Tag Archives: Craneball Studios

‘Overkill’: A Great Way to Earn A Lot of GameCenter Achievements

If you haven’t noticed already, Overkill is sitting on the #1 free spot in the App Store so far.  So, the Curious George inside of me decided, “What the heck do I have to lose?”

And quite frankly, I did lose one thing: nearly five hours of my time.  Overkill has become this weekend’s most played game on my iPhone, and while it’s a shame that it doesn’t quite work on the iPad 2, they have claimed that an update is coming.

But that’s not the best part: Overkill contains 84 different achievements, all of which are fairly easy given you have enough time to unlock all of them.  As I type, I’ve unlocked 34 achievements and counting withint a five hour time span, which is a lot more achievements than any other game can really boast.

The game is a real doozy, and if you haven’t downloaded Overkill yet, I suggest you go on right away.  And of course, if you’re looking for some new GameCenter games with achievements, Overkill isn’t a bad place to start.

P.S. You can earn OM, currency used to buy highly-touted weaponry, by downloading various apps through the Tapjoy system they have employed.  While it does take some time, it’s totally worth it and an extremely easy way to earn OM rather than buying them.  Just a little shortcut for all those worried about having to buy OM.

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.


Superfall Review: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

It’s basically Doodle Jump backwards.  You must fall as far as possible without getting stuck on any traps or flat platforms, and the game is powered with OpenFeint.  And while I absolutely love OpenFeint to death, it does start to get a bit of a burden when the achievements are too difficult and the gameplay becomes slightly repetitive.

Craneball Studios happened to make a name for itself with its release of Blimp: The Flying Adventures, a game that was for the most part original and creative.  I enjoyed the title bunches, and with the arrival of 33rd Division, I respected them even more.  But it seems that not everyone can make great games, as Superfall seems to not be my type of game.

And the only reason I can think of this repetitiveness is one reason and one reason only: it’s a failed attempt at a casual game.  Developers have tried to hit this market after the successes of Flight Control and Doodle Jump, but most of them don’t realize that if you make it too simple, the game will fall apart.

Still, Superfall is an interesting game that, like a ragdoll, doesn’t fall apart immediately.

Likes

Visuals: The colorful, 2.5D visuals were enough to say, “This game definitely looks appealing.”  I think the visuals are the most important part in a game, as they lure a person’s interest and eventually, causes people to buy the game.  If I saw a fully 3D first-person shooter on the App Store, I would definitely be interested in trying the game.  That happens to be the case with Superfall: the graphics and artwork are appealing enough to have someone want to try the game.

Variations: The random generation of obstacles is nice to have, and while it is necessary, the random generation is VERY random.  One game you’ll have nothing in front of you for 30 feet or so, then the next game you’ll have obstacles right in your face.  I think it added some replay value to the game, and it’s soothing to see that there’s a different look everytime.

Tons of ragdolls: Superfall contains tons and TONS of ragdolls, and the sheer amount will take forever to unlock all of them.  This is a huge plus for a game of this type, and I’m glad to see so many different types of ragdolls being implemented.

Physics: It’s a physics game, and the physics are accurate.  What more is there to say.

Dislikes

Repetitive: It isn’t as repetitive as, let’s say, Cocoto Magic Circus, but it still is a bit repetitive.  It’s not a game you can play for hours on end; maybe one or two minutes.  As a busy person, I tend to look over games that are the same thing over and over again, and I find it extremely difficult to stay on one task for a certain amount of time.

OpenFeint achievements: This should be a major turn off for most.  The achievements are just way too difficult, and some don’t even unlock.  I’ve completed the tutorial without the tutorial achievement being unlocked, and the other achievements take almost an hour or two to unlock.  For achievements, it’s best to have some unlocked through the first play through then some other difficult ones unlocked later on.  It would be nice to add some easy achievements in here, and it would definitely improve the game in terms of replay value.

Superfall is a solid attempt at the casual game market, and I commend them for that.  I think they implemented a lot of the key things in a casual game; they just failed to execute in terms of achievements.  The repetitiveness usually comes as a side effect of a casual game that went slightly askew, and it seems to be that way with Superfall.  I’m not saying that Superfall is a bad game; it’s just not a great game.

Superfall was developed by Craneball Studios, and I played through version 1.0.1 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $1.99.


Tuesday Freebies: Ramp Champ and 33rd Division

Normally, it would be a Friday Freebie, but today seems to be a different case.  Two very high profile games have changed from their prices to free, a move that I was completely taken aback by.  33rd Division is a game that was rated the highest award, a Must Have, while Ramp Champ was given a Worth A Look award.

Ramp Champ became free today along with the release of version 1.1, which fixes many of the performance problems and crashes I experienced.  The design is definitely the best in any skee ball game I’ve played on the iPhone, and it’s definitely worth your time to download.  Ramp Champ does have two DLC packs to increase the content, and both are priced at $0.99.

33rd Division is a line-drawing game in the veins of Flight Control and Harbor Master, and it’s one of the best we’ve ever played.  For free, this game should definitely be sitting on your homescreen right now, and I’m more than surprised with the price change.  33rd Division is a part of an Appvent Calendar from Blacksmith Games, similar to advent calendars that are available during Christmas.  Each day until Christmas, there will be a free game revealed, and these games will be free for only one day.

Both display high production values along with impeccable design, and if I were you, I would speed down to the iTunes Store and download these right away.  33rd Division will be free only today, and we do not know when the Ramp Champ sale will end.