Archive for the ‘ Reviews ’ Category

Asphalt 6: Adrenaline is out of the shop and it’s firing on all cylinders

by Dave Loft

I had quite a few problems with Asphalt 6 when it first came out as I mentioned in my previous post. To summarize, it was too big at 1GB, took too much RAM at over 100MB, it had framerate issues, stability issues, control issues and achievements were not saved. To say the least, it was a complete mess. I had planned to write a review when it came out but instead I just ranted about how poorly done the Android port was.

Well here we are five weeks and two patches later and Gameloft has addressed all of my issues. It now uses less storage at just under 900MB and limits the download to 500MB compressed. It’s now down to 70MB of RAM, the framerate has improved, stability is great, control issues are gone and achievements are working. It is now in a state that I would consider release worthy and I am now going to give it a proper run through.

First and foremost it really is a great game and is easily the best Arcade Racer on Android. The physics on the cars feel a little off and fairly floaty but after a few hours with the game, that issue kind of fades away. Drifting is an absolute blast, once you get the rhythm down. Accelerometer steering is precise and feels just right and for anyone who prefers alternative methods of steering, you will be happy to see a few alternative options available.

The graphics are good, but look somewhat grainy, like it’s not taking advantage of the high res display on my phone. But then on some tracks this isn’t an issue at all. It appears to be the detailed textures used on some levels that have the issue and utilizing anti aliasing and anisotropic filtering would clear it up. Making up for the texture issues are the beautifully rendered cars, lush scenery, great filtering and weather effects. All of which come together to create a great visual presentation.

The game offers a number of ways to play. With Free Race you will be given an option of four modes; Normal Race, Beat ’em All, Elimination and Collector. Beat ’em All requires that you knock out a set number of opponents. Just smash your car against theirs and push them into the edge of the track will usually do the trick and is followed by a pleasing slow motion ‘Elimination’ animation. Get used to taking out racers this way as you will need to take out a few racers in each race to rank higher. In Elimination, races the last racer will be eliminated every 30 seconds till there is just three left. With Collector your goal is to collect the most special items and to win, you will need to get out first quickly. In Career you will have four additional modes; Dual, Time Attack, Drift and Under Pressure. Under Pressure is just like Beat ’em All, except that you have limited respawns.

The game has 42 cars ranging from the Mini Cooper to the Bugatti Veyron, all of which can be customized with paint jobs, decals and performance enhancing parts.  The game provides 11 leagues, 55 events and 12 courses to sharpen your skills on. Then when your ready you can take them online and race with up to six people, locally or over the internet. This game does not disappoint in the value for dollar catagory.

This has been my go to game for the past week whenever I have had time to sink my teeth into it. It’s not the game I pickup when I have a couple minutes while waiting, as it takes too long to load into the game and get racing. But like many Gameloft games, it is the game I go to when I’m looking for a console like experience. The depth of gameplay is beyond most smartphone games and easily provides the same amount of content of a game ten times it’s price. If you like arcade racing games, then Asphalt 6 is a must buy.

Score: 9.0

Official Website: Gameloft.com

For those interested, the game is only for high end phones and must be purchased from Gameloft directly. Games can be paid with credit card or PayPal and with some carriers, carrier billing is an option. Any game purchased can be easily re-downloaded by heading to gameloft.com on your phone and selecting ‘My Downloads’ at the bottom of the page. Login with your email or phone number and any game purchased available for that model will appear. Gameloft games will occasionally check for updates when launched and download them automatically if needed. 

email:  android.support@gameloft.com
phone: 1-800-910-3186

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Guerrilla Bob is well dressed but doesn’t have anything to say

by Dave Loft

I’ve had Guerrilla Bob for about a month and while it’s easily one of the most polished games on the Android market, it just doesn’t posses the longevity to keep me interested. Now to be fair, that would describe most mobile phone games and is exactly why they’re typically priced below $5. I guess I’m just looking for a console experience on a phone and one I know can be done.

I love the graphics in the game and the visual style reminds me of TF2. The textures are clean, beautifully put together and they’re not very detailed. But it works within the style of the game. To go with the smooth graphics is an equally smooth framerate that makes Guerrilla Bob a joy to play.

Cross compatibility is a big part of the marketing behind Guerrilla Bob and is one feature few games have offered. It is unfortunately only local multiplayer and the lacks the essential online multiplayer required to keep me playing the game.

Controls are plentiful with options to auto-aim and multiple dual stick configurations to choose from. If your new to dual stick games, or just want a simpler experience on your mobile, auto-aim is a great place to start. Once you get good at the game you can set the difficulty to hard or just turn off auto-aim.

The game offers ten guns and four characters to choose from, but with only one to start the game. You will unlock more as you play and getting all the guns can take quite a while.

The game offers a few ways to play; arcade, survival and mercenary. Arcade and mercenary are the same game but it changes how weapons are unlocked. In arcade you need to find new weapons hidden throughout the level. While in mercenary mode, you make money by taking out enemies to spend on your weapon of choice. With these two modes your goal is to move to the end of the level and your only job is to shoot. Survivor is the same gameplay in an arena and your scored based on how long you can survive.

What you soon realize is that all of the options available are pretty much the same. I feel if your gonna do just a shooting game, your gonna need more than ten guns. If you want to make your game more than just a shooting game some extra gameplay elements would go a long way. Just steeling ideas from your standard fps will do wonders. Vehicles, mele combat, stealth, cover, defend here, attack this, find the key, disguise as an enemy, something, anything. It just won’t stand as long without another leg to use.

To be fair. this really is me just wanting more complexity from mobile games and that’s something many people don’t care for. Taking into consideration what type of game Angry Mob was aiming to create with Guerrilla Bob, they have definitely nailed the mechanics of the game. It’s when you compare Guerrilla Bob to other shooters available on the Android Market that it becomes a more compelling product. It may have nothing on games like Modern Combat, but it’s really not trying to either.

Guerrilla Bob is the shooter built for a touch screen phone and one that’s accessible to the masses. This is the style of shooter that will have the most success on mobile devices and Angry Mob has built the best of it’s kind. Hopefully they can take that success and return with a squeal that raises the bar well above the the competition, rather than just over.

Score: 8.0

Android Market Link: Guerrilla Bob
Official Website: angrymobgames.com

Dungeon Hunter 2 Spells a Winner

by Dave Loft

The sequel to Dungeon Hunter was recently made available for Android and it’s improved over the original in every way. I enjoyed Dungeon Hunter but I stopped playing after a couple hours. Dungeon Hunter 2 has sucked me into several hours of compelling gameplay and has shown me no sign of letting go.

When the game starts you have your choice of three classes; warrior, rogue and mage. Once you get going you will have a further options to customize with one of two specializations and dozens of skills. The game is easy to use, which really goes a long way to making it accessible. The menu and character customization screens are easy to navigate, which is often an issue with RPG’s.

The controls feel much better than the first, especially with the 3 spell buttons being separated which makes them much easier to hit in the middle of action. The only issue I had with control was often getting stuck on objects around the world.

One of the big benefits of the game is in it’s save game simplicity. Since your game save is done automatically. If you have to quit and take care of something more important, your right where you left off when your ready to resume. Which is essential for an RPG on a mobile phone.

For anyone familiar with the first game, you’ll be impressed to know that Dungeon Hunter 2 is five times the size of the first. The variety of levels and enemies are also more diverse, keeping things from getting boring. Dungeon Hunter 2 has a total of 14 Acts and a maximum character ranking of 100. My character was only at level 25 by the time I hit Act 9. So if you find it too difficult, just grind away till you rank up a few levels before taking on that hard to beat story mission. It’s surprising how quickly those earlier challenging enemies become a cakewalk.

The graphics in Dungeon Hunter 2 have improved greatly since the first one. The textures are crisp, the animation is smooth and the lighting effects are impressive. The framerate has dropped a bit from the first game but considering the style of gameplay, it’s not much of a hindrance.

My biggest issue comes down to the dialogue and character interaction. There are no voice actors at work here, so expect lots of reading. Considering the sheer amount of dialogue and the tradition of RPG’s to not use voice acting, it’s not surprising. But it would have been nice to have more camera angles and character animation during this interactions. It may be nit picky but it does leave the world feeling quite static.

It’s great to see them add online and local co op play allowing you to take your character online or off at whim. It’s a great experience when played with someone you know. But you will want them to be beside you when you play so you can coordinate better. Playing online and having no way to communicate with one another takes away from the experience and just makes it more difficult. I would love to see some voice chat capability, this is a phone after all. But it’s hard to fault the game for something that no mobile game has implemented thus far.

This is a traditional Action\RPG through and through and doesn’t make any changes to that tried and true formula. It really is just Diablo II for Android and ultimately it doesn’t get much better than that.

Score: 9.5

Official Website: Gameloft.com

For those interested, the game is only for high end of phones and must be purchased from Gameloft directly. Games can be paid with credit card or PayPal and with some carriers, carrier billing is an option. Any game purchased can be easily re-downloaded by heading to gameloft.com on your phone and selecting ‘My Downloads’ at the bottom of the page. Login with your email or phone number and any game purchased available for that model will appear. Dungeon Hunter 2 will occasionally check for updates when launched and download them automatically if needed. 

email:  android.support@gameloft.com
phone: 1-800-910-3186


Stellar Escape on Android

by Dave Loft

I’m really impressed with the quality of Stellar Escape and the entertainment I’ve squeezed from this simple yet brilliantly executed game. Stellar Escape is a very straight forward game, literally. Your character always runs forward and you simply have to hit the right button to jump over or under the obstacles. But make three mistakes and your dead.

The graphics and animation are beautiful and the controls couldn’t be better. On the left you have two buttons, the top one grabs the bar above you and bottom one is for jumping down the tubes. On the right you have three buttons, jump over, dive between and slide under obstacles. The buttons icon clearly illustrates with what each does and was never a hindrance to my progression. See image below.

The game doesn’t have too much story and you won’t even be presented with one if you just choose ‘Play’ from the menu. But if you want the story, you can choose it by selecting ‘Story’ from the main menu. The story is presented with six still images with the story written on each page. You play Elliot Black who is ‘a courier in the infamous Beta Sector’. Upon delivering a package to Lord Gulasch, Elliott finds his evil plan to destroy Earth. Elliot is quick to act and grabbed the jewel from the package and begins running for his ship. The jewel was the last piece in Lord Gulasch’s super laser and taking it made Elliott ‘the most wanted person in the galaxy’.


Some may find the game too short with only 9 levels, something a better player than I could finish in an hour. But for anyone who does finish the game it provides an endless mode allowing you to push for a new high distance score. So at least there is something to do, even after you made it back to your ship. Some more levels and variation would definitely have made Stellar Escape just about the perfect game. But considering the quality of the game and a price tag of less than $1.50, there should be no hesitation in buying this game. *Update* Less than a week old and Orange Agenda has already released a major update with 6 more levels. Bringing the total level count up to 15. I don’t think anyone can argue the game is too short anymore.

I’m really pleased with Orange Agenda’s decision to release this game on both the iOS and Android platform at the same time. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that Orange Agenda is comprised of just two developers. I strongly recommend to anyone with an iOS or Android device to go out and buy this truly stellar game. You will not be disappointed with Stellar Escape.

Score: 9.0

Android Market Link: Stellar Escape
Official Website: orangeagenda.com

Gun Bros shoots it way onto Android

by Dave Loft

Gun Bros (Glu Mobile)

This free game is a killer, literally. You play one of two characters in the top down shooter with waves of increasingly difficult enemies. The longer you survive and the more enemies you kill the more xplodium and experience you earn. The xplodium is then traded in for money to spend on weapons and Armour. Unlocking stuff takes a long time to earn but the payoff is enjoyable.

Unfortunately the user interface needs work, the menus are cluttered and not well designed from an ease of use standpoint. The menu buttons are small and it’s easy to hit the wrong one. Also once you die it takes too long to get back into the action. Your first taken to a screen to convert the xplodium into cash, a process that just adds an extra step and is not really needed in the game. After converting to cash your taken to the store even though it will take a couple dozen games before you can even afford anything. I would prefer after a game that it would just take you back to the main menu and let you select the option to play, quit or go to the store.

The good thing is once you are in a game the controls are easy to pick up and play. You use dual analog sticks to move and aim and the gun combat is one of the best of it’s kind. While the concept is simple, the game is fairly difficult. You really need to keep moving and avoid getting surrounded by enemies and it doesn’t take much to die. Thankfully you have more than just your guns to take out enemies. Throughout the environment are items you can shoot at that will explode and take out enemies near it. You can also purchase power ups to use when the action gets overwhelming. Some of the power ups include shields, orbital strikes, tactical nukes and a temper tantrum that gives you a boost in speed, defense and attack ability.

The graphics and art style are great, easily the best looking of it’s kind. The game is massive and the developer promises more to come. I can’t wait for the multiplayer version as the co-op game style seems destined to be even better when played with a friend. Also good news for anyone who has limited internal phone storage and cache. Thankfully the developer has released a small apk on the market that is only 1MB in size. When launched the game downloads the remaining 100MB to your SD card. Going forward with the limited space available on many phones and the growing trend of larger games this process will become a requirement.

All in all it’s yet another great free game for Android, hit up the Android Market to download.

Score: 7.5

Android Market Link: Gun Bros
Official Website: gunbros.glu.com

Modern Combat 2 answers the Call of Duty

by Dave Loft

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus (Gameloft)

Black Pegasus is by far, the best first person shooter on Android. It’s surprisingly beautiful considering it’s being played on a phone and easily equals what was cutting edge on a PC just six years ago. To no surprise the games production value is top notch. The menu is well designed and easy to use. The sound quality is top notch with a good soundtrack and great voice overs. The controls are just about as good as you can get and are very customizable, allowing you to move the position of the virtual buttons to your liking.

The game is obviously Gameloft’s version of Modern Warfare and they don’t pretend not to be. But with the lack of competition in this field and no Call of Duty game available, it’s not surprising to see them deliver a game people want. Many clones in the gaming world are usually under cooked, but this clearly isn’t the case. Black Pegasus brings with it a fantastic multiplayer game that offers the now standard ranking system. The drive for better weapons and a higher rank will keep you playing the game for many hours.

The single player is an epic romp around the globe offering the standard assortment of jungle, desert, winter and an off shore oil rig combat. The enemies aren’t particularly intelligent compared to what you would find on a modern console. But their accuracy and numbers keeps things challenging for an Android game. The story is lacking any depth but then that’s not uncommon for a shooter, especially one on a phone.

Truly the only way to find fault with the game is to compare it to games that you would play on your home console. It’s when you step back and change your point of comparison to other smartphone games that you realize how stellar of a game this really is. Gameloft has made a game that truly delivers that console quality experience on a phone. An ability that so far few developers can pull off.

Score: 9.5

Official Website: Gameloft.com

For those interested, the game is only for the highest end of phones and must be purchased from Gameloft directly. Games can be paid with credit card or PayPal and with some carriers, carrier billing is an option. Any game purchased can be easily re-downloaded by heading to gameloft.com on your phone and selecting ‘My Downloads’ at the bottom of the page. Login with your email or phone number and any game purchased available for that model will appear. Modern Combat 2 will occasionally check for updates when launched and download them automatically if needed.

email:  android.support@gameloft.com
phone: 1-800-910-3186

PewPew is a blast from the past

by Dave Loft

PewPew (Jean-François Geyelin)

PewPew looks and plays very much like Geometry Wars and space shooters of the past. The game has a wonderful vibe built from it’s bright vector graphics and funky soundtrack. The menus have a great minimalist style that works so well while displaying very little.

PewPew goes beyond the competition when it comes to how you can play. There are four modes available to you, Pandemonium, Assault , Chromatic Conflict and Dodge this. If your new to this style of gameplay I suggest starting with Dodge this. As the name suggests  it focuses on avoiding objects to stay alive. This will help you get used to controlling your movement without worrying about shooting.

In Pandemonium, your main objective is to survive the onslaught of blue ships and exploding green cubes. You get a new life every 10,000 points. But it’s unlikely you will hit that level without much practice. Chromatic Conflict is a most unique game mode offered. You can only destroy enemies that have the same colour as your ship. You can change the colour of your ship by moving over the coloured pulsars in the corner of the levels. This game mode requires more strategy then the others and is ultimately the one with the best replay value.

The Assault mode is a quick pick up and play kind of game. You only have one life and your main objective is to destroy as many enemies as you can. To make it you will have to collect as many boxes as you can to increase your score and shield points. Enemy ships will come in waves from all sides and if your not quick enough, you will be squeezed out.

The only thing I can find wrong with the game is the lack of sound effects. For a game called PewPew I would of expected the pew sound when firing. The only thing you hear in the game is music, but at least the soundtrack is great. The game lacks multiplayer but includes online high scores for comparison with friends and the legions of PewPew fans around the world.

Overall this is a game well worth installing and offers more than enough gameplay for a free title. Hit up the Android Market to pick this one up.

Score: 7.5

Android Market Link: PewPew
Official Website: pewpewgame.blogspot.com

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