It’s the first Saturday of the month and in order to make the month to come a little bit easier, as well as hopefully highlighting some games that you may have otherwise not played, GodisaGeek.com is here to show off some games from the Mac App Store.
This time on Mac Medley, we’re taking a look at Frog-A-Bubs from Thaibro and Inbetween Land from Specialbit Studio.
Keep reading for a full review of each game, and even a handy little button to allow you to download them for yourselves. Don’t forget to check back to GodisaGeek.com for more Mac Medleys in the future.
Get downloading and get playing!
Titles are available from the Mac App Store 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!
Match-3 games are almost always a hit, whether they’re like Bejeweled, where you’re given a grid of items and told to match three or more of them in order to clear them, or Bubble Bobble where you’re asked to shoot one coloured item at another coloured item in order to clear them. Whichever type of Match-3 game it is, you can be sure that there’s a good time to be had. Frog-A-Bubs, from Thaibro, is a Bubble Bobble style Match-3 game but with the twist of having a physics engine to make the experience a little bit more unusual.
As with other Match-3 games in this particular style, the player is given a colour to fire and told to aim it at a section of the grid which is the same colour. As soon as three or more items of the same colour touch, they’re removed from the board and the player is given a score based on how many they managed to clear in that turn. The aim of the ‘Arcade’ mode is to clear the entire board, at which point the player will be awarded a score and a star rating (out of three stars) and moved to the next level to do it all over again. There are 60 levels in total, so there’s plenty of gameplay to get stuck into, especially if you’re intended to get all three stars – and that’s before you even look at the ‘Puzzle’ mode.
The ‘Puzzle’ mode in Frog-A-Bubs is an endless mode, with more and more items being added to the screen as you clear them. The object of this mode is to last as long as you can by strategically clearing the board of items in such a way that it gives you the best chance of survival; as soon as one of those objects touch the bottom line, it’s game over. The Puzzle mode is really where the physics element comes in as the player is able to knock the items – which will stick to each other when they touch – into more strategic positions if they utilise the physics engine properly. It’s difficult to explain fully but it really should be one of the selling points of the game as it has the chance to affect the gameplay quite substantially – but in a fun way.
The controls in Frog-A-Bubs are incredibly straightforward for the Mac version of the game, simply requiring the player to click on the board where they want the item they’re shooting to go. In later levels you’ll be required to bounce items off of the walls to get it into the position you want, which makes things much more difficult, but the controls never add to the difficulty, leaving the entire experience accessible to a wide range of people and gaming styles.
While Frog-A-Bub isn’t a game that breaks new ground, it’s a fun experience throughout. The addition of the physics engine makes the game much more enjoyable and, due to the nature of physics, much more unpredictable. The biggest downside to the title are its visuals, especially on the Mac where it’s presented on an iPhone-sized window in the middle of the screen. Better graphics and a well thought-out full screen mode would really set Frog-A-Bubs apart from the crowd but, sadly, both are absent.
We’ve looked at quite a few G5 adventure games on Mobile Monday, tasking the player with solving puzzles and furthering their story in an iOS setting, but playing adventure games on a Mac, with a keyboard and mouse, is a totally different ball game. You’re able to do things with a mouse that you simply can’t with a touch screen, things that make the entire gaming experience slightly more immersive and improved. Inbetween Land is a Mac game, available straight from the Mac App Store, that takes everything from a traditional adventure game, wraps it in puzzles and stories, and presents us with, hopefully, a decent gaming experience. But is it any good?
The game starts out as the main character is visited by an old friend, Mary, in a ghostly form and asking for help. After a newspaper is pushed under your door mysteriously, indicating that you should check out the Flying City, your adventure begins. There’s no messing about in Inbetween Land and as soon as you start the game, within a matter of minutes, you’re adventuring, solving puzzles and getting involved in the story. There’s a tutorial at the start of the game too, for those people that have never played an adventure game, or play very rarely, but most people will recognise the typical tropes of the genre. If the cursor changes to an arrow, that means you can travel in that direction, a cog means you can interact with the item and an eye means you can look closer at something. All fairly typical.
Like with most adventure games, Inbetween Land is one in which the player has to explore every single nook a d cranny of every single scene. There may be areas of one scene which the player can interact with, even pick up, but it seems totally arbitrary at that moment – however, it’s pretty much guaranteed that anything you pick up will be used at one time or another, so you may as well pick it up now while you’re here. Some of the puzzles that you’ll find in the game are rather impressive too, often comprised of games that you’d see on the Mac App Store separately, with their own prices, and yet you’re getting a lot of them here in a single package. Furthermore, the puzzles are integrated rather well into the story element, so it never feels like you’re just solving a puzzle for the sake of something new to do, and almost always feels as if you’re progressing the story.
The controls in Inbetween Land are extremely simple to get used to, thanks to the fact the you can use the mouse to click on all aspects of the game. The iOS versions of G5 adventure games have a sparkling effect around objects which can be interacted with, and while this isn’t available on the Mac, it won’t take players long to figure out that they can just wave their mouse cursor around the screen until the icon changes to something which indicates a potential interaction. There’s also a helpful ‘Hint’ button – on the Easy and Normal difficulty settings – which helps people out if they get stuck. All of this together ensures that Inbetween Land is a game that’s easily accessible to people of all ages and gaming backgrounds.
Inbetween Land is a surprisingly fun and engaging Mac adventure game. The story leaves a lot to be desired but the gameplay and interesting and diverse puzzles more than make up for it. The game even runs in its own space in the Lion operating system and above so players can keep it running and come back to it as and when they feel like it. No more minimising just to answer an email! If you’re looking for a new adventure game to click around in while you’ve got a few minutes spare then you could do a lot worse than Inbetween Land. It’s even got achievements!