Delta Attack » Review http://www.deltaattack.com Game Reviews, News, Guides, and Humor Sun, 16 Mar 2014 14:34:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 Copyright © Delta Attack 2012 info@deltaattack.com (www.deltaattack.com) info@deltaattack.com (www.deltaattack.com) Games 1440 http://www.deltaattack.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/podcast-cover_small.png Delta Attack http://www.deltaattack.com 144 144 Straight from our mouths to your ears, listen to three guys chat about games and their gamer lives. Presented by Delta Attack, the "Green Eggs and Ham" of the gaming community. You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may I say. Games, Gaming, Nerd, Humor, iOS, Android www.deltaattack.com www.deltaattack.com info@deltaattack.com no yes Review: Hoplite (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/02/16/review-hoplite-ios/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/02/16/review-hoplite-ios/#comments Sun, 16 Feb 2014 21:54:14 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23771 Hoplite is a strategy/roguelike that seems simplistic at first sight, but quickly bares its fangs. Does it get too difficult too quickly, or is it worthwhile? Hoplite puts you in control of a lone soldier as you fight your way through the levels of a random dungeon. Like the hoplites of Ancient Greece, you can […]

The post Review: Hoplite (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
hoplite magma fortress
Hoplite is a strategy/roguelike that seems simplistic at first sight, but quickly bares its fangs. Does it get too difficult too quickly, or is it worthwhile?

Hoplite puts you in control of a lone soldier as you fight your way through the levels of a random dungeon. Like the hoplites of Ancient Greece, you can jump, attack with a spear, and bash with a shield. You and your enemies alternate taking turns, and you definitely need the time to think.

hoplite boardMost roguelikes will throw you into an endless dungeon to see how far down you can venture before death claims you, and Hoplite does the same, but gives you a goal to start: retrieve the golden fleece, which has little to do with Jason and the Argonauts and more to do with surviving for 16 levels. This is no small feat — you’ll die many times trying to make it that far.

Things start out simple enough, facing just a few enemies. You’ll likely fight your way past a melee opponent and an archer, and should easily be able to avoid damage if you think it through. Stop by an altar for your choice of a random improvement — plus one max health, maybe increasing your spear-throwing distance, perhaps making your shield bash swing in an arc instead of just straight ahead, etc. — then it’s off to the next level.

hoplite altarAdd another enemy in the mix — probably one who throws a bomb every third turn — and you should still be able to get through without any damage. Another altar, another staircase downward.

So the pattern continues: Go down a level, fight a total of one more monster than the prior level had — or sometimes the same number, if you’re lucky — choose a random bonus, pound the steps. But by the time you get to depth 5 or 6, you start having to consider every move carefully. That archer can shoot up to 5 spaces if it has a clear shot, the bomb-guy can throw up to 3 spaces, and the wizard can shoot a line of fire that travels for 5 spaces, but it won’t attack if any of its allies are in the way. Suddenly you have to not only look at your next move, but the next one, and perhaps the one after that. Start to take damage at this point, and you might not make it to level 16.

To complicate matters, the altar bonuses might begin to require that you sacrifice a maximum health point in order to take them. Most of the time you won’t have to take such a skill if you don’t want to, but they are generally significantly better than the non-sacrificial variety, so you’ll begin to want them. Then you’re not only keeping in mind how to make it through each level while taking minimal damage, but also what skills you’ve already acquired and if a new super-ability is worth messing with your health bar, or if you should opt for another total health point, or refill your life meter.

hoplite enemy infoWhen you get down to level 9 or 10, it will become quite difficult to avoid taking damage. Even though the enemies’ movements can almost always be determined before you take your turn, and sometimes you can pull off tricky stuff like getting a bomber to kill another enemy for you, trying to handle nine enemies at the same time becomes quite a challenge. Suddenly you’ll have to start using the altar to refill your heart meter every two or three levels, robbing you of a precious health upgrade or a life-saving ability.

Patience becomes increasingly important. You can’t just fly through levels like you did early on, or you’ll meet a quick end.

Of course, all of this is assuming you know what you’re doing, which you won’t when you first start. Even after reading this, you won’t have a true feel for what to do until you actually play it. In your first game, you likely won’t make it past level 6. As with most roguelikes and games such as Dark Souls, it’s this external experience that truly serves you — what you learn from death that you can use to live a little bit longer next time.

hoplite boardOnce you get the fleece and teleport out of the dungeon, you’ll get an achievement. In most games, achievements don’t really matter, but in Hoplite, each one you snag will unlock an ability that might show up at a shrine. This gives pervasive rewards for playing, which is a nice touch, since you don’t have to rely solely on that external experience to make future dungeon crawls easier.

Every run after that first fleece-grab will still be titled as Quest for the Fleece, but you’ll pass up that teleporter on level 16 and hit the stairs instead, heading into true endless mode. Thankfully, the fleece will regenerate one health for you at the start of every level.

Hoplite is a little pricey at $2, but fans of roguelikes and turn-based strategy will probably find that reasonable. For everyone else, check it out when it’s on sale for $1 or less.

4 star

The post Review: Hoplite (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/02/16/review-hoplite-ios/feed/ 2
Review: Spell Quest – Grimm’s Journey (iOS/Android) http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/02/09/review-spell-quest-grimms-journey/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/02/09/review-spell-quest-grimms-journey/#comments Sun, 09 Feb 2014 14:42:50 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23709 When looking at Spell Quest – Grimm’s Journey, gamers will likely be divided into two primary groups: those who hate it because it’s basically Bookworm Adventures or those who love it because it’s basically Bookworm Adventures. I’ve been saying for years that Bookworm Adventures would be a perfect fit for iPhone or iPad. That kind […]

The post Review: Spell Quest – Grimm’s Journey (iOS/Android) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
spell_quest_title

When looking at Spell Quest – Grimm’s Journey, gamers will likely be divided into two primary groups: those who hate it because it’s basically Bookworm Adventures or those who love it because it’s basically Bookworm Adventures.

I’ve been saying for years that Bookworm Adventures would be a perfect fit for iPhone or iPad. That kind of gives away which grouping I fall into, doesn’t it?

PopCap had their chance. Now it’s time for the Bacon Bandits to shine.

Spell Quest – Grimm’s Journey, like Bookworm Adventures before it, is what you get when you mix roleplaying battles with a word game like Boggle. Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will most definitely kill you.

This is definitely an homage. I am not complaining one bit.

This is definitely an homage. I am not complaining one bit.

Your job as Grimm, the gothic hero of the game, is to travel from land to land using your words as weapons. The general rule of thumb is the longer a word is, the higher the damage you deal, but each individual tile also has a strength depending upon how difficult it is to use. So, a word like “ANTIDOTE” may deal less damage than “PIZZA” because of how difficult it is to use the letter Z in any given word. If you’re familiar with the scoring system of Scrabble or Words with Friends, then you get the picture.

Every once in a while, powerful Gem tiles will show up in your grid, awarding a few basic powers to you for using them in a word. These powers are very basic when compared to those found in Bookworm Adventures, but they’re powerful enough that you’ll want to build words around them as soon as they hit the board.

While the basic premise is very much the same as Bookworm Adventures, there are enough elements to differentiate it from its inspiration.

You’ll earn gems for beating monsters, completing missions, and finishes stages for the first time. These gems go into upgrades, allowing more control over your character’s progression as you pick and choose what you want to upgrade or buy. You’ll spread these gems across your character, abilities found in books, or even helpful tools that make the game more user-friendly. It’s this level of customization that makes the game truly unique.

Additionally, while some of the worlds and stages in Bookworm Adventures were drawn out, Spell Quest has mobile-friendly stages that are over shortly after they begin. Stages take but a few minutes and can easily fit in those wonderful moments between moments, such as a subway ride, a commercial break, or that awful piano recital that you just had to attend.

Each stage has three stars that you can obtain. Unlike the score-based system of Angry Birds or the collection system of Cut the Rope, each star has a different requirement. The first star is awarded for beating the basic stage. The second star is a time trial where you must beat a stage in a certain amount of time. The third star comes from a challenge stage, which changes the way you play the stage via letter restrictions or buffed enemies. It’s like the Bacon Bandits taught an old dog a new trick.

In a war of words, this picture is my peace offering. It's not your fault that the App Store's better.

In a war of words, this picture is my peace offering. The App Store’s better, though.

Spell Quest – Grimm’s Journey is very well made. The graphics are cartoony and stylish. Aside from a bland map, this game looks terrific on my iPhone. The music will make older gamers feel right at home with looping chiptunes that sound slightly better than what you’d hear in an NES game. It can be a bit monotonous, mind you, but it doesn’t take away from the experience.

There are only a few sticking points that kind of detract from the game.

Spell Quest may actually be too generous, as it appears like you can get very powerful in just a little bit of time. Unlike most free-to-play games, you won’t really need to grind to get ahead. That’s hardly a knock, mind you, but just a further solidification that my time will be all too brief with this terrific little game. This is easily the best free-to-play game I’ve played since Jetpack Joyride.

There’s no getting around the elephant in the room. Spell Quest definitely feels short. With just 33 stages and 99 stars to obtain, you’ll be craving more in short order. I’m keeping hope alive that Spell Quest really takes off, as this is a game that I want to come back to in the future.

You need to use Palindromes to unlock a GameCenter achievement. Also, poop is funny.

You need to use palindromes to unlock a GameCenter achievement. Hence, poop.

I’ve been craving a game like this for as long as I have owned an iPhone, and it’s about time someone took the initiative to bring it out.  Thank you, Bacon Bandits, for this slice of joy. I can’t wait to see what else you gents have up your sleeve.5 star

(Spell Quest – Grimm’s Journey is available for free in the App Store and on Google Play. The game features GameCenter integration and achievements on iOS and is universal. Spell Quest – Grimm’s Journey features in-app purchases, though none were used for the purposes of this review.)

The post Review: Spell Quest – Grimm’s Journey (iOS/Android) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/02/09/review-spell-quest-grimms-journey/feed/ 3
Review: Neuroshima Hex (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/02/01/review-neuroshima-hex-ios/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/02/01/review-neuroshima-hex-ios/#comments Sun, 02 Feb 2014 03:32:14 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23670 Neuroshima Hex is a popular strategy board game. How does it translate to iOS? Neuroshima Hex is one of those rare gems in the App Store. Most will hold your interest for 3 or 4 hours at best, but Neuroshima Hex can be played over and over again, whether against online opponents, local competitors via […]

The post Review: Neuroshima Hex (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
neuroshima hex
Neuroshima Hex is a popular strategy board game. How does it translate to iOS?

Neuroshima Hex is one of those rare gems in the App Store. Most will hold your interest for 3 or 4 hours at best, but Neuroshima Hex can be played over and over again, whether against online opponents, local competitors via hotseat on the same device, or the AI.

Neuroshima Hex is a game of strategy played out on hexes in a post-apocalyptic world. You pick one of four armies (more via DLC), each of which has a tactical focus: melee combat, ranged combat, speed for taking turns sooner, etc., plus army-specific units.

neuroshima hex

After each player has placed their Headquarters (HQ) on the map, they take turns drawing and placing tiles. Most tiles are creatures, which can attack other tiles, or support, which aid friendly tiles. Some are instant-use, such as moving/rotating a placed tile, an instant declaration of battle, or a special ability like an airstrike or a sniper shot.

Turn flow usually only consists of drawing and placing tiles, but battle tiles will cause a full round of combat to take place. When this happens, all tiles are examined for initiative, and then all tiles with the same initiative take action simultaneously.

For example, if the highest initiative on the board is 4, then all tiles with initiative 4 will act at the same time according to the symbols on their tile edges and any special abilities they have. One tile might make a melee attack in two directions and a ranged attack in a third; one might make a melee attack in one direction and poison its target, causing damage before the start of each subsequent battle; another might prevent damage happening to a linked tile, then sacrifice itself.

After all initiative 4 tiles have acted, any initiative 3 tiles will get to act, assuming they weren’t destroyed by the actions of the initiative 4 tiles. Then on to initiative 2, 1, and 0.

neuroshima hex

Anybody whose HQ gets destroyed is out of the game, leaving the remaining players to duke it out. Whoever has the last remaining HQ or has the HQ with the highest health when all tiles have been played is the winner.

Neuroshima Hex does have a decent amount of luck — out of the 30 tiles in your set, you never know what you’re going to pull on your next turn. However, play several matches, and you’ll start to see that you have to alter your strategy on the fly to survive. Initial placement of your HQ is vital, but should you use that move/rotate you just drew to get it out of harm’s way? Should you plug up that free spot next to your HQ so nobody else can use it, or would it be better to leave it for an escape route? Will the enemy be able to move their HQ away from the attacks you’re planning? Should you use that instant-kill tile on a heavy-hitting enemy creature or take out a support tile that’s increasing the melee damage of two other creatures?

The number of options for any given turn can be staggering, and the level of mastery required to dominate the game is very high. You could play Neuroshima Hex for 20 hours and still get schooled if you’re not keeping the abilities of all played tiles in mind, plus remembering which tiles are left unplayed in your tile stock, plus recognizing when your HQ is suddenly looking at taking heavy damage during the next battle phase and acting to avoid the attacks.

neuroshima hex

Neuroshima Hex is an extremely fun game that translates perfectly to iOS. It’s crisp on an iPad and makes full use of the real estate, but is also perfectly playable on an iPhone or iPod. I’ve actually spent far more time playing it on iPhone than iPad, and have zero complaints about the smaller screen.

This is one of the best titles in the App Store. It’s a little pricier than most — $5 for the base game with four armies, and $2 each for additional armies, or $8 for a bundle of five — but it’s well worth the cost. If you’re a fan of strategy games, I can’t recommend Neuroshima Hex highly enough.

5 star

Pics of gameplay on iPhone:

neuroshima hex

neuroshima hex

The post Review: Neuroshima Hex (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/02/01/review-neuroshima-hex-ios/feed/ 0
Review: This Is Not A Test (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/18/review-not-a-test-ios/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/18/review-not-a-test-ios/#comments Sun, 19 Jan 2014 00:23:04 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23633 This Is Not A Test, an interactive apocalyptic comic book, tasks you with making the right choices to survive in a world given over to chaos. Are the repeated playthroughs worth the storyline payoff? This Is Not A Test attempts to capitalize on the trending popularity of end-of-the-world movies, TV shows, and games. It has […]

The post Review: This Is Not A Test (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
this is not a testThis Is Not A Test, an interactive apocalyptic comic book, tasks you with making the right choices to survive in a world given over to chaos. Are the repeated playthroughs worth the storyline payoff?

This Is Not A Test attempts to capitalize on the trending popularity of end-of-the-world movies, TV shows, and games. It has a slick presentation: scroll down the long page of a comic book, interact with people, maybe grab or use some items, then make a choice about what to do next and flip to another page.

this is not a testSome of your choices have a noticeable impact on future events — get a gun and you can fight off hostile people, otherwise you must run away — get a map and you can find your way to important places — but other decisions have an odd lack of significance, such as gaining a companion only to have them remain silent during key situations.

Your first playthrough will end in death. As will your second. And third. Trial-and-error is a very strong component of This Is Not A Test, and though each failure will glean you some insight into what you need to do next time, you’ll have to start over from scratch. Going through the early parts of the game over and over can be a real damper on your enthusiasm. Compounding things is the fact that you have to choose 3 of 6 skills when the game begins, and if you swap one for another when starting over, you might not be able to retrace the exact steps you took to get back to a choice that seems key.

this is not a testSomething strongly lacking in This Is Not A Test is a sense of connection. The game is fast-paced, meaning minimal text, and this unfortunately prevents you from getting to know any of the characters. The quick nature of the game is great for those replays, but means you won’t really care about any of the people you meet, even yourself. You can do some awful things to people who don’t deserve it, but you won’t even feel bad, because in your mind they’ll be one-dimensional throw-away experiences. As a result, This Is Not A Test feels like a cheap knockoff of The Walking Dead episodic game by Telltale Games, which has compelling character development and forces you to make difficult decisions, the consequences of which will stay with you.

If you don’t mind replaying numerous times and enjoy the deduction required to pick the path to victory, then This Is Not A Test might be for you. However, I suspect that this niche title will only resonate with a small percentage of gamers.

2 star

The post Review: This Is Not A Test (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/18/review-not-a-test-ios/feed/ 0
Review: Symmetrain (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/18/review-symmetrain-ios/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/18/review-symmetrain-ios/#comments Sat, 18 Jan 2014 19:35:12 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23627 Symmetrain is a cool concept — spot the missing items in a mirrored landscape as your train moves faster and faster — but in an App Store flooded with endless-runner games, does Symmetrain steam ahead of the rest? Like most endless-runner apps, the goal of Symmetrain is simple: get the highest score you can by […]

The post Review: Symmetrain (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
symmetrain
Symmetrain is a cool concept — spot the missing items in a mirrored landscape as your train moves faster and faster — but in an App Store flooded with endless-runner games, does Symmetrain steam ahead of the rest?

Like most endless-runner apps, the goal of Symmetrain is simple: get the highest score you can by staying alive as long as possible. The twist in the formula is that instead of staying ahead of some impending doom or avoiding one-hit-kill obstacles, you’re tasked with scrutinizing the passing landscape for missing objects.

symmetrainMissing objects are defined as anything seen to one side of the train that isn’t mirrored on the other side. You are apparently playing the role of some kind of deity engineer obsessed with symmetry — at least that’s my take on it — and you can create these absent landmarks with a touch of your conductor’s finger. Like many deities, you demand perfection, and failing to point out even a single inconsistency (or tapping on the ground or on something that is already mirrored) will cost you a “life”. Lose all your lives and it’s the end of the line.

As your train rockets ever northward, you’ll pass through train stations. If you’ve only made a few mistakes since the last station, you’ll be awarded an extra life. If you’ve left a stream of perfect symmetry in your wake, you’ll also up your score multiplier by one, so if you want to appease your OCDeity nature and maximize your score, you’d better not mess up even once.

symmetrainThe inevitably of the endless-runner genre is death, regardless of your skill. When things get so hectic that your object-tapping spirals down into epic failure, you’ll get to see if your score has unlocked the next train or if you’ll have to try again with the same machine. New trains bring new landscapes, so you’re not always staring at the same aesthetics. However, the carrot in your face of unlocking trains will only carry you so far, and with just one main gameplay mechanic, it gets old pretty quickly.

Since Symmetrain requires more precise interaction than most endless runners, you’ll find that if you play it on an iPhone or iPod, you’ll start to miss-tap once the speed picks up. This is far less of a problem on an iPad — the more real estate for tapping, the better.

Ultimately, Symmetrain is one of those apps that’s fun for an hour or so, but when your enjoyment starts to falter, it crashes hard. Nab it for $0.99 if you’re a rabid fan of endless runners, but otherwise, wait for a free sale.

2 star

The post Review: Symmetrain (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/18/review-symmetrain-ios/feed/ 0
Review: Colossatron: Massive World Threat (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/14/review-colossatron-ios/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/14/review-colossatron-ios/#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2014 00:23:44 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23422 Colossatron: Massive World Threat has one of the most jarring love/hate arcs ever experienced in a game – initially impressive then diving immediately into disappointment, only to inexplicably grow on you as you fight through the letdown. In then end, Colossatron’s simple nature is eclipsed by its more enjoyable elements, but it takes a little […]

The post Review: Colossatron: Massive World Threat (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
colossatron review
Colossatron: Massive World Threat has one of the most jarring love/hate arcs ever experienced in a game – initially impressive then diving immediately into disappointment, only to inexplicably grow on you as you fight through the letdown. In then end, Colossatron’s simple nature is eclipsed by its more enjoyable elements, but it takes a little time to get there.
.


When Halfbrick kicks a new game out, there comes with it a certain degree of expectation. After all, this is the same studio that produced Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride; their pedigree is no slouch. There’s been a lot of hype leading up to the release of Colossatron: Massive World Threat, and now that’s it here, it’s tough to say whether or not the game lives up to it.

Luckily for Colossatron, a game’s ability to triumph over hype has never been a meaningful indicator of its worth. Colossatron is a fun game, but you’ve got to be willing to shed multiple layers of expectation in order to appreciate it.

With little explanation, Colossatron plunges you into the action. It’s chaotic and explosive; a sensory treat. It’s also a little confusing as your giant snake robot twists and winds through the city, obliterating all in its path. You stumble through the learning process like a newborn fawn: “How do I move this thing?”, “Where am I supposed to tap?”, and eventually “What the hell is going on?”

collosatron gameplay

Soon enough, you learn how to slide a colored node onto the snake. You watch with satisfaction as it clicks into place, becoming a part of the beast and adding to its firepower. “Cool!” Another node appears, randomly, and you attach it. It fuses with the one you placed before, becoming a new color and, subsequently, a different weapon. Things are starting to get interesting.

And just as they do, — *poof!* — the excitement tapers off when you realize that’s pretty much the extent of what Colossatron has to offer. What initially feels like an engaging shoot-em-up is revealed to be an offbeat match-3 game with a ton of bells and whistles to distract you from its simplicity. In that first game session, it can feel like Colossatron is more a show of style than substance. But beneath all that flash is something solid and good – it’ll just take some extended play before it begins to sink in.

Speaking of flash, Colossatron is as polished as they get. The presentation and production value is top-notch. The game is delivered mostly through the lens of an Action News 6 camera, narrated by anchorman Rick Dalton and reporter Katie Hazard. The imagery is fantastic and, despite being a fairly passive game, the action sequences are exhilarating to watch. It’s impossible to keep your eye on everything that’s going on at all times, but whatever you do decide to focus on, it’s going to look good.

As you unlock more gadgets for Colossatron, the game starts to feel a little less restrictive. You’ll eventually get a targeting ability, along with upgrades to Colossaton’s speed and power, depending on what you want to prioritize. As you venture forth on your quest to smash the world, you’ll collect prisms (the oft-maligned in-game currency) at a painfully slow rate, which can be used to permanently upgrade armor or accrue new weapons.

Despite these little flourishes, there is little strategy beyond grabbing colored modules and shoving them into the appropriate places. You can also mix primary colored nodes into secondary colors to change up your arsenal. Match three of any color node, and they’ll combine to form a bigger and more powerful one. Between rounds you can repair damage to your nodes, or rearrange them to your liking – all for a price, of course.

Match colors often enough and decisively enough and, with a little bit of luck, Colossatron will make it to the boss and destroy it before it destroys you. Do this through seven areas, and you’ll beat the game. It all goes pretty fast until the end, where you’ll hit the dreaded “paywall”. Thankfully, Colossatron is fun enough to grind out in the final stage without forking over cash for IAPs. Were that not the case, then it certainly would scored lower for us.

colossatron gameplay

Another thing worth mentioning are the weapons. Every day, they are randomly selected for you, and some combinations are more effective than others. It’s a clunky cycle, and can leave you longing for certain favorites (like the rail gun or repair nodes). It can even spell the difference between victory and defeat, especially towards the end. You can combat the random aspect by purchasing weapons for permanent use, but they cost a hefty amount of prisms that you’d be better off spending on armor upgrades. Unless you’re willing to pick prisms up via IAP, you will grind many hours away to afford them all.

For a mere $.99, it’s hard to complain about the value of Colossatron as a complete package. You get an incredibly attractive game with some decent gameplay attached to it, even if said gameplay leans a bit on the shallow side. It’s an enduring game that gets better the more time you spend with it, and after you get past the early hump and accept it for the passive experience it is, Colossatron is sure to grow on you, module by module, in a way that ultimately satisfies.

4 star

The post Review: Colossatron: Massive World Threat (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/14/review-colossatron-ios/feed/ 0
Review: Fighting Fantasy: House of Hell (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/12/review-fighting-fantasy-hoh/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/12/review-fighting-fantasy-hoh/#comments Sun, 12 Jan 2014 21:39:58 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23430 Another Fighting Fantasy gamebook comes to iOS. How does House of Hell compare to Blood of the Zombies? The Fighting Fantasy books comprise a series started in 1982 that took the familiar Choose Your Own Adventure formula and added items and combat. Though the increased popularity of video games brought an end to the original […]

The post Review: Fighting Fantasy: House of Hell (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
fighting fantasy house of hell
Another Fighting Fantasy gamebook comes to iOS. How does House of Hell compare to Blood of the Zombies?

The Fighting Fantasy books comprise a series started in 1982 that took the familiar Choose Your Own Adventure formula and added items and combat. Though the increased popularity of video games brought an end to the original series in 1995, Fighting Fantasy boasted 59 books by that point, averaging just over 4 a year. After another publisher bought the rights, a new series of 29 books ran from 2002 to 2007, and a second new series started in 2009 and is still going, currently with 17 entries.

Tin Man Games first brought Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies to iOS (tap here for review). These games are largely similar, and the following section contains text straight from the review of Blood of the Zombies, so skip it if you prefer.

[START: SAME AS BLOOD OF THE ZOMBIES]

fighting fantasy house of hellGameplay consists of reading numbered sections that describe your current situation, and then choosing which section you’d like to jump to next.

The controls are very similar to those of a Kindle or similar e-readers: tap the right side of the screen to advance a page, left to go back a page within the same section, and hit top, middle, or bottom to access other gameplay mechanics. These other mechanics consist of:

- Saving your progress by creating a bookmark to the current page (you can make as many as you like)
- Loading a bookmark
- Checking your Adventure Sheet to see your stats, inventory, and info you’ve learned
- Options

You can change the font size, so those with bad eyesight will be able to read clearly on smaller devices. You can even alter the actual font amongst several choices. Very user-friendly.

Customization continues with three difficulty settings, with the easiest — Free Read — allowing you to fully cheat by going back to the prior section without a bookmark, heal yourself at any time, and open up all choice options if you so desire. fighting fantasy house of hellThis is a brilliant move, as Tin Man Games clearly recognizes that some people would cheat in a Fighting Fantasy book and would probably wish to do so in a mobile adaptation as well.

The storytelling is a big plus. It creates vivid images in your mind without being overly wordy, which is obviously an important selling point for a game that consists mostly of reading. The story itself is decent — nothing amazing, but it’s interesting enough to hold your attention.

The inventory system is pretty hands-off. You have unlimited storage, and if you have an item that you need in order to make a certain choice at the end of a section, you’ll have the option of picking that choice. Otherwise not, unless you’re doing Free Read and would like to cheat. Learning a key piece of information, such as the number to a combination lock, is handled in a similar manner — you either know it and can use it in the right spot, or you can’t.

[END: SAME AS BLOOD OF THE ZOMBIES]

Tin Man Games has now added House of Hell to the roster, which is surprisingly different in some key ways. One is combat, which is far more complicated. You fight enemies one-on-one, but in a back-and-forth manner. Instead of a weapon having a direct damage rating, it adds to your SKILL stat, which is added to the roll of two dice. The enemy rolls two dice at the same time and adds in their own SKILL rating. fighting fantasy house of hellWhichever of you gets a higher total number does damage to the other; repeat until one of you is dead. Though weapons aren’t as important in House of Hell, the new combat system is more enjoyable than the simple “roll to see how many you kill” mechanic from Blood of the Zombies.

Another interesting change is LUCK, a stat that you can call upon when making choices. Sometimes you can roll to test your luck, which factors in the actual LUCK stat to determine if you have a good or bad outcome. Trying your luck is generally optional, and kind of a cool way of trying to get out of a sticky situation or minimize the negative impact it has on you. However, if you fail a luck check, it’s usually disastrous, so be ready to load up a bookmark.

The biggest change in House of Hell is the new FEAR stat, and this one is a game breaker for me. You run across many grisly monsters or frightening apparitions in House of Hell, most of which will add 1 or 2 FEAR points. You have a max you can hit, and if you do — you die. Yup, game over. Given that this happens very frequently, and that you rarely find relaxing experiences to reduce your FEAR, and that 12 is the max FEAR you can have before dying if you get the best roll of the dice at the start of your adventure, I found this to make the game unplayable. Sure, you can always load a bookmark, but you’ll have to take on some FEAR in the course of taking the correct path through the house, so you may end up having to replay a large segment of the game once you find out what’s important and what isn’t. This reminds me too strongly of the “kill them all” design decision in Blood of the Zombies, and it completely turned me off to House of Hell.

Even worse, Free Read is the same in House of Hell as in Blood of the Zombies, meaning that you can heal your STAMINA (health) whenever you want, but can’t reduce your FEAR. What kind of Free Read is that? Another terrible design decision.

Not only does House of Hell end up scoring worse than Blood of the Zombies because of FEAR, but I’m starting to doubt that any Fighting Fantasy games are worth playing, especially when they cost $6 each. I see that there are currently two others available: Forest of Doom and Island of the Lizard King. Should they ever go on sale for $2 each like Blood of the Zombies and House of Hell did, then I’ll probably get them in hopes that they’re better. If so, I’ll definitely let you all know how they measure up. They might end up being worthwhile — these first two games have set the bar for Fighting Fantasy on iOS woefully low.

1 star

Curious how other Fighting Fantasy titles stack up? Check out our review of Blood of the Zombies:

fighting fantasy blood of the zombies

The post Review: Fighting Fantasy: House of Hell (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2014/01/12/review-fighting-fantasy-hoh/feed/ 0
Review: Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/12/30/review-fighting-fantasy-botz/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/12/30/review-fighting-fantasy-botz/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 03:31:00 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23323 The Fighting Fantasy book series — an upgrade of the Choose Your Own Adventure formula — hits iOS, but how does it translate to an app? With full-fledged RPGs and other complex game types available on mobile, is an interactive book worthwhile? The Fighting Fantasy books comprise a series started in 1982 that took the […]

The post Review: Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
fighting fantasy blood of the zombies
The Fighting Fantasy book series — an upgrade of the Choose Your Own Adventure formula — hits iOS, but how does it translate to an app? With full-fledged RPGs and other complex game types available on mobile, is an interactive book worthwhile?

The Fighting Fantasy books comprise a series started in 1982 that took the familiar Choose Your Own Adventure formula and added items and combat. Though the increased popularity of video games brought an end to the original series in 1995, Fighting Fantasy boasted 59 books by that point, averaging just over 4 a year. After another publisher bought the rights, a new series of 29 books ran from 2002 to 2007, and a second new series started in 2009 and is still going, currently with 17 entries.

fighting fantasy blood of the zombiesTin Man Games has now brought Fighting Fantasy to mobile, with Blood of the Zombies — the most recent book published — as the first one chosen, no doubt due to the highly increased popularity of zombie-related media in the past ten years.

Though I’ve never read a Fighting Fantasy book before, Blood of the Zombies feels right at home on mobile. Gameplay consists of reading numbered sections that describe your current situation, and then choosing which section you’d like to jump to next.

The controls are very similar to those of a Kindle or similar e-readers: tap the right side of the screen to advance a page, left to go back a page within the same section, and hit top, middle, or bottom to access other gameplay mechanics. These other mechanics consist of:

  • Saving your progress by creating a bookmark to the current page (you can make as many as you like)
  • Loading a bookmark
  • Checking your Adventure Sheet to see your stats, inventory, and info you’ve learned
  • Options

You can change the font size from 6 to 45, so those with bad eyesight will be able to read clearly on smaller devices. You can even alter the actual font amongst several choices. Very user-friendly.

fighting fantasy blood of the zombiesCustomization continues with three difficulty settings, with the easiest — Free Read — allowing you to fully cheat by going back to the prior section without a bookmark, heal yourself at any time, and open up all choice options if you so desire. This is a brilliant move, as Tin Man Games clearly recognizes that some people would cheat in a Fighting Fantasy book and would probably wish to do so in a mobile adaptation as well.

The storytelling is a big plus. It creates vivid images in your mind without being overly wordy, which is obviously an important selling point for a game that consists mostly of reading. The story itself is decent — nothing amazing, but it’s interesting enough to hold your attention.

The inventory system is pretty hands-off. You have unlimited storage, and if you have an item that you need in order to make a certain choice at the end of a section, you’ll have the option of picking that choice. Otherwise not, unless you’re doing Free Read and would like to cheat. Learning a key piece of information, such as the number to a combination lock, is handled in a similar manner — you either know it and can use it in the right spot, or you can’t.

fighting fantasy blood of the zombiesInventory includes weapons and ammo, and that brings us to combat, which is handled in very simple manner. Each weapon has a damage rating, such as 1d6-3 for barehanded. (For those of you without Dungeons & Dragons nerd cred, that means roll one six-sided die and subtract 3). If you’re fighting 2 zombies, you need to do 2 damage to kill them; 4 would require 4 damage, and so on. Any still moving after your attack will hit you for 1 damage each, then you get to attack again. Repeat until you kill them all or your stamina (health) is depleted, in which case it’s game over, and you’ll have to load up a bookmark.

You will pick up various weapons from a bat to a machine gun, and you’ll automatically use whichever is the strongest in battle. This is a minor annoyance, as the game will force you to use weapons that consume ammo even if you’re only fighting one zombie and could easily brain it with a crowbar.

Combat is occasionally mixed up with variations such as zombies with weapons, allowing them to hit you for 2 damage each instead of 1, or being surprised by an enemy and only having time to fight it barehanded, regardless of your inventory. You’ll also get grenades, which can sometimes be used to thin the herd before actual combat begins, or you can toss one during any round of combat, though I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have some extras and they do more damage than your current best weapon. Even then, it’s wise to always save a few.

fighting fantasy blood of the zombiesThe artwork is decent, and I get the impression that it was taken from the actual Fighting Fantasy book. Sometimes it’s just plain goofy, but for the most part, it’s a nice accent.

The game only has two music tracks, but they’re pretty solid. The combat theme is suitably up-tempo, and the theme used for the rest of the game is piano-heavy and actually sort of creepy. It sets a nice tone as you’re reading, though by the time you spend the roughly four hours it takes to win, you’ll have heard this tune so much that you’ll hardly notice it any longer.

My major complaint of Blood of the Zombies — and this knocks its score down by a whole star — is that in order to win, you must kill every single zombie in the game. If you’re cheating, you can just pretend you did and select that option at the end, but otherwise, you’re completely stuck. This happened to me, and since I played on Medium difficulty, I couldn’t cheat even if I wanted to. I was pretty irate about this design decision. Why should I be forced to explore every single branch in the choice tree? Why should I have to mow down all those zombies when the game sometimes lets me bypass them? Worst of all, you don’t learn until pretty close to the end that you should be playing that way, so unless you happened to hear about it before starting the game, chances are you’ll run into this serious enjoyment-killer of a wall.

Personally, I wasn’t about to take the time to go through the whole game again on Medium and hope I could track down all the zombies, or even to do a Free Read and cheat my way to the good ending. Why should I? There are too many other game-fish in the sea that I want to experience, and I’m not going to give Blood of the Zombies even another two hours of my life.

All things considered, the game is enjoyable, and if you know about this terrible “kill them all or you can’t win” mechanic ahead of time and can act accordingly, you’ll probably have a pretty satisfying experience.

3 star

Curious how other Fighting Fantasy titles stack up? Check out our review of House of Hell:

fighting fantasy house of hell

The post Review: Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/12/30/review-fighting-fantasy-botz/feed/ 0
Review: NES Remix (Wii U) http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/12/29/nes-remix-review/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/12/29/nes-remix-review/#comments Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:40:18 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23168 At face value, NES Remix looks like it can do no wrong: It blends a handsome bunch of classic NES games together, serving them up in small portions under a nifty time-trial umbrella. Spend a few hours with it, though, and you’ll see soon enough that it packs more nostalgia than it does punch. … […]

The post Review: NES Remix (Wii U) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
nes remix review
At face value, NES Remix looks like it can do no wrong: It blends a handsome bunch of classic NES games together, serving them up in small portions under a nifty time-trial umbrella. Spend a few hours with it, though, and you’ll see soon enough that it packs more nostalgia than it does punch.

With no hint or foreshadowing of any kind, NES Remix appeared in the Wii U eShop on the exact day it was announced. Watching the trailer left me instantly intrigued. Fifteen bucks and a modest download later, I was soon to figure out what exactly the game was even about. I wasn’t yet sure. One glimpse of Link climbing Donkey Kong ramps in the video was all it took for me to jump aboard the NEStalgia Express.

And as far as nostalgia trips go, this one turned out to be a mixed bag. By the way, bad puns are free around here.

NES Remix combines a dozen or so vintage Nintendo games – stuff like Super Mario Bros., Excitebike, and Balloon Fight – into a smorgasbord of retro challenges that will remind you where you came from, son. Every challenge is essentially a time trial, with more stars being doled out for faster completion times. Collect enough stars and you’ll unlock new challenges from an increasing roster of games. It’s a cool concept that will keep you hooked for a short while. But the novelty wears away fast.

The challenges range from absurdly simple (jump over a barrel in Donkey Kong) to jaw-clenchingly tricky (like trying to do anything in Balloon Fight), but never take more than a minute to complete. Some of the “remixed” challenges are pretty clever, with neat gimmicks like the camera panning out eternally until you can’t make out the details, or Mario stages being run in a bizarre sort of mirrored-reverse, just to a name a few.

NES Remix throws all these bite-sized challenges at you non-stop, with little time wasted between trials. Accomplishing these mini-missions and racing the clock can be very gratifying, especially early on.

But once you get a more complete sense of the game, and the limit to the range of challenges becomes more apparent, expect to feel the burnout that comes from Remix‘s inherently shallow gameplay. Completionists and retro-junkies will get the most out of it’s surprisingly long run, but everyone else will be ready to move on long before exhausting everything NES Remix has to offer.

3 stars

The post Review: NES Remix (Wii U) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/12/29/nes-remix-review/feed/ 3
Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/12/13/review-legend-zelda-link-worlds/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/12/13/review-legend-zelda-link-worlds/#comments Fri, 13 Dec 2013 19:39:21 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=23037 Nintendo’s newest Zelda game has more in common with one of its oldest, taking place in a near-identical Hyrule to that of the beloved fan favorite A Link to The Past. Clearly a bid on Nintendo’s part to cash in on yesteryear’s magic – is A Link Between Worlds more than a simple trip down […]

The post Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
link between worlds review
Nintendo’s newest Zelda game has more in common with one of its oldest, taking place in a near-identical Hyrule to that of the beloved fan favorite A Link to The Past. Clearly a bid on Nintendo’s part to cash in on yesteryear’s magic – is A Link Between Worlds more than a simple trip down memory lane?

Nintendo is no stranger to the ways of tugging at our nostalgic heartstrings – it’s the very crux of their business model; it’s what they do best. And honestly, I don’t think they’ve ever done it better than they have with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

Between Worlds is the perfect marriage of old and new, fusing together the best parts of vintage Zelda with modern sensibility. Those who’ve played 1992’s A Link To The Past will immediately feel at home from the very outset of Between Worlds. It features virtually the same Hyrule; every location will be exactly where you remember it. But it’s the content – the people, treasures, and secrets – that have changed. In this way, Between Worlds manages to feel both familiar and intrepid.

link between worlds gameplay

Between Worlds handily reminds us that a game’s world doesn’t need to be huge, or rendered in 3D, to be a lot of fun. While it’s true that the game uses 3D models instead of hand-drawn sprites, it’s still a classic top-down adventure and plays exactly like one should. So much variety is packed into such tiny real estate that exploration never feels like a chore. You can literally go corner to corner in Hyrule in just a couple minutes, but the game is most enjoyable when you take the time to explore every nook and cranny in between.

There is also a great deal of freedom in A Link Between Worlds, thanks largely to a rental system that gives you access to nearly every key item from the start – for a price, of course. This kind of item dispensing is new to the series, and while it helps streamline the game’s exploration, it can be a real drag when you have to “return” your rented stuff. When Link dies, you are stripped of all rented items, meaning you’ll need to rent them again if you want them on hand. C’est la vie. Thankfully, you’ll eventually be able to purchase those items permanently. Not that you’ll be dying much, though – the game isn’t especially difficult.

link between worlds map

The most notable new mechanic in Between Worlds is ‘merging’. With walls. It may sound strange, but it’s really quite clever.

Link will gain the ability to change into a drawing and fuse with any flat wall. Once merged, he can walk along the wall in a simple left-or-right manner, then pop back out at will. It seems like such a simple mechanic, but it dramatically shakes up the classic Zelda formula, opening up new possibilities and changing the way you approach the game’s challenges and puzzles. It also makes for some pretty keen “Aha!” moments, especially early on.

The oft-forgotten 3D aspect of the 3DS looks pretty damn swell in A Link Between Worlds. Crank the meter all the way up and marvel as trees pop out of the ground, holes dive into the distance, and monsters blip around through time and space. Okay, well, maybe just space. The game’s many dungeons were clearly designed with 3D in mind, and when you turn the effect on they become a real treat.

So, then, what’s bad about the game? Well, not much, honestly. Unless you’re fatally allergic to good times, Between Worlds is one of the easiest recommendations a critic could ever make. I guess the analog stick can sometimes be cumbersome when targeting, and a handful of the dungeons just don’t feel as inspired as the rest, but in all, Between Worlds is the ultimate love letter to gamers new and old, packed with astronomical levels of fan service and good old fashioned fun.

I’m not being facetious – it’s genuinely hard to be critical of A Link Between Worlds. It’s a game that does just about everything right, successfully merging contemporary ideas with classic gameplay to create something damn near perfect. It’s the 3DS’s killer app if there ever was one.

The question, my friends, isn’t “Should you play A Link Between Worlds?”

The question is, emphatically, “Why aren’t you playing it right now?

5 star

The post Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/12/13/review-legend-zelda-link-worlds/feed/ 4
Review: Rogue Legacy (Windows) http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/08/17/review-rogue-legacy/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/08/17/review-rogue-legacy/#comments Sun, 18 Aug 2013 02:46:03 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=22548 Rogue Legacy is a brilliant twist on the classic roguelike formula: keep the random levels and permanent death, but make a platformer instead of a traditional RPG. This reimagining definitely causes Rogue Legacy to stand out from the pack of infuriating titles in the genre, but is it worthwhile?… Rogue Legacy does two important things: […]

The post Review: Rogue Legacy (Windows) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
rogue legacy
Rogue Legacy is a brilliant twist on the classic roguelike formula: keep the random levels and permanent death, but make a platformer instead of a traditional RPG. This reimagining definitely causes Rogue Legacy to stand out from the pack of infuriating titles in the genre, but is it worthwhile?

Rogue Legacy does two important things: First, it freshens up the overly familiar roguelike formula by being a platformer. Applying randomized levels to run-and-slash play mechanics is a much-needed change to the standard dungeon-crawling experience of most roguelikes.

Second, it has pervasive rewards for every playthrough. Well, mostly — unless you pathetically die within the first thirty seconds, you’ll earn enough gold for your kid to buy a few upgrades before they continue your legacy.

And that’s where the game gets its name: When you die, you get to choose between three children to carry on your bloodline and delve further into the quest. Continuing the roguelike tradition of randomness, these kids will have arbitrary classes and traits.

rogue legacy gameplay

The larger the enemy, the more drastic its ability to bring the pain.

The classes in the game are a mixed bag. None are terrible, but you’ll definitely find some more useful than others. You’ll start with basics like the Knight (good all around), Barbarian (extra HP), and Mage, but eventually upgrade them to Paladin (block all damage or turn into statue), Barbarian King (shout to knock back enemies), and Archmage (killing enemies restores MP). You’ll also unlock new classes, such as the Dragon, which is a half-human who always flies and shoots fireballs instead of swinging a sword.

My favorite is by far the Barbarian King, as the extra HP is invaluable. Sure, you could pick a Spelunker as your heir to get 30% extra gold, but with those horrible stats, you won’t live for long. You’d actually have a high probability of getting more money with a Barbarian King because your longevity would be so much higher. In pretty much every situation in the game, I found the Barb King’s meaty tankness to be the key to victory. When none of my kids were BKs (Burger Kings? … [shudder]), I’d go for a Dragon or Hokage (fast with massive damage), but on the average, I was able to get the most done with a Barbarian King. I used them to beat most of the bosses, including the final one.

rogue legacy map

Gameplay would involve a ton of backtracking without the excellent map.

The traits I mentioned comprise another mechanic that is original and also highly creative. Each child will have zero to two traits, random of course, and they can be helpful, harmful, or innocuous. There are several dozen, and some highlights are:

  • ADHD: Move faster
  • Alzheimers: No access to the main map, only the minimap
  • Colour Blind: The game renders in grayscale colors
  • Dementia: Some enemies aren’t really there
  • Dyslexia: Written text is partially garbled
  • Eidetic Memory: Room details show up on the minimap, including enemies and chests
  • Endomorph: Increased weight prevents enemies from knocking you back
  • Far-Sighted: Anything close up is blurry
  • Gay: You like the same sex; no real effect, but castle statues switch gender
  • I.B.S.: Irritable Bowel Syndrome; your character randomly farts, to no effect
  • Near-Sighted: Anything far away is blurry
  • P.A.D.: Peripheral Arterial Disease; no foot pulse, making you immune to spike traps
  • Vertigo: The screen is rotated 180 degrees, as are the directional controls

Some traits, such as Alzheimers and Vertigo, are complete deal-breakers when picking a kid. Others, such as ADHD and P.A.D., are major bonuses. Still, class is the primary consideration.

rogue legacy choose heir

One does not simply choose an heir without careful consideration.

All that phat loot you earn can’t be used once you give up the ghost, but your chosen child sure will benefit from it. After deciding on an heir, you can purchase upgrades to HP/MP, defense, attack/magic damage, critical hit chance/damage, improved healing from meat/potions, gold pickup bonuses, increased invulnerability time after being hit, new classes, and even a small percentage chance to cheat death, among others. You can also buy equipment in five categories to buff stats, increase that gold pickup bonus, or even restore health when defeating enemies. Plus, you can purchase runes retrieved from Fairy Chests, which are obtained in rooms with special conditions, such as reaching the chest without taking damage, or in five seconds, or without jumping. These runes attach to your equipment, so you can have a max of five active at once, and they allow you to do such things as jump once more in the air, fly for 0.6 seconds, dash left or right, regain HP/MP when enemies are slain, increase gold pickup, etc. They even stack, so if you were to, say, purchase the jump rune for all five slots, you could then jump a total of six times without touching the ground.

With all these choices for spending gold, there are many options for how to build your family lineage, and everything purchased benefits all future descendants.

rogue legacy upgrades

Most things you buy will unlock something else, so purchase at least one of everything.

The game has four main areas: castle, forest, tower, and dungeon. As you would expect, every playthrough has a random configuration of rooms, but the high-level layout is always the castle, the forest to the right, the tower above, and the dungeon below. Each area has a really tough boss, and all four must be defeated before the large golden doors at the start of the castle will open and admit you to the final battle.

rogue legacy boss

Bosses often have minions, which can severely restrict your ability to avoid damage.

Rogue Legacy can take quite a while to complete. When I finished it, it told me that I had spent 27 hours playing, and had gone through 71 children, which is ~23 minutes per kid. At times it bordered on grindy, but with the random layout and enemies every time, I never felt as though I was in danger of burning out. I actually wanted more after finishing it, but wasn’t interested in the option that lets you play through it again with all your purchased goodies intact. I really hope the developer creates a sequel.

Rogue Legacy is a solid title that any fan of platformers and RPGs should check out. It’s currently only available for Windows — I played it via Steam — but this seems like a logical choice for showing up on PSN and XBLA some day. If you’ve got Windows and a controller, fire up Steam and check it out. It’s definitely worth the current price of $15.

5 star

Here’s the trailer:

The post Review: Rogue Legacy (Windows) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/08/17/review-rogue-legacy/feed/ 2
Review: Scurvy Scallywags (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/06/11/review-scurvy-scallywags-ios/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/06/11/review-scurvy-scallywags-ios/#comments Tue, 11 Jun 2013 15:44:31 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=22310 Match-3 games have been done to death. It’s no surprise, really, when you consider how popular they have been over the years. There’s a chance, perhaps, that you scoff at the notion of yet another match-3 game. If you, like me, have been playing them since Tetris Attack (or Panel de Pon if you’re some […]

The post Review: Scurvy Scallywags (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
scurvy_scallawags_title

Match-3 games have been done to death. It’s no surprise, really, when you consider how popular they have been over the years. There’s a chance, perhaps, that you scoff at the notion of yet another match-3 game. If you, like me, have been playing them since Tetris Attack (or Panel de Pon if you’re some sort of purist stickler) back on Super Nintendo, then you might even feel like you’ve seen all the genre has to give.

Every once in a while, though, an idea comes around that breathes new life into the genre. Bejeweled brought power-ups. Puzzle Quest mixed in RPG-style skills and equipment. Triple Town asked you to think before you dropped a tile all willy-nilly.

Scurvy Scallawags, a pirate-themed take on the genre, borrows a lot of ideas from those groundbreaking titles and adds to it. Is Scurvy Scallawags an App Store buried treasure or should it walk the plank?

Tiles often change between stages.

Tiles often change between stages.

It’s hard to even know where to begin when talking about Scurvy Scallawags. The game does so many things right. Ron Gilbert, Clayton Kauzlaric, and their team over at Beep Games have done a bang-up job creating a game that just fires on all cylinders. The presentation is spotless, from tile graphics that change from one location to the next all the way to the accordion-laden music that feels almost dreamy, and fully-realized. It looks and sounds terrific on all accords.

For the uninitiated, players swap tiles to match three or more similar tiles. Once cleared, the tiles are replaced. In a slight twist from standard matching puzzle games, the direction you move a tile dictates where the remaining and incoming tiles enter the playing field similar to the movement found in Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, but without the unnecessary complication of the hive movement.

You’ll use this sliding mechanic to manipulate your pirate avatar around the playing field. You’ll match swords, gold, and inconsequential junk items around the field and build power for you character. Enemies also enter the playing field, each with a number that dictates the necessary power you’ll need to build before facing the character. If the number is lower, you’ll defeat the enemy who drops a treasure chest. If it’s higher, you’ll lose a heart point. Regardless of the outcome, your power rating decreases after battle, and you’ll have to build it back up.

The forgotten art of bonus stages

The forgotten art of bonus stages

This works out like an interesting game of cat and mouse, as you try to keep your pirate from entering battle until you’re ready. Enemies are also capable of moving every few turns, which makes it difficult to avoid battles at times. Skills can help keep you alive, such as a frog jump that lets you skip away from the enemy to skills that change gold into swords, you’ll find different ways to keep yourself narrowly avoiding death.

Death can come rather easily, too, as you have just three hearts (which can later be increased through shop purchases) that do not replenish after battle. Once you lose them, you’ll have the option to resurrect your pirate for some gold or let him die and re-start the game with your skills and costumes intact.

You’ll also, being pirates and all, collect materials to build new pirate ships. These ships add yet another skill that changes the way you play, such as reduced skill cooldowns or increased quest item spawning, but the reality is that it’s another passive skill that you can’t obtain any other way.

Most of the building materials you need can only be found in the game’s shop, which refreshes every hour, or via the game’s slot machine. These slots are activated by collecting presents in the playing field or treasure from killing an enemy. You’ll also find gold, power swords, and costume pieces (which also boost your pirate’s stats) within.

scurvy_scallawags_shantyFew people would be able to talk about Scurvy Scallawags without mentioning the charming pirate Shanty Verses. There are 16 Shanty Verses to collect, each with an accompanying song and cute animated pirate head mouthing in sync. They’re good fun, surprisingly well done, and able to be replayed from the menu once collected. It adds yet another layer to the charm of the game that just makes Scurvy Scallawags far better than any puzzle game I’ve played in recent memory.

Also, while I’ve mentioned buying things with gold numerous times, there are no Gold in-app purchases mucking up the game. In fact, there is only one in-app purchase in a Gold doubler that would certainly make the game more forgiving, but dedicated players could likely do without it. Thank you for respecting my wallet, Beep Games.

Perhaps the most remarkable things about Scurvy Scallawags is that it feels less like your typical match-3 game and more like a Rubik’s Cube. There are a lot of things going on in Scurvy Scallawags, but they are not overwhelming. The core of the game remains each location with the difficulty ratcheting up after each battle and from island to island. Your pirate doesn’t get much more powerful, mind you, but your ability to manipulate the board increases as you grow familiar with the game.

Scurvy Scallawags combines everything you love about the best games in the genre, adds a quirky layer of Ron Gilbert humor, and then manages to add a brilliant mechanic to the mix to become even more than the sum of its parts. This is a must-own title that casual and core gamers should pick up without hesitation.

5 star

(Scurvy Scallawags is available in the App Store for ninety-nine cents. A coin double in-app purchase can also by purchased for an additional ninety-nine cents, though it was not used for the review. Scurvy Scallawags Version 1.0.1 was used for the purpose of this review.)

The post Review: Scurvy Scallywags (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/06/11/review-scurvy-scallywags-ios/feed/ 0
Review: Fish Out of Water (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/04/21/review-fish-out-of-water-ios/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/04/21/review-fish-out-of-water-ios/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 16:10:13 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=22004 Halfbrick Studios, makers of mobile staples Jetpack Joyride and Fruit Ninja, have brought their latest game, Fish Out of Water, exclusively to iOS. Is Fish Out of Water another must-have game for the Australian developer or is it a painful reminder that Halfbrick is the same developer that brought us Raskulls? In Fish Out of […]

The post Review: Fish Out of Water (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
fish_out_of_water_titleHalfbrick Studios, makers of mobile staples Jetpack Joyride and Fruit Ninja, have brought their latest game, Fish Out of Water, exclusively to iOS.

Is Fish Out of Water another must-have game for the Australian developer or is it a painful reminder that Halfbrick is the same developer that brought us Raskulls?

In Fish Out of Water, your goal is to skip fish as far across the ocean surface as possible. Each of the fish (or mammals) has different characteristics in relation to how you toss them, their ability to skip across the surface of the water, and how well they maintain momentum once airborne. After three turns, the number of skips and the distance thrown is added up and you’re given a score by a panel of judge crabs. The premise is silly, which is a Halfbrick tradition, and it works well overall.

Fish Out of Water has all the makings of a great mobile game. The art direction is full of bright colors and cute characters. The controls are simple and intuitive. A game session can easily be completed in mere minutes, if not less. There are even competitive leagues that have been all the rage since Pocket Planes that bring people together for a co-operative community experience.

Each fish has its own characteristics. This one skips particularly well.

Each fish has its own characteristics. This one skips particularly well.

However, Fish Out of Water just doesn’t feel right. Unlike Jetpack Joyride and countless other apps, there is no sense of progression. There are no carrots dangling aside from the storyboards that add little to nothing to the game. Your time spent with Fish Out of Water is purely because you want to play Fish Out of Water.

It’s strange, almost foreign at this point, to think that this game is the same at the start as it is when you finish it. Yes, you level up by completing these mission objectives and get gems that award you minor gameplay boosts, but the game never changes. Tackling just one objective at a time also makes the mechanics somewhat clunky when compared to the countless others that use the three-at-a-time standard set by Jetpack Joyride. From the moment you open the app until you decide you’ve had enough, what you see is what you get. And what you get here is a simplistic game where you throw fish across the surface of the ocean for giggles.

fish_out_of_water_judges

This was literally within my first fifteen tries, though I’ve yet to get a perfect 10.

That’s not to say there isn’t some variety here. The weather changes hourly, from calm waters of a sunny day to the rising waves of stormy seas, changing the way the sea animals skip and the criteria for which they are judged. It just isn’t enough to help Fish Out of Water rise above what it is.

Once you learn how to navigate the waters, how to use your boost properly for each fish, and how to appeal to all the judges, it’s not too difficult to replicate the results with regularity. Fish Out of Water is a shallow experience in a world that you would expect some sort of depth and an uncommon misstep for Halfbrick. Fish Out of Water is a fun game, no doubt, but it gets old quick.

3 stars

(Fish Out of Water is available in the App Store for ninety-nine cents. It features GameCenter achievements and supports widescreen displays. In-app purchases are available but entirely unnecessary for the experience. Players looking to compete in League Play will need to sign in with either a Facebook or Google account. Version 1.0 was used for the purpose of this review.)

The post Review: Fish Out of Water (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/04/21/review-fish-out-of-water-ios/feed/ 5
Review: The Croods (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/04/06/review-the-croods-ios/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/04/06/review-the-croods-ios/#comments Sat, 06 Apr 2013 06:09:49 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=21675 Rovio’s latest game, The Croods, is a vast departure from anything they’ve done in the past. Off the top of my head, here’s a list of things that differ: It’s based upon a franchise that Rovio does not own. It’s free-to-play. It’s a social game. It has no physics engine as far as I can […]

The post Review: The Croods (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
the_croods_title

Rovio’s latest game, The Croods, is a vast departure from anything they’ve done in the past.

Off the top of my head, here’s a list of things that differ:

  • It’s based upon a franchise that Rovio does not own.
  • It’s free-to-play.
  • It’s a social game.
  • It has no physics engine as far as I can tell.

Rovio is out of their element in this foray. With tons of other town-builders available in the App Store, can Rovio make the Croods stand out from the rest?

The Croods is your basic town builder, though wrapped up in Dreamworks latest animated movie motif. It looks great, though it does stay zoomed in a bit more than I like, and sounds very good overall. There is an obvious difference in presentation when moving from the computer-generated models of the movie to the sprites you see here, but the designs are faithful enough.

the_croods_backdrop

I haven’t seen the movie. Is there a reason they’re living up so high?

You have your common themes of gathering resources and decorating your space as you see fit. The game teaches you the ropes of how to capture animals, tame them, and then feed them to gather new resources. These resources, in turn, can be used to feed other animals or your cave-wife, Ugga, can cook them up in a soup.

The game’s biggest flaw is Gran’s chores that are virtually essential to leveling. The difference between experience you earn from your resource animals and the experience you earn from completing these missions is just too great. Freedom is unintentionally eroded by the game’s structure. There were times I felt penalized for decorating the way I wanted only to have to build an identical structure less than a day later to complete a mission objective. In turn, I just stopped decorating the village altogether.

the_croods_production

The game needs to zoom out more. You don’t have much to see, though.

The Croods doesn’t just hold your hand, it squeezes it tight, steps on your toes, and tells you that you will never truly be free.

With all that’s wrong, I’ve yet to even mention the secondary currency, the Crystals. The only way to get certain animals, which are required for achievements that you may or may not care about, is to build traps that require crystals. The only way to upgrade your raspberry bush, the base ingredient from which all other resources come, is to use crystals. While these and the standard timer-negation mechanic are the only times that the Croods asks for your money, it’s a pretty big deal for people who don’t have a lot of time to play or that don’t want to stay in the app and watch timers count down. The fact that the minimum purchase is $4.99 doesn’t curry the game any favors with me.

There’s quite literally nothing to do in the Croods. You come back, you feed your animals, and you leave. There is no interaction. There is no challenge. It is the equivalent of having a pet rock and the world is every bit as interesting. There is nothing to keep you in the game other than the desire to gather raspberries because you don’t want to keep coming back into the game every six minutes to collect them.

Grug's traps are admittedly cute, but it's not enough to save this game from its banal gameplay.

Grug’s traps are cute but not enough to forgive the game’s banal mechanics.

The cherry on top of all of this horrible experience is that the Croods requires an internet connection at all times. I was shocked when the game abruptly cut out between Wi-Fi stations when I was riding the subway into work. I don’t see people hacking this game to get ahead, but the suits at Rovio must disagree with me.

Rovio is a one-trick pony. The Croods is every bit as simple as the common caveman and just another example of their inability to make a compelling game that doesn’t involve flinging birds at makeshift castles. They have made a game so generic and, dare I say, crude that I can’t imagine anyone but the youngest fans of the movie finding anything less than unbearable.

1 star

(The Croods requires a Rovio account for saving. It is available for free in the App Store and on Google Play. The Croods Version 1.0.4 was used for the purpose of this review.)

The post Review: The Croods (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/04/06/review-the-croods-ios/feed/ 2
Review: Ridiculous Fishing (iOS) http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/03/20/review-ridiculous-fishing-ios/ http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/03/20/review-ridiculous-fishing-ios/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:31:41 +0000 http://www.deltaattack.com/?p=21164 There’s a good chance you’ve already heard the long, awful path Ridiculous Fishing took to get to the App Store. If not, here’s the cliff notes: Vlambeer puts out Radical Fishing on a Flash site and decides, at some point, that they would re-create the game for iOS. The game gets cloned by another developer […]

The post Review: Ridiculous Fishing (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
ridiculous_fishing_titleThere’s a good chance you’ve already heard the long, awful path Ridiculous Fishing took to get to the App Store.

If not, here’s the cliff notes: Vlambeer puts out Radical Fishing on a Flash site and decides, at some point, that they would re-create the game for iOS. The game gets cloned by another developer (Gamenauts) and released as Ninja Fishing. It goes on to sell well regardless of its state as a blatant clone, because it was out first.

It’s a damn shame, though hardly the first or last time we’d see it in the App Store, but it brings us up to speed.

Ridiculous Fishing is the next in the line of  disposable games that line the App Store. It has an excellent art direction, with everything in the game composed of triangles that make the world look like a tangram come to life, and a decent soundtrack. Tilt controls take the place of the original game’s mouse input and feel tight and responsive. It’s even picked up some pedigree along the way with the likes of Chris Gage (of Spelltower fame) and Greg Wohlwend (most recently Hundreds) joining Vlambeer in the effort. There is definitely a great foundation already in place.

Ridiculous Fishing takes place in three different sections. The first section has you descending into the depths of the sea, avoiding the aquatic life below for as long as you can. Once contact is made, the game mechanics (and music) reverse in the second phase of the game. As you ascend, your job is to hook as many fish as you can while Billy, the fisherman, reels in the line. Once the haul reaches the surface, it’s onto phase three: the firing phase. You’ll tap (or drag, depending upon your weapon of choice) to kill these sea creatures dead so they can’t swim away. This, along with the massive number of critters you can get on your line, is what makes the game “ridiculous”.

If it's not a shotgun, it's not worth owning.

Shotguns: A fisherman’s best friend

These animals, 66 in all, each come with their own stats and properties. Some are elusive and only come out at certain times or while you have particular items equipped while others are available only after completing the story section of the game. You get cash for each fish you kill along the way. The deeper you go, the more expensive the fish tend to be. You’ll also encounter jellyfish, which should be avoided if possible as they reduce your money, and are more of a nuisance than anything else. Once in the air, some animals, like the hard-shelled clam, may take extra effort to kill with their higher armor ratings. It does offer a change of pace and you may find yourself avoiding some of the nuisance fish just as much as the jellyfish.

The cash you get for your kills will buy Billy longer fishing lines, better guns, and power-ups like the chainsaw that lets you slice through fish on your way down or a toaster attachment that nukes every fish on screen and allows for a second chance. It, along with the different fishing locations, adds a sense of progress that can keep you motivated and playing. It’s also terrific to see a fully-contained game devoid of in-app purchases, especially when it’d be so easy for them to adjust these rates to entice the player to part with a few more bucks.

However, I experienced a very serious case of déjà vu as I played Ridiculous Fishing. I couldn’t shake this feeling that I was playing a mash-up of Journey Escape and the can shooting section of Hogan’s Alley. There’s more going on here than in either of those games, really, but they are massively dated titles. Then, as I progressed and completed the story section of the game in a matter of hours, I felt the similarities in progress between Ridiculous Fishing and Jumping Finn Turbo, a game that epitomizes the state of disposable mobile gaming.

Ridiculous Fishing is fun, no doubt, but I feel like this is a game that people just wanted to love too much. It’s a true underdog tale that makes Ridiculous Fishing instantly more interesting and likeable than it has any business being. It doesn’t change the way I view the game, though, especially when compared to the glut of equally playable titles out there for less.

While there are many modern touches and loads of humor and heart, Ridiculous Fishing just feels archaic to me. The game expects players to look at it as more than the sum of its parts, but I was unable to do that. Ridiculous Fishing was a game that was fun for a weekend that just went stale far quicker than I expected.

3 stars

(Ridiculous Fishing is a universal app that supports widescreen displays. It is available in the App Store for $2.99 and features GameCenter achievements and leaderboards. Ridiculous Fishing version 1.01 was used for this review.)

The post Review: Ridiculous Fishing (iOS) appeared first on Delta Attack.

]]>
http://www.deltaattack.com/2013/03/20/review-ridiculous-fishing-ios/feed/ 7