Sonic 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…)
I am MT: Card Battle is a game for iOS developed by LOCOJOY, LTD. It is available now as a free download from the iTunes App Store and contains numerous in-app purchases.
I am MT: Card Battle starts off by letting the player choose between three characters. Once the player has decided which character he or she wants to use, they’re thrown into a well-detailed tutorial. The game holds the player’s hand as it introduces various aspects of the experience, such as the flow of a battle. In I am MT: Card Battle, players will build a team out of five character cards (and an optional card borrowed from another player), then watch as those characters fight through a level, with the ultimate goal of defeating a final boss. Battles are almost completely automated, allowing players to change only the position of their characters so they can best utilize their strengths. Some players may be instantly turned off by the automated battle, but those who stick around will find a lot more depth between fights.
I am MT: Card Battle features a ton of customization options outside of battle. Completing a stage will unlock other character cards and equipment. Character cards can either be added to the team or may be fused with other cards to increase that card’s stats and level. When a card’s level is high enough, it can be combined with collected equipment and it will evolve into a more powerful form. As players progress through levels, enemies quickly get stronger, so it’s important to not only strengthen cards frequently, but to strengthen all cards on the team. In some cases, players may opt to switch cards out for new ones, and I am MT: Card Battle frequently gives out new cards, but others may be purchased via the in-game shop. (more…)
Chuck the Muck is a new iOS and Android release from Kiz Studios. It is available now as a free download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play, and carries additional in-app purchases.
Chuck the Muck is a physics-based puzzle game that requires the player to fling, shoot, and walk a little orange creature from one end of the level to the other, collecting crystals along the way. The controls are quite simple, and when the game is first started, there’s not much of a tutorial. Before the first few levels, the game shows an image describing how certain mechanics work, such as walking the character, flinging the character in the goo slingshots, and expanding and retracting slingshots. These visual aids lack detail and some players may not understand all the mechanics right off the bat. Even once the mechanics are learned, there are occasional issues with the controls. The slingshot can be a bit too difficult to aim, and accidental launching is easy with slingshots that are near the edge of the screen. Even a task as simple as walking can be problematic with the amount of content on screen.
Blitz Brigade is an iOS and Android game by Gameloft. It is available now as a free download from the App Store and Google Play, and contains ads and numerous in-app purchases.
Blitz Brigade is a team-based first-person shooter that borrows elements and styles from other popular shooters and brings them to mobile platforms. At the start, the user is dropped into the main menu and can decide between playing the game and playing through the detailed tutorial. While experienced gamers will be quick to grasp how the game works, most will still need a while to adjust to the touch-screen controls. Most first-person shooters are released on PC or consoles, letting players use a controller or mouse. However, Blitz Brigade’s touch controls—along with the added option for tilt-based aiming—forces players to adapt to a system that hasn’t been perfected on mobile devices.
Entering the game’s multiplayer mode provides the player with numerous choices. There are two different game types: Domination and Deathmatch. Domination requires teams to keep control of territories, while Deathmatch is a traditional “kill to win” mode. Both modes are fun, and most players will have a preference. Upon starting a game, players will choose which team they wish to join and which class they want to use. At the start, there are only two classes available, but others can be unlocked from either playing the game or spending in-game currency. This pre-game screen also allows players to customize their equipment and weapons, creating a bit of individuality in the characters. Once in game, certain issues start to expose themselves. One of the most glaring problems with the online multiplayer is the apparent lag. There aren’t many mobile games with full 3D graphics that allow numerous players to compete at the same time. The lack of precedence is apparent in Blitz Brigade, and the gameplay suffers because of it. The troublesome controls combined with unreliable online play leaves much to be desired. Hopefully the network code can be improved with future updates, but for now, it hurts the experience. (more…)
Tower of Saviors is an iOS and Android game from Mad Head Limited. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and Google Play, and carries additional in-app purchases.
At its core, Tower of Saviors is a match-3 puzzle game, much in the same vein as Bejeweled Blitz and Candy Crush Saga. The goal is to form lines of three or more runes of the same color. Unlike similar games, runes don’t need to be swapped to make an immediate match. Instead, they can be freely dragged until they’re in the player’s ideal position. This alone creates a sense of strategy not found in other match-three puzzle games. The strategy is increased with the numerous battle and character elements Tower of Saviors presents throughout the game. Progressing through the game or spending in-game currency will unlock character cards. Each card is marked with a color and when a line of runes is formed, characters of that color will attack the enemy. During each stage, enemies will appear at the top of the screen. After a set number of turns, those enemies will begin attacking the player’s team. If the player’s hit points reach zero, the game is over, but if all the enemies are defeated, the player will be rewarded with numerous prizes, including new characters.
Draw Rider is an iOS and Android app from 17Studio. It is available now as a free download, with a premium version available for $1.99. The premium version includes more features, more levels, and removes advertisements.
Draw Rider is a single player racing game where the player’s goal is to complete each stage within a strict time limit. While the game only runs from left to right, its use of rough terrain, balancing, and physics make the simple goal quite difficult to accomplish. Even with a high difficulty level, Draw Rider provides a concept that is simple enough for gamers of all levels to grasp.
Draw Rider places the player in the role of a stick figure riding a bicycle from the far left end of the level to the far right. The four on-screen buttons accelerate, brake, lean forward, and lean backward. There’s not much else to the gameplay, but those tools are more than enough to add a sense of challenge to the experience. That challenge is further increased by the rough terrain. While the first couple levels are mostly flat, the stages quickly become full of pits, dips, hills, and other obstacles and rough areas that will require the player to quickly master the controls and understand the physics engine if he or she wants to find success. To make it even harder, each level comes with three time limits, of which the longest much be beaten before the next level is unlocked. There are 37 stages in the free version of the game, which will provide more than enough challenge for the majority of players.
SpellRush 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.
Taptiles Saga is a Facebook game from Arkadium. It’s available now for anyone to play on the social network, and is receiving regular promotion via sidebar ads in App Center.
Taptiles Saga is essentially a three-dimensional take on mahjong solitaire, with cubic tiles stacked in a tower-like arrangement rather than a flat design with tiles stacked atop each other as in conventional mahjong solitaire. This means that the arrangement can be rotated and viewed from four different angles rather than the top-down view of regular mahjong solitaire. This would actually be a pretty original concept for a puzzle game were it not for the fact that this is now the seventh time Arkadium has used this exact game mechanic across all platforms, and the second time it has used it on Facebook. Still, in a world drowning in Bejeweled-inspired match-3 games and bubble shooters, any game that breaks from the “norm” is worthy of note, regardless of whether the developer has done it before.
Basic gameplay in Taptiles Saga requires players to match pairs of cubic tiles that bear the same symbol. Like in mahjong solitaire, tiles may only be removed if they are free to slide out of their arrangement and are not “blocked in” on two sides. As the player progresses through the game, additional types of tile start to show themselves, including dark magic blocks, which must be matched to clear chains off other blocks, and stone blocks which are unmovable except through use of a “pickaxe” powerup that costs soft currency to use.
Transformers 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.
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.
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.