Mobile Monday – Infinity Field, Dog Pile, Ninja Puzzle, OK! Celebrity Quiz
Another week and another Mobile Monday to get you prepared for the week that’s yet to come. Feel like you want some new games to play about with on your daily commute to work? Or just feel like you need something to pass the time every now and then? Either way, we’ve got you covered, every Monday from your friendly neighbourhood GodisaGeek.com.
This week we’ve got a twin stick shoot-em-up from ForzeField Studios that in very much the same vein as Geometry Wars, a block matching game with a twist (hint: the “blocks” are dogs!) from ArtzWitz & JoshOClock in Dog Pile, another block matching game, this time for the Mac, from the creative minds over at Flying Pig Game Studios. Ever feel like jumping around in a puzzle, slashing puzzle blocks and being a strange little ninja at the same time? Ninja Puzzle has you covered. Lastly we’ve got a quiz game from Wired Productions, test your celebrity knowledge in OK! Celebrity Quiz! What are you waiting for? Get downloading!
Have a week!
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!
As long as there have been video games there has been twin stick shooters, vaguely at least. It all started with Asteroids which, while technically not a twin stick shooter, uses a lot of the same mechanics. With the popularity of the iPhone people are now able to play their favourite games wherever they are, on the train, waiting for a bus or just sat in front of the TV, and with our love affair of twin stick shooters over the last God knows how many years, where better to put them nowadays than in our pocket, ready to be played at a moments notice, wherever that may be? That’s where ForzeField Studios and their addictive little iPhone game Infinity Field come in.
The gameplay of Infinity Field is just as you would expect from any twin stick shooter, choose the game mode that you want to play, either ‘Campaign’ or ‘Survival’, put your thumbs on the screen in the designated areas and, once the level starts, start shooting all the enemies you can see until they stop spawning, at which point you’ll have beaten the level and move onto the next one to do it all over again. One of the nice features of Infinity Field is that the game won’t play unless you’ve got at least one finger on the screen, it’ll just auto pause, it’s just a small feature but it’s something that could have been so easily overlooked. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve been thankful for it, just being able to take my fingers off of the screen in order to pause the game instead of scrambling for the pause button while hordes of enemies are making their way towards me.
One of the major downsides of the way the the controls work, and its not something that’s ForzeField Studios’ fault as it’s something that’s inherent with the on screen control method, is that with your fingers on the screen it’s possible that enemies can sneak up on you by coming into the game from underneath your thumbs. This feels a little unfair but, as I said, there isn’t much that can be done about it. It’s just one of those frustrating little things that tend to pop up with games that require on screen controls. Especially on a screen that’s relatively small anyway.
As mentioned earlier, the controls are very easy to grasp, the game will show you where to put your thumbs and, if you’ve played a twin stick shooter before, what to do next will be fairly intuitive. Move the left on screen analogue stick to move the ship around the screen and the right one to shoot in that direction. All of this is fairly standard for this style of game so most people will be able to pick things up fairly quickly and get straight down to blowing spaceships out of the sky. There is some real skill required in order to get the most out of Infinity Field. Being able to move the ship one way, dodging and weaving the constant waves of enemies, while shooting the other way isn’t something that’s easy to do and certainly adds to the “easy to learn, difficult to master” aspect of playing the game.
Graphically Infinity Field looks rather good, taking some very clear inspiration from both Geometry Wars from Bizarre Creations and old school vector games such as Asteroids. The way the screen shakes, twists and bends when an explosion occurs is very appealing causing an unquenchable need to blow even more stuff up and entering a vicious cycle that, once it has you, often refuses to let go. Other than that the visuals are fairly basic which, instead of detracting from the game, adds to the old school feel of the overall experience.
If you’re a fan of twin stick shooters, or even just classic, old school, arcade shooters, then you should at least give Infinity Field a try, it looks great and plays great with some nifty little features in there, such as auto pause, that shows that the developers clearly thought long and hard about what was going in their game. The only let down is that there isn’t a diverse range of things to do in the Infinity Field, once you’re fed up with the main mechanic of the game you may as well move on, there’ll be nothing more to see here.
DOG PILE HD:
Some apps on the app store have some pretty strange names. Some of them give very little information about what the game is actually about, and some of them allude to one thing and then give you something totally different to what you were expecting. When I downloaded Dog Pile, from ArtWitz Design and JoshOClock, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Who would with a name like that? Nevertheless I booted up the game to see if what I was imagining was in any way true to life; it wasn’t. Dog Pile is an interesting little puzzle game that comes across, in its most simplest explanation, as a reverse Bubble Bobble-esque game. I told you this was going to be weird didn’t I.
The gameplay is a mix between Bubble Bobble and something along the lines of Peggle. The Bubble Bobble aspect is apparent from the moment you start the game as you’re given the task of removing a particular kind of dog from the playing field by hitting at least one of them with another of the same type. Doing this with all of the dogs on the board, leaving none left, will win the player the round and they’ll move on to the next one. The Peggle part of the gameplay comes into play as you try and navigate the dog that you’re firing down a series of obstacles in order to get them hit the dogs that you want, hopefully clearing them. Being able to navigate the obstacle course, especially at later levels, takes some skill and a little bit of forward thinking; just like Peggle.
The controls in Dog Pile are really simple to get to grips with, there’s really only one action that most people will have to remember and that’s how to launch the dog that appears at the top of the stage. All the player has to do is tap the dog and drag their finger in the direction they want to launch them, once they let go of their finger the dog will launch and it’s then up to the player to navigate them through a small obstacle course towards the dogs that are grouped along the bottom. In order to help the dog through the obstacle course Dog Pile makes use of the iOS devices’ built in accelerometer, tilt the device to the left and the dog will roll to the left and vice versa. A very simple little control method that most people would have found themselves doing anyway, even if the accelerometer function wasn’t in the game.
Overall, Dog Pile is a quirky little game that’s a little difficult to explain and even more difficult to understand where the inspiration may have come from. Having said that, it is a rather fun little game and the simplistic control schemes, coupled with the fact that there are a good amount of levels to play through from the moment you download it (with the promise of more to come), means that if the explanation even mildly interests you then you’re probably at least going to get a kick out of playing it, even if the gameplay gets a little old after a while. It certainly is an interesting little title with a good amount of decent looking art assets that lead me to the recommendation that it’s worth a download if you’re looking for something fun to play but don’t mind something a little bit silly. Don’t expect the next mobile gaming giant and you’ll probably find you enjoy your purchase; even if you’ve no idea why.
Usually I tend to talk about solely iOS games, with a little bit of Windows Phone 7 games thrown in there for good measure when I can, but it’s not very often when I get to talk about a Mac Store game. Since the Mac Store went live a year or so ago there has been a massive influx of titles developed for the platform. Not least of which have been an abundant amount of games. Ninja Puzzle is one of those games. Developed by Flying Pig Game Studios, Ninja Puzzle is a strange mix between a block matching game, such as Tetris, and ..well…nothing really. I can’t say I’ve ever even seen a game where the main objective is to beat the puzzle pieces into submission. Super Puzzle Figher was the closest analogy I could probably make but it’s even vastly different to that.
The main gameplay element, as with most of the block matching style of games, is to get a line of three or more blocks of the same colour, the more blocks you match, the more points you get; as you would expect. As time is progressing, more and more blocks with be dropping from the top of the screen, if you’re caught underneath one of these blocks when it hits the floor then you die. The main objective of the game is to survive until the timer runs out, racking up as many points as possible before that occurs. If you manage to survive the level, then you’ll move on to the next, more difficul level and repeat the whole process over again; and they do get pretty difficult, pretty quickly.
The controls of Ninja Puzzle are my biggest gripe with the whole game. I feel that there are way too many controls for a puzzle game. There are your normal up, down, left and right controls (which use the arrow keys), then there are jump, grappling hook, attack and downward attack. All of which use different keys. In the heat of the moment, when you’ve got blocks coming down in all areas of the puzzle, it’s very easy to get a little lost with these controls, pressing the wrong button and dying. Leading to a great deal of frustration. In fact, most of the times I failed a puzzle it was because I’d pressed attack instead of grappling hook and end up trapping myself in a corner with a block dropping directly above me. When I failed a level, the controls were nearly always the reason, not because the puzzle itself was too difficult, but because I pressed something I shouldn’t have. Perhaps the addition of Joypad support would remedy this?
Ninja Puzzle is a nice little Mac Store game that is visually interesting as well as being entertaining to play. All of the sprites used are of a high quality, which look great even on a screen the size of the iMac, and are displayed quickly and effortlessly, despite what you may be doing and how many buttons you’re pressing in a blind panic. As with most applications on the Mac Store, Ninja Puzzle is a little overpriced at £2.49, which is an offer price as of time of writing, and is also the price of some of the very best iPhone and iPad games available, not a Mac Store game that won’t bring you as much enjoyment as many of those iOS games. If you’re a fan of puzzle games, especially puzzle games that break the mould a little bit, then you could do a lot worse than Ninja Puzzle, it’s a great looking game with decent gameplay elements but the barrier of entry, the high price point and the massive amount of controls for a game of this type, will turn people off faster than it will convert them.
OK! CELEBRITY QUIZ:
Quiz games are all over the place on the iOS App Store, and generally, if you think you know your stuff about any particular subject then there’s probably a quiz on that you can test yourself on and find out if you’re really the little clever clogs that you think you are. That’s no different for those of you that spend your lives worrying/thinking/mimicking anything that those people that enjoy calling themselves “celebrities” get up to. If you’re one of those people then you’re probably going to enjoy the new quiz from Wired Productions, OK! Celebrity Quiz. How much do you REALLY know compared to how much you simply THINK that you know. You’ll have to take the test to find out.
As you would probably expect from a quiz game, the gameplay in OK! Celebrity Quiz revolves around the task of answering increasingly difficult questions. Here, the questions have to be answered within a specific amount of seconds otherwise you’re automatically moved onto the next one and, depending on the game mode you’re playing, will lose a life.
There are three game modes available in OK! Celebrity Quiz, Celebrity Quiz, Classic Mode and Sudden Death. In the first mode, Celebrity Quiz you pick one of two topics and answer questions on that topic, once the round is over your score is added up, and if the amount you scored is more than what is required to pass, you move on to the next stage and repeat the process. Classic Mode is similar, except that instead of beating the game in rounds like the previous mode, the player has to answer questions until all of their three lives have gone. Sudden Death is the easiest and quickest of the lot. It plays just like the other modes only that players will only have one life. Get a question wrong and that’s it, game over.
With OK! Celebrity Quiz being available on touch devices such as the iPad, there aren’t any controls per se, all the player has to do is touch the answer that they think is correct, they will then be told whether it was right or wrong and the whole process will begin again. This lack of a complicated method of interacting with the game gets rid of any barrier to entry potential players may have, most people will point at the answer when playing along with a quiz show on the TV; this is just taking it one step further.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys keeping up with all the comings and goings of various celebrities lives then you’re probably going to enjoy OK! Celebrity Quiz, the interface is simple enough to understand and any sections that are a little more confusing for someone who doesn’t play a lot of video games, a help screen is usually displayed on screen to help. The way the the player interacts with the quiz is very smooth with little to no lag between the moment you pick an answer and when the device registers it. If you’re a fan of the theme and you want to test your creepy celebrity stalking knowledge then this is a great little game for you, if you’re not the there’s nothing here for you at all.
By day I play video games, test video games or just simply write about them. By night I fight crime on the streets of London as a masked vigilante known only to a select few ... damn SECRET identity. Could never get the hang of that.
I've been writing about video games for about 10 years now, and playing them for even longer, starting off with a Spectrum ZX passed down to me in about 1988. Yes, I used to play games that came on cassettes. Yes, they were AWESOME!
I've been writing for God is a Geek since October 2010 and loving every minute of it, aside from that I write for my own website and work as a video game tester for Testology. So, yeah, I'm pretty much living the life of a gamer, and I don't intend stopping anytime soon thank you very much.
Unless I run out of money, then we might have a problem.