July 23, 2012
Relying on a sense of absurdity that’s in line with the bulk of their releases regardless of medium, Adult Swim Games’ Monsters Ate My Condo is a fast-paced puzzle game that’s worth a look. The game was developed by PikPok, a developer of smartphone and tablet games, and originally released onto Apple’s App Store in 2011. It was just recently released for Android devices.
As they fell from the heavens, I had to match three or more of the same colored condos to remove them from the growing, ever toppling tower of condos. I had to manage the increasing amount of condos and prevent the tower from falling over while appeasing the monsters on either side of it. If need be, I could swipe condos to monsters to make room and try to get a combo, but if I fed a monster too many condos of an opposing color, I ran the risk of upsetting the monster too much, at which point it’d break and destroy the tower, ending the game.
Besides just appeasing the monsters, I could utilize their special abilities in an effort to increase my score. Along with the special abilities of the monsters, I could try and create chains of combos to reach for a high score. When I created a chain, special blocks of bronze, silver, gold, and eventually diamond constructions remained, that when matched, produced big points. Although my management of the tower and the monsters was my focus, scoring big points was the name of the game.
In both the endless mode and the time attack mode, scoring as many points as possible was the goal. My management of the tower and the monsters became tougher the longer a session would go on. As my high score climbed, so too did the tower; it’d be able to hold more condos and the condos began coming in more colors and types. The longer a gameplay session lasted, the more ridiculous it became. The screen was full of nonsense in line with the Japanese monster movie vibe along with point totals and multipliers that were constantly flying around.
Monsters Ate My Condo is a visually striking game that was quick to captivate and worth every bit of the dollar it costs.
June 5, 2012
When I picked up my iPod today, I discovered that the world has been in a state of chaos thanks to a group of terrorists. Without a force for good, anything can happen, so I decided to join cobra command. The task force is comprised of elite helicopter pilots and a network of necessary support staff and is the focus of the video game, Cobra Command. Originally released as an arcade game in 1984, it was developed by Data East and thanks to Revolutionary Concepts, it’s playable on iOS devices.
Cobra Command is a combination of Saturday morning cartoons and action-based video games. Instead of graphics composed of pixels or polygons, the game is an animated cartoon. Like the Saturday morning cartoons from the 1980s, some of the drawing, animation, and transitions are imprecise. However, the fact that it’s hand drawn is impressive and this style sets it apart from other games.
The terrorist’s primary weapons are also helicopters and shooting them down requires pinpoint accuracy and swift timing. As my helicopter flew on its predetermined path, I would wait for an indicator to pop up on my foes, at which point I would shoot them and hope I destroyed them before a timer ran out. If I didn’t, I’d have to restart from the previous checkpoint.
I found the game to be very hard at first, but when I turned the difficulty down to easy, I blew through Cobra Command. On easy, I didn’t have to manually take sharp turns by utilizing my iPod’s accelerometer as much as before, and the timing required to shoot down my foes seemed more lenient. Still, deaths often felt cheap and to succeed I had to rely heavily on memorization and quick reflexes.
Games like Cobra Command don’t get made often anymore and for good reason. Building a game around a cartoon or any predetermined video limits how a player can interact, and developer’s implementations almost always rely heavily on memorization and quick reflexes. These aren’t negative traits, but they can lead to frustration quickly. Unless you have a sweet spot for games like this, I’d avoid enrolling in cobra command.
October 7, 2011
A new game in the Katamari series has been released this week. The newest title, Katamari Amore doesn’t bring anything new to the series, but according to some, it’s an improvement over the last iOS Katamari game, I Love Katamari.
The main criticism of I Love Katamari was the game’s reliance on tilt controls. It seems the major complaint was the responsiveness, or lack thereof. I haven’t played I Love Katamari but I can imagine how tilt controls would be a pain. Katamari Amore still has the tilt controls, but the default option is to play with a virtual joystick on the screen. This method worked fairly well; I didn’t feel like I had great control, I had a difficult time making sharp turns, but this probably works way better than strictly tilt controls.
My major complaint is the camera. I wish I could control the camera via a second virtual joystick on the right side of the screen, but there’s no camera control at all. The camera sticks behind the prince and slowly changes as he turns. It was adequate but not ideal.
I’m not sure how much of the content in Katamari Amore is new and what is rehashed, but for a paltry four dollars, it’s probably a solid game to have in a pinch. Even if the controls weren’t perfect, they did an adequate job of translating my actions to the prince.
August 9, 2011
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is a downloadable adventure game for iOS devices. There are two versions, one specifically for the iPad and another that works on the iPhone and the iPod Touch. It was developed by Capybara Games; art was done by Superbrothers, and special mention was given to the musical stylings of Jim Guthrie. The two versions were released in March and April of this year, respectively.
Superbrothers is a point and click adventure game. To move my character (The Scythian), I clicked where I wanted her to go and she went there. Alternatively I could hold my finger on the screen and drag to where I wanted her to go. I played the game on my iPod Touch, and I wasn’t really that happy with the size of the screen. Then again, I don’t have a past with point and click adventure games, so this was sort of a new experience for me.
I explored my surroundings and tried to figure out what was going on and what I had to do. The Scythian wasn’t all brain however. Occasionally as I explored, I’d run into enemies and have to fight them. Normally I’d hold the iPod in landscape mode, but whenever I had to fight I’d have to stand the iPod upright. During fights, icons of a sword and a shield would appear in the bottom right of the screen. Battles were infrequent, but battling the bosses became tedious. The bosses attacked in mostly the same way and a lot of these fights required precise timing swinging my sword; easier said than done.
The game is broken down into sessions. My first session lasted about thirty minutes and it introduced me to the character I controlled, The Scythian, my surroundings, apparently the Caucasus Mountains in Eurasia, and my quest. After a bit of walking I ran into a couple of people. One of them, Logfella (voiced by Robert Ashley!) led me to Mingi Taw, where I found the Megatome. For one reason or another, the Megatome is what the Scythian was after. After it was removed however, a deathless spectre awoke and I had to find a way to deal with it.
The art style for Superbrothers was very interesting. I usually don’t like games that use a darker palette, but the pixel-like design of Superbrothers drew me in. The mystery behind the story also drew me in. I was perplexed by the quest The Scythian was on and the hipster dialogue kept me questioning the time period the game was set in. The objectives I accomplished were conceptually very interesting, but the actual gameplay I had to go through was oftentimes not ideal. I enjoyed everything but the gameplay in Superbrothers and for a couple of bucks, that’s a good deal, even if I didn’t beat it.