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 Redrum: Dead Diary from Anarchy Enterprises, NARR8 from NARR8 Limited, Spellwood: Word Game Adventure from Three Ring Design and The Adorables from Thumbstar Games.
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!
REDRUM: DEAD DIARY:
G5 Games are securing themselves a nice little place in the world of iOS adventure games. Some of them have decent stories which keep the player coming back for more, while others have a lacklustre story that does the exact opposite. When it all comes down to it, an adventure game will live or die on the strength of its story, no matter how good the gameplay is. Redrum: Dead Diary is one of the latest adventure games from G5, developed by Anarchy Entertainment, and follows the story of a young girl who talks to dead people, who she calls her “friends”. It sounds like a story that’s been done plenty of times before, but is it one that keeps people playing?
Just like the rest of the G5 adventure games, the gameplay in Redrum: Dead Diary consists of a few different mechanics, but the major component of all of them is that you’re given a scene and then asked to find something within it. Whether that’s items off a list or just all of the instances of one specific item, you’ll be spending your time in the game tapping the screen and looking for often well-hidden items. You’ll play through the game as a couple of major characters, with different storylines that converge into one by the end of the game. Each of the characters has their own style of gameplay, so if you have a favourite then you’ll know what you’re in for by just looking at which character you’re controlling in the text intro to each scene.
If you find yourself getting stuck for whatever reason (and you will get stuck fairly often, as some of the hidden objects are impossible to find without a little help) there’s a small question mark icon in the bottom right of the screen. Tapping on this will highlight an area of the scene where something you’re looking for is located. Thankfully you don’t get punished for using this button – you’ll be using it a lot, remember – but you can’t just keep tapping it to find everything without even trying; you have to wait about a minute after each use for it to “cool down” before you can use it again.
The controls in Redrum: Dead Diary, just like the rest of G5′s games, require the player simply to tap the screen in order to select what they think they may have found. This simplicity opens the game up to a much wider audience but it still suffers from the same thing that a lot of the other games suffer from, in that the hit boxes for some of the items are extremely small. This means that even if you’re tapping in the right area, you still may not pick up the item as you’re not tapping in exactly the right area. This has the potential to cause a great deal of frustration, especially in new players or non-gamers.
All-in-all, Redrum: Dead Diary is another interesting addition to the G5 Entertainment suite of adventure games. The gameplay itself is a little bit lacking and uninspired but the story is intriguing enough to keep players coming back time and again. Plenty of improvements could be made to take the game to the next level but, as it stands, it’s a title that’s at least worth a look, especially if you’re a fan of G5 Entertainment’s adventure games, or even adventure games in general.
We usually talk about games here on Mobile Monday, and that’s purely because games are one of the most entertaining activities available on your mobile device, but they’re not the only thing you can do that’s a form of entertainment. NARR8, developed by NARR8 Limited, is an application that allows users to read a variety of stories, from sci-fi to fantasy and everything in-between, all while experiencing them in a way that can only really be achieved on a touch-enabled tablet device. This is “reading” as you’re unlikely to have seen before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. Does it?
The first thing people will notice when they start up NARR8 for the first time is the sheer amount of content that’s available to read. There’re quite a few series already available, with a good number of stories in each, making the hardest part of experiencing NARR8 being choosing a starting point. Thankfully there’s a small YouTube video associated with each of the series that allow users to get a short overview of the story and see if it’s something that they’re willing to invest their time in. The interactivity of the stories is what sets NARR8 apart from the rest. There are so many ways that the user is able to interact with each page – usually through pictures – that it’s impossible to list them all here, but each interaction makes the user feel like they’re actually a part of the story and not just reading it.
If you’re reading a good story then there’s a fair chance that you’ll want to talk to somebody about it, share your experience and perhaps get feedback on aspects that you may have missed. NARR8 has you covered in this regard too, with a fully-fledged forum built right into the app. This forum has sections dedicated to the currently ongoing stories and is the perfect place for people to jump in and have a chat after they’ve read/experienced the latest issue/episode of The Secret City.
If you’ve ever read a book on Kindle or iBook for the iPad, then you already know all you need in order to control NARR8. The bottom right hand corner of the screen is used to move right/forward and the bottom left is used to go left/back, with the top corners of the application being used for settings and the ability to go back to the main menu. It really is a simple experience which lends itself well to the format. One thing about NARR8 that doesn’t always seem obvious. however, is that the user has to wait for each page to load. When you’re reading a book, and you turn the page, you instinctively start reading more, with NARR8, if you do this without waiting for the ‘Loading’ message to disappear, you could be missing out on vital areas of the whole experience, maybe even the story itself. You have been warned.
If you’re a fan of literature in general, and you’re on the lookout for the next generation of reading material, then take a look at NARR8. The series that are on there at the moment aren’t particularly well-written, but the more popular the platform becomes, the better writers will be attracted to it. The experience is something that you can’t really experience anywhere else and the amount of things you could do with it is limited only by the imagination.
Oh, and a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book on NARR8 would be amazing!
SPELLWOOD: WORD GAME ADVENTURE:
Everybody loves a word game – whether it’s good old Scrabble or Boggle, or something a little bit more up-to-date, there’s nothing quite like thinking up some clever words to stump your opponent. With most word games, the biggest sense of accomplishment comes long after the game has started, when your opponent has run out of tiles, is left placing two letter words and weeping gently into their favourite hot beverage. Spellwood: Word Game Adventure is a new word game that does away with all of that. Pitting players against each other, complete with health bars and special moves, the Three Rings Design-developed skill game aims to reinvent what you think you know about competitive word games – but does it succeed?
The gameplay takes place on a typical grid system (something that classic Scrabble players will be used to), however, the first difference comes into play almost immediately. In Scrabble, all of the tiles are left on the board at the end of each turn, and as the game progresses the board becomes more and more crowded, making it increasingly difficult to place any meaningful words. In Spellwood: Word Game Adventure, while the player is expected to link words together via a common letter, as soon as a word is placed, the previous word disappears. This means that the board never gets crowded and allows for the player to keep on entering those seven letter words for as long as they’re able to do so.
The other big difference in Spellwood: Word Game Adventure comes in the form of a kind of RPG-esque loot system. Once a match finishes, there’s a chance that you will be rewarded with a new item – either a hat, a wand or a bag – and these new items could have special enchantments attached to them. For example, a new wand may give the wearer – you – the ability to deal one extra point of damage per letter used, or a new hat may allow you to absorb one point of damage per letter used against you. In the later levels especially, which combination of equipment you take into battle with you, along with which special items you may happen to have, could very well be the difference between winning and losing, so you should be choosing carefully.
The controls in Spellwood: Word Game Adventure are your typical word game controls, you’re given a grid and a selection of seven tiles, then asked to place the tiles into the grid to spell words. All of the actions that you’ll perform within the game are done via touching the screen with a finger or dragging items around the screen. Thanks to this simplify, Spellwood: Word Game Adventure is accessible to a wide range of people and, thanks to the reliance on such a tried and tested gameplay mechanic, people will instantly know what’s required of them from the moment they first set foot in the game. The aspects that are different – the combat system and the RPG elements – are taught in a way which never lets them get lost.
Spellwood: Word Game Adventure is an absolutely gorgeous-looking game, as you can see from the above video. Its light-hearted humour, interesting game mechanics and outright charm will get people coming back for more time and time again, and that’s before you even start taking on your friends in one-on-one word battles. There’s something here for everyone to enjoy and while they could have gone a little bit further with the RPG aspects for my liking, it’s easy to tell why they held back a little bit. If you haven’t already downloaded Spellwood: Word Game Adventure, and you’re waiting for the score I’m about to give it, well…
When you’re searching through the iOS App Store for a new game to entertain you on your morning commute, you don’t really expect to come across a game called The Adorables. That’s something that you expect to see while flicking through children’s TV channels on a Saturday morning because you totally don’t still watch cartoons now that you’re an adult. Nevertheless, The Adorables, developed by Thumbstar Games, is here – but is it worthy of such a cute and cuddly name, or is it a gameplay devil in disguise?
You play the game as three of the titular “Adorables”, strange creatures that want nothing more than to bounce around the screen hitting pegs and collecting rainbows (yes, it sounds like a fever dream). In order to do this, the player has to tap on the bottom of the screen in order to emit a beam of light which, when it interacts with one if the Adorables, lifts them into the air. The aim of the game is to use this beam of light in conjunction with the built-in physics engine to move the characters around the screen in order to bounce into the pegs, changing their colour, and to collect the various colours of the rainbow.
Once the Adorable you’re controlling has bounced into all of the pegs on a particular level, it will change into a different one, the pegs will revert back to their uncoloured state, and you’ll be asked to perform the whole thing over again. Once you’ve performed this task with all three of the characters the level is over and you’re given a rank based on how many of the Adorables you were able to hit all the pegs with in the allotted time – which can be increased through the use of pick-ups within the levels – as well as whether or not you were able to collect all the rainbow pieces.
The controls in the game are easy enough to learn, only requiring a single finger in order to play. The beam of light which controls the Adorables is activated by touching the screen of your iOS device at the bottom, with the beam staying active as long as your finger is held on the screen. The controls are easy but it could take some getting used to before you’re able to masterfully navigate the characters around the obstacle courses of each level. The Adorables is clearly aimed at children and the control scheme, despite taking some learning, is well suited for that task.
The Adorables is a simple game but one that’s undoubtedly fun to play, even if it is only for short amounts of time. The gameplay mechanics work well, as do the controls, but the visuals make the title look a little cheaper than it deserves to. Still, there’s a certain charm to how it looks so it’s a bit of a balancing act. There are plenty of levels to be getting on with but most people will start getting bored long before they reach the end. Overall, The Adorables is an interesting title that’s going to appeal to its target audience, but it could have been better.