Android Games Roundup [4/10/18]

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I really wasn’t sure how my transition from iOS to Android was going to go, but luckily once you’ve got a game running the underlying OS really doesn’t make much difference. I do miss the bigger iPad screen for some games, but otherwise I’ve adapted quite well (though I did have a running start thanks to my stint with an iPod Touch before getting my iPad). For this outing I found a new scrolling shooter to add to my favorites list, I reacquainted myself with an old favorite from the SEGA Genesis days, and I spent more time than I should have with a game I already spent a lot of time playing on my iPad. And there were a few other games thrown into the mix as well. Enjoy!

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Flicky Chicky – I’ve always liked cute games. As long as they are fun, I don’t really care if they are “for kids”. And now as a parent, I actually tend to be drawn towards family friendly games. I really wanted Flicky Chicky to be one of those games, and the version I installed was on its way. I mean let’s face it – you control a chicken that throws cacti at mutant squirrels in an attempt to rescue your baby chicks (I added the mutant part, but come on – these things are as big as the chicken!) The controls felt a bit sloppy at times, and once you ran into a cactus your next jump would automatically throw it which was a bit frustrating, but with a little bit of cleanup this could have been an entertaining game. Unfortunately, while the last update added some nifty new features, it added an egg system that completely destroyed my desire to play. There are now power ups which is cool, and there are also achievements (albeit only 4) and a leaderboard, which I don’t recall being there before. Unfortunately, everything now costs eggs. You want to play? Pay 5 eggs. You want to replay a level – 5 eggs. Skip a level – 10 eggs. Power ups cost eggs as well. You earn eggs somehow, but the most I’ve ever earned at once is one. Of course you can buy eggs via IAP, but I’m not going to keep dishing out money when I inevitably die way too many times in a short amount of playing. And to top it all off, they didn’t do anything to tweak the control scheme. If they decide to revamp the egg / IAP system this might be worth revisiting, but at this point I wouldn’t bother.
Verdict: Pass
Flicky Chicky on Google Play
Flicky Chicky Codematics Services, Flicky Chicky – Free

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Acrobat Gecko New York – As long as we’re on the topic of silly premises, I’ve been playing Acrobat Gecko off and on somewhat sporadically since I’ve had it installed. This isn’t the kind of game I’d spend hours on end playing, but it’s fun for a few minutes of dead time, especially if I’m out and about waiting for someone or in line somewhere. The idea is simple: collect puzzle pieces by launching a Gecko into the air using the awnings on buildings. Each successful bounce gets you a bit higher in the air, but be careful on the descent because one misstep will introduce your poor lizard to the cement between the buildings. Thankfully this is also a family friendly game, so there’s nothing gruesome to see here. It just means you have to start the level over again. Besides flat out missing the awnings the only real obstacles are items that give you an electrical charge and slow your ascent if you run into them. On the flip side, if you collide with a balloon it will help you reach new heights, and is actually necessary to get to some of the highest puzzle pieces. As you rise and fall it pays to take stock of where the balloons and puzzle pieces are, though aligning trying to align yourself with them in the heat of the moment is more challenging than it sounds. The real issue with the game is that there is nothing to draw you in for more than a few minutes at a time. There are no achievements, and while you have a local high score to continually improve on, there are no leaderboards. If the photo album – which gets populated with pictures created by the puzzle pieces you collect – is any indication, there aren’t a whole lot of levels, either. Still, it’s a fun diversion in the appropriate settings, and with a few tweaks to game play it could be a solid casual game.
Verdict: Play
Acrobat Gecko on Google Play
Acrobat Gecko New York Dream-Up, Acrobat Gecko New York – Free

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Hawk: Freedom Squadron – When I’m not having flashbacks and mentioning 1942 in reference to scrolling shooters, I usually compare my findings to Skyforce Reloaded and Air Attack2 , my current favorites in the genre. I think I’m ready to add Hawk: Freedom Squadron to the list. This game has pretty much everything you’d want from a scrolling shooter – a bunch of levels, lots of formations to annihilate, and stuff to blow up in the background. I could do with a bit more of the latter, but I’ll take what I can get. There are several ships to purchase and upgrade, and while each base ship has to be upgraded on its own, they have six device slots that are shared amongst all the ships. There’s even a “best fit” option to optimize the devices in each slot, and you can combine extra devices to make new, more powerful toys. There are also two “buddy” slots that can be filled with drones that fight alongside you and can be upgraded as well. If you’re like me and live for the continual upgrade in games like this, you won’t be disappointed with Hawk. Each mission has three difficulty levels to conquer, and there are several side quests, many of which require specific ships to play. Besides the main storyline there are 4 additional game play modes that unlock after various levels have been completed, and you can play the story mode missions in co-op mode with another player for some additional fun. Then there are the daily and overall progress achievements to complete and get rewarded for. There’s a lot going on in this game, and if you like scrolling shooters you certainly should get bored with Hawk for quite some time.
Verdict: Play
Hawk: Freedom Squadron on Google Play
HAWK: Freedom Squadron Shooter MY COM, HAWK: Freedom Squadron Shooter – Free

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Matchington Mansion – If you want to know what I think about this game, check out my segment on Homescapes in my last roundup. The main difference is that I don’t care for this one nearly as much. I’m not sure which game came first, but it feels like either Homescapes is an improved version of Matchington or Matchington is an inferior clone of Homescapes. The basic premise is identical – fix up a home by earning stars to upgrade everything and anything inside the house. To earn those stars you have to beat match 3 boards. The power ups are similar and the upgrade system is identical: use stars to complete objectives, and level up when you’ve completed a certain number of those objectives. When you have to do certain things like replace the carpet or get a new couch you’ll be presented with three choices, just like Homescapes, and at a later time you can adjust that choice using coins you earn… just like Homescapes. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this was actually the forerunner to Homescapes, though it actually comes from a different developer. Even the interface feels like Homescapes. What’s missing are the nice little flourishes like daily bonuses, competitions with other players and something like the yarn challenge that rewards you with increasingly useful gifts the more levels you beat. If you’re curious about what I’m referring to, check out Homescapes. In fact, if the general concept behind Matchington Mansion sounds interesting, I’d recommend that game instead. If you’ve already beaten it and are really yearning for more, this is a decent second choice.
Verdict: Pass
Matchington Mansion on Google Play
Match-3: Matchington Mansion Firecraft Studios, Match-3: Matchington Mansion – Free

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King Oddball – Imagine if some of the folks at Adult Swim decided to design an Angry Birds clone. That’s kind of what King Oddball feels like to me, and I love it. You are King Oddball, I giant boulder head with a long tongue that is trying to destroy an enemy army by tossing boulders at the troops. In true skewed physics game fashion you don’t really know where each toss is going to go, so until you beating a level is just as much about patience and luck as it is skill. You start out with three rocks, and if you hit at least 3 enemies or yourself with a given toss you’ll earn an extra gold nugget to toss. On rare occasions I’ve even seen the king grab the pause button for an additional throw. There are 9 areas in the game, each comprised of a 4×4 grid. You work your way through a grid at a time, though in a couple of cases there are additional boards you can play at any time. There are also 16 achievements to earn. No high scores or leaderboards or anything like that to be worried about, so you can concentrate on mastering each level. The game is free to play, though you do have to put up with frequent ads in exchange. There’s an IAP option to remove ads for $2.99, and while many times I’d say it’s not worth, I think King Oddball earns every penny of that purchase. I spent quite a bit of time playing this on my iPad when it first came out, and I’m having just as much fun going through it again now on my Android.
Verdict: Play
King Oddball on Google Play
King Oddball 10tons Ltd, King Oddball (TMA Review) – $2.99

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Hop Hop Ninja – While playing the game Piggy Bros, which is actually kind of fun, I was inundated with an ad for Hop Hop Ninja, another game by the same developer. It’s actually the same basic concept as Piggy Bros: dodge all the obstacles, collect as much food as you can, and get the highest score possible. Sadly, it just doesn’t entertain me like Piggy Bros does. I think the biggest problem is that the obstacles you are dodging are mostly enemies (samurai to be exact), and it feels like you should be able to dispatch them since every character seems to have some sort of weapon or punch at their disposal. Unfortunately, the only time your “move” is executed is when you collect a piece of food. Each passed checkpoint or collected piece of food earns you a point and can be used towards unlocking new characters, but other than aesthetics the characters don’t offer anything new to the game play. There are five achievements to earn, all based on score, and one leaderboard to rank on. Even that is a nuisance, though, because there appears to be no interface within the game to access this information, forcing you to go through the Google games interface to see what you’ve earned. And I thought Game Center was bad! Overall, there’s just not much here to draw me in. While it’s not much different, Piggy Bros offers a slightly more refined experience, and it’s fun watching the pig explode into various slabs of meat when an obstacle is not properly avoided. If you’re looking for a simple “dodge everything” game, take on the pigs instead.
Verdict: Pass
Hop Hop Ninja! on Google Play
Hop Hop Ninja! Nerd Agency, Hop Hop Ninja! – Free

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Altered Beast Classic – If you grew up playing consoles in the 80’s then you’re probably thinking this sounds awfully familiar. Back in the day SEGA was actually known for making hardware, and the pinnacle of their success was probably the 16 bit Genesis system. Altered Beast was one of the first platform games I remember owning for the system, and it harkens back to a time when you didn’t need 20 buttons or keyboard keys to progress through a game. The three buttons allow you to hit, kick and punch, though these actions can change once you transform. Yes, the ability to turn into creatures like dragons and werewolves was this game’s big hook. Of course the astute observer will note that Rampage was released two years earlier, so I’m sure there was some inspiration taken from that classic. Whatever the case, it was cool to see what form you would take on in each level, and it’s always fun running around a fantasy landscape whomping enemies into submission. When I heard about the Sega Forever collection I was pretty excited, and the addition of Altered Beast into that collection certainly sweetened the deal. Naturally if you can experience this game in its natural habitat – in other words, on an actual console – I highly recommend it. Still, this isn’t a bad way to get to play it. Granted, like with most simulated console ports it’s a bit rough around the edges, and I’m not particularly happy with the controls, but for free I’m willing to take it for a spin every now and again. At least content wise it still manages to hold my attention.
Verdict: Play
Altered Beast Classic on Google Play
Altered Beast Classic SEGA, Altered Beast Classic – Free

That wraps up another edition of the Android Games Roundup.  Check the list below for prior installments and keep on gaming!

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