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Monthly Archives: November 2011

BOX CAT [IOS] – REVIEW (82%)

Box Cat is a retro style bash ’em up game and released by Rusty Moyher.

“Box Cat is a retro arcade smasher created exclusively for iOS. Smash into cars and create traffic mayhem! Drive Box Cat towards oncoming cars with tilt or touch controls. Progress through Adventure mode to complete achievements, unlock new Cats and discover the world of Box Cat. Battle waves of cars and trucks in the relentless Survival Mode. Enjoy life while smashing through 7 lanes of heavy traffic in Rush Hour mode.”

The application puts you in control of Box Cat, a cat with the ability to smash the cars he runs into.

Gameplay wise, you enter a street and are given a number of cars to smash and a time limit to do it in. So you run around bashing as many cars as you can. There are power ups (coins) along the way that will shield you, give extra time or if you pick up three yellows will turn you into a large cat.

The game offers 3 play modes:

  • Adventure – Move from street to street trying to get as far as you can, completing missions on the way.
  • Survival – Play wave after wave without letting the cars get away.
  • Rush Hour – Smash as many cars as possible in the 90 seconds time limit.

In the adventure mode you are given missions to do, when the three objectives for that level are complete you will be awarded a new costume (Like Squirrel Cat and Zombie Cat). Also at the end of each level you will have a boss to clear, they can only be destroyed by a dash attack.

The controls can be played by either buttons, touch or tilt controls. You move left and right on the screen and have a dash attack to shoot across the screen. I found the touch controls the best as the buttons were a little too small, and I am a not a huge fan of tilt.

The graphic and sound are both retro in style. The different costumes of box cat are nice. I found some of the music a little too annoying, but the rest of the sounds are fine.

This is also a universal application and plays great on all devices.

On the upside:

  • Fast paced retro action.
  • Universal App.

On the downside:

  • So of the music can grate after a while.
  • Becomes very slow to unlock things as you progress.

Overall, this is very good little game, it reminded me of “The Incident” in several ways, but is a very different game. If you liked this style of retro gaming with fun gameplay and old style looks then it is well worth a look. Playability and fun are the key components of Box Cat. 

Rating: 82%

Size: 4.9 MB

Price (at time of review): £1.49

Link: Box Cat – Rusty Moyher

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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Game - Arcade, iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch, Reviews

 

FREE APP ROUND-UP (NOV 30 2011) [TOUCHPAD]

Three more free Touchpad applications get the round up treatment.

box2d-apphack : 64%

This is a simple physics based application. Tap the screen and a random circle or square will appear and then fall to the ground. The application slows down heavily with lots of shapes. A menu to select to clear the screen or switch the scene would have been nice. You can select the scene by swiping the fingers with two fingers, but it is hard to do, I found it best to swipe two fingers down on each side of the screen.

Life Simulator : 59%

Relive those classic computer days with a life simulator, when groups of life forms group, move and wink out of existance. Select the speed and your icons from ducks to hp logos as they run though there life cycles. I was amazed how realistic this was as when I selected HP logos and they started to die out within minutes.

tlhIngan mu’ghom HD : 54%

Otherwise known as a Klingon dictionary this application help you learn some basic Klingon words and how to pronounce them. This app really needs the Klingon font installed to be fully useful, but I expect Star Trek fans may already have to font added. There is some audio, but this goes off to the internet for the sound files which vary greatly in quality. All this information is available on the web, but this brings some of it together.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Free App Round Up, Touchpad, webOS

 

THE BALLAD (NEW LOOK) – S.O.T.W. – REVIEW (68%)

The Ballad by New Look is this weeks free single of the week.

This song is a good release from iTunes.

Apple has this marked as a pop track.

The music track is a 80′ style with drums and electronic keyboard sounds. The track is slow and repetitive for much of the song.

The song is well sung by a female singers, the lyrics are generally clear.

At 6 minutes is one of the longer free tracks that iTunes have given away.

The song does grow on you a liitle as you listen again.

Overall, this is a good song, it is a little bit slow and plodding for me, it has its moments, but is really verges on easy-listening than pop. The song just feels like it is getting nowhere and fails to grab you. This could be used as background music, but nothing I would actively listen to.

Rating: 68%

Price (at time of review): Free

Link: The Ballad – Single – New Look

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Music, Reviews, Single of the week

 

GAMING APP CONSTRUCTION KIT [TOUCHPAD] – REVIEW (81%)

Gaming App Construction Kit is a game development tool and is released by Dream Design Entertainment.

“G.A.C.K. (gaming app construction kit) is an App where you create games without any programming knowledge. Ranging from shoot-em up games to jump&run games – it’s all possible. And all this is done with an easy to use touch-user interface. This is where developing is the real fun. The dream of your own game has come into reach.”

Having used Codify on the iPad a few weeks ago I have to make immediate comparison between the two. They both create games, but if different ways. Gaming App Construction Kit (G.A.C.K.) can create games without a know of programming, unlike Codify, but the games made by G.A.C.K. are more limited in that way.

The application basically allows you to create you own “shoot ’em up” or “run and jump” game.

I am old enough to remember S.E.U.C.K. (Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit) for the early days of computing. This application follows the same lines and works in much the same way. I even remembered outlaws from the original title, that has a good conversion built in.

G.A.C.K. is not really a true Touchpad application, it is more of an Emulator within a Touchpad app, in this way you will not be using the Touchpad keyboard or making use of the power of the Touchpad.

There are three examples built into the application that will help you explore the games and learn how to edit the games and with this become aware of how the write your own.

The game gives the following options to set up your game.

  • Sprites – The graphics to be used in game.
  • Backround – The graphics that will be used in the level design.
  • Animations – Setting up the animations, explosions and bullets of the characters in the game.
  • Sounds – Sounds made by the characters.
  • Levels – Setting the graphics, layout and size of the level, including the attack waves.
  • Hello Message – The wording for the start screen.
  • Players – Set up the player character including movement speed, live and power ups.

Once the game is set up you can test the game and see how it works, you can use a virtual joystick, tilt or iCade. I have never been able to get the tilt control to work. The virtual joysticks are poor and the fire button in underneath the joystick making shooting a little more difficult.

Unlike Codify you do not need to know how to program to use this game, but you must have the patience to set up all the graphics and the waves in the game.

Once the game is designed G.A.C.K. comes up a bit short. You are only able to test the game within the application, once you are happy it is complete there is nothing you can do with it. The files are on the touchpad and can be copied out using a file management tool, but you do not have a good user interface to test and play the game within.

The games that you can build will probably not not of saleable quality, really being the same as Commodore 64 titles of old. Maybe if you wanted to build a C64 emulator multipack?

The user interface is basic, but usable. Sprite design is good, but the UI falls down on the pop up keyboards that appear which are small and like more like phone side.

On the upside:

  • You really can build a game on the Touchpad.
  • Nice example to learn from.

On the downside:

  • No clear way to export or share the program.
  • Level design is hard on new levels as it does not resize correctly.
  • Small keyboard is tough to use.
  • Does not even remember your language selection when you reopen the app.

Overall, if you have any interesting is designing your own game then this application could be a good starting point. With no knowledge of programming needed it will give you an idea on how to design and game, including the number of graphics needed and wave designs. Do not go into buying this thinking you are going to make the next Halo or Tomb Raider, it is much more basic. As the developer suggests, this is like building a game with Lego, you can learn and then move on (just expect to be drawing your own bricks.) 

Rating: 81%

Size: 4.0 MB

Price (at time of review): £3.98

Link: Gaming App Construction Kit – Dream Design Entertainment

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in App - Entertainment, Reviews, Touchpad, webOS

 

SEA STARS [IOS] – REVIEW (80%)

Sea Stars is a dodge game released by Hothead Games Inc.

“One touch controls are all you need to guide the incredible Sea Stars through a sea full of coins and underwater dangers. Dive deep to pick up speed and leap from the water to somersault and avoid the angry jellies and rocket crabs along your path.”

The idea of the game is to get your fishy friends to collect coins and dodge the under and over water dangerous, finding power ups and unlocking extra. You start the game as Dante the Dolphin, but with the coins you can unlock and play more characters.

As soon as I played the game for five seconds I realised that this was really a clone of Jetpack Joyride, there are even times when the game mimics the original completely when you are dodging jelly fish with there tentacles across your path and a squid jetpack stuck to your back.

This is not a bad thing in many ways as the game at least has several big differences and have you going in and out of water which also effects the game play. You sometime need to think more about making a jump that the reaction based Jetpack joyride.

The game is controlled by simply touching the screen, tap to jump (move down to the sea floor) and then releasing to let you rise to the surface and leap into the air.

If you do a big unadjusted jump (you do not press the screen to fall faster back into the water) you will see a rainbow coloured bird appear, get all several birds and the enemies are cleared away and you can grab the coins that the birds will drop as they fly across the screen.

As you dodge your way past crab missiles and jelly fish you can pick up either stars or clams. The stars give a special ability (a friend that you ride on like a crab, squid or bird) and the clams will give you a random bonus like extra coins, speed blast, shields or clear the screen of enemies.

There is a store that allow you to unlock the new characters, upgrades and extra.

The game has dozens of in-game missions / achievements to complete, to add to the interest.

The graphics and sound are both very good.

On the upside:

  • Fast and furious gameplay.
  • Universal Application
  • Lots of do.

On the downside:

  • Repetitive gameplay.
  • Feels like a fishy clone of Jetpack Joyride.

Overall, this is a very good game for the casual game, and even a hard core gamer will enjoy this one for a while. The missions and unlocks will keep you going for some time as well as the addictive gameplay. If this game did not feel some much like Jetpack Joyride or had come out first it would have get a higher rate. That said it is still a very good game and well worth picking up for free.

Rating: 80%

Size: 19.4 MB

Price (at time of review): Freemium

Link: Jetpack Joyride – Halfbrick Studios

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Game - Arcade, iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch, Reviews