Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tappi Bear All In One Review

Anyone searching for a WarioWare style game to enjoy on their iPod should look no further than the Tappi Bear series. Released by, the Tappi Bear series features a host of frantic, cute and addictive mini-games. 

Due to the frantic nature, the Tappi Bear games are incredibly brief, and so plays can last between seconds, to a mere few minutes. It seems a little pointless to buy them separately once you realise this, so thankfully they have now been released in compilation packs. The first of these, Tappi Bear All In One is definitely worth a purchase.

The eight mini-games included in Tappi Bear All In One are:

Donut Dance

Donut Dance is a combination of rhythm games mixed in with memory games. In other words, it can be compared to games such as Swipetaptap, or Simple Simon

Concentration and vigilance is definitely the key to succeeding in this game. Players will watch as the horde of brightly coloured bears pass a donut to one another. When the music stops, the donut disappears. You are then left to click on the bear which you recall holding the donut last. Of course, with any game like this, the difficulty gets increasingly hard as the music and donut passing speeds up. 

This is definitely one of the more fast and frantic games in the collection, but by no means is it any less enjoyable. In fact, it's great fun.

Donut Ninja

Players tap left and right on the screen to repel hoards of donut-craving ninjas away from your reach by throwing donuts in their direction. Mess up, and it's instantly game over.

Of course, like any game in this collection, it gets incredibly tricky as the pace speeds up. I found this one gets a little frustrating at times, as it is so easy to slip-up.

Space Rush

Adorned in a cute little spacesuit, players guide Tappi Bear left and right to avoid meteors, and other obstacles for as long as possible. Extra points can be picked up by collecting, you guessed it-donuts.

A simple game which has been done many times before, but the cuteness factor definitely makes this an enjoyable little game.

Kung Fu Battle

This one is pretty similar to Donut Ninja, but out of the two, this one is probably the weaker. Instead of flinging donuts at ninjas like in Donut Ninja, players swing a nunchuck left or right to fend off another hoard of martial arts bears.

Enemies vary in difficulty, and the speed gets increasingly faster pretty early on, so this one tends to be a little more frustrating than enjoyable at times.

Tap Tap Jump

In any games compilation, there always has to be the one game that is significantly weaker than the rest. Unfortunately, Tap Tap Jump is that one. Players guide Tappi Bear left and right to traverse up a series of vines. 

The aim is to collect as many donuts as possible along the way, whilst avoiding any vine-swinging enemies. However, the controls are not always responsive, and avoiding enemies is near-impossible when you are having difficulty in moving Tappi in the desired direction. I actually avoid playing this one due to this problem, which is a shame.

Chick Farm

This one wins the award for the cutest game in this compilation. Chick Farm involves rounding up a bunch of chicks, and moving them out of harms way in their pens. 

The score is based on how many chicks you have managed to save from death when the timer has reached zero. Both simple and cute, Chick Farm is recommended.

Trick or Tappi

Trick or Tappi is similar to games such as Bejeweled and Zoo Keeper. The aim is to create matching rows of three in order to clear lines and earn some points. Your score is tallied up once the timer reaches zero.

This mode is very brief, as the timer only counts down from a minute or so each time. The element of panic sets in when you realise that you only have a mere few seconds left on the clock, but don't worry, this element of panic is not enough to deter you from the game completely. In fact, I welcome this challenge.

Trick or Tappi is one of the most addictive games in this collection, as well as being rather adorable.

Tappi Xmas

This one requires players to tip the iPod from side to side in order to sled it down a snowy slope. Obstacles must be avoided, whilst there are donuts and presents available to be picked up in order to gain a bigger score.

This is a cute little Christmas themed game which I couldn't help but gain a smile on my face whilst playing it. 

Tappi Bear All In One is definitely worth a download. There is a range of eight different games to choose from, and all but one are addictive. The cute factor definitely helps to make this even more appealing, and I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who would love the frantic gameplay. I recommend this collection! 5/5

Monday, 26 September 2011

Space Junk Review

Space Junk is at heart an Asteroids game accompanied by great vector visuals, similar to that of Geometry Wars.

The music and sounds accompany the games great visuals delightfully well, giving a nice blend of retro and modern gaming.  If you like old arcade shooters then you will undoubtedly love this game.  There are a lot of tactical moves and power ups to keep you dodging and shooting your way through waves of junk.  The games levels and enemies are varied enough to keep you playing for a good while.

I was immersed heavily in the game for a good thirty minutes before I even thought about anything else.  Blasting asteroids, telescopes, dogs and the other items within the junk horde is superb.  The way in which each one blasts apart in sparky vibrancy is brilliant complete with a superb sound effect.

Despite Asteroids being a classic I never was very good at it and I found it hard to enjoy.  Due to this I thought that Space Junk was going to offer the same levels of frustration.  I was happy to be proved wrong, whether it is the bright colours or the silly objects, Space Junk had me hooked.  It is well worth the purchase.

A great, vibrant and addictive shooter  5/5

Sunday, 25 September 2011

iSquares Review

iSquares is a dodging game in which you drag your black square and try to avoid the red squares.

There have been games like this on the ipod before and there will be more to come.  iSquares offers nothing new, apart from its abstract look  I use the term abstract nicely because I would like to think that there is a deeper meaning, a feeling that is supposed to be evoked, rather than the games designer just being that lazy.  The graphics are as basic as you can get.

The game lasts on average less than a minute and is simple yet addictive like most good ipod games.  There are power ups to boring a little excitement to the game play.  iSquares offers no alternate modes or unlockables but it does support GameCenter.

While this is far from the pinnacle of ipod gaming it is good fun and it does entertain for a good few runs.  After time it gets boring and stale but then it offers nothing new to keep you playing.

iSquares is a light basic game that will entertain for a little while 3/5.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Goat Up Review

Goat up is the latest release from Jeff Minter.  I feel in love with Jeff's games back when he made Llamatron, it was crazy, random and as trippy as hell.  Since he has been back on the gaming scene he has released a few ipod titles.  Goat Up is his latest and it certainly delivers on all fronts.

Goat Up is a funny, addictive, retro, mental and seizure educing experience, which handles amazingly well.  Despite essentially being and endless running platformer it blows the socks off of any other endless title on the iPod.

The graphics have an old school feel but do wonders with the ipod's use of colour and clarity, blasting your eyes with a range of weird simplistic cuteness.  The sprites are all weird and wonderful animals, house hold objects and food including the protagonist, who is a goat that just wants to make tonnes of babies.

Goat Up may offer nothing new game play wise to the genre but graphically and in theme it is miles beyond that of any other endless game.  The visuals are superb and most importantly it is fun to play.  Whenever I fire the game up I have to smile I cannot help myself, it has buckets of charm and is infused with the passion of its designer.

Goat Up is a superb endless racing game that is a must buy 5/5

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

App Banned from App Store

An app called Phone Story has been banned from the app store for criticizing apple.

The game called phone story sees the life cycle of a smartphone from the metals being mined in Africa all the way to manufacturing.  The game criticizes the use of fuel and labour to make smart phones.

All of the games revenues were going to go towards groups that support labour rights.

One of the leaked screen shots shows that the objective is to catch workers who are trying to commit suicide

All in all it is pretty wild and dark stuff, shame I shall never get to play it.

For the full story check out Bits as it is where I got my information.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

iSlash Review

When I first discovered iSlash I got pretty excited, as I soon realised it had the same principles as the arcade game Qix that I loved playing as a child.  In Qix and iSlash the aim is to cut the surface area into smaller and smaller pieces without drawing a line through any of the objects bouncing around inside.

The innovation with iSlash is of course the touch screen aspect.  The lines are now slashes drawn with your finger, therefore making it have a feudal Japanese style theme, because clearly Japanese Ninjas would be the only people capable of slashing such items.   It does work with the game but I personally feel it is a cheap move, the go to themes are either Ninjas or Zombies and both have been done to death.  Still it is only a theme and it is pretty slight as the objects could be anything and it would play the same.

The slicing much like in Fruit Ninja, makes you feel like you are in total control, the slashing is fluid and easy to manipulate.  Against the wooden backdrop of the level the game looks superb and brings something actually very basic to a whole new level.  It allows for you to become immersed into the environment.  However this immersion is necessary in order for you to concentrate enough to slice through the wood avoiding the throwing stars, whilst at the same time keeping them all contained within the same area.

The game takes both the players maximum level of patience and speed in order to complete all 80+ levels.  New content and star types have also been released in an update and more will follow in good time I am sure.  While having so many levels at your disposal is nice, the game does not let you skip a level if it is too frustrating.  This aspect did make me stop playing the game for a while as a few of the levels are very tricky. However the reward for progressing is not only the level unlocks and the achievements but as your progress, new power-ups are unlocked.  Later on you can slow down time, remove hazardous stars and invoke a few other powers.  The trouble with the power ups are that they require you to make a large slash and it is unclear on whether you will get them or not.

iSlash is a great reflex puzzle game, however if you were expecting a game in the lines of Fruit Ninja you are likely to be highly disappointed.  Whilst it is simple in concept the vast amount of levels will keep you occupied for a long time and while it is frustrating it is well worth the investment, at the equivalent of 99 cents you cannot go wrong here 5/5

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Hired Gun Review

Hired Gun is yet another sub-standard game that has been released by Triniti Interactive on the iOS market.  There have been multiple games released by the company involving the same stick characters, all have been fairly poor and Hired Gun is sadly no exception.

You can tell that Hired Gun is trying to adapt a comic book style, like the stark black and white art of Frank Miller's Sin City series.  This is complimented by the music track and the seedy street view that you are searching for your target in.

The only spots of colour in the game are in your scope and the blood of your targets, which are both a vibrant red, everything else is back and white.  The visuals of the game are not amazing but equally they are on par with most app games.  The loading sounds and the sound of your gun firing are very much what you would expect and the soundtrack does its job.

Where this game fails is the control mechanism and the ludicrous time limit in which you have to kill all of your targets.

In the game you see a street with lots of people moving about within it, some in buildings others outside.  In the corner you have a picture of what all of your targets look like.  Every stickman has a hat by which you can identify them.  There are nine targets that you must kill on your first level and all are wearing the same hat.

To do this task you only have a mere 60 seconds.  While this may be possible if you were able to quickly snap to your targets you cannot.  In order to line up a shot you must move your cursor slowly and lazily in line with your target, by which time they have moved on.  At this point you are faced with a choice, wait and see if he comes back or try and find another target.

No matter your decision you will either lose to much time waiting around or have to come back and kill the guy anyway, hoping that he is back when you next visit.

If you do pass somehow you get to progress, however if you fail your score is based on how many targets you killed in what time.  For every target you kill you gain seconds and time, for ever civilian you kill you lose both seconds and time.  It is all very basic and if it was smoother it has the potential to be a fun little game.

If being a hit man is your thing, check out Contract Killer, which does this simulation more justice than Hired Gun, Contract Killer is also free, so you will be saving yourself time and disappointment.  Removing the slow and frustrating game play and replacing it with achievements, leaderboards and level progression, as well as varied missions.

Even though Hired Gun has style, no game can ever receive a good rating if it fails at actually being playable, let alone an enjoyable experience. 1/5