks or traps, leading to a level of simplicity that’s rarely found in games. When first opened, the game instructs players to connect a couple dots. When the player slides his or her finger from one dot to the next, a line forms between them and they disappear. After a few similar trials, the tutorial comes to an end and players are sent to the game’s main screen, which features two options: “Play Now” and “Menu”.
Selecting “Play Now” drops the player into a game of Dots. The premise is simple: Players are given 60 seconds to clear out as many dots as possible. Any time two or more dots of the same color sit adjacent, players can draw a line through their path in any non-diagonal direction. Any dots caught in this line will disappear and the dots above them will fall down to fill the empty spots. New dots are generated from the top. Though this part of the game is not unique, when players manage to touch one part of the line to another, creating a box, all the dots of that color will be removed from the screen. This creates a quick way to earn points, and creates a new layer of strategy. Instead of clearing the most dots in one turn (thus scoring the most points), players may want to find ways to set up a box, allowing them to be in position for a high-scoring turn. (more…)
Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD is an iOS release from Capcom. It’s available now as a free download from the Apple App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.
Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD brings together the first three releases of Capcom’s famous Ace Attorney series and provides their first release in HD. The games put the player in the role of Phoenix Wright, a young attorney with a habit of finding himself defending accused murderers. Right from the start, the game offers a cutscene that shows the first victim and her killer, and it’s up to Phoenix Wright to prove that his client was framed and reveal the identity of the real killer. To do so, players will need to battle in the courtroom, picking apart testimony and presenting evidence. Outside the courtroom, players will guide Phoenix through numerous areas, collecting evidence, speaking to witnesses, and uncovering details, all to discover the truth.
The entirety to the game is based on understanding the facts and breaking down every piece of testimony. While most cases stand well on their own, some of them connect with each other and make references to past cases, which can be important. Players who aren’t up for a ton of reading will be instantly turned off, because the Ace Attorney series is based around reading and dissecting dialogue. Players will be captivated by each character’s personality and choices. Each story is long, but they’re separated into enough parts where players won’t need to commit too much time to enjoy the games. (more…)
Tetris Blitz is an iOS and Android app from Electronic Arts (EA). The game is now available for free with ads on the Apple App Store and Google Play and carries additional in-app purchases.
Electronic Arts’ previous attempt at a mobile Tetris failed to make fans believe the classic fast-paced puzzle game could make the transition to a touch screen device. The reflexes and precision required to succeed when the pace increases proved to be something touch controls weren’t ready to handle. Tetris Blitz, EA’s new venture into the world of Tetris, makes key changes to the classic formula and the experience is much better because of it.
Tetris Blitz is a far cry from the arcade style of classic Tetris. The entire premise of Tetris Blitz is that each round is played in two-minute bursts. This allows for quick sessions, much like PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz. Blocks still drop from the top, but their pace is much slower than previous games, giving players a chance to plan their moves carefully, rather than rely on reflexes. When the blocks start dropping, players are greeted with three outlines of where the block could fit. If none of them are worthwhile, the block can be rotated and three new positions will be offered. When a player finds the best spot, they can tap on the outline and the block automatically drops into that position. Once an entire line is filled, it vanishes, and higher blocks fall down. The controls make Tetris Blitz feel simpler, but the core gameplay remains intact. Once the two-minute round is over, the score is calculated and players can compare their results to their friends, if they’ve logged into Facebook. (more…)