Mobile Monday – Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, Guide the Light, Word Soup, The Great Jitters: Pudding Panic
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 Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened from Big Fish Games, Guide the Light from AppyNation, Word Soup from Fuzzy Bug Interactive and The Great Jitters: Pudding Panic from Kunst-Stoff.
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!
SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE AWAKENED:
Released back in 2006 on PC, Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened was well received for its original take on the Baker St. detective. The vast intellect of United Kingdom’s most celebrated investigator is put to the test in a plot that includes a bloodthirsty cult that worship H.P Lovecraft’s most famous creation, Cthulhu.
The savage following are on a murderous hunt around Europe and only one man can put an end to it – London’s favourite PI.
Big Fish Games have brought what is arguably Frogwares most heralded Sherlock Holmes game to iOS and, even though flaws are evident, this version remains very faithful to the original. Based upon the remastered edition, Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened on Apple’s platform includes the option to play the adventure title in a third person or first person perspective. This is where some of the flaws present themselves. In third person view, Holmes is controlled by tapping anywhere on-screen to move, or double-tapping to run. NPCs and specific objects can be interacted with, however a fixed camera angle makes it difficult to really take in the environment and figure out where items and desired locations are. When played in first person, virtual buttons are used to control the character, yet on iPad they’re not too intrusive due to the large screen.
Visually, The Awakened feels like it has been scaled back for the tablet device. Admittedly, back in 2008 the game wasn’t packing overly impressive graphics, however on iPad it is nowhere near the standard that we now see with games such as Infinity Blade and many others.
Vocally, the characters all have that Victorian era twang which gives the acting a certain sense of authenticity for its time period. However the character of Sherlock Holmes can sometimes be unintentionally humourous with, endless monologues where he seems to decipher cases with minimal information. The game does suffer from some of those point-and-click adventure mainstays where clues are abstract and therefore difficult to interpret. There is a built-in strategy guide to help those who find decoding the information presented too demanding, which is a genuine help because of the often perplexing case evidence.
Whilst there are numerous holes to pick, revisiting this old PC title will be joyous for many. Big Fish Games have done a good job with this port and fans of old school adventure games will certainly get a kick out of a rare Holmes outing on iOS.
GUIDE THE LIGHT:
We all love a good iOS puzzle game, whether it’s skill-based, memory-based or uses some other ability; there’s nothing that makes the tedious wait for that bus or train to work go that little bit faster than an enjoyable little puzzler. The developers of Guide the Light, AppyNation, know this all too well and have created one of the most addictive and downright difficult puzzle games I’ve had the pleasure to play in all my time writing Mobile Monday (for which, to date, I’ve written around 300 iOS reviews). It’s essentially Indiana Jones with lasers, and if that doesn’t get you downloading the game instantly, then maybe I can convince you a little more if you just keep reading – which, I’m sure, you were all going to do anyway.
The gameplay revolves around (as you’d probably guess with a game called Guide the Light) guiding beams of coloured light into their respective gems. Once you’ve guided all the light into the correct gems, the door will open and our Indiana Jones wannabe will be able to collect his reward and move on to the next level to do it all over again. Each of the levels are broken up into blocks, with each of the mirrors you use to guide the light taking up a single block, so it’s very easy to move them into specific spots without the need for precision movements. Guide the Light is all about whether you can solve the puzzle, not if you can move objects using the touch screen in the most precise manner.
It’s not long before the game starts throwing curveballs at you though, and just when you think you’ve gotten the gameplay down to a fine art, there’s another difficulty level added on top to keep things fresh and interesting, whether that’s a block that only generates a required light colour when other lights are fed into it, blocks that fall from the ceiling with every move we make, threatening to crush our would-be hero, or even giant spiders appearing in the level ready to devour him. Whatever it is, you can be sure that just when you think you’ve worked out Guide the Light, there’s something new to contend with which will not only keep you playing the game, but keep you enjoying it too.
The controls are extremely simple to use too, thanks to the grid system that’s in place. Everything in the game fits on a single grid space and when you want to move it, you drag it along the individual grids. This makes, for example, assigning a mirror to a specific point on the map an absolute cakewalk. Things can get a little bit difficult if you’re playing on devices with a smaller screen, such as the iPhone or iPod Touch, but if you’re lucky enough to be using an iPad then you should have no problems whatsoever (and I envy you just a little bit).
Guide the Light is, without a doubt, some of the most fun I’ve had while reviewing a game for Mobile Monday. Its visuals could do with a little bit of a brush up, to bring it in line with the quality of the gameplay, and there are times when the levels themselves can be absolutely brutal, but the game itself is pure gold. If you’re in the market for a new game to play during the tedious commute then give Guide the Light a go, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t miss your transport.
Word games on iOS devices are some of the easiest titles to sit down and play when you’ve got a spare couple of minutes to hand. Their drop-in, drop-out structure often means that you don’t have to dedicate a specific amount of time to them. The main difficulty lies in actually finding a decent example of a game in this genre in the proverbial sea of mediocrity. Word Soup, developed by Fuzzy Bug Interactive, is a word puzzle title that hopes to grab your attention with bright visuals, quirky game mechanics and an even simpler drop-in, drop-out mechanic – but have they created a decent enough game in the process? That’s what we’re all here to find out, isn’t it?
The basic gameplay in Word Soup plays just like any other game in its genre: the player is tasked with making words out of the letters that are provided on the game’s grid. The bigger the word the player creates, the more points they get, and what do points mean? Well, not prizes – not here, anyway. In the main mode, “Relaxed Game”, there’s no time limit to contend with and you’re able to sit back, relax and just attempt to clear the board of letters by creating words whenever you happen to feel like it. For the more competitively minded among you, however, there are two more game modes to choose from, should they take your fancy.
“Timed Game” is the game mode of choice for the quick-thinking among you, the people that can find words in a mass of letters quicker than anyone else – you’re probably a dab hand at the Countdown Conundrum too (I envy you). “Brain Game” is the most challenging of all the game modes, tasking players with finding the longest words possible in order to continue playing. Needless to say, I pretty much locked myself into the “Relaxed Game” mode, cowering in fear of the others like the smallest kid in the playground. Another interesting aspect of Word Soup, and something that makes it a bit different, is the ability to tilt your iOS device to the left or right and shift the letters that aren’t trapped into position to the other side of the board. It’s a nice little feature that means that you always have a couple of options open to you to discover words if you’re finding it overly difficult.
As you would no doubt expect, the controls in Word Soup are as simple as tapping the letters to add them to the word you’re currently trying to form. Once you’ve created the word, simply tap on the last letter again to submit it. Things get a little bit difficult on the smaller screens of the iPod Touch and iPhone, due to the letters themselves being rather small, but if you’re playing on an iPad then you’re likely to have zero problems at all in the control department.
Word Soup is an interesting title with some nice features that set it apart from a lot of other games in its genre. The bright and colourful aesthetic will keep people coming back for more and the fact that even after shutting down a game, you can come back to it any time you want is a stroke of genius on the part of the developer. Ultimately, however, it doesn’t do enough to warrant uninstalling your current favourite word game to install this one. That said, if you’re on the lookout for something new to play, and you’re partial to a word puzzle or two, then I think Word Soup should be the Soup of the Day.
THE GREAT JITTERS: PUDDING PANIC:
A couple of months ago,we took a look at the previous game in The Great Jitters, called Panic Ride. That game was an infinite runner where the players had to get the main character as far as they could on a ghost train while avoiding and defeating the objects in their path. The latest game, Pudding Panic, is a puzzle game that tasks players with swapping out sections of the track in order to guide the characterised blob of jelly towards his goal at the end of each level. It’s a different game to its predecessor, but it’s very similar too. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your feelings about that first title.
If you’ve played the previous game in The Great Jitters series, then as soon as you start Pudding Panic you’ll probably think you’ve started that game by mistake – I know I did. The visuals are exactly the same and the viewing perspective is identical, as are the enemies. However, once you get into the gameplay, you’ll soon notice that things are a little bit different. Instead of getting as far as you can into a level, you’re tasked with just getting to the end, and you do that by swapping out bits of track for others that will allow you to move further into the level. You’ve got to be careful though, as some tracks will lead you directly into a collision course with enemies so you’ve got to be ready, at all times, to deal with that.
There a plenty of levels to keep people interested with, as well as plenty of enemies along the way that will keep even veteran gamers on their toes – especially if they’re playing on a smaller iOS device – but at the end if the day, there’s just nothing inherently interesting about the world of The Great Jitters. Ultimately it’s just a game that looks exactly like the game that came before it with a new gameplay mechanic tacked on top of it. If you really enjoyed Panic Ride, then you may enjoy Pudding Panic, but there won’t be much of a change for most people.
As I mentioned, the game is a little bit difficult to play on smaller devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch, simply because of the precision needed to place some of the tracks. On top of that, there are times that placing a track into the game will force you to cover up an incoming enemy with your finger, obscuring the fact that you’re heading straight into the danger zone – something that you may not be ready for.
The Great Jitters: Pudding Panic has an interesting aesthetic and some genuinely interesting gameplay mechanics; however, the developers have chosen to implement them into a previous game and release something that looks so similar that I wouldn’t be surprised if people got the two mixed up. If you haven’t played Panic Ride, and this is your first foray into the world of The Great Jitters, then it’s a good enough place to start. However, if you have played the previous game then there’s not enough here to bring you running back to the crazy jelly blob.