Fast and Furious 6: The Game review

fastfuriousFast and Furious 6: The Game is an iOS and Android game from Kabam. It is available now for free in the App Store, and coming soon to Google Play. It carries additional in-app purchases.

Fast and Furious 6: The Game is based around the newest installment of the Fast and Furious film series. In the game, players travel around the city, meeting characters from the movie, and drag and drift their way through the ranks with the goal of becoming the city’s top racer. It’s a setting that looks to appeal to fans of the movie series, but the references are light enough to not push away players who aren’t familiar with source material.

The game starts off by dropping players behind the wheel and walks them through the process of a drag race. Since the race is a straight shot from point A to B, there’s no steering wheel, gas pedal, or break system. Instead, each race starts with a countdown at the end of which, the player hits a “launch” button. During a drag race, the only controls are a lever to shift gears and a nitrous oxide boost. There are also drift races, which work identical to drag races, but about halfway through a race, the gear shift lever is replaced with a drift button, and players must hold it as they float along curves. Both race types are simple enough for most players to grasp, but the timing required to compete with high-level opponents may be a bit much for some players.

Winning races and completing challenges earns credits. These credits act as one of the in-game currencies and they can be used to purchase nearly everything in the game. Players are given enough credits for a car at the start, and from there they can purchase more as they progress. There are currently about twenty cars available, and only three are available from the beginning. As players win races and advance to different areas of the city, more expensive cars become available. Fast and Furious 6: The Game isn’t going to draw in car aficionados with its relatively small array of vehicles, but fans of the movies may enjoy the style and speed of the lineup. Players can also use their in-game credits to purchase upgrades to their available cars. These upgrades improve how the car performs, but any purchase made with credits may take a few minutes to arrive.

fastfuriousscreen1Players who don’t want to wait can receive their purchase automatically by using gold, the other form of in-game currency, and how Fast and Furious 6: The Game monetizes. Gold can purchase everything credits can, but can also buy design changes and save time. There are various instances where players need to wait due to an energy mechanic  which limits how long a user game session time. Whether they’ve purchased an upgrade or ran out of fuel, players can continue with the action by spending gold. A little bit of gold can be earned by playing the game but more can be purchased in the shop. Gold pricing ranges from $2.99 to $99.99, although any bundle cheaper than $19.99 won’t likely be enough for serious players.

Fast and Furious 6: The Game is a fun experience. There aren’t many notable drag racing games on the market, so it still feels somewhat rare. Because it’s a licensed title, a lot of players are likely to pass on it before they try, but those who give it a shot are likely to find themselves entertained. It lacks a bit of staying power, partially because it uses a movie license, and partially due to a lack of multiplayer interaction. However, there’s still a fun experience that’s likely to draw in both racing fans and Fast and Furious fans.

You can follow Fast and Furious 6: The Game’s progress on AppData, our tracking tool for mobile and social apps and developers.

Sonic the Hedgehog review

sonic1Sonic the Hedgehog is an iOS and Android game by Sega. It’s available now on the App Store and Google Play for $2.99 and carries no additional in-app purchases.

Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog is a mobile port of the classic Sega Genesis videogame. In it, players take control of Sonic, a blue hedgehog who runs, jumps and spins like a buzz saw. New players will quickly adjust to the simple control scheme and straightforward gameplay. All players are in for a treat, as this mobile entry is an excellent new visit to a legendary game.

Sonic’s previous entries to the mobile gaming scene weren’t often met with praise from hardcore fans. Games like Sonic Jump and Sonic Dash were great, but a far cry from classic Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 captured the feel of the classic games, but ran into its own set of issues. Fortunately, Sega has been able to gather what the core Sonic audience likes and dislikes and they’ve put it all together in this outing. The biggest point of criticism Sega is likely to face is the control scheme, but the on-screen controls are some of the sharpest we’ve seen, and it feels great. Touch screen controls lack a bit of precision compared to physical controllers, but there’s still not much to complain about on this one. Sonic purists may also take issue with Sonic being able to use his spin dash (a feature not available in the original game), but many players won’t even notice as the move has become a trademark of the series. (more…)

SpellRush (iOS) review

IMG_2479SpellRush is a new iOS game from Tappily. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries a single optional in-app purchase to unlock the game’s “premium” features.

SpellRush is a simple word game that gives players a grid of letters and then challenges them to find as many words as possible before time expires. Successfully making words causes their component letters to disappear, and more letters will fall from the top of the screen to take their place. Creating words worth more than 10 points rewards the player with a “star,” and collecting three stars causes a multiplier to appear on the board, allowing the player to earn significantly higher scores with careful construction of words.

The game has two modes of play — Quick Play is a single-player mode in which the player takes on a single round by themselves and tries to score as many points as possible, while Challenge Friends mode allows players to compete against their Game Center friends in one-on-one, best of five battles to see who is the best at the game. Game Center integration with the game is good, as it allows challenges to be issued from the game’s own interface rather than having to pull up the jarring, skeuomorphic “casino-style” Game Center interface. There is one odd little quirk, however — the list of Game Center friends presented to the player to issue a challenge does not appear to be organized in anything even resembling a logical order. They’re not alphabetized by first name, last name or username — and the latter is not visible. There’s no search function, either, so players hoping to challenge a specific player will have to scroll through this disorganized list until they find the person they’re looking for. It’s a relatively minor issue, but for those with a bulging friends list it is an annoyance that doesn’t need to exist.

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Transformers Legends (iOS/Android) review

IMG_2504Transformers Legends is a new iOS and Android game from Mobage. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and Google Play, and carries additional in-app purchases.

Transformers Legends is a card-battle game, much like the previous licensed titles that Mobage has put out such as the rather poor Marvel: War of Heroes. Transformers Legends fares slightly better in the interactivity stakes than past entries in the card-battle genre, but not by much; at heart, it’s still a rather tedious, immensely repetitive experience almost totally devoid of any real sense of strategy, narrative or indeed excitement.

Like most card-battle games, Transformers Legends is split into two distinct components: a single-player “mission” mode in which the player repeatedly taps on a button to gain experience and new cards, and a multiplayer PvP mode in which the player taps on a “fight” button and hopes that their cards have higher numbers on than their opponent’s. To its credit, Transformers Legends does flesh both of these modes out slightly more than normal — the “mission” mode occasionally features rhythmic tapping on the screen to “defend” against attacks and the PvP mode’s cards do feature special abilities that automatically come into play at the appropriate time — but for the most part this game is very much business as usual. Acquire cards, upgrade them by fusing them with “trash” cards, complete missions to level up until energy runs out, fight other players until “battle cubes” run out, end session, repeat later in the day.

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Beat the Melody (iOS) review

Beat the Melody is a new iOS game from Shortbreak Studios, developed in collaboration with Wroclaw Music Academy, Poland. It’s available now as a $0.99 download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.

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Beat the Melody is a simple music game designed as a means to help its players recognize pitch and repeat short, simple musical phrases by ear. The basic gameplay mechanics are extremely simple, but applied consistently and effectively over the course of the game, gradually building into an enormously challenging experience even for skilled musicians.

Beat the Melody is essentially a memory and pattern recognition game, though unlike most other games of its type, there are no visual cues to help the player. Instead, the player is played a short musical phrase — usually from a well-known classical work — and then asked to repeat it back. This is done by tapping on the screen — further to the right if the next note is higher than the previous, further to the left if it is lower, and in the same place if it is the same note repeated. There are no set places on the screen to tap — in other words, the player doesn’t have to recognize exactly how much higher or lower a note is, just be able to distinguish the fact that it is higher or lower — and there is no need to get the rhythm exactly right. If the player taps in the wrong place, the correct note is played but with an “out of tune” effect, allowing the player to determine where they are in the phrase and pick up where they left off. Once all the notes in the phrase have been attempted, the player is given a rating between one and three musical notes according to their accuracy, and may share their score for a level on Facebook and Twitter if they so desire.

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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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Draw Something 2 (iOS) review

IMG_2484Draw Something 2 is a new release from Zynga, currently available as both free and paid downloads for iOS and coming soon to Android. The game is featured in the New & Noteworthy section of the App Store front page, but is not an Editor’s Choice app.

OMGPOP’s Draw Something became something of a phenomenon when it was originally released, capturing the public’s imagination with its simple asynchronous gameplay and wide variety of words to guess. The game’s immense success, of course, led Zynga to acquire OMGPOP for an astonishing $180 million, after which the game gradually started to decline in popularity. A number of reasons were cited for this — firstly, people were simply getting bored with it; secondly, Zynga’s involvement had led the game to become very obviously “sponsored,” with a variety of brand names starting to show their faces in the word lists; thirdly, there were players out there who simply disliked Zynga and no longer wanted to support the game now it wasn’t the work of a plucky independent developer.

The original Draw Something’s gameplay had one big flaw in terms of gameplay: it didn’t really have a “point.” It wasn’t competitive at all, unlike many other asynchronous mobile games; there was no way to “win” or “lose” — all you could do was try and get as long a streak of correct guesses as possible when playing with a friend. There was no real reward for getting a long streak, however, just as there was no punishment for breaking one. This lack of tension and competition doubtless also played a role in the game’s gradual decline.

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Bookworm Heroes (iOS) review

Bookworm Heroes is a new iOS release from PopCap. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.

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Bookworm Heroes is an adaptation of one of PopCap’s older games, Bookworm, which has been around in one form or another since 2003. In practice, however, it’s not all that similar to the original Bookworm at all, save for the fact that it involves building words, and that it features the titular Bookworm named Lex as a mascot character.

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Ugly Animals (iOS) review

Ugly Animals is a new iOS game from Cerasus Media. It’s available now as a free download for iPhone and iPad, and is currently featured as a New & Noteworthy app on the App Store’s front page. The game carries a single in-app purchase to unlock its full content and remove advertising.

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Ugly Animals is a physics-based puzzle game in which the titular ugly animals (actually more monsters in most cases) must woo the ladies of their dreams by putting gift boxes in specific locations. Gift boxes, like most other objects in the game, are affected by the laws of gravity and physics, and thus must be sitting on something stable when placed on the marker in order to register as a success for the level.

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