Aug 1, 2012

Dead Trigger Goes Free

I noticed on Apple's App Store that Dead Trigger (from the makers of Shadowgun) was now free and usually to my disappointment the same isn't true on the Android side of the fence. Well, today is the exception as Dead Trigger is also free for Android. Download away...

May 16, 2012

F18 Carrier Landing

I've been strangely attracted to a game called F18 Carrier Landing lately. I've always enjoyed flight simulators with a bit more towards an arcade oriented control structure. Microsoft's Flight Simulator has always appealed, but I just don't have the time to learn how to be a real pilot. The two games from the past that have really caught my fancy have been Solo Flight, an old Atari computer game from Microprose, and Ace Combat on the Playstation. Both were simple to control and both were a lot of fun. I'm finding F18 Carrier Landing to be the same and all for $1.

The game's controls are very simple. There's a throttle, an air brake, landing gear, and radar on your screen and you tilt your phone/tablet to "steer". There's a demo version in the Market to get you started with a simple flight where you're flying in for a landing, but the full game (come on... it's only a buck) adds missions. I was able to complete the training course pretty easily, but the next missions requires taking off from a carrier (the easy part) and landing at a nearby base on land. Holy cow that was rough. You'd think with such a simple control scheme it would take just a few tries to get it right, but apparently landing an F18 isn't easy. I joke... I don't really think this is like landing an F18. I suspect that might require more than a 2 minute training course, but this arcade like simulator provides enough for me and it's a lot of fun and frustratingly difficult. It's easy enough to slow on approach and drop the landing gear, but coming in at the right angle while maintaining the right elevation such that you're in a position to cut the throttle and hit the air brake hard after a touch down is just the right mix to keep things interesting.

qrcodeThe missions are pretty basic and are all a form of take off and land. And the graphics... they're so-so as well. A year ago I would have been writing a glowing review with respect to the graphics, but by today's standards with some of the Tegra titles available they're just a little better than average. The audio is on target and the in game instructions are pretty easy to follow although I miss the voice prompting regarding missions that the Ace Combat series had. In this game you just get little, green text blurbs with your orders in them.

All in all I'm really enjoying this game. It's inexpensive, it's challenging, it's fun, and it's right up my alley... plus it doesn't keep trying to sell me new planes or other junk like that (aka no in app purchases... yet). If flying games are your thing then check this out or, at least, try the demo. 4/5 stars.

May 15, 2012

Whale Trail Reprise

I saw an interesting article over at Touch Arcade this weekend on a game I have previously reviewed called Whale Trail. I'm fascinated by the fact that the devs thought they had just developed the next Angry Birds when they released this game. Yes it's pretty and it's cute, but it has little longevity unless you are six. And even then it hasn't proven to be the go to game for my six year old. So what's the solution? Pack the game full of ads and follow that abhorrent industry trend... The future apparently holds more along the lines of me playing games on emulators than it does native Android games. Right now I've pulled down SToid and want to get the old Dungeon Master up and running on my tablet.

On a sidenote, an interesting thing about SToid is what happens in the Android Market ahem Google Play when you search for SToid. It's nowhere near the top of the list. You'd think the "search experts" might make a search that matches a word in the app's title a top match versus PicsArt - Photo Studio being the number one hit for that search expression. SToid comes in at the 19th item on the list shortly after Pocket Pole Studio LITE.

Apr 24, 2012

Temple Run

If there's one game that's been getting the most play time on the family Android Tablet it's Temple Run. This free title has my six year old enthralled and it has impressed me as well. One reason it has impressed me is that it's free, but at the same time it's not just an empty shell meant to sell me stuff. Sure, I can buy extra coins, but they're kind of hidden off to the side within the game's menu system. It's not that 'in your face' stuff or ads in the middle of the playfield during the game.

Edit: A screen shot would be here if Google's blogger tool didn't suck... oh, how I need to migrate off of it.

What's Temple Run about? Well, it's been high on the Market's charts for a while so I'm probably a bit late to the table with this one. In a nutshell it takes those 2D games where you have to jump over and slide under obstacles as you run and turns that into a 3D experience. At the beginning of the game you've stolen the idol and come dashing out of the temple with several nasties chasing you down. You'll have to swipe left and right to turn, up and down to slide, and tilt to move left and right in an effort to pick up as many coins as you can along the way.

qrcodeCoins are used to buy power-ups. I have to admit, though, that we haven't spent much time focusing on that. Temple Run has been a fast paced arcade game in our household as we don't last much longer than a minute or two. In fact, my six year old proudly earned the Miser achievement yesterday... that's running 500m without picking up a single coin. She doesn't quite get that coins are good... well, they are unless you're trying to earn the Miser title which is another thing that makes the game quite cool. There are tons of different achievements to earn to keep you pushing for that extra mile meter.

I don't have much more to say about this one... it's free, it's fast, and it's fun. 5/5 stars. Get it if you haven't already.

Apr 18, 2012


When I got my now dated Android tablet roughly a year ago there were a handful of games targeting its Tegra 2 chipset. Worse yet, those games cost substantially more than most other Android Market games (over $5). So, as fate would have it, I ended up picking up ShadowGun on the iPad first and loved it. It offered a very high quality first person shooter experience that controlled well. I almost let temptation get the best of me and wrote an Android review based on the iPad version, but I resisted, eventually got the Android version of the game when it went on sale, and (finally!) here's the review.

ShadowGun's plot is simple and unexceptional. You are a futuristic bounty hunter invading Dr. Edgar Simon's fortress and have to battle past all of his droids and cyborgs. You're dropping in on the outskirts of his fortress and maintain contact with your commanders who feed you information throughout the game. Graphically the game is very sharp and it isn't that far behind modern console quality games. Actually, as more games of this quality appear, it makes me want to get a USB pad hooked up so I can use it instead of the touch screen as appropriate (not that this game supports that).

Everything is controlled by the touch screen with the typical on-screen gamepad on the left and on-screen buttons on the right. The on-screen game pad floats which, as I've said before, makes it much more accommodating. The game has a great tutorial to get you going and the difficulty ramps up at a pace that's just right. You'll start off with the basics of moving and looking around, firing your weapon, using controls panels to unlock force fields, and eventually be killing off a few, easy cyborgs. You'll soon be in the thick of things taking on multiple bots and automated weaponry just minutes into the game.

qrcodeBefore writing this review I did do one final test and that's to download the game on my phone (a single core Epic 4G) and run it through the paces. It installed just fine, but did load/run a bit slower although at an acceptable pace. One thing I was curious about was how well the game, after playing it on tablets, would adjust to the small screen size. Well, it's smaller and I must prefer playing on a tablet, but that shouldn't really be a surprise. It was however fully playable even though it was graphically jerkier. Actually I was surprised that a game of this caliber player as well as it did... at least until it force rebooted my phone. That didn't surprise me. All in all I'd say that if you've got a higher end phone you'll probably be fine, but anything less than a dual core phone comes with a warning.

All in all I love this game. It's a solid piece of work such that if you've got a device with the power to play it then it's a 5 star title. I would tend to stick with Tegra devices (and there's also an enhanced Tegra 3 version available), but it ran better than expected on my feeble Epic 4G albeit with the reboot. 5/5 stars.