Dec 5, 2009

Freebie Friday II

Late again with the Friday post...

On Sunday it'll be a whole month that I will have had my Android and I plan to write basically a summary of what I believe are the pros and cons of this device primarily compared to the iPhone (given that that was its primary competitor despite my Windows Pocket PC background), but for now let's take a look at some nice and not so nice free games for Android devices.

Armageddonoid is a Missile Command clone from Teleca Poland. It certainly is rough along the edges, but one thing I liked was the touch screen controls. Instead of letting me click to point I have to drag my finger to move the site and then click to fire which makes the game closer to the original from a control standpoint and more challenging. It also works with the trackball according to the authors and seems to play reasonably well for a freebie.

Android Invaders, from UKLooney, 'cheats' and isn't really a game, but rather a game emulator and in this case it emulates the old Space Invaders arcade game. The program itself actually searches the Internet for Space Invaders roms (which are illegal to have unless you own the original game). After that it plays just like the arcade game with the exception of the controls which aren't very good. For a start, given no multitouch only left, right, or fire can be used at a time if using the onscreen controls which seemed to work best. For me, I tried using the DPad and there seemed to be a delay in processing moves. The added haptic (vibration) feedback when you die also became annoying pretty fast.

Bloxx 3D is a 3D Tetris game where you are given the overview of a pit or well and block of different shapes fall down leaving you to sort them out so that they fit. Should you fill an entire level it disappears and you get points. I never could move my block left/right/up/down in the game, though, only being able to rotate it so this gets an "unplayable" rating in my book. I can only presume it works on some Android models and not on others.

Chess for Android, from Aart Blk is a nice, free Chess game with a simple 2D board and 5 skill levels which is more than enough to challenge a lousy chess player such as myself. Skill levels appear to be listed in terms of how long the computer has to make a move (from 0 to 30 seconds) vs. real chess rankings. Nonetheless, its free and plays just fine!

Millionaire is a card game in which you try and get rid of all of your cards first. The text is a bit messed up on the instructions for me, but I was able to work my way through to understanding the basics of the game. The game itself seems to play pretty nicely and touch selection of the cards works far better that I would have thought given the size of the cards. I've tried a few card games that claim to be popular overseas and usually it takes awhile to gain insight into the strategy behind the games once getting the rules down.

Milky Milky is a freebie from the esteemed Phil Symonds (creator of Abduction!: World Attack and Gem Miner: Dig Deeper) similar to those pipe games where you have to connect the pipe pieces by rotating them so that the water flows from the drain into the sewer. In this case you're moving milk from the cows into the milk truck as Phil apparently likes cow themed games. Well done, as usual with a tutorial and over 50,000 downloads in the 2 days he's released it. I have to wonder if he'd priced this at a dollar just how many downloads it would have or would people have been too cheap to pay a buck for it? I only hope Phil is financially rewarded over time for releasing 3 good games for Android devices.

Parachuter (which changes its name to Paratrooper when you've downloading/installed it) is just a pain to control. I can't help but feel that the goal of this game was to create a game where I'm clicking away blindly on the screen so that perhaps I accidentally click one of the ads at the bottom after I die vs creating an entertaining gaming experience. My Android's memory couldn't be big enough to warrant keeping this one installed.

Pinball, by Magma Mobile, is a pinball game featuring 5 different and interesting tables. One, for example, is Space Invader themed where you have to try and hit the aliens. While the ball physics is somewhat lacking... although not horrible either... this had some entertainment value for pinball players. I didn't start liking pinball until I hit age 35 or so thinking the game was just too simple and dare I say stupid as a kid/young adult. I've changed my stance and love the Pirates of the Caribbean pinball game at the local Chuck E Cheeses.

Press Your Luck, from Joe Sack, is a remake of the Parker Brother's board game called Can't Stop designed by the great Sid Sackson. I enjoy many board games and this is well enough done that it captures the feel of the original. The game isn't going to win any beauty contests as it's pretty plain looking, but it does the job. In this game you have columns from 2 - 12 and you roll 4 dice. You then pair up the dice any way you want to (i.e. a 3, 4, 5, 6 could be a 3+4=7 and a 5+6=11 or a 3+5=8 and a 4+6 = 10 or...) and advance your token along the corresponding numbered column. The trick it that you can only be advancing in 3 columns during a turn and if you roll such that you can't advance any of your tokens your lose all of your progress from that turn hence the name "Press Your Luck". Now, because 7 is more common that 2 when pairing 6 sided dice the 2 column only have 3 spots and the 7 column has 13 spots to make it to the top and the winner is the first to make it to the top of 3 of the columns. Make sense from my 4 line rules summary? Full rules from the Parker game are here. I'm biased towards this game as I already loved it. I was ecstatic to see an Android port that works well. It only have one level of AI and I can't be sure of how good that is yet, and this game isn't going to be fun unless you like the statistics and probability aspect of the game.[Update: I'm still undefeated in this game so I suspect the AI isn't that sharp, but it's still fun to play.]

Socobar 2.0 is a Sokoban clone from ConfettiMobile. Push the boxes on top of the dots to turn them red. Do so for all boxes and you've completed the level. I was a bit surprised at level 1's difficultly as I'm using to that being a teaser, but it took me far too long to get to puzzle 2 in a good sense. Nice little puzzle game!

Tightrope Hero is an innovative little game from Good Team Studio where you are a clown walking along a tightrope that somehow exists above the clouds (it was probably easier to do the graphics of clouds than a full cityscape). Tilt your Android back and forth to balance. But the pigeons love to land on your tightrope (and apparently love living above the clouds?) causing your center of gravity to change. Honest, I was pretty bored with this one pretty fast as progress seemed slow and there didn't seem to be much incentive to play on despite the title's very professional appearance

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