Tag Archives: $3.99

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.

Sid Meier’s Pirates for iPad Review: Ahoy Landlubbers, Ye be in for an Adventure

All the stereotypes associated with pirates—treasure, plunder, and swordfighting—are what makes the entire world of Sid Meier’s Pirates.

You start out with a small yet quick ship, ideal for plundering the larger ships if you know what you’re doing.  The game doesn’t seem to start out with any tutorial (although there is one accessible from the menu), so you’re pretty much on your own, learning all the nuances of being a pirate as you adventure out into the different colonies.

As for the point of the game, there really isn’t any.  But that’s not a bad thing; no, far from it.  The possibilities are nearly endless in a game such as this, allowing you to explore all around the colonies, plundering as many ships as possible, hiring tons of crew members, defeating other pirates; like I said, the possibilities are nearly endless.

You can also create a type of allegiance to the countries present — either England, France, Holland, or Spain — by fighting their enemies.  So for example, if you capture different Spanish ships, you’ll most likely be given a higher position (captain, major, colonel, etc.) by the French and the English, considering the fact that those two countries weren’t huge fans of the Spanish during that time.

All in all, it’s quite an exhilarating game that has very few flaws, if any, that I can see.

Likes

Adventure is out there: This game really brings out the adventurous, little child out in all of us, allowing us to pillage, burn, earn money, dance, etc.  There’s just so much to do in Sid Meier’s Pirates that you really can just do whatever you want.  It’s hard to really describe in mere words and letters, but Sid Meier’s Pirates is probably the most adventurous game on the App Store thus far.

Variety: Like I said, there’s just so much to do in this game, it’s ridiculous.  You can go from sword-fighting the captain of another ship to ball dancing with a governor’s daughter.  You can also hire more pirates, fence fencing masters, trade with the merchants… again, the possibilities are endless.

Difficulty: The difficulty level at Journeyman, for me personally, is absolutely perfect.  I haven’t tried out any other ones for fear of losing progress, but for beginners, the Journeyman difficulty is just perfect.

Dislikes

Some sounds: Some of the sound effects in the game get pretty irritating, such as the sound the game makes when tracking a Top 10 pirate.  The 10-or-so second sound loop when fighting another ship also gets a bit redundant.  Not major issues, but there are some sound effects in here that do become a bit tiring after a while.

Beginning: You have to be a little resilient in the beginning of the game given the fact that you know absolutely nothing.  You don’t know what the objective of the game is, you don’t know how to earn money, and you don’t really know how to play the game.  The tutorial does a mediocre job of teaching you how to play, and you really just have to learn through trial and error.  Not the ideal way to learn how to play a game, but after a while, you should be in full swing.

Crashes: Thankfully there is autosave included, but the game does crash every once in a while.  Buyer beware.

Sid Meier’s Pirates is absolutely stunning.  This stands as one of my all-time favorite games for the iPad, considering the fact that there’s so much to do and so little time.  Just do yourself a favor and purchase it now; I doubt that there will be any regrets for such a fantastic game.

Sid Meier’s Pirates was developed by 2K Games, and I played through version 1.0.4 on my iPad 2.  The price is $3.99.

 

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Review: Typical Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts isn’t exactly the greatest developer on the App Store.  Sure, their board games are pretty nice, and their Need for Speed racing games aren’t too shabby either.  But other than that, everything else seems to be quite a bore.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 included.

What tends to be a Call of Duty rival on consoles appears on the iPhone as nothing of the sorts, as in this case its closest rival would be Modern Combat 2.  The online multiplayer doesn’t work, the controls are terrible, and the voice-acting is on par with that of Gameloft.  Dare I use the words, “This game sucks”?

Likes

It’s a start: Couldn’t really think of anything to put in the Like section, but this is at least SOMETHING.  Battlefield Bad Company 2 is a start, with a solid—albeit short and not creative—single player campaign mode.  The online multiplayer is there, it just lags too much and takes way too long of a time to load.  The graphics need some improvement but aren’t that bad.

Dislikes

Everything else: Besides the fact that Battlefield Bad Company 2 is a start, it’s horrible.  The graphics leave a lot to desire, even though they aren’t too bad, and the multiplayer needs some serious fixing.  The price has gone up to $3.99, and the rating and entire review is really based on the price.  For a $0.99 shooter this really wouldn’t be that bad, but for $3.99?  Just spend three more to get Modern Combat 2.

The controls are also quite terrible, even after fiddling around with the options.  While I’m not too up in arms about gyroscopic controls—seriously, I don’t get the point of the whole gyroscope thing—the joystick itself is a little too… close together.  All the buttons seem to be placed in awkward spots, and the swipe-to-move-camera isn’t exactly smooth.

The game also crashes almost every other time I open it, which really shouldn’t be a problem two and a half years into the App Store.  On top of THAT, the frames per second seem to lower considerably if you’re under heavy fire, almost unable to move, zoom, and shoot down your opponent.

All in all, Battlefield Bad Company 2 is far from a complete package and even farther from being competition to Modern Combat and Gameloft’s whole franchise over there.  For right now, it’s nothing more than a bad first-person shooter.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 was developed by EA Mobile, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $3.99.


Sentinel 3: Homeworld Review: Oddly Familiar…

Sentinel has arguably been one of the best tower defense games since the first one was released, hot off the whole Fieldrunners hype and the explosion of the tower defense genre on the App Store.  I’ve generally had a lot of fun with a lot of tower defense games out there: Fieldrunners, Bloons TD, and Elemental Monsters TD to name a few.

And the premise of Sentinel 3 is oddly familiar, except this time you’re on the alien’s homeworld and invading their territory (before it was the aliens invading Earth, prior to that Mars).  This version of Sentinel has, by far, the most content available with 20 maps, along with a new, powerful commander you level up during the process.

Along with that, instead of receiving all the turrets at the beginning, you slowly receive more types of turrets as you progress through the campaign.  You also need to purchase a turret slot before being able to “equip” the turret for your battle, which may sometimes require you to play levels over again just to be able to equip another turret.

And while that sounds all fine and dandy, I honestly don’t see many differences between Sentinel 2 and Sentinel 3.  Sure, they’ve added a commander, but that doesn’t really add a lot to the strategy.  If you keep the commander healthy and have it guard the gates, you should be more than fine.  It doesn’t require a genius to have the commander stay in one place and level up its stats accordingly.

Also from my extensive hands-on time with the game, I haven’t seen any new enemy types.  There may be one boss that I haven’t seen in the previous Sentinel, but other than that, everything else is the same.

One of my major gripes with Sentinel 3—actually all of them—is the fact that the screen becomes pixelated once you zoom in.  It also makes me not want to zoom in, but when you zoom out all the way to full-res, the towers become too small to accurately upgrade and such.

But one of the major pluses for the game is still intact which is the game balancing; tower defense newbies should be able to get past through a lot of levels while tower defense gurus should be faced with huge challenges when it comes to the Psycho mode.  The revamped musical score is also quite refreshing and one that I absolutely love.

But other than that, there’s really nothing too new about this one.

Likes

Musical score: I have to hand it to Origin8 for improving their soundtrack and producing one of the better-sounding tracks on the App Store.  I, personally, really enjoy the background music added in Sentinel 3 and MUST give props to Origin8 for their music.

Balance: This is one aspect that Sentinel tower defense games boast, and I’m glad they didn’t mess it up here.  There’s more than enough difficulty levels in this game for anyone to be able to pick it up and cruise through a couple of levels.

Commander: While the Commander quite frankly doesn’t add much to the gameplay, it’s a welcome addition.  It does kill off those last minute enemies that your turrets can’t quite reach, and leveling it up does add a sort of RPG aspect to the game.  You also might have the itch to level up the Commander to unlock abilities—it has six—that are able to do things from healing the barrier to shooting some extra guns.

Dislikes

Nothing really new: I honestly don’t see much change in the game.  Not that Sentinel 2 really needed a lot of change but hey, it would be nice to put in a little imagination to add some new features or something amazingly cool like online multiplayer.  It really doesn’t feel like a sequel as of now; something more along the lines of an expansion pack.  They even “forgot” to add new enemies if I’m not mistaken, and the new maps aren’t all that groundbreaking or “new”.

Zoom in: I don’t know why Origin8 continues to pixelate the artwork once you zoom in.  Retina graphics my butt.  It’s been nearly a year and a half, probably more, since the first Sentinel was released.  You would think that they would have fixed this problem right now, but alas, even in their third installation of the Sentinel series, they fail to improve.

I’m more upset about their lack of improvement than the game itself.  The game is fine, it’s just that faithful Sentinel fans will find this new sequel to be a little lacking.  They’ve really only added a Commander, and they still have decided to keep the artwork pixelated when zoomed in.  And at $3.99, I’m honestly going to suggest you to pick up Sentinel 2 instead—$0.99, and basically the same thing.  I didn’t even include the fact that Sentinel 2 is a year older.  Bottom line is, there’s little to no improvement.

Sentinel 3: Homeworld was developed by Origin8, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $3.99.


Blimp HD Review: Best Use of Hot Air in a Game, EVER

Blimp HD is both a wonderful piece of gaming nostalgia and great new platformer that takes full advantage of the technology at its disposal. It’s both easy to pick up and play for a minute and totally satisfying to play for long stretches at a time.

On my first Gameboy, I loved games that put me in control of a vehicle and made you navigate through some complex series of massive mazelike obstacles. Add to it things that that shoot at you and a nice arsenal of weapons at your command and ten year old me was in imagination heaven. Ten year old me is happy again.

Blimp HD puts you in command of a blimp, as you might imagine. Each stage is set on a steam punk alien world where you transport workers and cargo from platform to platform in a fixed amount of time. There are time extensions, bonus crystals, and health boosts to be collected, and in later levels your blimp will be armed with bombs you drop onto your enemies below.

The real strategy comes in deciding how you’re going to organize your trips around the stage. It’s both a time management problem and strategic combat one with both elements giving each stage of the game significant replay value.

The controls are easy to learn and yet sensitive and difficult to master once you’ve got weaponry to deal with while keeping your blimp aloft with constant well-timed jets of hot air. What’s brilliant is that you can control the movement of the blimp with either the accelerometer or an on screen slider you can toggle on and off. I assumed the slider would be harder than just tilting my iPad but it turned out it works really well and saves me looking like a freak on the bus.

I frequently harp about the non-gaming aspects of games and in this case I’m happy to say that the developer has created a really nice package. Much like early Gameboy games, Blimp HD is not without a story, and a reasonably imaginative one, but also doesn’t make the story the main focus of the game. Blimp HD is all about gameplay and beautiful design.

Finally, this is not a game to play without headphones. The music is gorgeous and made me very badly want to break out Garage Band and pretend I could make cool music too. For the record…I can’t.

So, in a nutshell…

Likes

Gameplay: This is solid, very recognizable gameplay and that’s not a bad thing. I’d love to see more games that resurrect this style of imaginative play. Something about it just stirs my imagination and makes me want to keep playing.

Art: This is one of the truly beautiful games. Everything from the writing of the pre-level briefings to the sound effects and music makes this a top-notch experience. The stage design is lush and colorful, never becoming old or repetitive.

Replay Value: The story is fine, but what really hooks me is the gameplay and the fun of navigating your blimp around each gorgeous stage. The stages are so much fun I find myself just wanting to play one because it was fun, kind of like your favorite play set as a child.

Dislikes

No Connectedness: Pretty much, these days, anything that doesn’t in some way utilize Game Center is going to be knocked down a notch, even if it’s a miniscule notch as it is in this case. It’s really not necessary but would add even more fun with high scores and achievements. Yes, I’m one of those achievement loving people. You know who you are.

Blimp HD is a solid, professional, and top-tier game that I’d be thrilled to see on any handheld gaming platform. To find it on an iOS device is thrilling and speaks really well for the platform. You should get it ASAP.

Blimp HD is developed by Craneball Studios and is available on the iPad for $3.99. It was reviewed at version 1.0 on my iPad.