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 Commando Jack from Colossal Games, Rocket Race from Big Smash Studios, Dominoes from Maysalward and Dishonored: Rat Assassin from Bethesda Softworks.
Read on to find the full reviews of each game, but 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.
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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!
Tower defence games seem to be littering the iOS App Store of late, but that’s not a bad thing as that genre of games are some of the most addictive games on the planet, and we’ve reviewed a fair few of them here on Mobile Monday, but they’re usually all the same thing. I was a little more excited about Commando Jack when I first started it, because as soon as you see the Chillingo logo you know that you’re in for a quality gaming experience; even if it is more of the same. Commando Jack, developed by Colossal Games is a tower defence game with a little bit of a twist, but is it enough to make it stand out from the crowd of extremely similar iOS games?
The game starts out just like any other tower defence game, you, as Commando Jack, have got to stop the enemies from invading the various places around the world. In order to do this you’ve got to utilise your towers to great effect. Creating channels for the creeps to move down is the order of the day, as it is in all other games of this ilk, and if you don’t learn this method very quickly you’re going to find yourself failing the missions more often than you’d like.
Where Commando Jack is different from other tower defence games, is the fact that with a press of a button in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, the player is able to take control of the titular character, who is sitting in a machine gun turret on the left hand side of the screen, and cut through the enemies with multiple rounds of rapid machine gun fire from a first person perspective. It’s this feature that makes Commando Jack stand out from the rest of the pack as the player will actually feel like they’re involved in the game instead of just lording over everything and placing towers down. It’s a welcome addition and something that will keep people coming back for more.
The controls of Commando Jack are exactly as you would expect from a tower defence game, it’s all about dragging and dropping towers onto the game’s grid. The first person portions of the game, when you take direct control of Commando Jack, are a little bit different. In this mode you’ll move your finger around the screen on the left hand side control the reticule. Once you’ve positioned it wherever you want to fire, tapping on the left hand side of the screen will make the gun fire. It’s not the easiest control scheme to use, and when you’re holding your finger on the screen to continuously fire, the vibrations of the machine gun turret will make controlling the reticle extremely difficult, but this only adds to the immersion; as well as making the player want to become more skilled at using the machine gun.
Commando Jack is a tower defence game with a difference, the game runs extremely well, looks fantastic and plays even better. Just like any other game of this genre, it’s a little difficult to play on the smaller screens of the iPhone so if you’re interested in the game and you own an iPad, that might be the better option as it’ll be much easier to place down the towers. Other than that I can’t recommend the game highly enough, especially if you’re a fan of tower defence games. It’s certainly one of the best out there and should be commended for doing something different with the genre too.
There have been plenty of games where the objective is to start on the left hand side of the screen and make your way as far as you can to the right. The further you manage to get, the more points you get to assign to yourself on the all-important leaderboards. Rocket Race, developed by Big Smash Studios, is a new iOS game where the objective is to move as far as you can from the bottom of the screen to the top using the titular rockets.
The objective of Rocket Race is to see how far you can get without destroying your rocket. Once you’ve pushed the ‘Thrust’ button at the start of the level it’s up to you to avoid all of the hazards that will be coming your way, trying to destroy you and prevent you from getting that ever elusive high score. Asteroids and UFOs are just some of the obstacles that you’ll have to avoid, not to mention having to manage how much fuel you’ve got. Run out of fuel and (as you can imagine) it’s game over. Thankfully, for some reason, there are barrels of fuel simply floating around in space for players to pick up in order to extend their flight.
There’s a micro-transaction element to Rocket Race, as you can purchase upgraded rockets, thrusters and other element in an effort to keep you in the air longer. The longer you’re in the air, the higher score you’ll be able to achieve; if you can keep control of your vehicle that is. If you’re the type of person who enjoys spending a lot of time inside a game in order to get everything out of it then you’re going to get a lot of enjoyment out of Rocket Race, but if the idea of micro-transactions feel a little bit intrusive you would probably do better to stay away from the title.
The controls of Rocket Race couldn’t be simpler. Once you’ve pressed the ‘Thrust’ button to get things going, players don’t need to touch the screen again as all input is controlled by the accelerometer. Tilting the device left or right will rotate the rocket in that direction enabling the player to avoid the hazards they’ll find coming towards them. The rocket doesn’t seem to react to the tilting as quickly as a lot of players would expect but that’s part of the challenge of the game; as well as a good reason to upgrade to some of the more responsive rockets later on in the game.
The visuals are impressive enough to look at, even if the game itself does get a little bit repetitive after a couple of plays. If you’re the type of player who enjoys playing games over and over again just to get a couple of hundred extra points on that high score, then Rocket Race is exactly the game you’re looking for. It might not be the best, and the micro-transaction system feels a little bit too intrusive compared to some games out there on the market, but Rocket Race is a good concept and the game plays particularly well. It’s a fun game to play, but it’s one that most players will only pick up and play for five minutes at a time every so often.
Dominoes is an old man’s sport, or at least I used to think. I remember sitting down and playing it with my grandparents while we were on holiday one year, it was fun, but that was primarily because I could spend time playing games with them; something that wasn’t easy to do if I presented them with the latest Resident Evil game. I’ve taken that idea with me through into my adult life, that playing Dominoes is the domain of the older gentleman, something that I’ll probably starting looking towards when I have already got one foot in the grave. So what is Dominoes, developed by Maysalward doing on the iOS platform? Surely it has no place amongst such modern games? You’d think wouldn’t you?
The gameplay is exactly as you’d expect from a Dominoes game, you start by picking how many rounds you want to play: six, twelve or twenty. Unless you want to spend the rest of your day playing the game then I’d suggest you keep the amount of rounds relatively low as it’s not a “Best out of Six, etc” system, it’s a “First to Six, etc” one. You can totally mess up your turn, as you can in any game, but what you have available to put down, and what your opponents have, is totally random and something that you can’t predict beforehand.
There are four players in the match, and in typical Dominoes fashion each player takes turns to place the tiles into the playing field. In order to legally place a tile down, one side of the tile must be the same as the one you’re placing it next to. If you want to place a six down, you’ll have to make sure that you’re playing it next to another six. The winner of the game is the first person to get rid of all of their tiles, or if nobody else can make a move, then the person who has the least number of tiles wins. Once one of the players reaches the predetermined number of wins, it’s game over and you get to either turn the game off or start everything all over again.
The controls are easy enough to get to grips with as there really isn’t much gameplay to learn, as long as you’re comfortable with the touch screen, and dragging objects from one area to another, then you’re pretty much well versed in everything you need to know in order to play Dominoes. The hardest part, especially for someone who hasn’t played the game before, is figuring out what to do and why the game won’t let you put that particular tile down. There isn’t really a tutorial mode so the game assumes that you’ve got a least a working knowledge of how the game works. It’s not rocket science though and most people will be able to understand what’s required of them within a matter of minutes.
I can’t say I’ve seen many iOS Dominoes games during my time writing Mobile Monday, although I have no doubt that they’re out there. This particular version is well made, looks the part and play as smoothly as you could want. A couple of different game modes and maybe a tutorial mode to ease new players more effortlessly into the game wouldn’t have gone amiss, but if you’re just searching for a simple, no frills game of Dominoes to play on your way to work, we may have just found it.
DISHONORED: RAT ASSASSIN:
If you’ve played video games for any decent length of time then you’ll be well aware that when video games tie-in to movies we’re usually in for a not-so-great experience. Since the skyrocketing popularity of the iPhone over recent years, we’ve started to see more and more mobile games that tie-in to AAA console games. Some of these share the disappointing nature of those movie tie-in video games but some of them are surprisingly entertaining. Dishonored: Rat Assassin, developed by Bethesda Softworks and based on the upcoming console game Dishonored from Arkane Studios, is in the latter category.
If you’ve played Fruit Ninja then you’re already well versed in what to expect from Dishonored: Rat Assassin. The gameplay revolves around slicing up the little furry rodents that fly up from the bottom of the screen and your objective is to slice through them while they’re visible; before gravity pulls them back down. In order to make things a little bit more difficult there are bombs that will fly up from the bottom of the screen too. Slice through these and they’ll explode, damaging you in the process. If your health goes all the way down to zero then it’s game over and you’ll have to start all over again.
There are a wealth of collectibles and unlockables throughout the game, most of which are unlocked from slicing through a certain amount of rats, or by scoring a certain score on a particular mode. The fact that these are present extends the life of the game immensely as you’ll regularly find yourself logging on just to try and unlock something new. These unlockable are almost always purely aesthetic, ranging from a new style of rat to a different colour of slice and everything in between. You don’t have to get them of course, but they’re a nice addition for people that really enjoy playing the game and don’t want to stop anytime soon.
There is also a nice ‘Challenge’ mode built into the game, where you start from level one (obviously) and work your way through a number of challenges which start with slicing through a certain number of rats while avoiding the bombs, and get more and more difficult as they progress. This is a nice distraction from the normal game mode, which can get a little bit repetitive after a little while.
The controls are simple enough as all you’ll be doing is swiping across the screen in order to slice through the rats. Obviously things get a little bit more difficult later on down the line when more and more rats are added to the mix, but if you’re able to move your finger across the touch screen (and who isn’t?), then you’re already able to play the game as much as you want.
Dishonored: Rat Assassin is essentially a game that promotes the main game which comes out later this year, with that in mind a lot of people wouldn’t expect much from it. But Dishonored: Rat Assassin is an excellent game in its own right, there are plenty of game modes to keep you occupied and the collectables and unlockables will keep the hardcore fans glued to their iOS devices for a considerable amount of time. There’s no reason that people shouldn’t download the game and at least give it a go, it’s free after-all; even if it is unashamedly copying another well-known game.