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.