Mar 29, 2011

Airport Mania: First Flight

There aren't many games that I've played from beginning to end. Usually something better comes along and steals my attention or I simply get bored. What have I played to the end? A few such games include StarCraft (PC), Magic the Gathering: Battlegrounds (Xbox), and the original US release of King's Field (PSX). So, despite eating it up, I haven't been able to review Airport Mania because I actually played through it on my iPod Touch and didn't want to spend a couple bucks to validate the Android version. Likewise, it wouldn't exactly be right to review an Android game without playing the Android version. I got my break last week when this went free on the Amazon Appstore for a short while.

Airport Mania is a time management game like Root Beer Tapper and Flight Control. Various events occur and you have to sequence them to maximize efficiency. In this case you're landing planes, unloading/loading passengers, refueling them, and sending them on their way. The game features 6 stages each containing 8 levels.

In the beginning your airport will be simple... two runways, two gates, and two layover spaces. Airplanes will arrive at a moderate pace, but not fast enough to really stress you out. I doubt you'll even need the layover spaces. The game throws a lot of extra scoring opportunities at you such as what a plane of a give color unloads at a given gate then that gates becomes the color of the plane. If the next plane you unload there matches in color then you'll get a bonus. The game also allows you to work many steps in advance... you can tap a plane, a runways, and a gate and then the plane will smoothly land and head on over to the selected game without further interaction. As the game progresses you'll have to manage more runways, will need to refuel your planes, and will have to deal with things such as foggy (aka unusable) runways.

qrcodeThe game's graphics are nice and very cartoony with the planes all sporting pretty eyes along with appropriate audio for plane's coming in and departing. The controls are all touch screen based on just involve tapping on the various areas of the playfield: the plane's overhead, the runways, the gates, the layover spaces...etc. I didn't have any problems with my touches selecting the intended objects and the game played smoothly throughout. Then again this isn't exactly a graphics powerhouse of a game.

As stated, I actually finished this game although without maximizing my score. I'd guess it took 6 or so hours to do so, but that's just a guess. I was surprised when I started again on the Android version just how addictive it still was. My only issue with the game is that I'm not sure it's hard enough. I don't recall having to play too many levels over again in order to beat them. Nonetheless, it kept me challenged and interested after tiring of Flight Control and that's an impressive feature given that I have the attention span of a 3 year old. 4.5/5 stars.

Mar 28, 2011


Go get this! PewPew is a fantastic Geometry Wars clone and its... fantastic! It's also free and clearly a game that I'd pay a couple of bucks for. If you're so inclined to support the author there is PewPew 2. But now that I've given away the ending to this review let's jump back to the middle.

PewPew features retro style vector (line) graphics. It offers a nice, quick tutorial to get you started and from there offers four modes of play. It also has a nice, upbeat sound track that can be optionally turned off. The four modes of play are:
  • Pandemonium - Destroy the enemies and stay alive to destroy more enemies.
  • Dodge this - You've got no weapons so just run away.
  • Assault - Another destroy the enemies mode, but with power-ups to collect.
  • Chromatic Conflict - You can change the color of your ship by flying over colored pulsars, but can only destroy enemies matching the current color of your ship.
The game is controlled by two onscreen joypads... one controls movement and the other firing. While I'm not a fan of on screen joypads this game does do about as good of a job as a game can with them and I felt comfortable playing it. It would, however, have been nice if the game supported keyboard controls for those of us that have them.

PewPew is also very challenging and does not offer any difficulty levels to change. If you find the game too easy or too difficult then you're out of luck... and it'll most likely be the latter. Personally I like the challenge as it plays just like an old school arcade game. Remember Defender? 30 seconds and Game Over? While PewPew isn't quite that extreme it's got that familiar arcade feel and I love it!

qrcodePewPew does offer the ability to progress and earn better ships with more firepower and shields, but I haven't been able to achieve that yet. I really enjoy the Dodge this mode a lot and usually find myself either playing it or Assault. Other things I like are style of graphics and the fact that PewPew plays very smoothly. It's pretty impressive to see my old Droid pushing pixels like this. PewPew also supports App2SD and only consumes about 2 MB of your phone's limited internal storage. 5/5 stars for a job very well done. Unless you're inexplicably abhorred by this type of game I think you'll love it.

Mar 23, 2011

Amazon Appstore for Android

In what could be the best news for Android gamers in a while, Amazon has finally got their Appstore for Android launched. I've complained about many shortcomings with Google's Android Market ever since this blog went live and while Google has addressed some of those issues there has always been plenty of room for improvement.

So, what does the Amazon Appstore do for you other than create market fragmentation? And, yes, I'll admit that it stinks to have multiple 'stores' to go to for the same basic supply of Apps. But to entice you over to Amazon's corner they are giving away a free game every day. Yesterday it was the hot, new Angry Birds Rio (which appears to still be available for free). Today it's Glu Mobile's World Series of Poker. Not too shabby for freebies. But if that doesn't have you clicking here to go and download the new Appstore App then maybe the following features will.

First, there's a wider range of categories. Want a sports game? Look under sports games. Much nicer!

Second, there's filtering of submitted apps. Not everything is eligible for Amazon's store and supposedly the crap that really bogs down the Android Market won't be there. Win! I only wonder if we're going to eventually hear of some 'tales of app rejection' a la Apple.

Third, there are a much wider array of search/sort options. Much better!

And my favorite feature... the ability to 'save for later'. Find something that sounds interesting, but not quite ready to try it now? Save it for later and then come back to it. I can't tell you how many times I stumble across something thinking I'll remember the name, but it just doesn't stick. Awesome!

Amazon Appstore QR code, install directly from your phone
Download the Amazon Appstore
via this QR code

The only real problem, and it's not even Amazon's fault, is that lack of integration. Downloading an app is easy, but you have to uncheck the 'Install from unknown sources' option in order to use Amazon's store so that it can auto-run the install process. I love the on-line tutorial... "You can unclick it... come on... we're Amazon". Yes, just ignore the man behind the curtain and the fact that you've just opened the door to install from any 3rd party source. I don't know what kind of security implications that could have. I do know that I had already unchecked said box on my phone and haven't had any issues. Aside from that, I also wish I could 'import' my Google purchases over to the Amazon store so that I could more easily see if I've already purchased something.

All in all, I'm thrilled to see this arrive. And while this doesn't affect me... the new market also improves the ability to sell apps by opening up a paid app market in many countries that didn't have access to Google's. Plus, now it's possible to give AppStore gift cards (aka gift cards) which is something I've wanted to do to promote this blog.

I can only wonder... will Apple sue over the use of Appstore in Amazon's title? Oh, wait, they already have.

Mar 22, 2011

Neon Racer - Press Release

Neon Racer is brand new arcade style, precision-of-motion game!

Dodge and weave your way through neon walls, utilizing the touch motion control to navigate in real time!
  • 10 completely unique level types.
  • Easy, Normal, Hardcore and Epic game modes!
  • More than 100 stars to collect!
  • At least one planned expansion - included upon release for FREE to those with the full game!
Try to beat Neon Racer LITE - if you can manage that, try your hand at the real game!

Pocket Soccer

I became acquainted with Button Soccer about a year ago in a math trade. I was able to negotiate a set when my efforts to get it in the trade itself failed, but after all that I still have yet to play the game. One of the reasons I haven't been able to play the game is because I live in the USA and soccer isn't exactly the most popular sport over here. And it only gets worse when you try to turn a less than popular sport into a board game.

The concept of Button Soccer is simple... you've got a bunch of buttons (yes, originally buttons were used) or discs and you flick them in turn attempting to knock a ball into a goal. Pocket Soccer takes this concept and makes it into something more solo friendly and action oriented.

Pocket Soccer features 3 on 3 soccer action and is goalie less. This is probably for good reason given the limited screen size that a mobile device offers and because we don't want the players to get so small that they can't be easily selected. I think you'll find 3 was the right number of players per team. From there you alternate turns having a chance to flick one of your players down the field so as to influence other player's movement and the movement of the ball. You also only get 5 seconds in which to make your move otherwise the move will revert back to your opponent. That prevents a team from hogging the ball.

qrcodeOn the minus side these are some substantial changes from the original game. Whereas before you had time to line up a perfect shot and get just the right flick (a la billiards) now there's a twitch element and a lack of precision. But, is it fun? No and yes. At first I found myself to be flailing around spending more time praying that the ball would go into my opponent's net, but as I acclimated to the game I found that there is definitely some control and, dare I say it, strategy to be employed. Sure, the odd ball errantly scores courtesy of dumb luck, but once I got the hang of what I was doing the frequency of such events declined.

I'm someone that likes sports games and enjoys strategy games. I'm more than happy to consider a 'variant' of a game so long as it's fun. For example, I really like what Kinect did with their simple soccer game that is a part of the Kinect Sports compilation. In the case of Pocket Soccer, is it soccer? Not really. Is it fun? It's not going to win any awards, but it's still enjoyable (and it's free). 4/5 stars.

Mar 19, 2011


One of my biggest challenges lately in reviewing Android games is finding games to review. Sure, I can choose the big hit titles that everyone and his brother talks about, but we all know those will have mass appeal and are generally good games. So I tend to dig and try some of the more obscure stuff and lately there just hasn't been much worth writing about. In the end I'm left forcing out a review for something mediocre or worse just so that the content on this site doesn't get too stale.

I tried Parachute based on a press release submission I received and because I had just tried something similar. The concept here is simple... you're falling and have to guide your guy safely to the ground. You can tilt left and right to 'steer' and you can tilt forward and backwards to speed up or slow your decent. There are a lot of games that this has elements of contained within. First, we've got a landing much like Lunar Lander, but there's no physics element in terms of controlling your 'chutist'. Next, it's a bit of a reverse Doodle Jump... here we're going down instead of up. Consequently, I'd have to say both of those titles are superior.

qrcodeParachute tries to remain interesting with power up that provide such things as extra lives and is about as well delivered as it could be. I love the audio wind effects and the graphics aren't half bad either. The bottom line is that the idea isn't anything to get too excited about. Steer through a maze of platforms and try to grab as many power ups as you can. The game tries to add some life to itself with a kid mode and perhaps that might be a better target audience. Those with kids know that's not a rip on the game... kids need "kid friendly" games and perhaps I'll get a chance to give that side of the game a go soon. The game is available in both a free and paid version (the QR code is for the free one) in case you'd like to try it. As for me, all the different levels in the world with this idea aren't going to be enough to keep me coming back. 3/5 stars.

Mar 17, 2011

Necrophone Games announces "Beetlenaut"

March 5th - Toronto, ON - Necrophone Games announces "Beetlenaut", a new action-arcade game for Android smart phones.

You ARE the Beetlenaut !
Careen through a vast, quarantined metropolis, pursued by heavy military response! Crush -or devour- those too feeble-minded to evacuate, with your powerful hydraulic mandibles ! Engage your Invertibrakes(tm) to aid your search for the raining Meta-Roids, the key to your true potential ! Fight AND flight; transform and conquer the skies, along with any mechanism that may impede your reign! Your compound eyes will marvel at lush 16-bit environments! Your chordotonal membranes will resonate with delight at the pumping chiptune soundtrack! Use your mouth to solve your problems!

Features: Addictive, arcade-style gameplay. A new, randomly-reconfigured city, every time you play. Oodles of Hand-drawn 16-bit pixel art. Old school chiptune-style music and sound effects.

Availability: Beetlenaut is currently available on the Android Marketplace, as of March 3rd, 2011. A free browser version is also available at:

System Requirements: Beetlenaut requires an Android Phone running OS version 2.2 or higher. Phones with at least a 1Ghz CPU are recommended, although the game may run on phones with as low as 600mhz. Due to the wide variation among Android devices, exact compatibility with each model phone is still to be determined.

About the company: Founded in 2009, Necrophone Games is a two-man indie developer hailing from Toronto, Canada, home of the Whopper (not really). Necrophone games is said to have its finger on the button, or several buttons, at any given time.

Mar 10, 2011

Poker Swap

I've mentioned the old 5 x 5 Poker Solitaire game previously, but here's a recap. You've got a 5 x 5 grid for playing cards, shuffle a deck of cards, and then draw and place one card at a time on the grid. Once the grid is filled you get points based on the poker hands you were able to form. I used to play it on vacation in Canada when I was a teen and it was a good time killer. My only two complaints with the game were that it would be nice to know the maximum score I could have achieved after playing and, of course, the blind luck aspect of the game.

Poker Swap takes that formula, eliminates the blind luck, and adds the pressure of a timer. In it you have a prefilled 5 x 5 grid of cards and a minute and a half with which to move (or swap) those cards around to maximize the point value of the grid. It's actually a pretty clever change to the classic original that adds some needed pressure to the game.

The graphics and sound in Poker Swap as really very well done for a card game. The game feels quite polished. The controls are simple and rely exclusively on the touch screen. Hold down on a card and drag it to a new location in order to swap the two cards.

qrcodeIf that were it then the game might grow tired, but the game also adds a variety of more advanced modes and cards. One of the modes is a Zen mode in which the timer is taken away so that you can ponder your decisions to your heart's delight. The game also offers a variety of special cards that do this such as multiply the scoring on a row, make it so that a given card cannot be moved, and the dreaded mystery card. The one thing that I wish was here was an option to get a new card in the case of a junk card perhaps in exchange for some time.

All in all, Poker Swap is a winner of a card game and makes for another solid addition to one's game library. The game is available in both Lite (ad supported) and Pro formats. 4.5/5 stars.

Mar 4, 2011

Popies for Android launched in the Android Market

Hong Kong (28 February 2011) – SillyCube Technology Ltd has launched an Android game, Popies. Popies Lite is a simple game to fight the alien kingdom. You will poke the monsters with your finger. Your hammer can be upgraded to become more powerful. In this version user can upgrade their items to 3 levels. There will be 10 difficulties. Lite version will only contain 5 difficulties. You can collect achievements in the game.

  • 10 Difficulty Levels
  • Over 20 Achievements
  • Over 10 special items
  • Update different properties to challenge the final boss

Kilgamore Castle

Kilgamore Castle advertises itself as an Arkanoid style game with a twist. That's a pretty accurate description. In Kilgamore Castle you play the role of retired explorer Ernest who, along with his dog, Barney is attempting to find a hidden treasure based on a map he has. How does that turn into Arkanoid? Well, Ernest is the paddle, Barney is the ball, and each level is a section of the castle's wall. Now, you'd think that would hurt Barney, but fortunately he comes equipped with a hard hat so that he can pound away at the wall in piecemeal fashion.

The graphics in Kilgamore Castle are average with a bland, earthy color scheme. As Barney runs back and forth towards the castle wall he'll pound at it, but you also have other weapons to assist in the demolition process such as bombs. Controls use the touch screen with a left and right button to more the paddle (aka Ernest) and a left and right 'launch' button for starting Barney off in a given direction. There's also a middle button which allows Barney to do special things such as drop off a bomb. Timing is everything as I find I have to tap the button a little before he's actually there which makes positioning the bomb a challenge. Barney then gets a second or two to run off and then kaboom! I have to admit that it would be nice if there were options other than a left/right button pair for moving Ernest. The DPad is out because the game doesn't support landscape orientation, but perhaps a finger slider or something? The button pair isn't bad, but doesn't seem to be ideal for a paddle game.

qrcodeThe game offers a nice tutorial to assist you in getting started along with a quick story. Once you're into the game you'll get a certain number of 'lives' for Barney and once those are depleted Ernest will let you know he has to go catch Barney upon his next escape (i.e. the ball gets by the paddle). You can always play the level again from the beginning, but that's more difficult than it sounds because once you've exhausted all of your bombs and lives it becomes a 'no error' proposition. You can always buy more bombs, but that takes money which is earned very slowly. Sometimes when Barney hammers a wall section he'll find a small stash of coins. Those coins will fly down the screen and Ernest has to catch them. Most of the time you've got a choice between saving Barney and collecting the coins as there's not enough time for both. After some experience I found myself focusing on coins so I could buy more bombs and then try the level again with improved odds of victory, but in the end it became a bit of a tedious loop.

In conclusion, this game is an average take of Arkanoid type games. I think Arkanoid purists will be disappointed if they buy solely based on 'Arkanoid' as one of my favorite features of that game (the immediate access of things like laser cannons and such) is absent. On the other hand, the game plays smoothly and is enjoyable. It's not going to set any records for innovation, but it works. All in all I'm lukewarm on Kilgamore Castle and give it 4/5 stars.

Mar 2, 2011


Dungeon Master on my Atari ST was a breakthrough game in its day. And while "its day" was 2 decades ago it still evokes fond memories with my favorite being chased by a mummy and then trapping and killing it by closing an iron gate on it. Brilliant! So many games ignored environment and would have forced me to slay it by the sword, or, more likely, be slain. Dungeon3D is similar in that it's a 3D step-by-step (i.e. not smooth scrolling) RPG type game.

The first thing you'll notice when playing Duneon3D is that the title was written by a 3rd grader. And so was the tutorial. It's a cute effect and it's fine, but it also tells me that this isn't going to be an upper echelon title by any means. The graphics themselves are decent enough although the monsters are all very blocky. I'm guessing there's no professional art department working behind the scenes, but I can accept that. If I ever get any of my game ideas off the ground then I'll be in the same boat initially. The game also includes no instructions so everything I leaned about my mission came from the Android Market description. I'm supposed to defeat the Black Magician!

Initially you'll start with your back to a wall and be above ground. You'll move around by pressing the on screen touch controls that allow you to move forwards, backwards, left, right, and to turn. The trees all look the same and you'll soon encounter your first two different monsters. The first is a big, white cube (giant marshmallows?) and the second looks something like a cubic snake. They'll move around, won't be terribly aggressive, and certainly won't hunt you down if you make any effort to hide. Attacking the monsters is more of an arcade affair with sneaking up behind them and swatting them a few times before retreating and repeating. After a few attacks they die and occasionally leave some food or something. Picking up the food is again done via the touch screen although that's a bit tricky as it sits just about the up and down controls so I found I had to touch just a tad above the food to actually pick it up. The game then becomes a maze game as you apparently don't have the key to the first door you find, but there's plenty more to explore.

qrcodeI compare this game to Dungeon Master, but it falls short of even recreating that experience from 20 years ago as there just isn't much adventure here. Kill monsters. Roam around and find more monsters to kill. Occasionally you'll stumble across something that looks interesting, but doesn't appear to be anything more than decoration. In other words I think the adventure is missing and the game feels more like a good start than a finished product.

In conclusion, I can only hope that this is a good start to an even better end. The engine itself works and works well and I don't have a problem with the blocky critters at all. I would just like to see the game play accelerated with more interesting encounters. I want to find scrolls. I want to read tablets. I want to unravel mysteries. And then I want to find the Black Magician. If you're ok with a slow dungeon crawl then you'll probably like this, but it's not going to create any converts. 2.5/5 stars.

Mar 1, 2011

Space STG II Contest - Win a free game!

MeAndMyDroid and InventiVenture announce a promotional contest. Inventiventure is providing five (5) free upgrade codes to the full version for their new game Space STG 2!
You can download a demo version from Android Market at:

Space STG II is a sci-fi real time strategy game. It is a continuation of Space STG which was among the twenty finalists of the Android Developer Challenge II competition hosted by Google. The Space STG II demo is currently available in the Android Market and gets you started with 4 free missions.

To win a free upgrade to full version you should send an email to answering the question 'Why do you think you should receive a free code for this game?' with preference given to answers that somehow tie in to the game. Five (5) free codes will be awarded and the contest will end when a full review of Space STG II is published on (which will be no earlier than March 8th, 2011). The five (5) answers will also be anonymously published on this site.

For more information about Space STG II please visit or find us on FaceBook at The game's trailer is also available below: