You know what day it is? It’s Monday again and that can mean only one thing here at GodisaGeek.com: It’s time for another edition of Mobile Monday, the article where we take a look at four mobile games and let you know if they’re worth your time and money.
This week we’re taking a look at Brickout Deluxe Pro from Jonasson Lochner, Bomb the Zombies from net mobile AG, LostStar Tactics from James Pawliuk and Tanglers from Green Studio.
Read on to find the full reviews of each game and don’t forget to come back next week for more Mobile Monday reviews. While you’re here, if you have played any of the games listed, or even just want to come back once you’ve had a go to let us know how you got on, we’d love to hear from you in the comment box at the bottom of the page.
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Titles are available on iPhone and iPad unless specifically stated otherwise. If you like what you read, click the small black “App Store” button to load iTunes up and purchase the title!
BRICKOUT DELUXE PRO:
Ever since Atari’s first Breakout game was released in 1976 there have been clones of the game, my own first experience with this type of game was with Taito’s clone of the game which they called Arkanoid. The iOS App Store have had no shortage of Breakout clones either, some of which we’ve even reviewed on Mobile Monday, so what can Brickout Deluxe Pro, a game developed by Jonasson Lochner, bring to the table that we haven’t already seen before, or what can it do in such a way that’s going to make us keep playing?
If you’ve played one of the plethora of Breakout clones before then you know what you’re in for, basically you’re tasked with clearing each of the levels of all the breakable bricks by launching a ball at them and bouncing it around with the help of a paddle that’s located at the bottom of the screen. Brickout Deluxe Pro is no different to all those games, from the moment you start the game up you’re fully aware of what’s expected of you and you’re able to jump straight in and start playing. The one thing that’s majorly different from other games of this ilk is the leveling mechanic and it’s probably the one thing that’ll keep you coming back time and time again.
If you’re a fan of leveling mechanics in RPGs, MMOs and the like and they have the effect of having you come back long after you would have normally lost interest in a game, then you’re probably more likely to enjoy Brickout Deluxe Pro. We’ve all played plenty of Breakout clones in our time, this new one needed something to keep me interested and I soon found myself playing more and more games because I was only a couple of percent off of the next level. I found myself above level ten before I even realised I hadn’t put the game down yet.
Almost anybody can pick up and play the game, if it’s something that they’re interested in. The gameplay mechanic is so antiquated now that it’ll probably be harder to find somebody who doesn’t know how to play the game. One thing that I did enjoy (in terms of the controls) is the fact that instead of asking the player to be precise with their finger placement to move the paddle at the bottom of the screen, all they have to do it place their finger somewhere within the designated area; much easier.
If you’ve played plenty of Breakout clones before, then you might have burned out on them, playing enough of them for the rest of your life is pretty easy to do. I would recommend that everyone downloads the game and gives it a go, there’s nothing particularly special about the gameplay in itself, but if you’re a fan of leveling mechanics then that aspect alone is enough to make Brickout Deluxe Pro worth a play. There’s no denying that the gameplay of Breakout is excellent, it wouldn’t have been around for so long, with so many clones if it wasn’t. Brickout Deluxe Pro takes that excellent gameplay and adds to it and there’s nothing wrong with that.
BOMB THE ZOMBIES:
If you threw a rock into the iOS App Store (if that was even possible) then there’s a good chance that you’d hit at least one Angry Birds “homage”. Bomb the Zombies – developed by net mobile AG – is another game that upon first glance, look exactly like a clone of the Rovio classic, but once you’ve played it a little but you’ll realise that while the mechanics are almost identical, there is enough different in the game to allow it a little bit of space in Apple’s marketplace. Do those small differences ruin the addictive nature of the more popular bird-flinging game or is Bomb the Zombies something that’s worth playing?
The aim of each of the levels in Bomb the Zombies is to destroy all of the zombies that are precariously perched on the construction that’s placed into the middle of the level. In order to do so you’ve got to throw grenades in an attempt to literally bring the walls crashing down. The game utilises the Box2D physics engine and if you’ve ever played a game using this engine before then you’ll know that it’s one of the most impressive physics engines out there at the moment. It’s easy to predict where each of the pieces are going to go once you’ve thrown the grenade (providing you actually land the explosive where you intend) which makes everything that much more satisfying when things go exactly to plan.
There are plenty of levels to be getting on with and there’s a lot to like with Bomb the Zombies. Sure, it’s not a gameplay mechanic that’s entirely original, we’ve seen it dotted around in other games of various levels of success, but there’s always got to be something said when you mix zombies with blowing things up; how can anyone resist something like that?
The controls are sadly one of the sticking points with Bomb the Zombies, while for the most part they are fine, only requiring simple inputs and being able to be used by a wide variety of people, there’s one aspect that isn’t great. In order to throw the grenade the player needs to touch the grenade and then drag it to the place in the environment where they want it to land. The problem with this is that the player’s finger will be underneath the place where they want to throw the grenade, obscuring it from view and making things a whole lot more difficult than it needs to be. Placing the explosive crates into the game world is controlled in the way that grenades should be, when moving the explosive crates a small reticle appears above the player’s finger allowing them to precisely place the crate. If firing the grenades used this system then it would be a whole lot more enjoyable.
Bomb the Zombies is an entertaining, well-made, good looking game, but it has some serious flaws. It’s still worth a download and a play, some people will enjoy the game more than others, but there’s a much better game hiding just beneath the surface. A couple of tweaks here and there and the development team could bring it to the forefront but, if they decide not to, the game is enjoyable enough as it stands.
Tactical games are one of the most perfect genres that you can get on the iOS App Store, the ability to jump in and jump out, working towards either your own goals or the ones built into the game works well with the time frame that’s usually given to games on the iOS devices. They all have a special place in my heart, especially those that have a design aesthetic similar to the tactical adventure games of yesteryear such as LostStar Tactics (developed by James Pawliuk) but that doesn’t always mean that the game is good.
The gameplay in LostStar Tactics is pretty standard when it comes to turn-based tactical games, the player takes their turn, moves the character to a space on the map (provided they can reach a legitimate square), then attacks one of the enemy units that are in range using one of the attacks that’s listed down the left hand side of the screen. At the end of each turn you’ll be asked to discard one of the attacks in order for it to be replaced with another one chosen at random. This gives the game an air of uncertainty and adds to the overall appeal of the game.
The aspect of the game that sets it apart from other iOS game in the genre is the card system. It’s not as integrated into the core gameplay as people will have seen from other card based games on their iPads or iPhones but it’s also not the main game mechanic. You can choose a deck before you start a combat scenario, something that you’ll think will be suited to the oncoming attacks and if you’re successful and you get to the end of the encounter victorious, you’ll be awarded with more cards for you to use next time around; hopefully some of them will be more powerful and will help you take on some of the more difficult enemies that you’ll undoubtedly come across in your travels with LostStar Tactics.
The controls are a simple single digit affair and because you don’t have to do anything particularly quickly, almost anyone will be able to pick it up and play if the style and concept of the game intrigues them. The tutorial aspect of the title could have been a little bit better but it only takes a couple of matches to work things out in a trial and error fashion, so not being able to understand what you’re supposed to be doing at any one time isn’t really a problem.
If you’re looking for a game that will test your skills as a tactician, give you great value for money all while having a really interesting and relatively unique graphical style, then LostStar Tactics is the game that you’ve been looking for. If you’re a fan of this genre of game then you really can’t go far wrong, most people aren’t going to want to play the game in massive gaming sessions, but for those quick twenty minute bursts while you’re on the train or waiting for someone to get to the pub, LostStar Tactics will fit into that gap perfectly.
There are some games on the iOS App Store that don’t look like they’re going to be as addictive as they are when you first take a look at them and Tanglers, developed by Green Studio and published by Chillingo, is exactly one of those games. The first moment you start up the game and you’ve figured out how to play the game, you’ll start tapping those little aliens, connecting them together, collecting them and playing through the game. You’ll no doubt be addicted after the first five minute. If you’re not, you’re playing it wrong.
The player plays through the game as Mr Green, an alien blob who crashes his spaceship, losing all of the Tanglers (which are smaller alien blobs) in the process. Due to the fact that he sees their escape as his fault, he takes it upon himself to collect all of them back together. Mr Green has to collect the aliens in a very particular way though, it’s not going to be as easy as people may think from first glance at the screenshots on the iOS App Store.
In order to collect the Aliens, the player will have to tap on two of the same type of alien, creating a line between them and causing them to disappear (presumably back into Mr. Green’s spaceship), the only real rule is that the line can only have two corners on it. Basically you’re going to have to strategically decide which of the aliens you’re going to collect and in which specific order, in order to both complete the level and in the quickest way possible. The longer you’re playing the game, the less and less time you’re given to complete the level. If you don’t manage to complete the level in the given time, a load more Tanglers are dumped onto the screen. In a way that is very reminiscent of Tetris, if the screen can’t hold any more Tanglers then it’s game over.
The controls in Tanglers are simple enough, requiring (for the first couple of levels at least) only a single finger to get from the start of the level to the end. If you’re fast enough you could theoretically play the entire game with a single finger but in the later levels you’ll have to move so fast to clear the screen before you’re flooded with even more tiny blob-like aliens that you’ll probably be forced to move on to two fingers or even more (if you’re dexterous enough; and I’m not). Due to the simple controls, the barrier to entry is rather low too, literally anyone, assuming they understand the gameplay mechanics, can pick up the game and give it a good go.
Tanglers is a bright, colourful and humorous game with an interesting game mechanic that will keep people coming back time and time again. It’s certainly got the X-Factor that will make players of a certain type (those of us that are easily addicted to high scores and the like) come back for more and more, telling themselves that “I’ll be able to get even further the next time”. It’s not a game that you’re going to play for hours at a time, but if you’ve been on the lookout for a game that you can pick up for five minutes at a time every day or so, then you might want to give Tanglers a try.