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 Mutant Roadkill from Glu Games, ORC: Vengeance from Big Cave Games, Ships N’ Battles from Skahal Studios and Tone Sphere from Yasu Seno.
Read on to find the full reviews of each game, but 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.
Get downloading and get playing!
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!
It’s easy to assume that a lot of work goes into the naming of an application before it makes its way onto the iOS App Store. I wouldn’t know personally, I have never been involved in the naming of a popular app, or any app for that matter, but I would assume it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. That being said, there are a lot of applications that I see on the App Store, some of which I’ve reviewed here on Mobile Monday, that just wouldn’t get me excited for the game if I came across it; and it certainly wouldn’t make me want to download it. Mutant Roadkill, developed by Glu Games was one of those games. The name made me think of all those games that seem to cash in on the ideas of other developers and simply make a worse version of the game, hoping that you’ve already coughed up your hard-earned dough before you realise you’ve been ripped off. It only took me a matter of seconds with Mutant Roadkill to realise that I had been so very wrong. Not only are we getting a relatively original game concept – and one that works quite well too – but we’re getting a top quality game to boot. However, I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s slow down a bit.
The gameplay is similar to those games where you have to continuously run from the left hand side of the screen to the right, except in the case of Mutant Roadkill, you’re running into the screen (not literally, that would be silly). The aim of the game is to get as far as you can into the level without succumbing to the ever increasing amounts of mutants that will attach themselves to your car and try to destroy you. These aren’t the friendly letter ‘X’ wearing mutants either, these are blood-thirsty mutants hell-bent on making sure you don’t get as far as you want to. If the mutants do happen to grab hold of your car as you’re whizzing by them then you can scrape them off using the many cars that are littering the roads. Some of the little blighters will require a little bit more scraping, but most of them with only require you to run into a single car in order to make them fall to their doom.
The controls are extremely simple to get to grips with, all you have to do in order to turn your car to the left or right is tilt the phone. Tilting your device to the left will make the car go in that direction and vice-versa. It feels a little bit odd at first but after a couple of minutes you’ll be used to it and you’ll be thankful that the developers didn’t attempt to shoehorn on-screen analog sticks and such into the game.
Mutant Roadkill isn’t the type of game that you’re probably expecting it to be. What it is is a gorgeous little game the an addictive nature, plenty of replay value and some half-decent controls that do a lot to make the game an enjoyable one to play; and one that’s easy to come back to time and time again. It’s easy to recommend Mutant Roadkill, especially if you’re a fan of the genre, it’s easily one of the best examples of running games that I’ve had the pleasure of playing and I’m sure most of you out there will too.
Action RPGs never really went away but with the recent release of Diablo III, as well as many people eagerly awaiting the release of Torchlight II, I don’t think I’d be incorrect in saying the the genre has enjoyed a little bit of a resurgence of late. The iOS platform hasn’t had a particularly well-made action-RPG dungeon crawler to add to its massive game library yet, but that could be all about to change with the release of ORC: Vengeance, developed by Big Cave Games and published by Chillingo. ORC: Vengeance is a gorgeous looking action-RPG in the same vein as those classic games, but does it play just as well without our normal weapons of a keyboard and mouse or a controller?
The short answer is yes. The genre lends itself rather well to the tapping motion that you’ll be using throughout your time with ORC: Vengeance. You’ll be pretty much performing the same action that you’d be doing if you were using a mouse to click on the various enemies that will approach you. The major downside is that, if you’re playing on an iPhone, your finger will take up quite a lot of screen real estate while you’re tapping on those enemies. It’s not a big deal, and most players will be able to compensate for it after just a few minutes of playing the game, but it’s something that certainly makes the game slightly less enjoyable. Play it on an iPad if you can, that would be the best option.
As you’ve probably guessed from the title of the game, you play as an Orc and you’ve got to fight your way through dungeons in typical action-RPG fashion, slicing through the enemies that you’ll encounter, picking up the vast amount of loot that they drop, equipping some of it and moving on to do it all over again. As with most action-RPG’s, if you boil down the description of the game to its bare essentials you’d be forgiven for thinking that the game sounds a little boring. ORC: Vengeance is far from boring though, from the moment you set foot into the main dungeon area of the game, through your levelling up experiences, collecting loot and just playing the game, you’ll find yourself hooked in no time. There’s something satisfying about collecting lots and lots of items from the floor, something that keeps people playing the game long after they would have normally put it down, ORC: Vengeance certainly has that satisfying feeling; it doesn’t hurt that the game looks amazing on the Retina display of an iPhone 4S either.
If you’ve been searching for a decent dungeon crawler to enjoy on your way to work/school then your search could well and truly be over thanks to ORC: Vengeance. It’s an amazingly well put together game that oozes quality from the moment you start it up. It’s difficult to put down and when you do, you’ll soon be picking it back up again so that you can get through “just one more level”. Go and download it now, you won’t regret it.
SHIPS N’ BATTLES:
We all love a game of battleships, sitting there either trying to figure out where our opponent may have creatively placed their ships, or just haphazardly firing missiles into the water in the hopes of hearing an explosion instead of the saddening “plop” of a miss. Whichever way you play the game almost everyone will have had a game or two at some time or another. With the Battleship film coming out last year we got an influx of iOS versions of the popular naval game, some of them official, some of them not so official, but there’s one thing almost all of them had in common; they were all fun. Ships N’ Battles is another Battleship clones on the iOS devices, but this one is a little different. Will it float or sink?
The gameplay in Ships N’ Battles is exactly the same as Battleship in its standard form. You pick where you want to place your ships, start the battle and then you and an opponent will take turns picking a grid square in an attempt to blow each other out of the water. There’s nothing wrong with the method of play, so why change it? What the developers, Skahal Studios, have done with the game though is to make is vastly more visually appealing. As you fire your own missiles, the camera will zoom out to get a wider shot, then follow your missile down towards the water as it either hits something or totally misses. When the opponent is launching missiles in your direction, the camera will move so that it’s sitting on the water, giving the player the most dramatic view of the action that the game can allow.
Most players will get to grips with the controls of Ships N’ Battles fairly quickly, and the game mechanics are easy to understand too if you’re familiar with Battleship in any way. My only real problem with the controls was that they sometimes felt a little sensitive. To place a peg on a grid square you’ve got to tap the square, then to fire the missile you’ve got to tap the same square again. This sometimes resulted in the missile accidentally firing if I wasn’t quick enough to remove my finger from the screen. It’s not a massive problem, primarily because I’d usually decided where I wanted to fire the missile before I even touched the screen the first time, but it’s something that seemed to happen on a semi-regular basis nonetheless.
Ships N’ Battles is a gorgeous looking game, utilising the power and flexibility of the Unity engine, and the things that it does with the camera during the shots will keep people interested in the game (and may even cause them never to go back to any “standard” Battleship game) for the long run. It’s certainly a game that’s worth at least a look if you’re in the market for a game of this genre but haven’t found one yet. It can sometimes feel a little bit featureless and bland, but once you’re in the game itself you’ll more than likely forget about any problems you may have had because the game plays amazingly well, all whilst looking great.
Some games that are available on the iOS App Store aren’t so much games as they are experiences. There’s usually a certain amount of gamification surrounding them, that’s how they keep most people coming back for more and more, but when it all comes down to it, and you start looking at the game in its base elements, there’s something more there than “just a game” and Tone Sphere, developed by Yasu Seno is just one of these “games”. The first time you fire the game up you’ll wonder what’s happening, you’ll wonder how you’re even supposed to play it, but the more time you spend in the game the more involved you’ll find yourself getting; until you get to a point where you realise you’ve been playing for a solid hour and you’re showing no signs of stopping any time soon.
The gameplay revolves around tapping, sliding and holding various symbols as they appear on the screen. On paper, the game seems like it’s just going to be a pumped up version of whack-a-mole but as soon as you start the game up you’ll realise that it’s not. The first thing you’ll notice is the fact that you’re asked to pick a song. This isn’t just used as the background for the title as you’re playing, but the items that you’re supposed to tap on appear in time with the music. This means that, in a similar way to Dream Trigger for the Nintendo 3DS, you’ve got to get “in the zone” when you’re playing Zone Sphere, if you don’t, and you lose the beat of the music, then you’re in for a world of hurt as you try to catch yourself back up.
One thing about Tone Sphere, and something that’s not often seen in iOS games, is the difficulty level. The title is by no means easy, although you’ll never feel like it’s the game’s fault, you’ll constantly feel like you could do better, further forcing you to replay levels over and over again. Somehow, the developers have managed to integrate this into the game in such a way that you never find it feeling repetitive. I’m going to assume it’s some kind of dark magic they’ve weaved into the code.
The controls are simple enough to get to grips with, all that’s required is that the player performs the actions that are displayed on screen before the icon disappears. The difficulty lies in doing the actions in time with the music, if you’re not fast enough with your fingers, or never find yourself in an environment where you can play iOS games with the sound on, then you’re going to have problems with Tone Sphere.
Tone Sphere is an extremely interesting little title and because of its nature as a seemingly experimental type of game, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. The being said, it’s an extremely entertaining game, easy to learn yet difficult to master and if it’s the type of game that you can see yourself playing then you’re going to have a great time with it. If you’re not a fan of music games, rhythm games or games that attempt to push the boat a little bit further out, then you’re not going to find anything to change your mind here. It’s well worth a shot but just be aware what you’re letting yourself in for.