Category Archives: Reviews

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.

Homerun Battle 2 Review: A Pathetic Excuse for a Sequel

Com2us has been one of my favorite developers in the App Store, especially with how they’re very interactive in the community along with coming out with great games.  Chronicles of Inotia 2 was one of my favorite games, and others such as Homerun Battle 3D, the first of the series, was a lot of fun to play.

So when they released Homerun Battle 2, I was quite excited, given my previous enjoyment with Homerun Battle 3D.  But when I opened up the “sequel,” I felt almost cheated, ripped off in a way.  And do you want to know why?  It’s the EXACT SAME GAME.  There’s nothing in here, from what I remember, that’s different.  It’s still the same online play and the same offline play; the user interface is a little different, and there’s a new mode on the offline play, but other than that, the elements are the same.

What’s even worse is that now they’re starting to make you buy outfits and such through in-app purchase.  There are so many bats, gloves, hats, etc. that are accessible only through in-app purchase that it almost makes me feel like the game is won by anyone who has the most money.  From what I’ve seen, there’s no way to earn stars except through buying them, and the outfits that they do have for gold balls are outrageously priced.

All in all, this is one pathetic excuse for a sequel.

Likes

UI Improvements: I’ll have to hand it to Com2us: the user interface improvements do look nice.  While it is a bit slight, it looks a lot better.

Universal and GameCenter: This was something that was missing in the first one, and I’m a huge fan of any developer who is willing to make an app universal along with adding some GameCenter achievements.  No matter how much I hate this game (which I’ll get to soon), I have to put this in the like section.

Dislikes

Advertisements: It’s great that you’re having a fire sale and all, but you don’t have to have the news banners take up nearly a quarter of my screen.  While I was provided a promo code to review this game, if I was a user and paid five bucks for it, I’d be furious.  There are a lot of games that have that little news banner, but it only shows up when you press on it, and it doesn’t take up a large portion of the screen.  It’s just an annoyance that shouldn’t be in a $4.99 game.

SAME EXACT THING: This is the part that makes me nearly furious.  You can’t call a game a sequel when there’s literally nothing that has changed.  There’s one new game mode in the offline play, but other than that, the online play is nearly exactly the same, the outfits and such are the same, and even some of the UI elements are exactly the same.  You’re basically paying $4.99 for GameCenter achievements and new main menu buttons, which is inexcusable given the fact that other sequels, such as Zombieville 2, provide complete UI overhauls, gameplay changes, and stylistic changes.  To see that Com2us named this “Homerun Battle 2” and have it be nothing close to even being a sequel makes me quite mad, and they’re basically ripping off people by selling the same game but marketing it as a sequel so that more people buy it.

I’m sorry Com2us, but this is the type of thing that is the difference between good developers and bad developers.  When you’re cheating buyers by saying that it’s a sequel when it’s actually just the same game, I take offense to that.

In-app purchases: In-app purchases… in a $4.99 game?  Now I understand when those in-app purchases don’t really matter to the game, such as Modern Combat 3, which has in-app purchases but doesn’t force you to purchase them in anyway.  But Com2us has implemented a sort of freemium model to an already premium-priced game by putting in “stars,” which can only be earned through buying them with real-world money.  I shouldn’t have to pay in order to completely unlock all of the accesses to the game.  Along with that, online play should be fair in that all players have the same chance to win: it shouldn’t be predicated on who has the most money to spend on in-app purchases.  Basically, whoever is willing to spend a lot of money on this game is going to be the best, and whoever doesn’t have money to spend is left out and will always be milling around the lower level players.

Homerun Battle 2, as you can see, makes me quite furious.  And disappointed.  And shocked.  I’ve beta-tested a lot of Com2us’s games before, and they used to be all about the consumer and how they can make their games more appealing to the consumer.  But when they put in absurd in-app purchases, sell a game that’s nearly the same thing as the one before it, and even have banners of their own news take up a large portion of the screen, I can’t help but be disappointed.  Com2us, I have lost all respect for you, as this “sequel” is, as the title suggests, pathetic.

The game itself is fun though, so go on and pick up the first one.  It’s on sale for $0.99 and doesn’t have such an absurd in-app purchase system in it.

Homerun Battle 2 was developed by Com2us, and I played through version 1.0.1 on my iPhone 4s and iPad 2.  The price is $4.99.

NFL Flick Quarterback HD Review: It’s Just a Rookie

When I saw this game pop up in the App Store, my feelings were only of excitement, as always happens when something from the NFL appears let alone a game.  And while I was a bit disappointed when I saw that it was just an arcade game, I was still somewhat intrigued with the game because hey, licensed NFL games just don’t appear too often.

NFL Flick Quarterback yields a total of three gameplay modes: Playmaker, Trick Shot, and Trick Shot XL.  In Playmaker, you flick the ball towards a running receiver covered by defenders in order to score points, while in the Trick Shot modes, you try to flick the football into the trashcan.

And while I’m a huge fan of these flick sports type of games, NFL Flick Quarterback has failed to capture my attention for more than 10 minutes at a time.  Quite bluntly, there just aren’t enough game modes.  The Playmaker one is a lot of fun to play, but the Trick Shot ones are difficult, and the flick is inaccurate at times.  And just because it’s named Trick Shot XL instead of Trick Shot, it doesn’t mean that it’s an entirely new game mode.  I feel like Full Fat could have been a lot more creative than just adding a few more buckets to explode and make that as a new game mode.

While NFL Flick Quarterback is promising, it doesn’t have enough to keep me satisfied.

Likes

Graphics and Animations: The 3D player models aren’t all that detailed, but the graphics aren’t too bad.  The animations are probably some of the best I’ve seen in an arcade game, so kudos to them for some solid animations.  Overall, the game is designed well, with a clean layout along with very NFL-esque artwork.

GameCenter: I love the fact that the game includes GameCenter alongside 33 different achievements.  Absolutely love it.

Touchdown celebrations: There are a lot of different touchdown celebrations in this game, and it’s just fun to see what the player decides to do once he reaches the end zone.

Dislikes

Inaccuracy of the flick: The flick in the game is somewhat inaccurate.  For example, in the Playmaker mode, there are times when a flick will get to the receiver, but there are other times when the ball mysteriously falls short and goes to the other player.  In the Trick Shot modes, the ball does tend to go in weird places if you’re not exact with your flick, which is a reason why I’m not a huge fan of those modes.  It requires a little bit too much precision.

Lack of game modes: I really wish the developers would have added something other than just a Trick Shot and Trick Shot XL mode.  I mean seriously, there are some other modes they could have added such as a field goal kicking mode, hitting targets that pop up, and maybe even a mode in which the user has to throw to multiple receivers on the field.  Right now, the only mode that’s really fun for me is the Playmaker one, and I can only play that one for so long before I get bored.

NFL License?: That’s great that I can customize my own player, but who am I throwing to?  They’re advertising this as an NFL game, but beware, you won’t be throwing to the players you’re familiar with.  I mean seriously, who’s Davies?

NFL Flick Quarterback is a fun arcade game, but I wish there was more.  Right now, it’s just an overpriced arcade game that doesn’t exactly live up to its potential.  The GameCenter achievements are welcoming and all, but the gameplay is just lacking a real hook that I find in a lot of casual arcade games such as Flight Control or Fruit Ninja.  It’s fun for a couple of hours, but just note that it doesn’t last very long.

NFL Flick Quarterback HD was developed by Full Fat, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPad 2.  The price is $4.99.

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation Review: The Best First-Person Shooter on the App Store

The first-person shooter genre has, for the most part, been solely owned by Gameloft on the App Store.  With their Halo-clone series NOVA and their Call of Duty-clone series, Gameloft has continually shown that even though they tend to rip off a lot of ideas, their games are enjoyable and have a lot of depth to them.

The trend continues with Modern Combat 3, a fully functional first-person shooter with online multiplayer and a pretty lengthy campaign mode.

Modern Combat 3 contains 12 total singe player missions, each taking around 20 minutes to complete.  The online multiplayer features a ton of different weapons, skills, attachments, accessories (grenades, sticky grenades, mines, etc.), and weapon kits, all alongside the new military support such as bomber, airstrike, radar, and nuke.

There are a total of seven different online multiplayer modes and six maps, and quite honestly, they’ve improved the multiplayer maps a lot from the maps in Modern Combat 2.  They’re a lot larger and have a lot more hiding spots, making it much more suspenseful than the previous game in the series.

All in all, Modern Combat 3 is one fantastic game.

Likes 

Graphics: The graphics in Modern Combat 3 are insane.  I never knew my iPad 2 could handle this detail, let alone have that detail transfer into a 12-player online multiplayer mode.  The work they’ve done in the graphical department is absolutely fantastic, and even though I thought that Gameloft would not be able to improve the graphics of Modern Combat 2, they’ve proven me wrong yet again.

Online multiplayer: I love how they added new things into the online multiplayer such as military support and new weapons and such, making this the most addictive online multiplayer experience on the App Store.  It comes very close to console quality in terms of how much variety there is to the multiplayer, and I’m in utter awe at how well of a job Gameloft has done with the multiplayer.  It’s extremely fun, well-balanced, well-varied, and overall just a blast to play for hours at a time.  There are a few gripes I have with it though, but I’ll get to that later.

Universal: I love Gameloft’s decision to make all of their future games universal, and I’m really enjoying the online multiplayer on both my iPad and my iPhone.

Dislikes

Bugs, Disconnections, etc.: The thing about the online multiplayer is that it doesn’t work all the time, and there are some times when you’re sitting at your desk continually trying to connect to the server with no avail.  It does get frustrating sometimes, and while the multiplayer is brilliant for most of the time, there are those few times when it refuses to budge.

Lag: For some reason, the game lags heavily on my iPhone 4, both online and off.  I don’t think the iPhone 4 is THAT old of a device, and it should be running quite smoothly.  But alas, Modern Combat 3 seems to be just too much for my “old” device, and for those of you out there with an iPhone 4, here’s a word of warning for you.

File size: The game is slightly over 1 GB of memory, and it takes quite a long time to download.  Just keep in mind that you’ll need to clear up some space for an app this size, and be prepared to wait at least 20 minutes for it to fully download and install.

Modern Combat 3 is absolutely brilliant, and I find myself continually playing the online multiplayer everyday.  The single player is also quite robust and diverse, giving Modern Combat 3 a well-balanced gameplay between shooting bad guys and mini-games, such as shooting soldiers on an AC-130.  Anyhow, if you haven’t picked this game up yet, I suggest you to do so right away no matter the price.  This is one you shouldn’t miss.

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation was developed by Gameloft, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4 and iPad 2.  The price is $6.99.