You know what day it is? It’s Monday again and that can mean only one thing here at GodisaGeek: 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 Doomsday Preppers from Nat Geo from Can’t Stop Games, BMX Jam from Vivid Games, Eufloria from Omni Systems and Dolphin Paradise: Wild Friends from Happy Giant.
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.
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!
DOOMSDAY PREPPERS FROM NAT GEO:
If you’re a regular viewer of the National Geographic channel on TV then there’s a good chance you’ve come across an advert for the car crash TV show that is Doomsday Preppers; maybe you’ve even caught an episode or two (or nine or ten). Essentially it’s a TV show of people who are, as you would expect from the title, preparing for the end of the world by building bunkers, stocking it full of things they might need, and living a life of relative safety in their own little underground world. Now, thanks to the folks at Can’t Stop Games, you can become your very own Doomsday Prepper, building your own underground fortress in the iOS game Doomsday Preppers from Nat Geo.
The gameplay plays very much like Tiny Tower, if you happen to have played that extremely addictive little title, only in reverse. Instead of building the tallest tower you can, filling it with all of the amenities you’re likely to need, you’re doing exactly the same thing but attempting to build the deepest bunker you can. Every so often people will come to your bunker asking to be let in and since you’re a nice Doomsday Prepper you’re going to do just that. However, once you’ve let the new person into your bunker, you’ve got to find something for them to do. Each person has a specialisation and it’s up to you to utilise this speciality to the best of your abilities; providing you have own the facility that each person is best at.
Once you’ve got your bunker full of people and they’re assigned to a location, it’s time to put them to work for the good of the underground community that you’ve created. Creating items is how you generate your income and gold, which is what you’re going to need if you want to get to the lower depths as each level costs an increasing amount of gold to purchase. It won’t take long before you’re in the swing of things though, with multiple people assigned to each facility, each of them churning out something useful every twenty or so minutes. If you’re a lover of time management games then you’re going to love Doomsday Preppers from Nat Geo; it’s right up your street.
The controls are extremely easy to use too as all of the things you’re going to need to press in order to play the game are presented as nice big buttons and it’s easy to understand what each button does. Once you’ve gotten past the tutorial, which takes about five minutes, you’re left to your own devices and most people will be able to get right to it, preparing for the end of the world. Even more so if you’ve played Tiny Tower. The ease of the controls opens the game up to a much wider range of people, perhaps even people that don’t really play games all to often. It does need mentioning though that some of the buttons, especially the ones used to collect items that have been crafted, can feel a little small on the iPhone and iPod Touch, it’s never really too much of a problem but it’s worth mentioning. Play it on the iPad if you can.
Doomsday Preppers from Nat Geo is an amazingly fun, simple and addictive iOS game. It’s not very original, the gameplay is almost identical to Tiny Tower, but it also makes a lot of sense when considering the subject matter; an Angry Birds style of game to promote the show would have just been madness. Fans of the National Geographic show are going to enjoy the game without a doubt but anyone that has a passing interest in time management games, or even if you’re just on the lookout for a good new game to play, should download the game and get playing right now. You never know, if the Mayans were right we might only have a month left to live, you don’t want to have missed out. Get that bunker started!
A lot of people absolutely adore iOS games, something about the ability to pick them up and play them at any time, whether that’s for a couple of minutes or even a few hours at a time. I’ve succumbed to them myself, finding myself in the small hours of the day, still glued to the bright screen of my iOS devices muttering to myself that I could just play “one more level”. BMX Jam, developed by Vivid Games, has the same leveling system that keeps people playing longer than they ever initially intended to do so. Does the want to play more and more if it mean that it’s a good game, or just that it’s got a decent leveling mechanic?
The main aim of BMX Jam is simply to get to the end of the level. Do that and you’ll move on to the next level in the sequence and all will be great, however, that’s not all you’re able to do and, in fact, it’s not all that you should do either. In each level there are a selection of stars, the more difficult the level, the more stars there’ll be for you to collect and the more difficult they’ll be too. If you want to get the best score possible then you’re going to have to collect all of the stars available in each of the levels, and do so in the fastest time you possibly can.
As well as being able to collect the stars in each of the level, there are also small sub-missions that you can perform in order to help you increase your level more quickly. These sub-missions can get quite difficult to perform, usually consisting of performing a number of tricks in a single jump, or playing against, and beating, your own ghost on a level. These missions aren’t important but they add a little bit of variety to the game and ensures that you keep coming back for more. The leveling mechanic also serves as a method for unlocking other aspects of the game. Get to specific levels and you’ll be able to unlock extra levels or modes without having to spend your own real world money; although that’s an option that’s available to you if you’d prefer.
The controls of BMX Jam couldn’t be simpler, once you’ve started the level by pulling on the chain that appears, the titular BMX will automatically start moving from the left hand side of the screen to the right. Tapping the screen while you’re on the ground will cause the player to jump in the air in order to avoid obstacles, and tapping the screen while you’re in the air will perform a series of random tricks. You can also tilt your iOS device while you’re in the air in order to level out your BMX so that you land on the ground in the best possible manner; landing perfectly will also give you a speed boost to help you get to that finish line in an ever faster time.
BMX Jam is a game that’s been designed and developed much better than first impressions or screenshot would appear. The game is fun to play and just the right amount of addictive to keep you coming back for more. There are plenty of levels to keep you entertained with and the ability to either unlock the levels as you progress through the game or simply pay for them as you see fit. I might not look particularly fantastic but it plays well and is absolutely worth playing. Just don’t blame me when you look at your clock and it’s 3am and you realise you’ve got work/school in a couple of hours; I speak from experience.
A lot of games on the iOS App Store are centred around being pieces of art rather than actual, functioning games. They’re usually pretty to look at, even for relatively long periods of time, but try and play one of them and you’ll find it more an exercise in patience than skill or capabilities. As you would expect, for this reason, I wasn’t all that excited to sit down and play Eufloria, developed by Omni Systems, but after recently receiving the PC version of the game via the amazing Humble Indie Bundle, I was a little more willing to give the title a go; perhaps it would actually turn out to be an enjoyable gaming experience.
The gameplay revolves around the player taking over the many asteroids that litter the game field, planting trees and generally growing their colony. Players are able to send a small ship, or a selection of ships, to a neighbouring asteroid and, if they have at least ten ships, are able to plant a tree that will generate more ships as long as it’s active. The tree will continue to generate ships until there are forty, at which point it will stop until the player moves the ships to a different asteroid. The level ends when the level goal has been met, which can be viewed from within the pause menu and can vary quite wildly from level to level.
Despite first appearances, Eufloria isn’t just about growing trees, expanding your colony and generally being artsy; there’s actually gameplay involved too, as you’ll discover not long into the game. Players can’t just leave their asteroids to fend for themselves once they’ve been colonised, there are plenty or enemies waiting to land and take over an asteroid that’s already been colonised, looking to cash in on your hard work. In order to stop these enemies taking over, you can do one of two things, either leave a force of your own ships on an asteroid to ward away any attackers, or keeping moving ships around the game world, asteroid to asteroid, in an attempt to keep things under control. This gameplay mechanic might seem simple at first but it soon gets difficult, with the player being required to protect multiple asteroids at a time, people are relying on you!
The controls of Eufloria aren’t difficult to get your head around, the biggest problem with controls comes down to a device issue. If you’re playing the game on an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you’re going to find the buttons a little bit small. There were quite a few times when I pressed the button to plant a tree when all I wanted to do was send a few ships to the next asteroid. This is alleviated somewhat through the game giving you a couple of different methods of performing some of the simple tasks, but if you get the chance to play Eufloria on an iPad, or even the PC version, it might be a little bit more enjoyable for those of us with slightly larger digits.
Eufloria is a gorgeous looking game that people may dismiss as a simple expression of art rather than an actual game, however, give the title a chance and you’ll be shown a game that’s deep, thoughtful, enjoyable and more than a little bit addictive. Maybe I’ve been wrong about games that have an emphasis on art in the past, or maybe Eufloria just happens to be that one game in a thousand, but one thing is for sure, I won’t be passing on other art games in the future. You never know, they may be another Eufloria.
DOLPHIN PARADISE: WILD FRIENDS:
I may be dating myself here but I remember a time, not too long ago, when people would carry around little digital pets on keyrings. Pets that they would have to look after as if they were real otherwise they’d meet their unfortunate demise. Times have moved on since then and everyone and their mother seems to have a smartphone, so it’s only to be expected that these digital pets would make their way to the new medium. Dolphin Paradise: Wild Friends is one such game, developed by Happy Giant, the game tasks the player with looking after a dolphin, teaching it tricks, feeding it and just generally looking after its well-being. Is it still all it’s cracked up to be though?
When you start up the game for the first time, you’ll go through a relatively lengthy tutorial that walks you through the basics of the title, how to pet your dolphin, how to feed it, etc. After about twenty minutes of this tutorial it’ll be up to you to fend for yourselves, teaching the dolphin new tricks, practising with them using your allocated energy points, and performing the multitude of other tasks at your disposal. Most of the activities that you’ll get up to cost the aforementioned energy points, which build up over time, limiting how much you can do in a single day (unless you want to pay of course) and encouraging players to come back daily for multiple shorter sessions in the game instead of a few longer sessions.
The main gameplay activity – the thing you and your dolphin will be striving towards – is the ability to take part in shows. These are where you’ll show off all the tricks that you’ve taught your dolphin and you’ll be judged accordingly. Obviously, it’s in your best interest to get the best score in these shows, by performing better tricks at exactly the right moment, but Dolphin Paradise: Wild Friends isn’t really a punishing game, so if you’re a little bit off of your game on a particular day it’s not going to matter all that much.
The controls of the game are mostly touch based with buttons, so it’s not too difficult to control things right from the get go. The whole game is designed to be played by as many people as possible, particularly a younger audience, so it’s important that things are accessible. The only area of the game that could be considered a little difficult to control would be the tricks. In order to perform the tricks, the player is required to draw a gesture on the screen, but this gesture has to be drawn in a very specific manner in order to be accepted. It doesn’t take long to get used to it but before you do it could be seen as being a little frustrating.
Dolphin Paradise: Wild Friends is a well produced game with plenty of things to do. The game is aimed squarely at a specific target audience and if you’re part of that audience then you’re going to find the game an enjoyable experience. If you’re not though, and you’re just looking for a new game to play, this might not be worth your while. It expects you to come back daily in order to see to your pet, and if that’s not something you’re looking for in an iOS title then you may want to keep looking.