Jan 26, 2010


Every once in awhile a game comes across the wire that makes you wonder what kinds of drugs the designers are on. LoveCatch has me thinking that...

Ok, let me back up. Last night I received an email from Carlo at HyperDevbox in Japan asking me to review their new Android game titled LoveCatch. He provided a YouTube video of the game (accessible below). I watched and was intrigued by the anime graphics, the quality of the game itself, and the weird concept that I'm trying to impress my lover in this game. I know Japan has some funky X-Rated type games and I kind of wondered if this was going to be one of them, but it isn't. It's a clean, arcade style game. So what is it about...

Let's cut through the I'm a gentleman that prefers ladies stuff in the game as that's all just theme and has little to do with the actual game play. Essentially in the game you have a cupid gun at the bottom of the screen and you're shooting at the falling hearts as they float down to the bottom of the screen. But instead of the usual Space Invaders style shooting each heart has a single digit number on it and you use a gesturing system to draw these numbers on the screen in order to shoot at them. If you hit the same color in sequence you're entitled to bonuses. Some hearts reveal coins which you have to frantically tap on to collect. Then there's gifts that lead to a lottery wheel to see that happens. And then there are minigames between each level. One has a little devil dropping hearts down a Pachinko styled screen where you have to catch them. Well let's just say there's a lot of extras in this game... Quite frankly I wish the heart dropping minigame was a game on its own that I could play as it does a great job of bringing the old Atari 2600 classic Kaboom! to the Android.

Looking at this game on video doesn't do it justice. Gesturing numbers on the screen to 'shoot' the hearts just didn't sound that fun, but in playing the game it's actually quite enjoyable. I'm sure this game isn't going to appeal to everyone and given that I use my Android for casual gaming I wish it were harder (meaning that instead of simply trying to better my score I wish the game would come to an end sooner). As it is, you can keep playing and playing despite not doing very well scorewise.

The developers are mighty proud that this was written with native code using NDK 1.6. I wish they'd realize that consumers really don't care about that. Consumers just want good games and in the case of the Android Market I suspect they want them to be cheap, too. LoveCatch is about $4 (350 yen). However, the developers clearly knew what they were doing with their native coding skills as they smartly download the bulk of the game to the Android's SD card and use a minimal amount of its precious, internal memory.

The graphics? Beautiful. The sound? Mesmerizing. The animations? Smooth as silk. The controls? Fantastic! This is unquestionably a quality title as odd as it is thematically. Take a look at the following video and give it a try.

Click here for the YouTube video

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