This week on Mobile Monday we’ve got quite a mixed bag for you to take a look at. The first game is a strange little sports game that doesn’t look all that strange when you first look at it, but once you play it; well, you just have to play it, Mobile Linebacker. Next up we’ve got Call of Cthulu: The Wasted Land, a RTS game based on the famed H. P. Lovecraft story. Kiwi Brown takes the third slot, another strange game that plays a lot like the Asteroids games some of us will have grown up with. Lastly, we’ve got Rinth Island, an amazingly full featured puzzle game from the guys over at Chillingo.
Some pretty impressive stuff there, and plenty to be getting one with for the week. I’ll see you all at the same time next Monday, don’t forget to come back, let us know if you downloaded any of the games and what you thought of them.
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!
If you’ve ever watched a game of American Football before, or even just seen it in a film of some sort, then you’ll know how brutal a sport it can be. The worst (read: most entertaining) position of the field is that of the linebacker. Once of the jobs that this person needs to do is to take out the guy carrying the ball by smashing into them as hard as they can, usually leaving them dazed, confused and sprawled out on the floor. Voda Digital have taken this concept, mashed it together with one of those games the require the player to pull back on something and then let it go (think Angry Birds) and come up with the game Mobile Linebacker. Sounds good on paper, how does it hold up?
The gameplay is extremely simple, even though it may look quite complex upon first glace. The main point of the game is to take out the person carrying the ball and in order to do this, the player must send the linebacker into the position where they think the ball carrier and the linebacker will meet in the field. If the two characters meet, the linebacker will take out the ball carrier and the level will be won. It is possible for the ball carrier to pass the ball, when this happens the player must change the trajectory of the linebacker to compensate. This ensures that while the game is relatively simple, the player has to keep their eye on the ball at all times to make sure that they are taking the right person out.
There’s not a lot else to the game except the act of taking out the ball carrier with the linebacker, but that’s all a lot of people will need. Players will have the option to replay levels over and over again in an attempt to attain the maximum of five stars. Which will take some time as they’re not easy to get. It’s easy to get caught up in the action, as there aren’t many things more brutal, and more primal, than watching a player get taken out by a linebacker. Every time you do it you’ll want to scream at the iPad as if you’ve done something spectacular, when all you’ve really done is made one character run into the other.
The controls are easy enough to learn, requiring placing your finger on the linebacker and dragging backwards, the more you drag backwards the more power he’ll launch himself forward with. If you’ve ever played Angry Birds before then you’ll already have this down to a tee and you’ll have no problems smashing through the defending line and attacking that ball carrier. If the ball carrier does move however, or passes the ball (how dare he!?!) then all you’ll have to do to change direction is swipe the screen towards where the ball ends up. Simple right? Anyone can pick up and play Mobile Linebacker; that’s one of the draws of the game.
Mobile Linebacker is a fun game to play but most people will find it getting repetitive after a while, especially the commentators at the end of a match, their soundbanks seems to only consist of a few phrases and hearing the same one over and over again will start to get rather annoying, rather quickly. It is a fun game though, well worth a look if you’re a fan of American Football at least. A couple more game modes and maybe a multiplayer aspect, and it would have been a little bit more impressive. As it stands it’s just an okay game, but it could be something special.
CALL OF CTHULU: THE WASTED LAND:
Real time strategy games are notoriously hit or miss when it comes to any gaming platform, that’s something that especially true when it comes to the iOS devices. The combination of touch screen control methods and and the smaller screens, as well as having to have your finger on the screen most of the time, means that RTS games can either be perfect examples of touch screen gaming (if they’re done well) or they can be absolute disasters. Unfortunately, most of the time, it’s the latter. The developers of Call of Cthulu: Wasted Land, Red Wasp Design, are hoping to turn things around with their game, based on the famous H. P. Lovecraft story, but is making a decent touch-based iOS game even possible?
At the start of each level you’re given a basic task that you’re going to have to fulfil to get to the end of the level, don’t worry too much though, because as you would probably expect from a game that’s based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft, things don’t exactly go according to plan and those tasks that you’re given at the start of the proceedings soon get changed as the unexpected starts happening. On a basic level, all you’ve got to do is to complete all of the tasks that you’re given, no matter what they are and how difficult they may seem. Once you’ve completed all the tasks, you’ll move onto the next level and then do everything all over again.
The gameplay, on the whole, seems rather confusing at first, even the tutorial – the area of he game that’s supposed to put your mind at ease about the sheer amount of things that you’re expected to remember to do during a mission – is extremely confusing. Just like any other RTS game, you’ve got to move all of your units around the screen and then – when you’re within range of the enemy – take shots at them in order to (hopefully) take them down without taking too much damage to your own units. The one thing that you won’t have to do is create units, you’re given a certain number of soldiers at the start of each mission that you’ve just got to keep alive throughout the mission. Sometimes you’ll be given a special unit, one which must survive to the end of the level, if this character dies you’ll fail the mission and you’ll be forced to do everything all over again. Not fun at all.
Once you’ve gotten to grips with all of the plethora of controls that you’re expected to remember, the controls are fairly simple to use. Almost all of the controls are input by just tapping on the screen and the hardest part of this control method is remembering the difference between tapping on a unit and tapping and holding on that same unit; both input methods create hugely different outputs and can sometimes get a little bit confusing when you’re deep in the heat of battle.
If you’re a fan of RTS games, or even just a fan of the work of H. P. Lovecraft, then you’re going to want to give Call of Cthulu a play. It can get hugely frustrating at times, some of the levels are quite long and a small mistake towards the end could have you replaying the whole thing, but on the whole the game is well made and enjoyable to play. A lot of players may find that their finger is getting in the way of the screen a lot of the time but, unfortunately, this is a problem with the genre on the whole and not a problem with the game. Red Wasp Design actually did a pretty good job within the limitations of the device.
There are some outrageously odd games on the iOS App Store, they come from a variety of genres and cover a whole host of themes, but I can honestly say that I never expected to come across an Asteroids-esque game where the spaceship had been replaced by a kiwi spitting seeds at bubbles. Whether it was a fever dream on the part of the developers iChromo, or just a strange idea that had been kicking around the office, I suppose we’ll never find out. Nevertheless, Kiwi Brown is here and we should probably find out if the gameplay is as crazy as the concept.
The gameplay of Kiwi Brown tasks the player with spitting seeds at bubbles in order to pop them, which sounds simple enough on paper but it’s not always as easy as it seems. Some of the larger bubbles split into smaller ones when you pop them. This simple fact means that not only have you got to keep an eye on where the bubbles are at the moment in time, but where the smaller bubbles may appear when you pop the larger one. All of this is rather simple at first but after a few levels, when the screen is practically full of bubbles, things start to get much more difficult.
The whole point of the game is to survive for as many days as you can. When you start the game you’re given three lives, but these can be extended by collecting lives from bubbles as you pop them. When you lose all your lives it’s game over and the game calculates your score, putting you against the rest of the local scores that are stored on the device. Great if you’re passing a device around a group of friends, seeing who can get the highest score possible. There are also achievements built into the game, so those of you who carry on playing games long after you probably should (you know who you are) should be pleased.
The controls of Kiwi Brown are fairly basic and easy to grasp. There’s really only a couple of input methods that you need to learn, swipe the screen to move the kiwi left and right, and tap the screen to shoot a seed into the air. The only real caveat to this control scheme is that it can’t really be done with one finger, which will cause problems for those people that are playing on an iPhone/iPod as most of their screen will be covered up by their digits, obscuring what they’re supposed to be looking at and inevitably causing them to lose lives because of it. If you happen to be playing on an iPad however, all of these problems will be alleviated and you’ll more than likely have a much better gaming experience.
Kiwi Brown is an unashamedly crazy game, and one that has the decent gameplay to back up the concept. The controls can be a little difficult if you’re playing on a smaller device but it’s easy enough to learn and get used to. Fans of the classic Asteroids game will see the similarities almost immediately, whether or not that was the developer’s intention, but those similarities don’t take anything away from the game. Overall, Kiwi Brown is an entertaining little game, and one that’s well worth anyone’s time.
When playing games from the iOS App Store they’re usually the same type of gameplay over and over again, lasting an hour or two before there’s really nothing left to see in the game. Usually forcing the player to start the game over again just to get better and better scores. While Rinth Island – developed by Buzz Monkey – does have repetitive gameplay, it’s by no means short. It even has multiple methods of completing each level so that you can play each level up to four times and get a totally different experience each time.
At its most basic, Rinth Island is a puzzle game that simply tasks you with collecting a specific object on each of the levels. What the object is depends on which stage you’ve chose to play, it could be a lantern you’re collecting, or just a slab of stone. Whatever it is you’re going to have to use your skill and ingenuity to figure out how to get to it; the right path isn’t always the most obvious. There are various puzzle elements that you’ll have to navigate past in order to reach your goal, sections of the level that needs to be destroyed, areas of the floor that will let blocks through but not you, etc. Knowing how to manipulate these areas is key to succeeding in each level.
Once you’ve completed each level you’ll be able to play it again under one of three separate limitations. One mode has you collect all of the gems on the level, while still getting to the end, another forces you to do it in the least amount of steps possible and the final one has the player completing the level in a set period of time. Something that’s not always as easy as it seems. These three game modes – along with the main mode – effectively quadruple the amount of content in the game, making Rinth Island a bargain on its own. The impressive part is that even though you’re playing the same levels over and over again, due to the fact that the main game mechanic is so vastly different, you’ll never feel like you’re going over old ground.
The controls of Rinth Island are made extremely accessible too. When the game starts you’ll be give the choice of two control schemes. You can either use an on-screen D-Pad, or you can use a touch interface to tell you character where you’d like them to move. Having the choice means that you can choose the style that suits you as a player. If you prefer the D-Pad, go for that, if you don’t, at least there’s an alternative so you’re not forced into a method of control that you know you’re not going to enjoy. Having said that, the D-Pad is probably the way to go, the touch controls felt a little bit too unresponsive, they weren’t too bad, just a little too slow for a game where, especially at the later levels, quick thinking and quicker reflexes are the key to completing the levels.
If you’re still thinking about whether or not to download Rinth Island then you shouldn’t wait a second longer. There’s a massive amount of content available for play, as well as lots of good incentives to replay levels more than once. Download it, play it and love it right now.