Mobile Monday – LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Mafia Rush, This Could Hurt, Mini Golf 3D

by on May 14, 2012

This week we’re starting with a pretty major release, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5–7. This is a game that absolutely needs no introduction and it’s pretty exciting that we can now play it on iOS. Moving on we’ve got Mafia Rush, a twin-stick shooter that has the player taking control of a Mafia boss and performing various tasks while shooting his enemies. This Could Hurt is a simple game on paper, asking the player just to get to the end of the level while avoiding the obstacles, but everything isn’t always as easy as it seems. Lastly is Mini Golf 3D, a mini golf game that can get a little bit addictive at times.

Keep reading for the full reviews of each game and check back next week for four more games to keep you entertained through the week.

Get downloading and get playing!

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!

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5 - 7 - IconLEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 5 – 7:

If you know me then you’ll be well aware that I love a good LEGO game, I couldn’t put down LEGO Star Wars, all of the versions, on all of the consoles, so when I had the opportunity to review a LEGO game on the iPad, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, I jumped at the chance. I wasn’t hopeful, not because I thought the game wasn’t going to be any good, but because I was unsure whether the game was going to run at all on my first generation iPad. I was wrong, thankfully. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is developed by TT Fusion and is one of the must have games if you’ve got an iPad.

If you’ve ever played any of the LEGO games, whether it’s Star Wars, Batman or even the first Harry Potter game, then you’ll know what you’re letting yourself in for from the get go. Years 5-7 is a rough representation of the books: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As the game is published by Warner Bros, the distributors of the films, you can expect the story to be a little bit closer to the films rather than the books, but the films were fairly faithful for the most part so the differences are minuscule.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5 - 7 - Screenshot

The player will make their way through the events in the books, starting with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The moment you start playing the game you’ll find yourself wondering how you ever played the game without a touch-screen interface, it’s so much easier to manipulate objects via magic by simply touching them when they’re highlighted. Rebuilding objects out of LEGO and hearing the distinctive clicking noise  is one of the most satisfying things in gaming, and it’s replicated perfectly in this iOS game; something that I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting.

The controls are the one downside to the whole experience, and it’s not because they’re bad, it’s just because it could have been so much better. The game uses an on-screen analog stick and buttons so play and while on-screen controls are far from my favourite thing in the world, they’re actually implemented quite well here. It doesn’t take anything away from the gaming experience, but it certainly doesn’t add anything either. This is the type of game that screams for a physical controller to be released for the iPad. This would have been the definitive version of the title if I could have played through it with a controller in my hand, so much so that I actually went and played the game on an Android tablet with the OnLive app.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is a superb game, there’s no disputing that, and the fact that it played at all on my first generation iPad is a testament to just how much work TT Fusion put in to making things work. The lack of a decent control scheme holds it back from pure greatness, but that’s not the developer’s fault, the blame lies squarely on Apple, but if you’ve got any other method of playing this game, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS or any of the home consoles, or even OnLive, I’d go that route first. There’s no denying the game deserves to be played, and the iPad version is an excellent port given the device’s limitations, it just feels like it’s being unfairly held back due to Apple’s constraints. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 - Warner Bros.

Mafia Rush - IconMAFIA RUSH:

Twin-stick shooters used to be few and far between on the iOS devices, and good ones seemed to be even rarer. But over the last few months there seems to have been an influx of them making their way to the App Store, some of them were even good, such as Lock ‘n’ Load which we reviewed here on Mobile Monday. Now it’s the turn of Gamexy who have made an appearance on the iDevices with the organised crime themed Mafia Wars; will it be one of those rare gems or will it join the pile of shame like so many other games of its ilk?

There’s plenty of gameplay to be getting on with in Mafia Wars, you should be pleasantly occupied for many hours, if you enjoy the core gameplay mechanics of course. Each level that you’ll find yourself on has four different ways of playing them, Robbery, Attack, Defend and Survival. Defeating all of these game types on each level will unlock the final mode, Endless, which allows you to play the level over and over again racking up as many points as you possibly can until you die. This last mode is similar to Survival only there isn’t a set amount of waves; you play until you can’t play any more.

Mafia Rush - Screenshot

For those of you that enjoy MMOs, or just a levelling mechanic within your games, you’ll be happy to know that Mafia Rush contains one too. Every level you complete gives you a certain amount of XP, level up and you’ll be awarded a skill point that you can spend in order to make your character move faster, shoot faster, do more damage, or take more damage before he dies. How you spend these points will determine how you play the game, so choose carefully. There’s also a slight element of a tower defence game in Mafia Rush. On the purchase screen that appears at the end of each level, you’ll be able to purchase up to five turrets and placing these down in strategic points in the level, especially if you’re playing the Attack or Survival modes, will significantly improve your chances of success.

As the name of the genre would imply, Mafia Rush utilises a pair of analog sticks on the screen in order to move around and shoot. These are implemented rather well, and while it’s not as easy to play as Lock ‘n’ Load the on-screen analog sticks are big and responsive enough to not cause too much of a hindrance or slow down the gameplay too much. However, Mafia Rush isn’t a game that people who aren’t used to playing game would enjoy easily, the on-screen analog sticks are notoriously difficult to get used to and your response time needs to be quite quick, especially on the later levels.

Ultimately, Mafia Rush is a competent twin-stick shooter, it’s not the best one that’s currently available on the iOS App Store but the amount of gameplay that’s available makes it easy to recommend at least checking it out. The gameplay is fun if you can get used to the on-screen analog sticks and you’ll find yourself playing for hours on end, wiping out wave after wave of enemies while enjoying the beautifully rendered, simplistic yet entertaining art style that the game employs. If you’re a fan of iOS twin-stick shooters then Mafia Rush is a no-brainer, if you’re still not sure about them at least give this game a go; it deserves that at least. Mafia Rush™ - Chillingo Ltd

This Could Hurt - IconTHIS COULD HURT:

If you looked at the title for This Could Hurt you would have absolutely no idea what the game could be able, even the icon for the game doesn’t give you many clues. Nevertheless, it’s getting to the point now that all you need to do is see the fact that a game is published by Chillingo and you’ll find yourself getting a little bit excited; at least it’s got that fact in the ‘pro’ column. It can’t be that bad can it? This Could Hurt is a game developed by Orange Agenda that doesn’t really fit into any genre, but I’ll do my best at explaining what it is anyway.

The main aspect of the gameplay in This Could Hurt tasks the player with getting to the end of a stage, that’s all you have to do, simply reach the end and you’ll move on to the next level. Hold it right there though, one does not simply walk to the end of a level, there are various obstacles littering the path that will attempt to stop you in your tracks. Spike traps litter the floor, boulders, saw blades, fires, bullets and more will all be working to stop you reaching your goal, it’s your job to prove them wrong by avoiding them whenever possible through skilful use of the game’s controls as well as the in-game power-ups you’ll be able to use through your journey.

This Could Hurt - Screenshot

In later levels you’ll have no choice but to utilise the power-ups if you want to get to the end of the level in the quickest time possible, and without taking any damage, or at least as little damage as possible. You are awarded extra points for finishing a level under a specific times and without taking any damage, and because the level isn’t counted as being 100% complete unless you’ve managed to attain all of the awards, you’ll find yourself coming back to each level over and over again. Sometimes there’ll be no way of finishing a level without taking damage without the power-ups, so you’ll be forced to play later levels to earn the acorns you need (the in-game currency) to buy the power-ups you’ll need, then come back. A genius method of keeping people playing that actually works.

Despite how complex the game looks and sounds on paper, the control scheme that you’ll be using to play the game couldn’t be simpler. All you need to use is a single finger, just tap the screen at any point to stop your character moving, then let go to allow him to move again. The path the you’re walking down is predetermined and walking is automatic so that’s one less thing you’re going to need to worry about. The method of control couldn’t be simpler and certainly helps towards the game’s addictive qualities, as well as lowering its barrier for entry.

Chillingo have hit it out of the park yet again, publishing an addictive and enjoyable game for iOS. This Could Hurt is an enjoyable game to play and a gorgeous game to look at. If you’re in the market for a new puzzle game that borders on being a platformer – and let’s be honest, who isn’t – then you may have found what you’ve been looking for in This Could Hurt. Download it, give it a go, and let me know what you think at the end of this article. This Could Hurt - Chillingo Ltd

Mini Golf 3D - IconMINI GOLF 3D:

I can’t say that I’ve seen many Mini Golf games making the rounds on the iOS App Store, so it was a nice surprise when I saw Mini Gold 3D, developed by Jump Games, joining the thousands of other games that are available at our fingertips. With the kind of controls that we’re used to with golf games on the home consoles, move the player and then use a slider to control how hard you’re going to whack the ball, it seems like something that would translate quite well onto Apple’s portable devices. Have Jump Games hit a hole in one with this game, or have they landed in the bunker?

The gameplay sticks to the old faithful tropes of mini golf, you couldn’t really change them all that much anyway. All the player is required to do is hit the ball into the hole at the end of the course and you’ll be whisked away to the next hole in order to do the same thing over again. Since this game is mini golf and not the actual fully-fledged game, you’re required to navigate the ball around and through various obstacles in order to reach the end, so you’ll find yourself having to figure out the angles of a particular shot in order to get the ball into roughly the position that you’re wanting it. There’s a dotted line in order to help you work out those bothersome angles, but it doesn’t seem to be accurate at all, so don’t rely on it too much to sink your ball under par.

Mini Golf 3D - Screenshot

The biggest downside to Mini Golf 3D is that it seems to struggle to play on older iPads, that majority of the game runs quite well but there are odd instances of slow-down that plague the entire game, making it almost unplayable at times. This is a shame as the game itself can be quite fun, but the fact that it is so prone to crashing, despite the graphical quality being sub-par (yes, a golfing pun) makes the entire experience feel a little disappointing.

The controls are extremely simple to use, especially if you’ve played any golfing game before, either on the PC or the home consoles. All the player needs to do is swipe the screen left or right in order to move the direction that you’re going to hit the balls, then move the slider that’s on the right hand side of the screen to set the power of your shot. Your character will then hit the ball and you’re left to hope and pray that the ball makes its way into the hole as you intend.

If you’ve been on the lookout for a Mini Golf game then you may want to give Mini Golf 3D a go. However, if you’re still running things on the original iPad you should be aware that the experience will be more frustrating than enjoyable. There is a good game here, there’s no doubt about that, but with the problems that it’s experiencing at the moment it’s not an easy one to recommend. The graphics are poor and the controls are just about serviceable, but there’s not much else to choose from on the iOS App Store for this particular genre of game. If you’re in the market for one, give it a go, but don’t expect anything fantastic; you’ll be disappointed. Mini Golf 3D - Jump Games Pvt.Ltd.

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