Tag Archives: Origin8

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.


Origin8 Weekend Freebie: ‘Air Bear’

Origin8 has been one of the more notable developers on the iPhone, releasing titles such as Sentinel 2 and Space Station Frontier.  Along with that, they’ve released a slew of other casual games for, of course, the large casual gamer audience.  And this weekend is the weekend for one of them to go free, which in this case happens to be Air Bear.

Air Bear is all about collecting the rings and jumping up as high as possible.  You can say that it’s sort of like Doodle Jump with better graphics, somewhat more obstacles, and your goal is to collect as many rings as possible on your way up.  I would put it as something closer to Bird Strike, which is one of my favorite casual games.

Air Bear also has OpenFeint implemented into its core, so if you’re a fan of achievements and online leaderboards, this freebie should be perfect for you.

Please note that Air Bear will be free only this weekend and will go back up in price after Sunday May 2nd.

‘Sentinel: Mars Defense’ Goes Free

Now THIS is a pleasant surprise.  The first iteration in the Sentinel tower defense series has gone free, a game that was originally $4.99 and went as low as $0.99.  It was a great game back in the day, and for free, you really can’t complain.

The sequel to Sentinel: Mars Defense, Sentinel: Earth Defense, was one of the best tower defense games we have ever played, warranting the sequel a Must Have.  The first version isn’t far away though, and most of you will enjoy your playtime with the game.

Sentinel: Mars Defense went free in collaboration with the OpenFeint Free App of the Day and will be free until February 21st.  I suggest everyone to go download it now, as you’re definitely missing out if you don’t.

Robot Rampage Review: I Will Smack You

Oh geez… what if robots actually ruled the world?  What if they got so powerful and had thoughts of their own that they went against their own maker?  What if…?

I’m sure atleast some of you have seen the movie I, Robot featuring Will Smith, and the movie was all about robots taking over the world and the main character trying to stop them.  While Robot Rampage isn’t as elaborate as a movie plot, casual gamers will find themselves at home with such a unique title.

Hardcore gamers, on the other hand, may find themselves a bit disappointed.  For me, I liked the title, but it wasn’t enough for me to love it.  Great visuals, OpenFeint integration, and great explosions… but the repetitiveness really starts to get to you.

Likes

Visuals: Visuals have been very well done, along with some good-looking building explosions.  The robot was probably my favorite part of the whole visual scene, and Origin8 has proven themselves to be one of the top indie devs on the App Store in terms of visuals.

Scoring System: The scoring system is very unique and isn’t depended on a numerical score; it’s more depended on the number of blocks you’ve destroyed.  Uniqueness needs to be credited, and this is a part that I found to be quite clever.  I always look for uniqueness/cleverness in games, and Origin8 subtly injected creativity into their high score system.

Dislikes

Controls: There’s just so many parts and things to touch in such a small area, it becomes too difficult.  Touching the right and left to move, the arms to throw punch, and legs to stomp.  And that’s not even part of it, sometimes the arms punch in the wrong direction, adding much to the frustration levels.  While the controls are usable, they definitely are in need of some improvment.

One idea could be using arrows on the bottom, such as the ones found in Zombieville along with action buttons on the right.  It’s a very bland idea, but there needs to be some sort of improvement in controls.  And no, do not include the accelerometer into the mix.

Repetitive: Basically the same thing over and over: kill armies, buildings, and tanks along with the occasional helicopter.  For me, I didn’t exactly have that push to play the game over and over again and recognized the repetitiveness right off the bat.  Maybe the increase of game modes could help, but for now, the game is very shallow.

Robot Rampage looks good, sounds good, but plays mediocre.  Shallow gameplay along with somewhat faulty controls were a total turn-off for me, and while I’ve played the game for more than an hour, I just can’t find myself playing this game more than I already have.  At $1.99, I think your money would be better spent elsewhere until an update arrives to address some of the issues I have mentioned.

Robot Rampage was developed by Origin8, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $1.99.


MonsterKill Review: Garlic Won’t Kill This Vampire

Origin8 is infamously known for their tower defense game Sentinel and Sentinel 2.  Good news is that MonsterKill is another “defense” type of game, and the bad news is… really nothing.  While MonsterKill is a little short compared to its competition, I’m really surprised with what Origin8 produced.  From start to finish, MonsterKill was an enjoyable experience that was totally worth the asking price.

Likes

Graphics: Origin8 has always been pretty consistent with their graphics, and most of their games feature some top-notch artwork and graphics.  MonsterKill is no exception, and this castle defense game is right up there with Knights Onrush in terms of artwork and design.  While it is played in portrait mode, the game is well designed to fit the screen.

Controls: I’m going to say this just straight and simple.  I really, REALLY hate castle defense games that use the thumb flicking motion or whatever it’s called.  Knights Onrush is a good example of a game that I didn’t really enjoy due to the controls, but MonsterKill features a new control method altogether.  We’ve seen the same control method used in Red Bull X-Fighters, and it works very well here to execute spells and attacks.

Upgrades: Upgrades are pretty extensive from upgrading your defenses, healing your “castle”, or upgrading the power of your spells.  Of course, as you progress through the game, you will be able to upgrade your spells accordingly.  While the upgrades themselves aren’t as extensive as let’s say Besieged, the unlocking of achievements is a method that works great for gameplay balancing and all those game features.

Dislikes

Fairly Short: The normal mode took me around an hour to complete, and I can’t really imagine myself playing the endless mode for very long.  While you do have OpenFeint achievements to complete, I didn’t find them to add much to the replayability as all the achievements are quite hard to achieve.  But hey, it’s a lot better than a $0.99 fart app.

Variety: MonsterKill isn’t as diverse as other castle defense games, and I found it to be very lacking in terms of variety.  There aren’t many characters, and the spells aren’t all that extensive.  I would really like to see some updates that add to the spell queue and maybe even add some more characters.  As of now, the game is pretty limited in variety.

MonsterKill was a really enjoyable game, and while the game was quite short, it was an enjoyable 1-2 hours.  Some may find the game to last longer as they try and compete in the OpenFeint highscores, but the average person will find themselves being occupied for no more than 1-2 hours.  It’s a short game, but it’s definitely a great buy for $0.99.

buy

MonsterKill is developed by Origin8, and I played through version 1.0 on my 1st generation iPhone.  The price is $0.99.

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