Top Gun, one of last year’s gems, has been given a sequel through Top Gun 2. While I haven’t had a chance to actually sit down and play, the game atleast sounds awesome from the game description.
I did like the first one to a certain extent, and hopefully the sequel is enjoyable as well. Top Gun 2 comes packed with support for shaders and anti-aliasing (no word on Retina display), 3 different types of planes: the F-18 Hornet, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the F-14 Tomcat.
There are also 7 different areas of play, although it does not mention how many exact levels there are.
After much anticipation and speculation, Flick Baseball Pro by Freeverse finally hit the App Store. An entry into their ever expanding Flick Sports library, Flick Baseball Pro is the perfect pick up and play baseball game for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Aimed at the more casual and mobile player, this game feels much more like an arcade game than an in-depth sports sim game. For those that enjoy sports games for the mere enjoyment of them, this is the baseball game to own.
The game takes a cue from Com2Us’ Homerun Battle 3D for its control scheme in both batting and pitching. Tilt the device to move your hot zone to line up with the pitch for success in batting. Line up the target into the strike zone for the perfect pitch.
But taking Homerun Battle 3D one step further, in Flick Baseball Pro you also run the bases and field the ball. If you are daring you can stretch a single into a double, or make a throw to get a runner. All of these actions are accomplished with a simple tap of the screen.
And if by chance you don’t enjoy one aspect of the game – fielding or batting – you have the option to skip that portion and it will be simulated for you. There seems to be an underlying player statistics that will control the outcome for you. In the few times I tested it, it seemed pretty accurate, meaning the AI didn’t kill my pitcher when I simulated a pitching half inning, nor did I just get three strike outs during my batting half inning.
Controls: The controls could not be more simple. Tilt to position your “bat” while tracking the pitch, tap to swing at the appropriate time. Tilt to position your choice of pitch, tap to throw. When a runner gets involved in the action, a small diamond appears with each base activated by touch. This is easy to control either stealing an extra base or throwing to a base after fielding. Otherwise everything is pretty automatic. But the most important aspects of the game are controlled by the player. It is nice that this is not cluttered by having to field ordinary ground balls and the like.
An interesting addition is what I call the “Fly Ball Mini Game.” If your opponent hits a fly ball four moving gloves appear on the screen, you must tap the screen when they overlap to successfully catch the fly ball.
Game length options: The ability to choose between a 3 or a 9 inning game is perfect for any situation. This allows the player to squeeze in a game of baseball for any amount of free time available.
Season option: Want to bring home the trophy? Compete in a full season that includes playoffs. Still want to bring home the trophy but don’t have the time and or patience to play through the choice of 11, 33, 66 or the full 165 game season, no worries. Flick Baseball Pro has the option to simulate from 1 to 20 games at a time using the same formula as skipping a half inning.
Teams: The game comes with 34 teams, not surprising many are from actual baseball cities, but some international teams are included as well. The ability to customize a team is possible and you can build a team from the ground up with your own special abilities, choice of a name and uniform. Play a few seasons with them and before you know it you will have your very own dynasty.
Realism: Its always the small touches that make or break a game, and this particular aspect I really like. It lends a strategy to being in the field. As the game progresses and your pitcher throws more pitches his stamina decreases. Just as in real life, his strike zone is harder to hit. The tilt to aim mechanism will become harder to control and soon, as a manager, you will need to decide when to make a pitching change. Of course that is as simple as a few taps of the screen, but nonetheless this brings a sense of realism and strategy to the game that is welcome in a casual arcade sports game.
Plus Social Network: With the addition of the Plus network, leaderboards and unlockable achievements are available.
Home vs Away Team: I seem to always be the away team in an exhibition single game. I am not sure if it is randomized and I happen to always be the away team or if it is set up that way. I don’t know why this really bothers me other than the home team has an advantage in having last at bat if they are behind in the score.
An additional title has also been released by Freeverse’s sister company Small Planet named Chevy Baseball. It is a free lite version that keeps intact the core elements of gameplay but lacks the season mode and team customization. There are also only two unique teams to choose from in this version, aptly named the Camaros and the Silverados.
Sports games can run from extremely in depth as you would find on a console, to bare bones as you would find on a handheld. Flick Baseball Pro finds a suitable middle ground. It is not too complicated for a portable device, yet is not too simple either. If you like in depth 3D sports simulation games, this might not be the baseball title you are looking for. Flick Baseball Pro by Freeverse is the perfect pick up and play sports game that focuses on the fun aspects of the game without being too technical.
There’s an old adage (not really) that says, “A pool is just like a large bathtub.” This statement is aimed at those saying that the iPad is just a large iPod Touch, and while that may be true, the word “just” doesn’t exactly do it justice. There’s so many more possibilities on a larger screen, and with graphics being one of them, Warpgate HD and Warpgate must be compared.
So what are the differences? Well I’ll give you one: the iPhone version is hard to play while the iPad version is perfect. I don’t want to give it this word or description, but moving from playing on the iPad to the iPhone, Warpgate sucks compared to HD. It doesn’t play well on the iPhone once getting used to playing it on the iPad, and I quit out of the iPhone version after a few minutes.
And here’s one reason: the immersive environment isn’t present in the iPhone version. You’re ship is extremely small, the surrounding universe seems miniscule, and the ship controls just don’t feel as natural as those on the iPad. You have to zoom in and out a lot more, and zooming out doesn’t exactly move as smoothly or look as pretty.
The buttons are also quite cramped on the iPhone screen, while on the iPad, it’s very easy to press and is very spread out. The user interface needs some work for Warpgate on the iPhone, and the one implemented right now is somewhat difficult to use.
So with that all said, what exactly is different? Are looks the only things that are different? And to that question, I answer with a simple yes. Yes, the looks are the only things that are different. But the looks are everything in this case: the ambiance, the smoothness of the controls, the user interface; everything about this game depends on the immersion.
I’m sorry to say, but the iPhone version fails to immerse you in space exploration while the iPad has you staring through the cosmos and reaching for the stars, literally.
For iPhone users, Warpgate may be a fine game and if you’re having a lot of fun with it, that’s great. But for me, I would suggest shelling out $3 more for Warpgate HD (if you have an iPad, that is) for a much better gaming experience. It was just extremely difficult for me to transition from iPad to iPhone for Warpgate, and I was not impressed with the iPhone version at all.
It may just be that I’m comparing a computer game to a handheld game, or it may just be the fact that the iPad is much better for gaming. Maybe it’s just the game itself that doesn’t work well for smaller screens, or maybe Freeverse was too caught up in developing for the iPad version.
I’ve never been a big fan of space traders and such on any platform; they never hit me as interesting. Outer Empires MMO almost caught my attention into the space trading genre, but in the end, it didn’t capture me enough to keep playing over and over. As I’m more into action and epic storylines, buying low and selling high isn’t exactly my idea for a game.
But Warpgate HD took me totally by surprise, as it plays like no other space trader I’ve played. The storyline, one of a conspiracy theory of someone trying to create war between the N.S.E. and the Ecclesiastory, is intriguing and easy to follow. Dialogue boxes are well put together so that the player can follow along with the story, and much of it is far from broken.
Along with an intriguing storyline, the action is present. While the fights aren’t extremely complex and fleshed out, it’s enough to have you sitting on the edge of the seat, wondering if your skimpy ship can defeat the enemy. All in all, this is a space trader you shouldn’t be missing.
Graphics: The background environments along with the ship graphics are very impressive, and I never knew Freeverse could produce at such a quality level. Sure, I’ve played some of their Mac games and enjoyed them, but Warpgate HD looks absolutely beautiful; it sure beats Gameloft’s graphics out of the water. You won’t find many flaws with the appearance, and if you do, I will be surprised. This is the best-looking game I have seen on the App Store so far, and it should stay that way for a long time.
Sweet beats: The epic battle song/background music is well-composed, and it definitely added to much of the immersion effect. During a battle, the background music helped you to get into the cockpit and fire those missiles, and while you’re cruising through the galaxy, epic music will still be playing to keep you alert and on your feet. I thought the audio was very well done, and it definitely adds a lot to the gameplay.
Tons of things to do: Warpgate is, more or less, and open world space game. There are so many locations to travel to, so many planets to land on, and so many missions to accomplish. I usually like to finish the main storyline before moving on to the extras, but it would take so many more hours to visit everywhere. While some people may find themselves overwhelmed with the sheer size of Warpgate, I found it to be welcoming and one of the most expansive games on the App Store.
Tons of things to buy: You have a lot to do and a lot to buy. Ships, weapons, commodities; this thing is packed with items. I have no clue how many weapons, ships, and commodities there are exactly, but I can tell you that there are A LOT. There’s a new weapon and/or ship on almost every single planet (which should be way over 100).
Content: You won’t run out of things to do in a few hours, let alone a few days. Over 100 main missions should last you more than enough time to get your $7.99 worth out of it.
This is a steal: $7.99 will get you a premium game on the IPHONE. A premium game on the iPad has been set by EA as $14.99, and Warpgate is much more than anything EA has to offer. If you look at the price tag as expensive, I suggest you go see the doctor to check out your eyesight.
Multi-touch scrolling: I might be doing this wrong, or the multi-touch may just be broken. Zooming in with two fingers works perfectly fine, but when I’m trying to use my fingers to scroll left and right, it doesn’t exactly work. I have to force my fingers to move the camera angle multiple times, and it usually refuses to budge much. It does start to get annoying after a while, and if I’m doing it wrong, please correct me via comments.
Combat system: I think the combat could have been spiced up a bit more, as the one right now is more about monitoring your health and pressing buttons once they turn green. The weapons themselves are impressive, but the combat could be improved with maybe no homing-missile system, a turn-based combat system, or something else that I can’t think of. The current one isn’t bad, it’s just not good.
Earning the dough: Like the real world, earning money can be a pain. Buying low and selling high is easy enough once you know where the cheap stuff are, but it starts to get pretty monotonous when you’re trying to turn $2000 to $10,000. This is the “grind” part of the game, and while it’s necessary, I found it quite dull.
Warpgate HD is currently the best the App Store has to offer. It has a few problems like I mentioned above, but the epic storyline, breathtaking graphics, and sweet battle background music makes this a game that’s unrivaled. It would be nice if Freeverse updated according to the dislikes I had with the game, but again, Warpgate HD should be one of the must have games you need on your “magical” iPad.
Freeverse’s Parachute Ninja is a casual pick up and play that will have you playing for either 2 minutes or 2 hours. Packed with features, you will never be bored of the choices the game has to offer.
It all starts as the protagonist of our story becomes an orphan due to a mysterious enemy. Our hero must make the long trek to avenge the destruction of his village and find his last surviving relative (which, strangely enough, looks a lot like Mr. Miyagi from “The Karate Kid.”) But it’s only his head. In fact, the whole family is either just a head, or very rotund.
Soon you are a ninja who must fling and float from slingshot to slingshot collecting fireflies, in an effort to find who set fire to your village.
Graphics: Despite being a little “head” the graphics are crisp and colorful. Lots of fun screens are interspersed into the story, making it a fantastical adventure, unlike some games who make story modes in name only. Some of the game elements need some imaginative skills to make out however, such as the fireflies that looked to me like like sparks at first, and the parachute that looks like an umbrella pops out of the main character’s head.
Controls: The controls could not be easier. Pull back on the slingshot and you will fly in the direction you aim. Simple. Tap on the screen and a little umbrella will appear (the parachute) which will allow you to regain your footing if your shot was a bit off. Tilting the device will allow you to float back to a platform so you can try again if needed. Fling, touch, tap and tilt – the most simplest of controls available on an iDevice make this the perfect diversion. There is even an option for tilt calibration in the latest version to make your parachuting more accurate.
Gameplay: There are two modes of play to Parachute Ninja. Story and Survival modes allow you two completely different experiences. There are 30 levels in story mode throughout four environments. In addition to the slingshots, bouncing platforms, enemies, intricate angles and more will challenge you. Several checkpoints in the form of a gong are in each level so you can experiment with your shots as much as you need. Collecting fireflies adds to your score, hitting obstacles subtracts some of your collected fireflies to decrease your score; both of which contribute to the bar across the of the screen to earn you one, two or three tic marks for the levels. Go back and try to improve your score in story mode if you like by collecting more fireflies. Combos are possible by collecting more fireflies in one pass.
Not in the mood for story mode, survival mode is perfect for just trying to get as high as you can.
Plus Integration: Achievement whores will be happy to know that Plus is included in this game to compare your scores world wide, as well as earn achievements to boost your Plus ranking.
The unexplained: There isn’t much about this game I didn’t like. But, I do like things to have an explanation. Therefore, it’s puzzling to me why when you reach a checkpoint the water level below you rises and when you subsequently miss a shot you fall into the rising water. The water waits for you to reach a checkpoint to rise.
Music: As you can guess its quite stereotypical and while nice at first, it gets a little grating as you move along. Luckily there is an option to shut the music off but allow the sound of your falling into the water to remain.
In summary, if you have liked games like the classic Doodle Jump or the newer Bird Strike, you will love Parachute Ninja. It combines all those elements with a story mode, a survival mode, cute graphics and great strategic game play for whatever suits you at the moment. So my little grasshopper, find your way to Parachute Ninja.
Version 1.1 of Parachute Ninja is published by Freeverse and was reviewed on a 2g iTouch using 3.x OS. It is currently available for $0.99. There is also a lite that was just released available to try.