1 comment

Mobile Monday – Draw War, Hugo Retro Mania, Ms. Particle-Man, Popping Mania

by on March 26, 2012

It’s time for Mobile Monday and this week we’ve got quite a varied selection for you this week. First off we’ve got Draw War, a line-drawing game with a little bit of a twist, then we’ve got Hugo Retro Mania, a game starring the troll from pretty much all of our childhoods; Hugo. Next up is a cool little retro looking game called Ms. Particle-Man, if you’ve ever played those classic Atari/Spectrum ZX game then you’re going to want to give this game a look. Lastly is Popping Mania, a game that tasks the players with popping balloons. Sounds simple enough.

Well, that’s it for this week. Let us know in the comment section below what you thought about the game or if you have any game reccomentaions and I’ll see you all next week.

Play some games!

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!

Draw War - IconDRAW WAR:

There are plenty of line-drawing games on the iOS App Store, we’ve even covered quite a few of them here on Mobile Monday, but I don’t think we’ve ever covered a line drawing game that involved pirates and vikings. A game that tasks the player – who plays as a pirate – with throwing axes at flying vikings sounds like a dream come true, but that’s exactly what Synqua Games have created in Draw War. Sure, it sounds like every gamer’s dream game, but does it play like a dream or does it sink to the bottom of the abyss?

Just like any line drawing game you’ll have played before, the gameplay revolves around drawing lines towards your target, in the case of Draw War these targets are the flying enemies that are coming in from the right hand side of the screen. Once the enemies are in sight, the player has to draw a line towards them, the axe that’s thrown will then follow this line and take down any enemy that it touches. This is repeated until the level is finished or the player loses all of their lives, which are lost by allowing enemies to pass your ship. Sounds relatively simple on paper, but in practice it’s much, much harder.

Draw War - Screenshot

The difficulty in Draw War lies in the fact that instead of drawing a line to where your enemies are, you have to draw a line to where your enemies are going to be. This level of forethought can be quite difficult as some of the enemies fly at different speeds, you could be busy plotting a path to one set of enemies when another one quickly flies in underneath them. Couple this with the fact that you can only throw one axe at a time, meaning that if you draw an overly elaborate line you may ruin your chances, as you’ll have to wait for the axe to return before you can throw it again, you’ve got quite a unexpectedly difficult game on your hands.

The controls of Draw War are extremely simple, just draw a line towards your enemy and that’s it. Some of these enemies will drop pints of beer, collect enough of these and you’ll get a power up that freezes them all in place making them much easier to pick off. Other than tapping the power up in order to activate it, the only input that the game needs from the player is a line to follow. Simple enough that anyone can play it, which is obviously what you want from a casual game.

If you’ve been looking for a casual line drawing game, but one that contains pirates and vikings (sorry, no ninjas), then Draw War is the game for you. The gameplay and art style make it seem like something that’s going to be simple at first glance, but it soon ramps up in difficulty. So if you want a challenge, and one that looks quite good while you’re doing it, pick up Draw War today! Draw War Save Yer Booty HD - Synqua Games

Hugo Retro Mania - IconHUGO RETRO MANIA:

If you grew up in the 80s or 90s then there’s a good chance that you’re already aware of the character of Hugo, appearing in his own TV show and a few video games, the forest troll often found his way into our hearts. Things have been rather quiet on the Hugo front for the last couple of years, much to the dismay of many fans, but things are about to change with the release of Hugo Retro Mania. Does it hold up to something that we would expect from this character or should Hugo have stayed in the recesses of our memories?

There are two main game modes in Hugo Retro Mania, the first gives the player the task of running through a mine, collecting as many pieces of gold, gems and other things that you can get your hands on before you lose all your lives. You lose lives by failing to avoid the many obstacles that litter Hugo’s path. These could be spiders that suddenly come down from the ceiling, mine carts that come in from either side of the screen or just one of the plethora of rocks that adorn the floor. There’s plenty to trip you up if you’re not paying attention so you’ve just got to make damn sure that you are.

Hugo Retro Mania - Screenshot

The second game mode is similar to the first one, except that instead of just carrying on with the game until you’ve run out of lives, trying to get the highest score possible in the process, you’ve actually got an objective. This objective is to save Hugo’s family from the evil witch Sculla. In order to do this Hugo must travel down the mind, avoiding the obstacles, then when he comes to a junction, pick which way he wants to go to get to his family before the timer runs out. This sense of urgency you get from having the timer, as well as the fact that you have to know where you’re going by checking the map all the time, helps to make this mode the best one in the game.

The controls for Hugo Retro Mania are quite simple. The main buttons that you’ll be interested in are left, right and the jump buttons. The left and right buttons (obviously) move Hugo to the left and right of the screen in order to collect items and avoid the many obstacles in his path. Things start out pretty easy but they soon get a little harder, requiring quick decisions and even quicker actions. During the first couple of levels you won’t really be using the jump button, but in later levels, correct and timely use of this button will mean the difference between a good score and a great one.

Hugo Retro Mania gets the essence of the character down to a tee and it’s almost worth playing just to experience the character again, but it does help that the gameplay isn’t too bad either. It could have done with a few more game modes, as well as a little bit more polish, but the game isn’t bad at all. The one thing that starts to get annoying after a while is that Hugo only has a couple of phrases that he tends to repeat over and over again, but if you’re a massive fan of the character perhaps this won’t be as bothersome. Hugo Retro Mania HD - Krea Medie A/S

Ms Particle Man - IconMS. PARTICLE-MAN:

It’s no secret that we love retro games here at GodisaGeek.com, we even have an entire feature dedicated to them in the form of Retro Corner. In some cases the older something is, the more we’re likely to enjoy it. That also counts, sometimes, for the older something looks too. Ms. Particle-Man, developed by Michael Falk, is one of those games that’s relatively new to the iOS App Store but at the same time wouldn’t look out of place in Flynn’s Arcade. We all know that some of the best examples of addictive gameplay came from those uprights of the 70s and 80s, but can that be brought forward into the new millennium and still be relevant in some form?

You could almost say that the gameplay within Ms. Particle-Man changes with each level, and you wouldn’t be far wrong, but what it essentially boils down to is the fact that within each level you have to collect the energy that is dotted around the level. Once you’ve collected that last piece of energy you’ll be whisked away to the next level to repeat the process again. Once you have reached the end of a section you’ll be given the chance to collide with another particle, absorbing them and moving on to the next stage. The whole point of the game is to find, and collide with, the fabled Higgs Boson particle. Strange? Yes! Awesome? Most certainly. Especially when you get to the end of a stage, collide with a particle, only to be told that “the Higgs Boson is in another collider”. A reference to a lovable little plumber that literally had me laughing out loud.

Ms. Particle Man - Screenshot

The gameplay isn’t for the faint of heart however, just like the classic games that we grew up with, there’s no save system in Ms. Particle-Man. You have a set number of lives and once they’re gone that’s it, back to the beginning you go. You can gain an extra life by getting to the end of a stage and absorbing the particle but this only gives you a single life so you’re still going to have to be extremely careful. It’s more a faint glimmer of hope than an actual lifeline; and a glimmer that usually dims when you see the next level which can often take that life back as soon as it’s given it to you just based on the pure difficulty of the game. If you’re looking for a nice, relaxing retro game; Ms. Particle-Man most certainly isn’t it.

The controls of the game are both simple and extremely difficult at the same time. Most people will be able to grasp the control scheme after a few attempts as all you really have to do is swipe anywhere on the screen in the direction that you want Ms. Particle-Man to travel, but it will take some practice to be able to to use the controls in the kind of fine way that you’re expected to in some of the later levels. Even more so when you’re asked to jump as well as trying to maintain basic movement. Not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s something that feels challenging instead of frustrating so it’s never really a problem.

If you’ve been craving a game that has a distinct retro feel then Ms. Particle-Man may be the game for you. Be warned though, it’s not as easy as you may think it’s going to be, given the visuals. This is a game that you’re going to find yourself coming back to time and time again, just in an attempt to actually complete it. It could get frustrating to some people, especially having to restart from the beginning once you lose all your lives, but anyone that grew up without a save system to babysit them will find Ms. Particle-Man a welcome reference to a by-gone era, one that a lot of us wouldn’t mind getting back in some form. Ms. Particle-Man - Michael Falk

Popping Mania - IconPOPPING MANIA:

There are a lot of games in the iOS App Store that have complicated mechanics, getting the player to make use of – and attempt to master – multiple systems at once in order to get any kind of reward from the game. We’ve even covered some of these games in Mobile Monday. There is another side to that spectrum though, a set of games where the player is only given a single task to do and their score is based solely on their ability to perform this task well. Popping Mania is one of the latter games, giving the player the simple task of popping balloons using a slingshot. It sounds simple, but does that simplicity translate into something that’s actually fun to play?

The gameplay is based solely around popping balloons. The balloons will rise from the bottom of the screen and it’s the player’s job to tap the slingshot in order to fire a small projectile. It’s possible to take out multiple balloons with a single shot if you’re careful about it and time your shots perfectly. In some levels – especially the later ones – conserving ammo is a must as you’ve only got a limited amount before it’s game over. Making sure you’re only firing when you’re absolutely that you’re going to be getting some points is what’s going to get you the best scores. That’s all we all really want at the end of the day, right?

Popping Mania - Screenshot

Eventually the game will enter territory which is a little bit more difficult. In later levels balloons will start appearing at the bottom of the screen that can only be popped by certain types of ammunition, the ice covered balloon can only be popped by the pellet that’s encased in fire. Fairly self-explanatory stuff but it’s something that can (and will) catch you off guard if you’re not ready for it. This unpredictability adds something to the game and may even cause people to come back to the game a couple of times as it represents somewhat of a challenge, but it’s not enough to keep people playing for the long term.

The controls of Popping Mania are easy enough, only requiring the player to tap the screen when they want to let loose a shot from their slingshot. There’s no aiming involved, no calculating trajectory, just tap the slingshot when you’re ready to take a shot and the game will do the rest. This means that there is really no barrier to entry, almost literally anyone that even has a passing interest in the game can pick it up and start playing. If you can tap the screen, you’re good to go. I’m not saying that they’ll stick around for any kind of extended period of time, but the game’s difficulty, or control scheme, won’t be what keeps people away.

At the end of the day Popping Mania is a one trick pony and while it does that one thing quite well, with some decent looking visuals to match, that thing isn’t something particularly interesting. Players probably won’t find themselves revisiting the game too often, not with the plethora of top level games on the iOS App Store, with more being added every day. Popping Mania isn’t a bad game, not by a long shot, it’s just average and not very engaging and with little to no replay value. Popping Mania - Jump Games Pvt.Ltd.