Monday, November 19, 2012

Puzzle and Dragons: A Winning Mobile Mix

GungHo Online Entertainment’s free-to-play Puzzle and Dragons has finally touched down in North America, the original mobile match puzzle RPG arriving stateside on iOS late to the party in the face of similar titles such asAngel Salvation or Jewel Dragon.  Puzzle and Dragons is well worth the wait, as RPG and puzzle fans alike have plenty to enjoy in this monster collecting, dungeon crawling, orb matching mashup.

Many aspects of Puzzle and Dragons can be likened to systems found in thePuzzle Quest series, as players assemble an army of egg-hatched monsters that can be leveled and evolved to increase their stats and abilities.  Each monster’s color corresponds to an orb type found on the puzzle board during dungeon exploration.  When orbs are matched, the affiliated monsters will charge up and fire off attacks.

Players begin by executing three, four, and five match combos facilitated by creature abilities (Such as change all fire orbs to water orbs, for instance) and will quickly discover that creating large combo chains will yield explosive results.  Fire is weak to water, wood is weak to fire, and so on and so forth, making team formation an interesting task for each dungeon at hand.

Dungeons in Puzzle and Dragons run the gamut, from quick three room skirmishes to massive special event crawls.  As one would expect with any RPG, there’s treasure to be found, rare monsters and eggs to be retrieved, and big bosses to fight.  There are plenty of different abilities to make monster formations interesting as well, as creatures can sport everything from AOE burst attacks to passive healing auras.

The game’s cash shop allows players to purchase magic stones that can refill stamina, expand monster storage space, and purchase random rare pets.  Magic stones can also be acquired through gameplay, and although the game does embrace the standard free-to-play stamina/energy model, it’s quite easy to get thirty minutes to several hours of gameplay on a single bar.

Puzzle and Dragons also features a “friend” slot in party composition, a rotating monster slot that changes with each dungeon crawl.  Players can bring their friend’s lead monsters along with them for significant benefits and advantages, including providing valuable “pal points” that can be used to purchase eggs from the shop.  Doing many missions a day but don’t have a huge friendlist?  Puzzle and Dragons provides players a listing of random explorers around their level upon dungeon entry, so players can try out someone’s monster during a run and then pitch friendship to them upon completion.

There are addictive elements in Puzzle and Dragons spanning multiple genres, and they all come together in a polished product that’s tough to put down.  If you’re looking for a new title to try on your iOS device, Puzzle and Dragons is well worth the download.

Written by: Daniel Tack

Last Fish Review

Last Fish is about a lonely little creature who is trying to survive the toxic water filled with goo and dangerous shadow fish. The main objective is to eat food and avoid the hazards in the water to survive as long as possible.

The controls are tilt based, but don’t let this be a deciding factor because they work well. There are three different setups for tilting the device, and the game also support Sphero—a robotic ball that gamers can use to control the fish. The tilting mechanic is used to help the fish swim around in the confined murky waters, which is sometimes toxic itself.

The goal in each level is to complete one of the four objectives that flash on the screen. These include surviving for a specific amount of time, following a trail of rings, clearing checkpoints and eating food to achieve a specific health number. While the goals rotate throughout all 45 levels, each level is different in terms of difficulty. As gamers advance, the food quality diminishes, the goo increases, health drops at a faster rate and there are more shadow fish to avoid.

Completing a level earns gamers one of three stars. These stars are used to unlock five arcade stages that allow gamers to play endlessly. Players can go back at anytime and replay levels where they didn’t earn three stars to earn more in order to unlock these levels. As a bonus, there are also Game Center achievements and leaderboards.

While Last Fish features monochromatic graphics, the visuals are still beautiful and impressive. The low pitched and relaxing sound effects and music help set the tone for the game. The simplicity is what makes it stand out the most.

Its main downfall is that the game needs more content. There needs to be more objectives, challenges and obstacles to keep the game play fresh, otherwise players may place this one on the shelf once they are finished. However, it can be argued that gamers are getting a decent amount of game time considering this universal gem is less than one dollar.

Last Fish may be simple on the surface, but it’s hard to master. It’s a clever game with a unique art style, and its addicting game play makes it worth checking out.

Review By Angela LaFollette on November 14th, 2012
Rating:  :: DELIGHTFUL

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chasing Moonlight Review

Chasing Moonlight is a simple platform game that uses a back-to-basics approach to keep players hooked. While the controls are unconventional and somewhat difficult to master, the game play itself is simple but still provides players with plenty of challenge.

What’s captivating about Chasing Moonlight is the artwork and overall style of the game. The simple black and white graphics aren't flashy, yet the game still looks great. It feels like players are in control of an unfamiliar classic cartoon character.

Chasing Moonlight includes 70 levels packed into 6 unique stages. The goal of each level is to guide the eye-ball through the dark levels and around dangerous obstacles to make it to the portal at the end. There are three small dots to collect along the way, which help determine the overall score of each level. Players can go back and collect any missed dots later so there is some replay value.

The controls are perhaps the most frustrating aspect. In order for a platformer to succeed, the controls must work well. The first level attempts to help gamers learn how to control the main character, but it’s still quite vague and confusing. After many failed attempts, I finally figured out how to play. Gamers must hold the screen to move and tap at the angle they wish to jump. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out how to move without dying, which may deter a lot of players from enjoying the game.

Aside from the control issues, the game proves to be rewarding and fun. There are new elements in each world like falling platforms and spinning gears. Chasing Moonlight keeps players challenged without being overly difficult.

Hopefully the planned future update that will include additional stages, levels and obstacles will also include an updated tutorial screen. For now, it’s a quirky platformer that’s immersive and fun. Chasing Moonlight not exactly revolutionary, but for less than one dollar it’s worth exploring for those who aren't impatient.

Reviewer's Rate: 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

DOKURO Review: The love of the undead

The love of the undead

Some months after PS Vita has been launched, we've seen limited selection of game genres.  The first batch of games that were released for Vita were not enough to convinced playstation fans or just gamers in general to get Vita. Given that PS Vita’s market is getting low, at the looks of it they are doing lots of tricks such as different packages. But this scenario is changing due to the press releases being published all over the internet. Big games… big expectations…

It’s been some weeks since I started poking around forums and started checking out people’s reasons for buying a Vita. Dokuro, one of the games that have been suggested to me caught my interest. Dokuro is a puzzle-platformer which recently announced by GungHo Online.

First thing potential players would ever noticed about Dokuro is its visuals, which is the game’s highest point. Settings of the game are pretty fulfilling; mad boss, princess being captured and a little skeleton trying to rescue the princess.  In order to progress, you have to make the safe way for the princess who is totally dependent on you. At first I thought the princess stops walking whenever dokuro is on his Prince transformation, but sadly it’s not the case. The princess was designed just to keep walking forward whether something would kill her like spikes, fire or even a falling platform. YES, it’s really annoying but that’s the challenge of it, you have to escort the helpless princess from point A to B. Countless times, you will be restarting a certain save point/level because the princess becomes stuck where a crate needs to drop, but again this is not a bad thing; while frustrating, it is also extremely motivating to keep that silly broad from mucking up her own escape while mastering each and every level layout.

Skeleton and Prince
So Dokuro has 2 forms; normal mode is the little skeleton, which can double jump and bash enemies away but cannot kill them. Second is the handsome prince who can carry the princess whenever there’s obstacles, and can kill enemies. The transformation occurs upon using the potion that also cools down on a certain time when not in use.

Based from some reviews and guides I've read there are 3 different chalks
The chalk is the tool that can help you manipulate your surroundings.
White = to repair the broken ropes to move the boulders or platform
Red = create a fuse to light up fire woods or ignite an explosive barrel.
Blue = a line forms a water surface to lift the wooden boxes.

Early boss Fight
There will be a number of level/save points with a boss at the end. Even though you’re on your beginner’s stage you still need to face a boss monster. While fighting with the boss, there are still tricks that you need to discover to help you defeat the boss.

Dokuro sure helps people to improve on their puzzle-solving skills. YES this game is somewhat frustrating but that will motivates you to solve the puzzle more.

Rating: 8.5/10
Ok so here's a little demo video for you! ENJOY!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Sequel of Metin 2

Metin is the Metin2 prequel, developed by YMIR Entertainment and was originally released to Korea in 2000. Due to public demand, YMIR Entertainment will finally release their Global Version and currently on their test version. 

Metin is not graphically impressive but gameplay is worth trying. Having improved all decent skills and knowledge to support global service, Metin will bring about sensation which will take users back to the initial MMORPGs full of 2D vibe

Metin’s character creation is pretty limited; you can only customize your character’s hair. But since they are still on their test version, I’m expecting that they will have more customization in outfit.

Metin’s races are Dwarf, Sent and Elf; available for both gender. Their starting stats are also shown on the character creation.

Leveling up and attributes
In Metin, gaining experience is pretty high; but then unlike any other MMO, leveling in METIN doesn’t rely on the experience bar. Your character will gain another level once you have gained 3 points from your character stats, pick one of STR, DEX and INT. Character stats in Metin are pretty tricky.

-HP will increase according to your STR.
-MP is your mana and it will increase according to your intelligence.
-Armor is your DEF and it will increase according to your equipment’s attribute.
-STR increases when you attack the monsters.
-DEX increases when you are attacked.
-INT increases when using magic.

Unlike other games, you can only get your skills after joining a clan. Your skill will depend on the clan you’ll be joining. Once you joined clan, a list of skills and their availability will be shown (depending on the level and stats required)

I find Metin’s Shop system gives you unique experience. You can bargain with the NPC to discount the item’s price. For now, I couldn’t access cash shop and I think it is because of the client is still on testing.

If you started playing, here is our tip to help you. Don’t go to the continent unless you’re level 30 and think what character build you like before making your move.
As for making money, you may sell some loot but make sure to look at their item characteristics first.

Note: If you’re getting confuse I suggest to read their cartoons first to better understand the game.

Rating: 7/10

Here's a little Gameplay video:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Guitar Hero on iPhone

Given Activision's love of releasing ten billion Guitar Hero games a month, it's somewhat surprising that the evil publisher has taken so long to wrap its tendrils around iTunes. Titles like Tap Tap Revenge have already demonstrated a healthy portable music game market, while rivals such as Rock Band and Guitar Rock Tour have already settled into the market.

Still, better late than never. Guitar Hero has finally stamped its boot into the iTunes market, with a little help from Vicarious Visions. The question, of course, is how well Guitar Hero translates to the iPhone, and how does it compare to the music games already available to Apple thralls? Well, that's what this review is for, stupid!
Guitar Hero (iPhone)
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Activision
Released: June 7, 2010
MSRP: $2.99

From the outset, Guitar Hero doesn't deviate from the well worn path, featuring a setup familiar to those who have played Rock Band or Guitar Rock Tour. Notes fall down the screen in typical Guitar Hero fashion, while the player taps the "buttons" at the bottom when notes align. Fundamentally, it's nothing that hasn't been done before, but the implementation is what makes Guitar Hero stand out.

For a start, Guitar Hero works better than either Rock Band or Guitar Rock Tour do on the touch screen. In those prior games, I always felt the interface wasn't responsive enough, and it was very easy to miss notes or play the wrong ones due to how bunched together the interactive parts of the screen felt. While Guitar Hero looks no different from those other games, the interface feels much more responsive and efficient. Unlike Rock Band, where it was easy to mess up notes with a misplaced finger, Guitar Hero seems to clearly interpret the borders between its "buttons" and make sure that the area you want to tap is the area that works.

Guitar Hero spices things up a bit with a "strum" gimmick designed for the iPhone's touch screen. Simply put, it's a case of touching a note and then sliding to the left or right while keeping the finger held down. It's a very simple thing, but it does enough to change the way the game feels, especially when your fingers are slaloming across the iPhone during a particularly tricky solo. Star Power also makes its obligatory appearance, and its activation requires the pressing of a bar just above the note "buttons". The only problem with the Star Power is the fact that getting a breather between notes to activate it can be tricky, although it's far easier to use than Guitar Rock Tour's version, which stuck it far away from the notes.

To keep things interesting, the game also has a set of challenges (Achievements, basically) and a rank progression system, which are used to unlock various costumes and items so players can customize their avatars. Community leaderboards and Facebook integration are also thrown in to keep competitive players interested.

As you'll notice, Guitar Hero is currently $2.99 on iTunes, which may strike you are very cheap for an Activision game. That's because you're essentially buying a platform as opposed to a fully fledged title. The standalone package only provides you with six songs for the money, while further song packs can be bought for $1.99 apiece. Essentially, it's a fiendishly clever way to ensure people get into the game for a pittance, but keep paying into it in order to extend the initial experience. Like a crack dealer, ostensibly. It's actually not too shabby an idea, either. For $2.99, you get what essentially amounts to two song packs, and you can expand the library at your leisure. Some may dislike the business model, but I happen to enjoy it.

Despite being a really well put together game, Guitar Hero does suffer from an unfortunate slowdown bug at the moment. The game can randomly dip in its framerate and everything onscreen begins to stutter, which of course is no good for a game where timing and precision is important. It's not a huge issue since it appears infrequently and only temporarily, but some people may wish to wait for an update before jumping in.

That one issue aside, Guitar Hero is quite possibly the best music game of this nature on the iPhone. With a nice variety of starter songs, a solid interface, and a great aesthetic, not to mention extra challenges and avatar customization, Guitar Hero for the iPhone is a great little music game, and worthy of your attention.

Score: 8.0 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Review written by: Jim Sterling