All posts by Evan

Food Fight iOS Review – A Card Game Done Right

Food Fight iOS is a version of a physical card game by Cryptozoic Entertainment, brought to the iDevices by Playdek, Inc.  The game consists of players building a small army to try and beat the others by having higher numbers—like the card game “War”—but with lots of strategy and humor involved.

A typical game consists of battles for certain meals (these meals have values from 1 to 3 that add up eventually to win a game), and each player selects five cards from his hand to build an army to fight the chosen meal.  The cards have different colors for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and most of the troops (from all of the meals) have abilities that will help you if you use a good strategy.  The troop flipped in a serving with the highest number between the players wins one after meal mint.  The player who ends up with the most after meal mints in the five servings wins the meal.  Occasionally another element is introduced, the dog, when one player does not want to fight the same meal as the others.  They then battle the dog for that meal, while the other players fight over the one that they selected.

The iOS implementation includes a few different game modes, including a campaign where you continuously unlock more cards for your initial hand and decks for each meal.  As you progress you fight breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then a boss.  The bosses have special abilities, but once you defeat them you’ll get their card to add to one of your three decks.  There also is a successful and fun asynchronous multiplayer mode, a card gallery (trust me you want to check this out, the cards are hilarious), an offline mode where you can customize your game experience, and, thankfully, a tutorial.  It takes a bit to get the hang of the game, but once you understand what is going on it becomes an absolute blast to play.

Likes:

Cards: The art is unbelievably good, and most of them are uproariously funny.

Interface: Simple, probably better on an iPad but tapping and double tapping enlarge cards so that they can be read.

Modes: The multiplayer is well implemented, and the campaign is a good way to spend your time.

The game: Yes, this isn’t a game created initially for the iDevices, but it’s damn fun.  I have played the physical card game, and can say that the iDevice version has been put together as well as it could be.

Dislikes:

Blurred text: When scaled down on the iPhone and iPod Touch some of the card features are more difficult to read, but double tapping enlarges them.

Tutorial: The tutorial is good, but the way it is written is a bit confusing.  It was creative to write it with a faux-French accent, but it could throw people off.

Food Fight iOS is a perfect example of how to bring a version of a card game to the iDevices, and how to do it well.  The UI is simple and graphically pleasing, while the audio is not obtrusive.  The game itself is a blast both in the physical version and the iOS one, and completely merits a “Must Have” rating.

Food Fight iOS was developed by Playdek, Inc. (and created by Cryptozoic Entertainment), and is available for $3.99 on the appstore.  I played through version 1.0.1 on my iPod Touch 3G.

Beat Hazard Ultra – Play Your Music And Have A Blast Too

Beat Hazard Ultra by Cold Beam Games is an auditory and visually stunning experience.  You fly a ship in a confined area destroying asteroids and ships while gathering powerups to make the music louder and your vessel stronger.  Oh yeah—and all of this is generated by your music, or the music of one of the available Internet radio stations.

Beat Hazard Ultra analyzes the music from your iDevice library to create a playing experience that corresponds to the peaks of your chosen song, and this works incredibly well.  The visualizer in the background gains intensity as your song does.  Then more enemies spawn, and the screen goes crazy!  It’s frantic, hectic fun.  I’ve played music from “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys, to “The Seed (2.0)” by The Roots, and every song has proven to be different in terms of what the game sends your way.  And all of them have been enjoyable to play this way—there rarely is a complete lull in action, the game creates a challenging progression of enemies for each song.

The audio is clearly awesome, but how are the controls?  They’re amazing, because they’re very customizable.  You can play it as a dual-stick shooter, or use one stick, and choose between floating and fixed, as well as change the size.  All you need to do is try a few things and one of the options will work out perfectly.  Honestly, the controls feel as responsive to me as they do when I play the computer version using my gamepad or keyboard and mouse.

The game has a few modes: standard, survival, boss rush, and chill out.  They’re all pretty self-explanatory, and all very fun.  If you play well you are rewarded with points to spend on perks that can alter your game and customize it to fit your needs.  If you die a lot, you can purchase a perk that gives you two extra lives.

Likes:

Graphics: These are fun and exciting.  The visualizations that take place in the background based on your music make the gameplay more exciting, and are just plain cool to watch.  The ships and asteroids are all very well designed.

Controls: Completely customizable to your needs.  What more could you ask for?

Concept: The overall experience of this game is awesome.  Being able to play your music is incredible—because you can choose songs you like and then add another element of fun.

Modes and Perks: The standard mode is enough, but the other modes create more depth, as do the perks.

Dislikes:

Radio Stations Available: This is a stretch, I truly don’t dislike anything about the game, because they have is good, but more customizable experiences here could be nice.

Beat Hazard Ultra has been flawlessly ported to the iDevices.  The core gameplay is still a blast, and the visualizations are phenomenal.  What surprised me are the controls—they work perfectly once you find what works for you.  Definitely a “Must Have,” and I whole-heartedly recommend picking it up.

Beat Hazard Ultra was developed by Cold Beam Games, and I played through version 1.4 on my iPod Touch 3G.  The current price is $1.99.

OnLive to bring console games to iDevices

OnLive, Inc. provides a service that allows people to play console quality games on any Mac or PC equipped with just about any video card.  It logs key inputs and streams the resulting actions back to the user’s screen.  No hard drive space is required other than 10 MB for the application itself.  There is also a unit available called the MicroConsole that plugs into HDTVs.  The MicroConsole has a controller much like that of the XBOX 360—it’s comfortable and works well.

The service itself has a wonderful interface where you can watch others playing games in the Arena, view 10 second “Brag Clips” that people have recorded of their gameplay, purchase games in the Marketplace, or launch a game with ease.  All loading times are very fast; OnLive has strong processors to run all of the games well.  With a very fast Internet connection the video quality is incredible—it looks as if it’s right on the computer and it isn’t streaming.  When other people use your network, OnLive detects the signal strength and automatically adjusts the video quality.  Despite this, there are occasional frames dropped in the process.  The only game so far where this has been a problem is Mafia II.  I’ve seen some momentary lag not caused by my Internet quality or video stream, but instead from the processors at OnLive.  Loading within the game itself could cause this, or maybe there were a lot of people online—it’s another rare occurrence that was barely noticeable, and did nothing to hinder my gaming experience.

OnLive is free to browse; any game on their servers can be played for 30 minutes.  The trial can be played an infinite number of times with no charge.   There is an affordable gaming option.  It’s called the PlayPack Bundle, a package of 70+ games that costs $10 a month.  It can be cancelled at any time, and the selection includes some fantastic games.  There are also many games available for a full subscription, providing access to the whole game until it is no longer on their servers, a minimum of three years.  All of these games can also be rented for either 3 or 5 days.

While these options are nice, the games are offered at premium prices.  There often are great sales; just keep your eyes open.  So far, what I’ve seen of the games shows me a lot of great potential, except that the selection isn’t very large yet.  I’m convinced this platform is going to be huge, so I think it should gain enough momentum to have a huge library not too long from now.

Now here’s the cool news, OnLive has a playable app coming to iDevices before the end of the year!

Currently there’s an app available for the iPad that lets the user watch Brag Clips and view the Arena, but it’s nothing compared to what’s coming.  Soon we’ll be able to carry console games in our pockets, and play them whenever we want!  The graphics of these games will blow iDevice games out of the water with options such as Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Batman: Arkham Asylum.  It’s also great that the small iDevice hard drives will only need to have a tiny application to launch these games.

There are only a few foreseeable problems with this app: controls, screen size, and signal strength.  A solution to control issues is that each game will need it’s own custom set tucked in the sides of the screen.  If controls are approached meticulously (as I’m sure they will be) your thumbs won’t cover much of the viewable part of the screen, and each game should feel as natural as any one native to the iDevices.

The games available on OnLive were all designed for much bigger screens and as such they will have a large amount of detail visible at all times.  This could potentially be a big strain on one’s eyes when playing on one of the smaller devices.  I’ve also noticed that iDevices have a much shorter Wi-Fi range than computers.  To get great video quality a strong network connection is needed, and you’ll have to be closer to the source.  One can assume that the games will be playable over 3G, and that they will look just fine.  The same goes for 4G, but even better.

OnLive is an ambitious and innovative service that brings incredible graphics to systems that couldn’t handle the processing themselves.  While all of the video is streamed and is dependent upon a network connection and its strength, the hard drive is not filled with games.  It’s coming to the iDevices, and it’s going to be great, as long as the controls are addressed carefully.

Gameloft Releases New Trailer for Real Golf 2011 and New Screens for Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus

Gameloft has released an awesome new trailer for Real Golf 2011 which you can see embedded below.  It looks like a game with a lot of potential, the graphics and gameplay are promising.  The video also closes with a screen showing the release date to be September 9th!

Also released today are a few new snazzy screens from Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus.  It seems to have updated graphics and a few other tweaks, as well as another great storyline.  We are anxiously awaiting the release, which should be later this Fall.

Corporate Fury Review: A Crude and Creative 3D Beat ’em Up!

Recently I’ve been having a lot of fun with an inventive game by Swinecrafters LLC, titled Corporate Fury.  In this game you are Mr. Crusher, a man whose father was murdered by his boss.  The workplace has come to a sad, Gladiator-like existence, where you must fight to survive… Sort of.  What you do is wander the world training to earn money, stats, and items, by fighting random employees.  Once you have reached a certain strength, you can continue with the story by defeating your bosses, then taking their spot on the chain of command- until you eventually get to the top and get the chance to fight your father’s killer.  You can take your time progressing through the storyline, though, and just have some free-roaming fun!

As you progress and get more money, you can visit the store and get some killer upgrades.  These can range from weapons like claws much like those found on Wolverine, to armor covered in spikes and different outfits.  You can even purchase items that allow you to adjust the third-person view to first-person while roaming through the giant environment, and change the distance of the camera to the player.  Another thing available for upgrade in the store are your fighting stats, but there is yet more to unlock- the moves.  In the battles you can do a slew of different combinations utilizing the punch and kick buttons on screen in conjunction with the virtual joystick.  The amount of moves is pretty incredible, you can go a whole battle and not use a quarter of them!

Likes

Brawler: The iDevice did not have a proper brawler that delivered until Corporate Fury came along.  With a funny (yet crude) premise, and a well deserved 17+ rating, this game is easy to recommend for those who love mindless violence.

Loading Times: I really dislike loading times in-game.  Thankfully, Corporate Fury loads the entire environment for you when you resume/start your game, with no lag when switching to battles in the arenas.  Once you start it won’t stop until you quit- the game flows right along.

Amount of Content: With a HUGE environment to explore, and many NPCs to interact with, the player can explore for a long time before discovering everything.  The fighting system also allows you to earn some big bucks, which you can put to use to purchase tons and tons of items/upgrades/moves from the store.  If you upgrade your luck stat you can get some pretty fun items by defeating random people around the workplace, such as a Pumpkin Mask and a Pig Mask.

Audio: Corporate Fury has a full soundtrack which really drives the game and enhances the atmosphere.

Graphics: While not the best graphics I’ve seen on the platform, these are certainly higher end.  The fighting animations for each move are superb!

Dislikes

Storyline Length: Unfortunately the storyline really doesn’t last too long, if you take your time there are maybe 4-5 hours of gameplay.  Maybe I’m really great at it, but I doubt it.  Once you beat the final boss, there are actually a few secret bosses to defeat, but they won’t take too much longer.  Thankfully, though, you can’t explore even close to the full environment in that amount of time!

Corporate Fury is a fun take on the brawling formula with a very silly and crude premise.  The atmosphere of the game is pretty dark, and quite amusing, as the player must kill their bosses to advance in rank.  The unique story could be longer, but the amount of unlockables is so high that this is easy to recommend with our highest rating.

Corporate Fury was developed by Swinecrafters LLC., and I played through version 1.1 on my iPod Touch 1G running OS 3.1.3.  It is available on the appstore for $1.99.