You know what day it is? It’s Monday again and that can mean only one thing here at GodisaGeek.com: It’s time for another edition of Mobile Monday, the article where we take a look at four mobile games and let you know if they’re worth your time and money.
This week we’re taking a look at Platoonz from Antic Entertainment, WordsWorth from 99 Games Online Private Limited, Let Us Dance! from Ice Cap Games and Number Thunder from NeonBlue Games.
Read on to find the full reviews of each game and don’t forget to come back next week for more Mobile Monday reviews. While you’re here, if you have played any of the games listed, or even just want to come back once you’ve had a go to let us know how you got on, we’d love to hear from you in the comment box at the bottom of the page.
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!
There are plenty of side-scrolling games on the iOS devices, but very few of them are ever any good. They’re usually cheap copycats of other, more successful titles that have been hurriedly ported onto the popular touch devices in attempts to make a quick buck. However, when you see the Chillingo name attached to one of the plethora of side-scrolling iOS games, you can rest assured that a decent amount of work will have gone into it to make it “just right”. That’s the case with Platoonz, a side-scrolling action RPG style game set in a warzone, published by Chillingo and developed by Antic Entertainment.
Platoonz is a side-scrolling game where the main objective is to get to the end of the stage, collecting as many coins as you possibly can and destroying all of the enemies in the process. It’s an extremely simple concept that adds to the amazing amount of replay value that the game has. The visuals make it a charming game to play and the amount of customisable options you’re given at the start of each mission ensure that you’ll be coming back for more and more. As the game progresses you’ll be able to add more soldiers to your own platoon. You’ll only start out with a single team member but as the levels get harder you’ll be able to outfit your team as you see fit, choosing from a selection of different possible classes.
Throughout the game you’ll be collecting coins from the floor which are dropped when you dispatch an enemy using any of the methods that you have at your disposal as well as being given coins based on how well you performed during the mission. These coins are used to upgrade the members of your platoon by increasing their Health, Defence or Attack statistics. You can also outfit them with a number of different visual options; hats, shirts and the like, whatever takes your fancy. The micro-transaction portion of the game comes from these coins too, if you don’t think that you’ve collected enough by simply playing the game and you just have to have that one hat to make your soldier complete, then you can just put down the real money and buy the coins.
The controls in Platoonz are mostly based on swipe gestures and taps. You can swipe across the screen to get your soldiers to run in that particular direction, or swipe down to get them to lie on the floor to avoid some of particularly lethal instances of gunfire. Most of the time however, you’ll be furiously tapping the screen in order to send the “Kill!” command to your troops as reams of enemies will stream from the edges of the screen and you have no choice but to defeat them in order to reach the end of the stage. Tapping on the enemy will send the instruction to your team, although you’ll probably find yourself tapping the screen multiple times…or maybe that’s just me. It’s a simple game to play and even though the difficulty does ramp up quite quickly, it never becomes difficult to play.
Platoonz is a gorgeous looking game, and runs extremely smoothly. The RPG elements of being able to upgrade your troops, coupled with the addictive and humorous nature of the game, makes it a game that you’re likely to come back to time and again. The visuals are crisp and clean and the animations are very well done. If you’re in the mood for a simple, yet fun little game then Platoonz could very well be right up your alley.
Word games, you either love them or you hate them, but there’s one thing that’s almost universal among all word games, especially those on the iOS devices: Once you start playing them, you’ll find it very hard to stop. WordsWorth, developed by 99 Games Online Private Limited is another word game where your sole objective is to find as many words as you can, the longer the words you find, the more points you’ll get. It’s that which keeps you coming back and (once you’re in) keeps you playing. The drive of finding “just one more word” is too great. However, that’s something that even the worst word games have, where on that scale does WordsWorth sit?
As I mentioned, the gameplay revolves around attempting to find as many words in the grid as possible. The grid is set up in a similar fashion to the grid on Blockbusters (and yes, I realise I might be dating myself there) where it is comprised of a series of hexagons with letters on them. You must select the letters in sequence too, meaning that the letter you want to pick next must be situated next to the letter you’ve currently got selected. Thankfully, because we’re dealing with hexagons, you’ve got six potential letters to choose from, so things are a little bit easier than they could have been. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to work that brain of yours if you don’t want the high scores, it might sound simple on paper but when you’ve got a mass of letters staring at you things tend to get a little bit more intense.
One of the relatively unique aspects to the game, and something that will keep a handful of people playing the game long after they would have normally put it down, is the leveling feature. Every time you find a word you gain experience, the longer and more complex the word, the more experience you’ll be awarded. Eventually you’ll find yourself leveling up and, if you’ve ever listened to an episode of Ding! (and you all should have) you’ll know that there’s nothing more addictive to an MMO/RPG player than the familiar sound of your character leveling up; it’s exactly the same here. Every single time I went to put the game down, I’d glance at the experience bar at the top of the screen and say to myself “Oh, I’m only a couple of words away from leveling up. I’ll keep playing a little longer”. A worrying thought indeed.
The controls are simple to use, only really requiring a single finger to play, although if you’re more versed with your touch devices, then you can swipe across the letters in order to play the game even faster. The visuals are about as good as you’re going to get from a word game, they’re not the best in the world but you can certainly tell that they’re created by people who know what they’re doing. If you’re in the market for a word game that takes all the best aspects of the genre and mixes them up with some nice little features that ensure you keep playing, then you should definitely give WordsWorth a go.
LET US DANCE!
If you’re a fan of Kevin Smith (like I am) then you no doubt subscribe and listen to all of the SModcast podcasts and you’ve heard a couple of adverts here and there talking about the creation of SMarcade, a series of games for mobile devices that will allow you to take Jay and Silent Bob with you wherever you go and join them in various different shenanigans. The first of these games is Let Us Dance! a game, developed by Ice Cap Games, that is reminiscent of other rhythm games you may have played such as Rock Band or Guitar Hero.
In Let Us Dance! you’re tasked with helping Jay dance in order to appease the fans, to do this you’ll tap on different coloured buttons as they come along on the screen. Keep hitting them in the correct order and timing and you’ll be awarded with “Hype Mode” where you’ll earn more points than usual. This is what you’ll be looking for if you want to get those elusive high scores, miss any of the buttons and you’ll lose your chance and ensure you’re only able to attain a mediocre score.
There are three songs to choose from in Let Us Dance! and that’s the only real downside to the game as you’ll soon get a little bit bored of the songs that are included with the game. Even though the title itself is free to download it would be nice to have the option to buy more via in-app purchases. Hopefully that’s something that will be coming further down the line. The three songs that are included are enough to keep you entertained for a short while, especially if you’re aiming for those high scores.
The controls that you’ll be using are simple enough, consisting of just four coloured buttons which you’ll be tapping in correspondence to the coloured images that are flashing along the top of the screen, streaming from the boombox that Silent Bob is carrying over his head. Everything is easy enough when you first start each of the songs, the colours only coming across the screen every so often, slow enough for most players to be able to hit them without any problems. It’s not long before the colours start coming thick and fast, so fast that you’ll have to know where the buttons are, and what order the colours are in, without even looking at them as you’ll need to keep constant attention on the sequence of colours appearing at the top of the screen if you want to win. Not something that’s easily done.
There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t download Let Us Dance! not only because the game is absolutely free but because it’s a well-made, addictive and visually pleasing little title to boot. The major downside is only that there aren’t enough tracks to keep people interested in the title in the long term. Hopefully this is something that will be fixed further down the line, at the moment it’s just a game that will keep your attention for five or ten minutes at a time. Who knows what the future will bring though, for Let Us Dance! and the SMarcade in general.
Have you ever “accidentally” watched an episode of Countdown on Channel 4, staring at the math puzzle that they’re presented with between rounds, the one where they’re given a certain set of numbers and asked to reach a goal, and thought to yourself “I can do that!”. Well thanks to Number Thunder, developed by the fine folks over at NeonBlue Games, now you can do just that without taking to, or shouting at the TV. Not that anyone did that. It’s a good idea in concept but is it something that really works when you’ve got it sat in front of you on the screen of your iOS device?
The aim of the game is simple really, at the start of each round you’re given a number in the top left hand corner of the screen; this is the number that you’ve got to reach in order to complete the round and move on. The numbers that you have to use are constantly falling from the sky in little droplets of water and you have to use these, combined with the common operands that can be found at the bottom of the screen, to reach that goal before the screen fills up with water or you use all your available chances. The number you’re currently sitting at is in the top right hand corner of the screen too, just in case you thought you might have to remember the number you’re currently on like some sort of Carol Vorderman super-human.
The addictive nature of the game comes from wanting to see how far you can get, each time you complete a round the game gets more difficult – as you would expect – and failing one of the rounds will cause you to go all the way back to the start of the game. As the game progresses you’re constantly making bets with yourself as to whether you’re going to be able to complete the next level. It’s something that we all do and it’s almost impossible not to, especially with a game as mentally challenging at Number Thunder.
The only aspect of the controls that you’re going to need to worry about is whether or not you can move fast enough to tap all the numbers as they appear on the screen. You’re going to need keen eyes and nimble fingers if you want to get to the later stages of the game. Even if you know what numbers you need to get in order to complete the goal, there’s not telling whether or not that number’s going to appear soon (or even at all) so you better get used to dealing with the situation using whatever numbers you happen to have on hand. It’s not easy.
Number Thunder isn’t the best looking game in the world, the artwork is bright and colourful but the lack of any decent animation make it feel a little bland, but if you’ve been on the lookout for a game that will truly test your ability to solve mathematical puzzles on the spot, and you don’t care so much about the visual quality of the game, then Number Thunder might be right up your alley.
One last thing to note, and something very important, is that if you’re interested in getting Number Thunder, but don’t need to take it with you everywhere on your iOS device, then you should really consider getting the Windows or Google Chrome versions of the game. With these versions of the game NeonBlue Games is able to donate to National Breast Cancer Foundation in Australia, a cause that’s well worth your money; especially if you’re already interested in buying the game anyway.