Posted on 7th Jun 2011 at 07:53 by David Hing with 5 comments
In Gaming Digits' Chicks vs. Kittens you’re charged with ensuring the safety of a mother bird defending her nest against a hoard of poultry-hungry kittens. This is achieved by hatching chicks and weaponising your offspring against the feline invaders. As you do.
Games for iOS live and die by their personality, though, not whether their premises make sense, and Chicks vs. Kittens has plenty of personality. Your ammunition flaps around happily while it waits to drop onto enemies, while the climbing kittens are more lovable than sneezing baby pandas, with animations that are clear and crisp even when they’re blown up to iPad size.
As far as the controls and gameplay go, Chicks vs. Kittens is a simple reaction test with a little bit of tower defence strategy thrown in to boot. The influence of the latter is manifested in the way you equip your chicks to perform different roles through the use of hats. Hats can be used to increase the strength of chicks, to upgrade your leaf-based economy or to change the way they attack kittens. Variations are constantly added throughout the game.
Posted on 11th Apr 2011 at 10:50 by David Hing with 12 comments
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP for the iPad is like nothing else you have ever played. Described as ‘a 21st century interpretation of the archetypical old school videogame adventure’ it uses beautifully crafted pixel-scapes to do for video gaming what the impressionist painters did for art.
A collaborative project from indie studio Capybara, rock musicians and art from the Superbrothers themselves, Sword and Sworcery EP is a essentially a point and click adventure game that sees you cast as a warrior out to destroy an ancient evil. To do that you’ll need to solve puzzles, fight bears and collect an artefact called the Megatome – so far, so adventure-game. What sets is apart from the likes of Kings Quest however are the lashings of surrealism, abstraction and poetry that somehow never slips into infuriating pretentiousness.
Posted on 9th Jan 2011 at 10:56 by Joe Martin with 15 comments
They say they devil is in the details, in which case you should imagine Bad Company 2 for the iPhone as having red skin, horns, a trident tail and breath that smells worse than wet, rotten garlic. What really kills Bad Company 2 is the lack of fine polish – and that, sadly, makes a huge difference to the overall experience.
This is a shame, because Bad Company 2 initially looks good. It has a lengthy singleplayer campaign, which slots neatly into the story of the full, proper Bad Company 2, plus a four-player multiplayer mode that’s supported over WiFi and 3G. The graphics are lush, and it packs in plenty of variety too, despite a disappointing tendency to resort to turret sequences.
The multiplayer is especially impressive, in fact. While five levels and support for four players might not sound like a lot, it’s actually a perfectly judged limitation for a mobile phone game. If you want to sit down and invest yourself in lengthy tournaments and huge clan matches, then you're better off going back to the full version of the game. The iPhone version is much more suited to drop-in, drop-out games that keep you occupied while you’re patiently enduring whatever dross happens to be on TV.
Posted on 27th Dec 2010 at 09:45 by Joe Martin with 7 comments
The easy, initial reaction to Rage for the iPhone is to say that id Software has done it again, delivering a game that sets a benchmark of graphical splendour for the platform and will doubtless grow to be one of the iPhone’s definitive shooters.
Closer inspection, however, reveals that early assessment to only be two thirds right. Yes, Rage is a technical marvel and it’s amazing that id Software has managed to cram such large, detailed levels into a mobile phone game. However, this isn’t a definitive shooter. If anything, Rage follows in the steps of Quake Wars and Doom 3; it's graphically magnificent, but a fundamentally boring game.
Rage is closer to a lightgun game than an actual first person shooter. Cast as contestants on Mutant Bash TV – a gladiatorial TV show for the post-apocalypse civilisation – players basically run a scripted gauntlet and kill all the baddies they see along the way. You can’t control your movement, and your role in the game is merely to aim and shoot using the three weapons provided.
Posted on 16th Aug 2010 at 13:13 by Joe Martin with 3 comments
As an adaptation of the old Gamebook model, Siege of the Necromancer gets a lot of things right. It lays itself quickly and clearly, providing bookmarks and cheat modes for those who want to just sprint through with no risk of death, but also boasts an achievement board and unlockable art gallery to encourage replays. The RPG rules are simple and to the point, the automated dice rolls quick and no-nonsense. It looks good too, with configurable fonts and nice little sound effects to enhance the mood.
Despite being a new series from an unknown developer, Siege is heavy on the nostalgia too. The basic starting point of a man returning home to his family to find the town overrun by goblins is immediately evocative of a hundred Fighting Fantasy and Choose Your Own Adventure books – a feeling that only increases as you journey through the later chapters. Picking a route through Myr Castle was especially reminiscent of classics like The Legend of Zagor, for example.
Unfortunately, while Siege of the Necromancer definitely gets these broader issues right, it's all too often spoiled by poor writing that speaks of authors desperate to put their fingerprints on what should have been unapologetically based in the tropes of the Fantasy genre. Small tweaks to spelling and jargon, such as changing Goblins to Goblyns, Ogres to Ogryns and Gold to Pestados, feel like differences for differences sake.