Category Archives: Previews

Hands-on Preview with ‘Carnivores’ for iPhone

You may be familiar with the PC version, which is more than a decade old now, but it’s surprisingly being revived on the iPhone.  In collaboration with Tatem Games and Action Forms, Carnivores has been successfully ported over to the iPhone, and I was able to get the inside scoop and receive a preview build for this once great and stil great game.

If you’re not familiar with Carnivores, the whole point of the game is to hunt dinosaurs.  You have many different maps to chose from, a list of dinosaurs you want to hunt, and a couple of weapons to chose from.  The weapons include the X-Bow, Pistol, Shotgun, Double-barreled shotgun, Rifle, and Sniper Rifle.

Carnivores also includes a survival mode in which you’re equipped with some sort of rifle and must shoot at the incoming dinosaurs.  You can’t move around, and you have to shoot all the dinosaurs before they reach you… and eventually pummel you to the ground or eat your flesh.

Carnivores will also implement the Plus+ network, a good measure for replay value and such.  The game does start to get difficult as you progress, and the bigger dinosaurs you hunt, the harder they become.  The T-Rex seems to be one of the most difficult dinosaurs to kill (obviously), and it can only die by shooting it in the eye.

I had a lot of fun with the preview build, and it’s definitely something that should be on everyone’s wish list.  Even if you haven’t played the PC game (that’s me), you’ll have a blast playing Carnivores.  It does start off a bit slow, and the maps are quite large, but I guarantee atleast 4 hours of solid fun.

Carnivores will be launching on the iPhone soon for $5.99, and a lite version will shortly follow.

Hands-on with ‘Pirate’s Treasure’ from Chillingo

Dying to get my hands on this title, I set out on a quest via email to receive a hands-on build for Pirate’s Treasure.  To get there, I travelled through the somewhat cluttered space known as the desktop, then rode the wave known as the dock, and finally reached the port known as Mail.  After talking to the mail client, I was able to send along a message to Chillingo, begging for some reinforcements, as my mind was about to rebel if I didn’t provide it with what it wanted: a dual-stick shooter for the iPhone.

Ok, so maybe it didn’t exactly go that way, but either way, I was able to get some hands-on time with Pirate’s Treasure, an upcoming dual-stick shooter that takes place in an island of bugs and ferocious monsters, and you’re the pirate collecting all the gold and money for yer ship (please note that yer is, in fact, a word… for pirates).

It’s somewhat hard to describe Pirate’s Treasure other than the fact that it seems to be a mix of Minigore and Guerrilla Bob, then mixed around to create another theme for the dual-stick shooter genre.  The health system works very similarly to Minigore, in which your appearance will change for however many times you get hit.

There’s also a campaign mode, which consists of over 60 levels (from what I see), and it should provide you with many hours of game time.  Pirate’s Treasure did start to get repetitive, although I’m not sure if it will be like that once it launches on the App Store.

The main selling point of the game seems to be the graphics, which are bright and very appealing to the eye.  The developers did a great job with the visual part of the game, and the cartoony artwork definitely works with the overall theme.

Other gameplay elements include increasing your pirate’s stats with the coins that you earn, including the rate of fire, movement, luck, and the power of the demon.  The demon is a creature which you can turn into once you gather enough power, similar to Minigore’s little “clover rage”.

The build I received doesn’t seem to have a survival mode, although it may be something that appears after you’ve finished the game.

Overall, Pirate’s Treasure is a good-looking dual-stick shooter that I’m looking forward to playing once it hits the App Store.  It looks good, sounds decent, and plays like you would expect.  It mixes both Minigore and Guerrilla Bob into a different game experience, and while it didn’t strike me as exceptional, it is something that should be on any iPhone gamer’s radar.

Pirate’s Treasure has been submitted to the App Store, so it should be appearing anytime soon.

Hands-on with ‘Highborn’ from Jet Set Games

Turn-based strategy games aren’t plentiful in the App Store, but they sure are well-made.  Games such as Mecho Wars and Rogue Planet have set the bar extremely high for all entering App Store games, and not many have been able to pass the high expectations that were set.

But hold your horses there, we’re not saying Highborn is bad.  No, far from that my friends.  Highborn, developed by the same creators of the Command and Conquer series, is polished up extremely well along with some great artwork and graphics.  The dialogue is also quite hilarious at times and I’ve been impressed thus far.

Sure, there could be improvements in the character movement and the attacking mechanism.  A fast forward would also be nice to implement for impatient people like myself to skip through battle sequences.  But other than those minor problems, Highborn is shaping up to be one heck of a game.

The preview build I received only contained three levels of the game (presumably Chapter One), so content itself is still in question.  I would expect anywhere from 10-20 hours of minimum gameplay time, as most of the high-end turn-based strategy games seem to contain that amount of gameplay.

Also included seems to be an online multiplayer mode, which can be accessed only by connecting to Facebook.  Again, I don’t know if this will be implemented into the final build, but if it is, it’s something most of you should look out for.

The preview build I received seems to be quite stripped down from what would be the final version.  I only got glimpses of the gameplay, and so far, it seems to be very well done.  The story had me hooked in and playing for 10, maybe 30, minutes, and the difficulty was neither challenging or easy.

I can’t comment much else other than the fact that it has a lot of potential to fight it out amongst the cream of the crop.  If everything like multiplayer and content is sorted out perfectly, I think Highborn may be on it’s way to App Store glory.  For now, I can just say that this is a promising game.

Look for it in the App Store soon.  For more screenshots and info, be sure to check out their website.

Hands-on with Dominion HD for iPad

Dot Matrix Interactive shouldn’t be an unknown name for many of us seasoned iPhone gamers, as they’ve released the wonderful KIL.A.TON for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which is by the way, on a $0.99 sale right now.  It featured online multiplayer, some sweet weaponry, and awesome visuals.

So when they sent along a preview build for Dominion HD, published by Chillingo, I was more than excited to see what Dot Matrix Interactive had in store.  And what they brought to us is an online multiplayer Risk-like game, including some bright, military-like visuals and a sleek user interface.

The only gameplay mode that I’ve been able to play is the offline mode, which features around 8 maps, 3 game modes, and a nifty game customization screen.  You will be able to choose how you want to place your troops, where, and what type of game you want to play within the customization screen, along with many other options that are small but plentiful.

There are also 3 levels of difficulty included in the game, so for those looking for quite a challenge, you can always notch up the difficulty to hard.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to play the online multiplayer mode due to the game not being out on the App Store yet, and the fact that I need other people to play online against.  The game seems to be built all around the online multiplayer feature, as the single player mode was hardly enough to keep me interested for long.

As of now, Dominion HD is an okay Risk-like title.  I would have liked some more maps along with some different game modes, and the offline mode is more of a quick play than campaign mode.  Lux DLX for iPhone has hundreds of different maps to play on along with some other noteworthy features, so it would be great to see Dominion HD be improved on the offline side of the game.

Other than that, Dominion HD is shaping up quite nicely.  It had me sucked in until world domination was accomplished, and it always felt good when it told me that I had won the game.  I’m eager to try out the online multiplayer once the game is launched, as it seems to be the main part of the game.

Dominion HD has already been submitted to Apple and is planning a May 17th release.  To make the images full size, just click on them.

Deliverace Preview: Shiny new racer coming soon

The following preview is contributed by Tyler ( DGH94 ), head of the NoDpad forums.

Deliverace is the upcoming top-down, 3D racer from PixelBite Games, and a new graphical powerhouse for the iPhone.

Deliverace includes both single player and multiplayer modes. In multiplayer, you are pitted against other users currently online, similar to Cocoto Racing. Multiplayer is supported over Wifi and Edge. The single player includes four modes: Dirt Rally, Hot Lap, Delivery, and the Tutorial. Dirt Rally is basically any normal race, fighting for first place against five AI opponents. With three different difficulties, 4 different tracks with an option to reverse the direction, six cars, and three medals to aim for, there is no lack of replayability. Hot Lap serves two purposes. Similar to Time Trial modes in most other racing games, one tries to beat his best time, and thus earning medals. The player has the option to race his/her own best time, or the best time from around the world. While racing, two ghosts are present, best time overall, and best time this session. Parcel Panic anybody? Delivery mode is basically that, including all the crazy jumps, but this time a wagon is attached to the back of your jeep, as well as other traffic is present on the road. Trying to stay on the road, beat the clock, and deliver everything in one piece is one demanding job. Many people overlook the tutorial in most games, but in Deliverace, it serves a special purpose, atleast to me. It is a simple track, with some turns, a jump, and open land. I, personally, use this as my experimentation mode. This is the place to try new things and fine tune your driving. It also does a superb job at explaining the five different forms of controls. Both touch and tilt are used, providing a great array of possibilities; surely there’s something for everyone’s needs. In the options, tilt sensitivity, control method, music and SFX volume, and the option for a mini map can all be tweaked. With all this customization, how can one not find something for his/her needs?

The graphics in Deliverace are second to none, and yet performance remains superb, even on older devices. The cars are highly detailed; even the shading is accurate as any PlayStation 3 game. With such great graphics, let’s not forget the importance of music and sound effects. With music reminiscent of the movie Deliverance, and sound effects as accurate as if my grandmother hit a street sign in real life, Pixel Bite games has surely nailed everything down. The thing that’s shocked me the most has to be the fact that plastered everywhere is a message saying this is only an Alpha build, and that there are place holders in effect. I can only imagine in my wildest dreams what they are, because everything looks so darn good!

Deliverace is due any day now, so stay on your toes for this release. Discuss the game in our forums.