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 The Lumees from PreAnima, Green Jelly from MaxNick.com, Hell Yeah! Pocket Inferno from Pohlm Studio and Real Racing 3 from Firemonkeys.
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!
The Lumees, developed by PreAnima, is another one of those games that give no indication as to what they are before you actually download them and start playing – something which is becoming more and more common. At its heart, The Lumees is a Match-3-style game – although the player has to match four this time around – with an interesting twist that attempts to make things a little bit more unpredictable. But does it work?
If you’ve ever sat at an arcade and put 2p coins in those bulldozer “games” that task you to push off more 2p’s than you put in, then you’ll be familiar with the first gameplay element in The Lumees. The titular characters will fall from the top of the screen, colliding with some of the many obstacles in their path on the way down, and finally landing in a section of the bottom area which, hopefully, has been carefully selected by the player. This process then repeats itself over and over again until the little readout in the top left corner of the screen is completely full, at which point you’ll move on to the next level.
The point of the game is to match four of the same kind of Lumee at the bottom of the screen, either horizontally or vertically (you don’t get anything for matching them diagonally) and attempting to clear the board of as many of them as possible. The more Lumees you clear, the faster you’ll complete the level and the more stars you’ll get out of a maximum of three, naturally. Due to the slightly unpredictable nature of the Lumees bouncing around on the scenery in each of the levels, getting them in exactly the position you want can be rather difficult and, while that adds to the appeal of the game, can get moderately frustrating as you progress.
The controls in The Lumees are easy to get your head around, simply requiring you to slide the bottom section of the level into various positions to catch the falling Lumees – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. As mentioned before, the Lumees have a tendency to hit that one piece of scenery that you didn’t expect them to and go flying off at an unpredictable angle that you certainly weren’t prepared for. The Lumees sits firmly in the “easy to learn, difficult to master” category, and it sits there laughing at you attempting to three-star its levels.
The Lumees is a decent game with a cute art style, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy game, not by a long way. The levels are often painfully brutal and the art style seems to mock you. How can a game so colourful and bright be so dark and sadistic? The Lumees may look like a game for your typical everyman, but just beneath its surface is a challenging game that takes a lot of time and effort to truly get to grips with. Unless you were a master at those 2p bulldozer games, of course, in which case you might be ok.
What happens if you cross World of Goo with Cut the Rope and then sprinkle in a good helping of Angry Birds? Well, the game that you’d end up with wouldn’t be far from what we’ve got with the MaxNick.com developed Green Jelly. In Green Jelly you play as the title character and, not unlike Cut the Rope, all he wants is the sweets that are dotted around each of the levels. It’s your job to satiate that hunger and help him to get them. Are you up to the challenge?
The gameplay in Green Jelly involves using various methods to reach each of the three sweets in each level. You could, if you wanted, just get to the end of the level without collecting anything, but that negates the whole point of the game and, coupled with the fact that the sweets stand in for the three stars in just about every other puzzle game, you’re going to want to collect them all before you finish. The first of Green Jelly’s abilities that you’ll be introduced to is his knack of stretching himself from one point to another in order to reach far off destinations. If you’ve played World of Goo (and you really should) then you’ll already be familiar with this style of gameplay so you shouldn’t have any problems.
Throughout your time will Green Jelly, which will span quite a substantial amount of levels, you’ll be introduced to quite a few game mechanics. There’s one that’s not dissimilar to Angry Birds which allows you to pull back on the title character and fling him across the screen. Then there’s one that allows the player to cut the piece of jelly he’s dangling from and watch him fall. There aren’t many original gameplay mechanics on show here, but all those present are from games wherein the mechanic is the star of the show, and so having them all in one game, while not original, is still fun.
As the controls have been used in other popular games, there’s a good chance that you’re going to instantly be a dab hand at Green Jelly. The only exception to this rule being – possibly – the Cut the Rope bits. The jelly that you’re supposed to cut is much smaller than the “Rope” and can be a little bit tricky to interact with at times. It’s never too frustrating, just something to be aware of. Thanks to the easy-to-learn game mechanics of Green Jelly, it’s easy enough to pick up by anyone, young or old, and before long you’ll be collecting those sweets like a pro.
Green Jelly isn’t a very original game, but it never really claims to be either. What it is is a game that takes mechanics from some of the most well-loved titles on the app store and places them together in a single, fun game. From the moment you start the first level, to the moment you “three star” the final one, you’ll enjoy it, I have no doubt about that. Still, a little originality in some respects would have been nice. Maybe in the next game?
HELL YEAH! POCKET INFERNO:
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit was a moderately successful XBLA/PSN game that was released a few months ago. It didn’t do too badly in the reviews but it probably didn’t do as well as the developer, Arkedo Studio, would have probably liked. In an effort to tap into the thriving infinite runner space that everyone seems to be into these days, the developers have released Hell Yeah! Pocket Inferno, a game of the infinite runner style but with a level system, instead of just running on forever. However, does copying what everyone else is doing and releasing an infinite runner, mean that it’s guaranteed the success it missed out on with the original release?
The gameplay in Hell Yeah! Pocket Inferno requires that you fulfil a number of requirements to beat the level with the maximum three stars. Ultimately, the only goal of each level is to reach the end, but if you want to attain those elusive stars then you’re going to have to work for it. These mini-missions can range from collecting a certain amount of coins or not hitting enemies all the way through to exiting the level through a specific door. They get a little bit more challenging as you progress through the game but most players will notice them repeating themselves not long after they’ve started the title.
As you progress, you’ll eventually come to one of many boss levels. These will involve chasing a character from the left side of the screen to the right while shooting them to get their health down and avoiding their incoming fire. These levels really feel like the bullet hell games we’re more used to getting when we’re allowed to use a controller, and they’re a little difficult when just using the touch interface – but they’re workable and actually rather a lot of fun to play, so it’s commendable that the developers have taken a gameplay mechanic that usually requires a controller and successfully managed to map it to touch controls. I was pleasantly surprised.
The controls in Hell Yeah! Pocket Inferno are also rather easy to get to grips with – which is just as well seeing as the game can get bloody hard at times – with the left hand side of the screen controlling the main character movement up and down and the right hand side of the screen controlling the firing of his weapons. This control scheme lends itself well to people that have never played games before too, as it’s so simple to learn, although I’d argue that Hell Yeah! shouldn’t be someone’s first mobile title. That would just be plain cruel.
Hell Yeah! Pocket Inferno is a fun game to play in short bursts. Having a level system instead of the standard infinite runner ‘just run as far as you can’ system means that it’s possible to pick it up, play a couple of levels and then put it down again while still feeling like you’ve progressed somewhat. There are a few areas where things could have been improved (a little bit of variety in the mini-missions is one aspect that immediately comes to mind), but the game on the whole is a solid entry into the Hell Yeah! franchise, and for the relatively cheap price of an iOS game, you can’t go far wrong.
REAL RACING 3:
The Real Racing series of games – previously developed by Firemint but, since EA bought the company and merged it with IronMonkey, is now developed by Firemonkeys – is a hugely popular series of games for the iOS devices, primarily thanks to its relatively deep gameplay and realistic graphics. We’re now getting onto the third game in the series and, as you would probably expect from a game that’s now published by EA, it has undergone a vast amount of changes (mostly centring around making EA more of that money they like so much). But does that mean that it’s no longer fun to play, or is it basically the same game we always knew and loved?
The simple answer is no.
From the moment you start your racing career in Real Racing 3, you’ll notice the heavy reliance on not one, but two forms of in-game currency. The first of the two are R$ and is the player’s way of purchasing new vehicles and upgrades. Certain races require the use of a specific car class, so expect to be buying quite a few cars if you want to compete in all the races. The downside to this is that the cars cost a decent amount of R$ and, while it’s possible to get the currency without paying a penny of real-world money, it will take you so long that it’s not really feasible. Each race will net you a couple of thousand R$, will another couple of thousand added on if you happen to unlock a race tier, but it’s not enough at all. Most players will find themselves grinding races over and over again just to continue playing – or fork up some real money – and neither option is very fun. The other in-game currency is gold, something that’s used less frequently than R$ but is still massively overused. This currency is primarily used to speed up the application of upgrades which, for some reason, take an arbitrary amount of time to apply once you’ve paid the R$ for them. The other main use for gold is to respray your car, which is just about the only understandable use as at least with this it’s not something you absolutely must do. The whole system stinks of money-grabbing on EA’s part, and detracts from the whole experience -which might have been excellent otherwise.
Forgetting about the abhorrent pay schemes present in Real Racing 3, the gameplay is still as fun as it’s ever been, with the graphics still there to back it up. There are plenty of races to sink your teeth into and, thanks to the Timeshifted Multiplayer system, if you’ve got Facebook or Game Center friends playing the game then you can take part in asynchronous multiplayer, which places your friends in your race with you and tasks you with beating them. Doing so will net you a bit more of a reward, but it’s so miniscule that it’s almost pointless. Still, you’re able to gloat about the fact that you beat them, so there’s always that.
There are plenty of control options in Real Racing 3, so many that almost everyone will find one that suits them perfectly. Whether it’s tilt steering will auto accelerate and assisted braking, or button steering with manual acceleration and braking, the options are there to make Real Racing 3 as personal as you want it to be. The game can be quite hard at times though, especially beating your friends if they’re particularly good, but the whole experience, including the built-in levelling system, is there to help you become a better driver – and competitor – so there’s always the drive (Ha! Get it? “Drive”?) to improve.
At its core, Real Racing 3 is still an enjoyable iOS racing experience but it’s something that only the hugely dedicated – or the rich – are going to get the full enjoyment from. If you’re the type of person who would usually play one or two races every other day then you may as well skip this one as you’re not going to be getting the full experience without paying. There’s no doubt that Firemonkeys have made a fun, gorgeous and well thought-out driving experience that fits into the player’s pocket, but the heavy-handedness of EA is so evident that it’s almost impossible to see the game for the money-growing trees.