It’s Monday afternoon and that means two things. Firstly, the first day back at work after the weekend is almost over, and secondly, it’s time for another GodisaGeek.com Mobile Monday. This week we’ve got Finger Puppet Frenzy, a whack-a-mole type game with finger puppets, Air Jump, a move-left-to-right game with a little bit of a twist, Froggies, a game which tasks the player with jumping over frogs to solve puzzles and finally Blockolicious, a ‘match-3’ game with a difference that is just about as addictive as anything else out there.
As usual, for the full reviews carry on reading, and I’ll see you again next week, same time, same place.
Get downloading and 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!
There are some pretty crazy games on the iOS App Store, all you have to do is take a quick look at the game section and you can see that for yourself. That being said, I never thought I’d be sitting down and playing a game based around tapping finger puppets as they appear on the screen of my iPad. I never thought it could happen, at least on a game that I would end up enjoying, but Neonblue Game Studio have created the game in question, released it upon the world and now here I am after playing it. It’s a strange world we live in, isn’t it.
The gameplay is as simple as you could want from a game that’s so clearly aimed at children (although that doesn’t for a minute mean that grown adults can’t enjoy it too, whether or not they’re actually supposed to). All the player is tasked with is tapping on the screen as the finger puppets appear, but make sure not to tap on the angry red ones, that will end up with a quick failure of the level and you’ll find yourself all the way back at the beginning. Not something you want to happen when you’re aiming for that high score.
As you’re playing through the levels, every so often you’ll see special finger puppets appearing on the screen. These will have question marks over them until you’ve tapped on them for the first time, revealing their true nature. Once they’ve been “collected”, these special finger puppets will modify the current game by giving the player a multiplier, slowing down how quickly the finger puppets appear (a saving grace in some of the later levels) or one of the other game modifiers that make themselves appear. There’s no way to make these special finger puppets appear, so you just have to hope that you notice them when they do pop up and hope that you’re quick enough to tap them too.
The controls are as easy as you could possibly hope for in any iOS game. All the player has to do is simply tap the screen when the finger puppets appear on it. This simplicity means that there’s a very low barrier to entry and almost anyone will be able to play it as soon as they set their eyes on it. There’s also no difficulty in understanding what needs to be done in order to complete the games, normally a game without a tutorial, or at least some instruction, would be a bad thing but there’s also something about a game that allows the player to discover what needs to be done on their own accord; Finger Puppet Frenzy is one of the latter games.
Finger Puppet Frenzy is a nice, bright and colourful game that will easily appeal to people of all ages. The simplicity of the game means that anyone can start playing and getting those high scores as soon as they’ve downloaded the game. It doesn’t look like a game that could keep a player’s attention for a long period of time but I’m sure that a lot of people would be pleasantly surprised.
We’ve played a lot of games over the past year or so where the sole objective is to move from the left hand side of the screen to the right hand side, getting as far as you can within the game’s world as you’re doing so, collecting points, power-ups and other items. Developers usually try and fit something into their game to try and differentiate it from the aforementioned sea of similar games, and Avallon Alliance is no different, creating a game in Air Jump that is a little bit different from the other games that have come before it, but not so different that it will seem odd to fans of the franchise.
The main gameplay mechanic is very similar to what most people would be expecting from a game such as this, the whole task is to get as far towards the right side of the screen as possible. The further you manage to get, the more points you will grab yourself and increase your position on the leaderboards. To help things along the way with getting those bigger and bigger scores your character has the ability to jump up to three times, before they have to let things recharge. Using this jump ability is how to get the main character towards their goal, but using it well will be important when it comes to later on in the levels. This is where the game is a little bit different from other games of the genre, where those games usually have you concentrating on sliding underneath obstacles and jumping over them, Air Jump has the player constantly bouncing, trying to time jumps just perfectly to avoid the pitfalls or landing face first into an enemy.
If after a little bit of practice you’re still not quite grasping the controls of the game – which are solely based around tapping the screen to make the main character jump – then there are options available to you if your wallet is feeling a little heavy at the moment. As seems to be the way in the gaming world these days, there are quite a few options available to the player in order to make things a little easier, micro transactions that can be purchased in order to modify the game such as adding score multipliers, slowing the game down, among other things. It’s not really my cup of tea, paying to make the game easier, but it’s nice to see that the options are there for the people who do.
There are plenty of games of this ilk out there on the iOS App Store, some of them are better but there are a hell of a lot of other games out there that are much worse. The concept is solid and the execution is quite good. All in all, Air Jump is a game that’s well worth a download if these are the types of games that you find yourself playing on a regular basis; just don’t expect the moon, you’re not going to get it.
Puzzle games are ten-a-penny on the iOS App Store, so it takes something a little bit special to make them pop out in such a crowded marketplace. Some games do that by creating something a little bit different in terms of their gameplay, while other games just try to look good. Froggies, developed by Touch Art, is a game that tasks the player with jumping over other frogs in order to make them disappear, with the objective to make all but one of them disappear. Which category does the game fall into though?
The gameplay in Froggies simply tasks the player with using frogs to jump over the other frogs in the game, the whole objective being to only have one frog on the board at the end of the stage. If you’ve got more than one left and can’t make any more moves, then you’re not going to be getting the full three stars that almost everyone will be aiming for when they’re playing the game.
The challenge lies in the fact that not all the frogs that you’re given can move around the board in the same way. Green frogs can jump over other frogs above, below or to the side of them, and disappear when they’re jumped over, royal frogs can do the same as the green frogs but also move diagonally while blue frogs can move in the same directions as the green frogs but need to be jumped over twice in order to make them disappear. It’s these differences that make the game slightly more difficult than it would normally be, players will have to know what makes each frog type different and plan their solution accordingly. Not the easiest thing most of the time.
The control scheme in Froggies is very simple. All you really need to play the game is a single finger, tap the frog that you want to move and all of their possible moves will be displayed on the screen. Tap wherever you want the frog to move in order to move them there and complete the turn. It’s an extremely easy game to pick up, even if the gameplay itself isn’t always the easiest thing in the world to wrap your head around. At least the barrier to entry isn’t going to be with the control method, like a lot of other games on the iOS App Store.
Froggies is a highly entertaining game with plenty of levels to sink your teeth into. The only real problem is that it’s not an original concept, but that’s something that we seem to be getting used to when it comes to the iOS platform recently. The sheer amount of Angry Birds clones means that unoriginal iPhone/iPad games are something that we’ve got to get used to. Other than the unoriginality, Froggies is an entertaining game that doesn’t do much wrong. If you’re looking for a little puzzle game that you can keep coming back to every so often, but not spend a great deal of time in it in a single game session, then Froggies may very well fill that need.
There doesn’t seem to have been as many ‘match 3’ games on the iOS App Store as of late, those games that became popular for the casual player with Bejeweled but their lineage go all the way back to the very foundation of gaming. Blockolicious, developed by Hibernum Creations, is another ‘match 3’ game but tries to do things a little bit different in order to rejuvenate a genre which has seen many copies over the years, as well as many game that simply aren’t much good. Which side of the fence does Blockolicious stand on though? And does it succeed with what it set out to achieve?
Just as with all of the other ‘Match 3’ games, the whole gameplay revolves around matching at least three of the same colour boxes. Matching these boxes will turn them into a juice box, match three of these juice boxes before they disappear – which will happen if their timer runs out – and they’ll turn into a bomb which will destroy all of the boxes of that specific colour. It’s something that isn’t the easiest thing in the world to explain but after five minutes with the game you’ll be a natural and will be able to play the game like a master block-popper, which helps to make the game as addictive as it is.
Destroying blocks also serves to power-up the special powers that are located on the left hand side of the screen. Filling up their power meter will allow the player to unleash the special power, which do different things depending on which special characters you’ve chosen to use at the start of the game. This section of the game has a distinct Peggle feel, and if you’ve ever played that game then you’ll be comfortable with using power-ups in puzzle games such as this. It never feels like a straight copy though, which is a good thing, it always just feel like another company had a good idea, then Hibernum Creations saw it, improved it and put it in their game; nothing wrong with that.
As would be expected with this genre of game, the control scheme that’s used is extremely simplistic, only requiring the use of a single finger (although you’ll want to use more if you’re wanting to get the high scores, destroying the blocks quickly and efficiently). This is a good move on the developer’s part as getting the casual audience in on the game is where they’re going to be making their money, not getting the people that already play games in their spare time. It certainly feels like they know what they’re doing though. Blockolicious is an extremely addictive game for just about anyone that picks it up.
If you’re in the market for a new puzzle game that’s on the same level as Bejeweled, then you really should be checking out Blockolicious. It’s got some impressive gameplay elements that keep people interested for the long term, as well as ensuring that people keep coming back to the game time and time again. Blockolicious is a game that took me completely by surprise, I wasn’t expecting a game that is so well put together, with an amazing art style and quick and responsive controls; even on the original iPad. Blockolicious is a game that other puzzle games should strive to be and I urge anyone that even has a remote interest to go and get it now. You’re not going to be disappointed.