Tag Archives: StoneLoops of Jurassica

Puzzler ‘Luxor’ Currently Free

We first reviewed Luxor way back in August of last year, making it almost a full year since the review went up for this game.  I remember playing this game a fair amount at its release, and Daniel enjoyed it as well when he gave it a Buy recommendation.

Luxor is a puzzle game that pits you against a stream of coloured balls that are travelling around a predetermined path.  You job is to get rid of them before they reach the end, and as quickly as possible.  To do this, you fire balls up from the bottom of the screen, and try to time the shots so that the ball you fire connects into other balls of the same colour and causes them to disappear.  Think Zuma, or StoneLoops of Jurassica, for an idea of a similar game.

I preferred StoneLoops of Jurassica over Luxor, but free is a hard price to beat and only one of these games is still in the app store!

Sparkle the Game Review: Can you save Crowberry Woods?

First of all, let’s cut to the chase and get this out of the way. Sparkle the Game is a Zuma, Luxor, Stoneloops of Jurassica, add marble shooter of your choice here, clone. Plain and simple and no denying that fact. But 10tons Ltd has created a version of the the PC/Mac game for the iPod Touch that will have you scratching your head saying Zu-who?

With beautiful and colorful graphics, the game actually has a story to follow and definitely provides more options and player control than any of the aforementioned titles. In order to save Crowberry Wood from the clutches of evil and the shadow of darkness, you must complete each day by preventing the marbles from reaching the end of the mazes.

Game play is what you would expect – shoot colored orbs into the ever moving chain to make matches of 3 or more to clear them. Keep the chain from reaching the pit, covered in a quite graphically pleasing cloud of black smoke and you can move to the next level. Choose your path wisely to collect all of the amulets and power ups. The ultimate goal is to save the kingdom and reach each landmark at the end of each path. You will save the kingdom in portions and choosing which way to progress along each of the several forks in the road will vary the gameplay from player to player. A nice change from the standard one path formula.

Likes:

Controls: Sparkle the Game fully utilizes the unique options the iPod Touch allows. I love a developer that works within the given parameters instead of forcing square pegs into round holes just to produce their idea of what a game should be. Controls are purely touch driven. Touch where you want your orb to land, touch the center launcher to switch which color is available to shoot next (you can only switch between the next two in line, but that sometimes will save you from a very precarious situation), touch to shoot at the power up. The touch and control is very accurate as well. The aim is precise and my only failure was not taking into account the moving line of orbs while aiming. So even the physics of shooting is taken with great precision and you definitely can miss simply because the line of orbs is faster and you don’t take that into account with your aim. A very nice addition of realism.

Customization: Believe it or not there are quite a lot of choices for game customization available. As mentioned there are several power ups available – anything from flames that destroy your orbs, an accuracy guideline, moving the line backwards etc. What makes this different however are the amulets you gain every certain amount of levels (most are every 6 levels and the game counts these down nicely before you embark on another maze to complete.) Choosing to equip an amulet will affect the power ups that you earn during the levels. For example, choosing the Amulet of Purple will allow each power up that appears to be the Purple Flame that burns away several orbs at once – handy for those winding and bending levels where you have little space in which to work.

As you progress along the map you will be faced with forks in the road and each path will lead to a new section of the kingdom to save. But these forks in the road are assurance that no two games will ever play the same way. My day 35 might be different from your day 35 depending on which path you have chosen.

Achievements: While not tied into one of the several social achievement networks, Sparkle the Game has a very comprehensive achievement board of its own. It tells you everything from how long you have been playing to the number of orbs you have shot, to the all important how many amulets you have found (and how many are left!)

Dislikes:

A bit of lag: Reaching the upper levels of 30 and higher I have found some lag time in the row of orbs. The only negative effect I have found with this has been the accuracy in aiming.

Loose launcher: Well I didn’t know how to categorize this one, but sometimes when changing the order of your orbs you shoot your marble instead. It seems that to change the orb you must hit the launcher dead center. Though doing that is accurate, in the heat of gameplay that is sometimes difficult to master. I have wasted a few shots because of this and while it does not deter from the game it has created some trickier lines of orbs to clear.

Overall, Sparkle the Game sparkles (sorry I couldn’t help myself). At first glance it looks like just another copycat, but dig a little deeper and you will find a complex game with much to offer. With three game modes (Quest, Challenge, and Survival) you will be coming back for more in this addictive and colorful game. Replayablity abounds with 12 secrets to be discovered, power ups and amulets to collect and customizable game play to change your experience each time. The new update also includes a colorblind mode, opening up this great game to many new consumers. And of course, saving Crowberry Woods from imminent danger will make anyone feel good.

Sparkle the Game is currently priced at $2.99 and is developed by 10tons Ltd. Version 1.02 was reviewed on a 2g iPod Touch.

‘Stoneloops of Jurassica’ Removed From App Store

Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge deal because we’ve seen games disappear off the App Store only to reappear again.  This doesn’t seem to be the case for Stoneloops of Jurassica, one of the premier marble shooters on the App Store.  It received a lot of competition once Luxor, Atlantis Sky Patrol, and Tumblebugs were released; but it still stood tall among all the others.

According to the developer’s blog, the game was removed ultimately due to MumboJumbo’s complaint to Apple.  A quote from the blog shows why the game was removed, and to me these accusations seem absolutely absurd.

About 3 weeks ago we have learned that MumboJumbo supplied Apple with a formal complaint and a request to remove StoneLoops! from the AppStore. The reason? Infringing Luxor copyright, confusing customers, stealing Luxor’s look & feel and even stealing their source code! This might sound absurd to anyone who knows both games but apparently Apple decided otherwise as we’ve been requested to prepare a formal response, which we did. We described how ungrounded each claim is and supplied various materials to back our claims.

I’m sure some of you have played Stoneloops and found it to be quite excellent, and there’s really no “infringing of copyright” and “copying source code”.  Personally, these notions are absolutely ridiculous.  This shows how the industry giants have their own little monopoly going on, blocking out the indie developers and killing their competition.

We’ve seen similar situations like Tris being removed for infringing copyright from Tetris, but something like this is unheard of and just plain wrong.  It doesn’t make sense to me why a company would make false claims about their competition because they just can’t compete with it.

Anyhow, it’s all about the money right?  Maybe I’m a little too passionate on this subject, but this is still ridiculous nonetheless.  Stoneloops was arguably one of the best marble shooters out there, and it’s a shame that it was removed due to false accusations.

We’ll have more once the story develops a little bit, but until then we can only hope for Stoneloops’s safe return.

Luxor On Sale for $0.99

We reviewed Luxor not too long ago, and it received a Buy rating for its good graphics and overall solid gameplay.  The price then was $2.99, similar to any other marble shooter in the App Store.  Well it seems like Luxor has just gone on sale for only $0.99, which is 66.667% off of the original price.

Luxor for iPhone utilizes the Plus+ network along with some other cool features, and it is the original marble shooter.  The game plays very similarly to Stoneloops and Atlantis Sky Patrol, and while it isn’t anything “wow” or “awesome”, the game is a solid marble shooter.  It’s not the best by any means, but it’s worth a look for fans of these games and you should definitely look into Luxor at this price.

Hands-On With Tumblebugs

We reported of Tumblebugs coming to the iPhone not too long ago, and our fellow chaps at Connect2Media and Tag Games kindly provided us a preview copy to test, and boy I must say this is the closest to Zuma you can get.  Of course, if the original Zuma comes, the game is pretty much over but Tumblebugs provides a somewhat different marble shooter than the rest in the App Store.

The game revolves all around bugs.  So, the end block that’s pushing all the marble, or should I say bugs, is a bug and the marble shooter is a beetle.  The bugs are trying to reach the ant hole, and you must stop them by making them explode.  There are powerups and other little features that I’m not quite sure how they work, but the powerups are pretty handy when you’re in trouble.

To shoot the marbles, simply tap in the direction you want to shoot.  I found this method a little easier to handle than the way Luxor or StoneLoops handled the shooting, but it also was a little more prone to error (i.e. shooting in the wrong place).  But then again, controls can be improved while time goes on since this is only a beta build.  Other than the controls being inaccurate, they worked surprisingly well compared to other marble shooters.

The game contains around 75 levels of pure fun, and while I did find the levels to be a little bit on the shorter side, it definitely felt like there were more than 75.  Each level does keep you captured for a certain amount of time, and I found myself to be playing the game for 30 minutes straight.  Content shouldn’t be a problem with this game as it does rival that of every other marble shooter in the App Store.

If you’ve played Tumblebugs at all, I’m sure the iPhone version will appeal to you.  The marble shooter genre seems very crowded now, but Tumblebugs seems to be closer to Zuma than any other clone, and it also provides a relaxing atmosphere.  Tumblebugs also seems to be very appealing to children, and the overall game was a thrill to play.  With a few fixes here and there, I think this game can rival Luxor, StoneLoops, and Atlantis Sky Patrol.

Tumblebugs is developed by Tag Games and published by Connect2Media.  The price is yet to be announced.