Review: Super Touchdown (Mobile)

FEATURED - Super Touchdown
/ by Jeff McGaha

At first glance, Super Touchdown by Apostek Software seemed like it would be a fun (American) football game, then I began playing it and found many faults. The game comes with three game play modes — Strategy, Touchdown Frenzy and Challenge; with Strategy mode consisting of a traditional game of four one-minute quarters, Touchdown Frenzy mode consisting of a one-minute game where the goal to score as many times as possible and Challenge mode consisting of different specific challenges (Defense Blitz, Star Player or Berzerk). I found the Strategy mode the most entertaining, so I’m focusing on that here.

Let’s start with the technical flaws, which only minutely detract from the game.

  • Whether your team is on offense or defense, the info box on the screen flashes “Offensive Formation,” which is confusing until you learn to ignore it.
  • The AI in the game is really dumb until you start winning, then they get faster and smarter. At least, that is the way it seemed.
  • On multiple occasions, a quarter started and literally ended a half second later. The score board would show 56, 42, 0, 28 for the game. This is frustrating when trying to get a top score.

Now, let’s discuss the football flaws; the items that don’t follow traditional football rules.

  • When getting the ball for the first time on offense, the players must line up behind the 10-yard line, not the 20-yard line.
  • When time runs out in the quarter, game play abruptly stops. Traditional football rules allow for the play to continue until the ball carrier is tackled.
  • Forward passes are allowed at anytime, regardless if beyond the line-of-scrimmage.

Lastly, I’d like to discuss the design flaws with the game, which I find the most egregious.

  • There are only two teams to chose from — New England Pirates and New York Knights. These aren’t NFL teams, but I still think Patriots and Giants…neither of which I would care to play as (especially New England). Coincidence that they were in the last Super Bowl?
  • The play clock is only visible during plays, during which I’m busy playing the game. I don’t want to take the half second to look in the corner. It would be a good idea to have that information displayed the entire game.
  • Passing is near impossible. Don’t even bother. If a defender is within 30-yards, the ball will be picked off.
  • If the computer player gets by you, forget about it. Chances are you won’t catch them.

Overall, the game concept is sound, it is the execution that is lacking. All of the items I’ve listed are fixable and would greatly increase my opinion of the game if corrected. As is, I don’t see myself playing it much more and will probably remove it from my phone soon. An ad-supported version of the game is available for free, which I recommend if you want to test the game yourself. The ads aren’t displayed during game play, so they are hardly noticeable.

 

Rating: 3/10

 

Review: Hamlet (Mobile)

FEATURED - Hamlet
/ by Jeff McGaha

Hamlet, if it isn’t obvious, is a game based on Bill Shakespeare’s tragedy by the same name. It is a puzzle game that roughly follows the plot of the play with one major exception. There is no Hamlet. Instead, the main character is from the future and is only following through with the plot because he accidentally killed Hamlet.

The game is a typical puzzle game where you must tap on an object to make something happen, so you can tap on another object to make something else happen and so on. Don’t worry. If you get stuck, there is the option of getting a hint, though when I got stuck, the hint didn’t help me much.

The game is beautifully designed as you can see from the screen shots. One thing to note — I typically play mobile games with the sound off, but I found it to be a hindrance in this case. Sound effects were helpful in solving some of the puzzles.

I loved this game. It is different and quirky. It has an indy game vibe to it, though it was produced by one of the larger mobile gaming companies. The levels are beautifully done and the puzzles are appropriately difficulty. The only negatives to the game are that there really isn’t much replay value and it was much too short for my liking. I have my fingers crossed that Alawar Entertainment will produce similar games using other great works of literature. How about some Jules Verne?

 

Rating: 10/10

 

Review: Kunundrum (Mobile)

FEATURED - Kunundrum
/ by Jeff McGaha

Kunundrum by Hope This Works Games is a puzzle game where the object is to slide a glowing orb into its proper place. Most levels consist of four colored orbs and four corresponding colored platforms that each orb needs to be moved to. As the levels get progressively more difficult, new features (teleporters, direction changers, etc.) are added to complicate the solution.

Solving most levels is not too difficult, but solving the levels and getting three stars can be. I’ve completed about 30 levels so far and have gotten three stars on at least 25 of those levels. The handful of levels that I haven’t gotten three stars on are maddeningly frustrating, but in a fun way. I keep trying for the three stars, but I think it’s a lost cause.

Overall, the game is similar to a few I’ve played before, but no less fun. I have no major complaints beyond the familiarity of the game to others that I’ve played in the past. Visually, the game is polished and quite nice. I had no issues running it on my HTC G2. Kunundrum is definitely a time waster (in a good way) and will get a lot of playing time from me. The game is currently $0.99 on Google Play.

 

Rating: 7/10

 

Review: The Treasures of Mystery Island (Mobile)

FEATURED - The Treasures of Mystery Island
/ by Jeff McGaha

The Treasures of Mystery Island is the second Alawar game that I’ve reviewed in as many weeks. And just like Snark Busters, it is a hidden objects game. I certainly have a type.

The game thrusts the main character, Alex, onto Mystery Island where he must find objects to move from one area of the island to the next with the ultimate goal of escaping. Each level consists of three to four locales that are jumbled messes. Hidden object pieces are strewn about each locale. After all of the pieces of the object are found, Alex can put the object in its proper place in that locale or one of the others in the level. Certain hidden objects will create an action in the locale that will reveal another hidden piece or new puzzle. This is how the game moves along.

After finding all of the objects and solving the puzzle at each level, theme specific objects (firemen, teacher, florist, etc.) are placed in the locales that need to be found before progressing. It is a nice addition to the game and gives the players the opportunity to hunt out more objects.

The puzzles in the game, for the most part, were insanely simple. This is a common problem I encounter in games like these, so I don’t fault the game designers too much. The puzzles have to be simple to cater to a wide variety of players and I understand that. I still found the experience unfulfilling.

The generic title and simple puzzles aside, I found the game fun. It isn’t the best hidden object game I’ve played (even by Alawar), but it’s worth a look none the less. The game is currently available on Google Play and Amazon for $0.99. Like all hidden object games, I recommend playing the game on a tablet. The objects may be too small to find on a phone.

 

Rating: 6/10

 

Review: Snark Busters: Welcome to the Club (Mobile)

FEATURED - Snark Busters
/ by Jeff McGaha

Snark Busters: Welcome to the Club by Alawar Entertainment is a hidden objects game with puzzle elements. You play Kira Robertson as she hunts for the elusive snark — a creature that no one has ever caught.

Visually, the game is pretty stunning for a mobile game. Each level (I’m using the term “level,” but “screen” might be more accurate) is detailed and vibrant. The hidden objects in these vibrant levels are blended into the background well. I would argue that they may have been blended into the background a little too well. I had trouble finding pieces at times, but that is probably due more to the fact that I was playing the game on a mobile phone, rather than on a tablet, which would have made finding the hidden objects much easier.

The hidden objects weren’t hidden objects in the traditional sense. It would be more accurate to describe them as hidden object pieces. The critical objects for each level would be broken up into multiple pieces and hid on the level. In order to use the critical object and advance, all of the pieces would need to be discovered.

My main gripe with the game, besides not being able to find pieces, is that the puzzles were ridiculously easy. I play hidden object games to challenge my mind with the puzzles and I didn’t get much with this game. I did use the help function built into the game a few times, but that was to find the hidden object pieces that eluded me.

The simplicity of the game puzzles is a minor thing though and shouldn’t prevent you from buying what is a fun game. It is currently $0.99 on Google Play and Amazon. You can also try the first chapter free through Google Play.

 

Rating: 7/10

 

Five Atari Games That Should Be Made Into Movies

FEATURED - Atari
/ by Jeff McGaha

Five Atari Games That Should Be Made Into Movies

by Jeff McGaha

Note: This silly bit of “news” was written as part of the Wacky Week theme. Don’t take it seriously. Check out all the wacky articles for this week’s theme over here at the Wacky Week hub.


Berzerk

Protagonist: Will Smith

Nemesis: Robin Williams (Evil Otto)

Will Smith makes good sci-fi movies, so I think this would be right up his alley. Will’s wife is kidnapped and brought to Evil Otto’s planet. The only way to save her is to navigate through a giant maze with roaming killer robots. Will has to blast his was through the maze, making smart-ass quips along the way.

Robin Williams is perfect to play Evil Otto, the bouncing smiley face in the game. Of course, he won’t be a bouncing smiley face, but he will be completely crazy. And really, who plays crazy better than Robin Williams.

This Atari movie practically writes itself and could be a huge summer blockbuster. I’d love to see these two funny guys in a movie together.

Chances of being made: Snowball’s chance in Hell is probably being too optimistic.

Centipede

Protagonist: Timothy Olyphant

Nemesis: Giant CGI Centipedes

At first, this movie sounds like a Straight-to-DVD offering, but it doesn’t have to be if done correctly. Timothy Olyphant has the edgy demeanor that would make him good for the main role of an army unit leader. The unit is sent into the jungle to rescue some civilians from a secret government research facility (is there any other kind), only to find out that there are — you guessed it — giant centipedes in the jungle. One by one, the unit falls until Olyphant is the only one left. Think Predator, but with centipedes.

Chances of being made: Small possibility, but would end up a B-movie due to lack of budget.

Joust

Protagonist: Chris Pine

Nemesis: Alan Rickman

I’m a big fan of all of the classic movies that feature jousting on flying ostriches. It’s a very specific genre called joust-fly-ost…

Okay, so there are no such movies, but there should be. Chris Pine can seduce Orion Slave Girls, so jousting on a flying ostrich should be a snap. Alan Rickman plays evil so well and he has a British accent, which is just what the baddie in a jousting movie needs.

Chances of being made: I would have said it is almost as unlikely as Berzerk, but there are people actually trying to get this movie made. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Pitfall

Protagonist: Vin Diesel

Nemesis: Antonio Banderas

Vin Diesel is chasing a gang of drug smugglers through the jungle, trying to get to the drug lord, played by Antonio Banders, that killed his little brother. All Vin Diesel needs to do is jump on one crocodile head and I’ll be happy. I’m thinking this is like Man of Fire, but with more swinging on vines.

Chances of being made: Not likely, but not impossible either. They made a Battleship movie for god’s sake.

Asteroids

Protagonists: Mark Wahlberg and Aziz Ansari

Nemesis: Giant Asteroids

Mark Wahlberg is the perfect combination of tough, serious and funny to play the main role. The United States Government has been tracking a large group of asteroids that are heading for Earth. There was enough time to construct an experimental space craft with incredibly powerful lasers. Wahlberg is the best pilot in the world and the only person trusted to fly the billion dollar space craft. The problem is that he can’t fly and destroy the asteroids at the same time. That’s where Aziz Ansari comes into the picture. He’s a professional gamer that consistently wins tournaments and is considered the best in the world. He’s enlisted by the U.S. government to operate the video game-like controls of the space craft laser. It doesn’t hurt that Aziz is funny too and would be great for comedic relief.

Of all of the Atari movies suggested, this is the one I’d most like to see made.

Chances of being made: Not bad. This one has some real merit.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Yar’s Revenge – I see Dreamworks making this with Will Ferrel as the voice of the main character, Yancy Yar.
  • Frogger – My favorite Atari game should be made by Pixar, so it’s funny and heart-warming. Jason Alexander is the only logical choice to voice the main character.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Just kidding. Please don’t touch this movie in any way. A remake, reboot or sequel would be the worst thing to happen to humanity since N’Sync broke up.

Review: Tetris (Mobile)

FEATURED - Tetris
/ by Jeff McGaha

We’ve all played Tetris. I wanted to try the game on my Android. It was fun for about two minutes. I’ve uninstalled it already. The main problem with the game, which is no fault of the game designers, is the control system. Smart phones are nice for games that only require a few taps or swipes, but awful when it comes to speed and precision, both of which are necessary as you progress through the levels of Tetris. On the mobile version, you must tap the screen to rotate the pieces and swipe to move the pieces. That works well for the slower levels, but is impossible for the faster ones.

Besides the controls, the game is just what you’d expect. It has the music and it has the typical game pieces. One thing it doesn’t have is a variety of game modes. Marathon is the only game mode available at this time. Even with additional game modes though, the control system is too difficult to be overlooked.

 

Rating: 3/10