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 E.T. The Extra Terrestrial from Straw Dog Studios and BigPlay Digital, Righteous Kill from G5 Games, Kumo Lumo from Blitz Games and Whisper of Fear: The Cursed Doll from VOGAT.
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!
E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL: GREEN PLANET:
If you’re anything like me, when you watch the end of Stephen Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, you always wonder what happened to the little alien with the glowing finger. Did he make it back to his home world safely? What does that home world even look like? Nowadays, with all the unnecessary sequels that are forced down our throats, I’m sure we would have gotten a film where E.T. takes on a slew of invaders armed only with a rock and his quick wits. As we didn’t get that film (thankfully), we turn to Strawdog Studios/BigPlay Digital and the iOS game E.T. The Extra Terrestrial: Green Planet to show us what that home world is like, and enlist us to help run it too. A film could have never done that!
At its core, Green Planet is a time management game where the player must help to rebuild E.T’s planet by planting various species of plants, harvesting them for nutrients and then planting even more, further expanding your bio-domain. If you’re a fan of the various other time management games out there, a few of which we’ve covered here on Mobile Monday, then you’re going to have a whale of a time in Green Planet as it’s one of the best examples of the genre out there right now. A lot of people will see that little red badge pop up to let them know that something has finished growing/building, they’ll start the game “just to check” and spend the next few hours “just checking”. That’s the draw of these games if you’re a fan; they’re dangerous.
Throughout your time with Green Planet you’ll be given various quests. These usually serve to guide you through what you’re supposed to be doing at any given moment without actually holding your hand so even though you’re technically being told how to play the game by completing the quests, it never feels like that; which is a testament to the design. Later on the game, the quests become less of a hand-holding experience and more of a challenge, especially if something would normally cost a Healing Touch, the in-game currency which can be bought for real cash. Very challenging indeed.
The controls of Green Planet are easy in theory, as you’ll only ever need to tap the screen in order to perform the multiple actions in the game, I did find that the player is required to be exceptionally accurate with their taps in order to accurately activate the item they wanted; even more so if there were multiple items in close proximity to one another. Not a huge problem but one that makes the whole game slightly more frustrating to play if you’re using a smaller device such as the iPhone or iPod Touch. Play on an iPad or be prepared for some mild frustrations.
Overall, Green Planet is an extremely fun time management game that takes an existing license and does something interesting with it. It’s not without its issues, no game is, but when it’s working as expected and you’re tapping on the various different areas of the game world accurately and without problems, then it’s some of the finest time management gaming on the iOS. If you’re not a fan of this genre of game then it’s going to do nothing to change your mind, but if the concept already sounds interesting to you, then you’re not going to be disappointed.
We’ve gotten quite a few of these story driven adventure games from G5 Games over the last couple of months and with every story driven game, the quality of the game on the whole is entirely dependant on the quality of the story. With a couple of them, the story quality has fallen a little short of the mark, but with others the story has been of a decent enough quality to pull the whole game back from brink of mediocrity. So how does Righteous Kill fare? A crime thriller adventure from G5 Games, does it stay away from that brink or does it fall all the way to the bottom?
Most of the game will require that the player visits various crime scenes around the map and find objects that could be considered evidence. You’ve got to suspend your disbelief a little here as you’ll already have a notepad full of items that would be considered evidence, you’ve just got to find them in the game’s world. Finding the objects is quite fun, in a similar way to how a word search is fun. The objects are sometimes in context with their environment (a cup will often be found in a kitchen, for example) but you’ll also find some objects that are taken totally out of context and can be a real challenge to find. Thankfully you’ve got a UV light which will highlight any pieces of evidence you’re still left to find, which is an absolute lifesaver in certain moments.
When you’ve collected the pieces of evidence, you’ll be tasked with sorting through it in order to discover the culprit in the crime you’re investigating. These sections of the game take places in mini-game that are actually rather fun to play; even if they are a little confusing at first. The most enjoyable of these mini-games was one where the player has to rub across their iOS device screen to layer the evidence with dust in order to reveal fingerprints, then tap on the fingerprints to submit them into evidence. It’s a simple game with a simple mechanic but it works well and draws the player even further into the story that they’re playing.
The controls are easy enough for even extremely casual gamers to grasp within the first couple of moments playing Righteous Kill. The only real downside in regards to the control method is that it can sometimes be a little difficult to tap on the objects that you’re supposed to collect. Even if you’re tapping on the right thing. The hit boxes seem extremely small which can cause frustration in the player. It’s not usually enough to cause them to stop playing altogether but it could be enough to cut their play sessions short for the time being.
Righteous Kill is a fun little adventure game with a decent enough story to drag the players in. It’s also an easy game to play in short bursts making it an ideal mobile game to play while on your way to school/work. I just hope that G5 Games continue down this more gritty route with their stories instead of some of the ones we’ve gotten in the past. Righteous Kill was enjoyable from the start to the finish, it’s not the epitome of mobile gaming but it’s thoroughly enjoyable if the story interests you.
We get quite a few games where we’re given a message while we’re playing them. We get all sorts of messages, whether we realise it or not, but Kumo Lumo, developed by the guys over at Blitz Studios is conveying the message of protecting the environment but without attempting to hide it. Furthermore, the gameplay isn’t sacrificed for the sake of the message. You’ll have as much fun in the game if it was about anything else, but there’s nothing better than a game that has a message, is educational and, more important than all of that, is actually fun to play. But what’s Kumo Lumo about, I hear you cry, the title doesn’t exactly give it away. Well, my friend, that’s what I’m here to tell you.
Kumo Lumo is the name of the cloud that you’ll spend your time in the game playing as. The aim of the game is to keep the planet that you’re travelling around, and the game’s narrator, protected from all of the hazards that you’ll come across. Things start easy enough, just tasking you with growing forests on the planet’s surface using your ability to rain on the saplings, but it’s not long before the planet is under attack and it’s up to Kumo Lumo to protect it. All of the actions that you’ll do in the game, both the offensive and defensive ones, are completed by raining on things. However, you don’t have an unlimited supply of raindrops, so you’re going to have to collect more by collecting the smaller clouds that the forest’s give off when they’re filling grown. Can you see the whole circle of life thing starting to happen? You use rain to grow forests which create clouds for you to rain and grow more forests. It’s all rather beautiful when you think about it.
At the start of each level you’re given an objective to perform, it could be something as simple as growing a certain number of forests, or something the requires a little bit more skill such as destroying a specific number of enemies. Whatever it is, the level will end as soon as you hit this target, so if you want to three star each of the levels, you’re going to want to do everything else you can do to earn points that doesn’t contribute to the level’s goal first. Once the bar in the top right of the screen is full (and it won’t take long), complete the objective and you’ll be awarded the three stars that we all always want in these games. Then move on to the next level and do it all over again.
You’re given a couple of control methods in Kumo Lumo, so each player can choose how they prefer to play the game. There’s touch controls, where the player uses their finger to move the planet and Kumo Lumo, on-screen analog sticks and tilt controls. Touch controls are by far the easiest to get used to, in my opinion, but it’s nice to see a game giving players the choice, further opening the title up to a wider range of people. It’s not going to take people long to get used to Kumo Lumo and, when they do, you’re not going to be able to keep them off it.
Kumo Lumo is an extremly enjoyable game with an important message that doesn’t dilute the gameplay. It has social features that enable players to attempt to beat their friends on the leaderboard, further adding to the need to play some more. The gameplay will be a little simplistic for some, but for the vast majority Kumo Lumo is something special that they’ll find difficult to put down.
WHISPER OF FEAR: THE CURSED DOLL:
Adventure games are one of the few genres that work extremely well on the touch devices of today. The ability to simply touch the screen in order to progress the story lowers the barrier to entry significantly, and provides an intuitive control method for people that may not usually play games. That being said, players also aren’t afforded the small bit of help that’s given from the cursor changing images when they mouse over an interactive object when using the more traditional keyboard and mouse. Whisper of Fear: The Cursed Doll is an adventure game developed by VOGAT, but how does it fair in the big bad world of iOS adventure games?
The gameplay is just like any other adventure game, on the PC or on the touch devices, you’re given a clue that you’ll need to solve in order to progress to the next area of the game and the player is tasked with tapping around on the screen until they find the one thing that will allow them onto the next area of the game. It’s all very linear but if you’re a lover of adventure games in general then you’re going to be used to this style of gameplay.
If you get stuck in the game, which you will do for a vast majority of your time with it, there’s a doll icon in the bottom right hand corner that, when tapped, will indicate what items in the world you should be tapping on next. This help system is on a cool-down system, so once you’ve used it you’re going to have to wait a little while before you can use it again, but for those people who perhaps aren’t as used to adventure games being difficult and turning into just tapping the screen for clues, it’s a godsend.
The controls in The Cursed Doll consist entirely of the player touching the screen in order to discover elements of the game world that they may be able to interact with. It’s a very intuitive control system that ensures that a lot of people can play the game. That doesn’t mean that the game itself is easy though, non-adventure gamers may find themselves easily frustrated with the apparent randomness of some of the puzzles (a full size chair inside the chest of a normal size doll? What?!?) but the control scheme itself won’t be the thing that turns people away from the title.
Whisper of Fear: The Cursed Doll is a decent enough adventure game if you’re a fan of the genre but it’s not going to do much for people who aren’t. The story leaves a lot to be desired and the hitboxes for some of the objects are so small that you sometimes won’t realise you’ve been tapping on the right object all along. The hint system does a good job at helping people along but a method of being able to see all the interactive options would have been appreciated. It’s not a bad game, just don’t expect it to break any boundaries.