Android Games Roundup [6/9/18]

roundup-20180609-intro

I’m finally back again… again.  Hopefully it will be for more than a single installment this time around.  As usual I’ve tried to bring you a mix of various game styles.  I found a new infinite runner with a cool nautical theme, and a match 3 game that I’m enjoying almost as much as Homescapes (see my first Android Roundup).  On the other hand, I was disappointed with an escape game that had a lot of potential and a mine cart racing game that didn’t feel like the developer had put much effort into it.  And if you’re wondering and can remember that far back, I’m still working on King Oddball, though I’ve finished the main and hidden worlds and am now working on all the special missions.

roundup-20180609-piggy-bros

Piggy Bros – Last roundup I talked about Hop Hop Ninja, which I did not care for but which tried because of this game (they are from the same developer).  The funny thing is that for the most part they are the same game.  You control a character and try and dodge all the bad stuff in your way to get as far as you can before inevitably reacting a fraction of a second too late and losing.  In this case you actually control a pig… or rather, a pair of pigs.  You tap the left or right sides of the screen to make them both move in the respective direction, and in a nice little twist press both sides of the screen to have each pig go in the direction they are closer to.  Along the way you can collect apples which are used to buy new costumes for your pigs, though the costumes are ultimately frivolous and don’t affect the game in any way.  There are also 10 awards to earn, all based on scoring a certain number of points.  But honestly, in the end this serves mainly as a nice distraction for a few minutes here and there.  Plus, there’s something morbidly amusing about watching one of the pigs burst into various cuts of meat every time you accidentally run into something.  Just don’t start doing that on purpose!
Verdict: Play
Piggy Bros on Google Play
Piggy Bros Nerd Agency, Piggy Bros – Free

roundup-20180609-super-sailor-run

Super Sailor Run – So many runners these days seem to emulate the Temple Run / Subway Surfers formula that it’s nice to see a traditional, 2D side scrolling runner show up.  It doesn’t hurt any that the game is actually rather entertaining.  The controls are simple – tap to jump and double tap to, well, double jump – which makes it perfect for playing with one hand while waiting in line somewhere.  Collect power-ups to get as far as you can in one run, and gather pearls in order to buy more sailors.  There are plenty of missions to complete, which both give you something to do and help you collect pearls.  There is also a leaderboard, but sadly that appears to have been hacked already, as the ranking is based on highest run and there no way the first place player ran for more than 2 million meters.  I like the fact that between missions, videos, some arbitrary level up system and randomly timed bonuses there are many ways to earn pearls.  Unfortunately, while the different characters are cool looking they don’t seem to impact game play any (hint, hint developer!)  The fact that the game is in portrait mode seems a bit odd for a traditional runner, but the visuals are great and I love the nautical theme.  I can’t say this really adds anything new to the genre, but it hits enough of the right buttons to make it worth playing in my book.
Verdict: Play
Super Sailor Run on Google Play

roundup-20180609-blackjack-royale

Blackjack 21 Royale: Play Blackjack Like a Pro – I have been a fan of Kuyi Mobile since they went under a different name and published PocketPC games, so even though I’m not a huge fan of blackjack I wanted to give this game a try.  It certainly has the typical Kuyi Mobile hallmarks.  The graphics are great, particularly when the effects that build around the dealer when the win multiple hands and prepare to be “on fire”.  The music is kind of catchy and has a bit of an upbeat spy movie quality to it.  And the mechanics are executed flawlessly as usual.  Unfortunately, the game is missing one key component – fun.  I don’t want the game to be easy, but I’m getting tired of losing.  It seems like every time I get up a few games the dealer comes back with a ridiculous streak and suddenly I’m at less money than when I started.  Even with a couple of tips from the developer I have as yet to make it past the first dealer, which after a while gives me little incentive to want to keep playing.  There are tasks to complete, but even that does little more than earn me a few extra chips to lose.  I can’t really speak to how this compares with other blackjack games as I really haven’t played any on my phone, so I’d like to say that if you’re a fan of the card game you might enjoy this as well.  If blackjack isn’t your thing, however, there’s really nothing here to convince you otherwise.
Verdict: Pass
Blackjack 21 Royale on Google Play
Blackjack 21 Royale Kuyi Mobile, Blackjack 21 Royale – Free

roundup-20180609-galaxy-attack

Galaxy Attack: Alien Shooter – When people use the phrase “evolution of a genre”, this is the type of game I think of.  At its heart Galaxy Attack is Galaga (Google for those of you that are too young to know), but there are enough bells and whistles to make this its own game.  Instead of simply facing wave after wave of aliens until the game is over, Galaxy Attack is structured into levels, each comprised of 10 waves.  Defeat the level to get a big bonus, or at least earn some money for trying.  As you hit certain milestones when completing levels you’ll unlock new game play modes as well as the ability to replay previous levels on more difficult settings for higher payoffs.  In addition to completing the levels there are daily and overall tasks to complete which also earn you some coin.  So what are those coins used for?  Well I’m glad you asked.  Like many modern scrolling shooters, you can buy new ships or upgrade your current one.  Each ship also has an additional “skin” you can purchase that actually gives you a special bonus.  Then there’s multiplayer mode, which is fairly unique for this type of game.  Be warned, though, there’s a rather steep entry fee to this mode, and if you lose you lose, if you know what I mean.  Whether you’re looking for a dose of nostalgia with a facelift or just a solid 2D space shooter, Galaxy Attack is a good choice for you.
Verdict: Play
Galaxy Attack on Google Play
Galaxy Attack: Alien Shooter doan lan, Galaxy Attack: Alien Shooter – Free

roundup-20180609-minecart

Minecart – I’m a sucker for simulated mine cart rides, so I was really hoping I’d enjoy this one.  Sadly, I guess I’m going to have to keep looking.  I can’t even tell you what the game play is like, because I don’t think I’ve lasted for more than 30 seconds in a run and I’m not even sure what I’m doing.  The game offers no explanation as to the controls, and other than some shaky graphics manipulation, which could just be poor use of the game engine, I’m not sure that any of my flicks or swipes are actually doing anything.  The graphics don’t help any as any potential obstacles appear mostly as random flashes on the screen.  The worst part is that it often takes a few taps to even start a run, and then you are presented with an ad… EVERY single time.  I’m all for developers sponsoring free games with some advertisements, but this is ridiculous.  I spend more time watching teasers than actually playing any sort of game with Minecart.  At least the developer tapped the incredible vault of Kevin Macleod for the music, so that’s something.  Otherwise there’s no reason I can recommend this game.
Verdict: Pass
Minecart on Google Play

roundup-20180609-magnetic-balls-pro

Magnetic Balls Pro – I’m not a big fan of bubble shooters, so I don’t make much of an effort to download and try them.  Something about this one piqued my interest, though, and I’m glad I gave it a shot.  The game is fairly minimalist in the sense that there are no colorful characters and it doesn’t attempt to present some unnecessary and often oddly complicated background story.  There are two basic game play modes – adventure and endless– and all you have to do on either is keep playing until the balls you’re trying to clear away get too close to the bottom of the screen.  The main difference between the two modes is that in adventure mode you actually have levels, whereas in endless mode you just have a massive wall of balls descending from the top of the screen at any given moment.  Endless mode is okay, but adventure mode is where this game really shines, as you get to see the game’s incredible physics in play.  Each level is comprised of one or more anchor points from which all the balls emanate, and as you make matches to clear some of the balls away you get to watch the board wriggle and morph into something new every time.  This is due to the game’s titular feature of magnetism, and as the balls swing back and forth they can actually attach themselves to other chunks.  It’s something you have to see in motion to appreciate, and even if you’re not a fan of the style of game play it’s a feature that makes this game stand above the crowd.  Occasionally one of the balls you fire will turn into a power up, doing everything from freezing some of the balls to making them explode.  You can also purchase power ups at any time using the gems you collect through various methods.  The game does offer daily, weekly and all time leaderboards, though there are no achievements to earn.  Magnetic Balls Pro is proof that sometimes it just takes the right game to make a genre worth exploring.
Verdict: Play
Magnetic Balls Pro on Google Play

roundup-20180609-fear-house-2

Escape Games: Fear House 2 PRO – I’d like to say that I prefer adventure games to escape games, but more and more these days it’s getting hard to tell the difference.  At least this one was kind enough to label itself as an Escape Game, and I liked the visuals so I gave it a try.  For the most part I enjoyed the game.  Sometimes it was hard to tell what to click, and like most escape games there’s basically no exposition so you don’t know when you’re wasting time on something that’s nothing.  The game was kind enough to highlight the direction you came from while traveling, though it could still get disorienting sometimes.  The inventory system was nice in the fact that you could combine and separate objects, but it wasn’t always obvious what you had picked up.  The puzzles were pretty straightforward as long as you could tell what the objects were, though there were a couple of instances where I had to consult online help sites for a hint.  The game does offer two hints for free, which I did not actually take advantage of, so I can’t really say how helpful they would have been.  The biggest drawback to the game is that it doesn’t rise above in any given aspect, and if you don’t manage to get the pro version for free it’s hard to justify paying for what amounts to 10-15 minutes of game play.  I think the game has a lot of potential, but in the end I’m not sure that I would have been happy had I shelled out any money for it.
Verdict: Pass
Fear House 2 PRO on Google Play

roundup-20180609-we-bare-bears

We Bare Bears Match3 Repairs – So at this point you know the drill.  Some disaster has hit, in this case a trio of bears’ home has been destroyed, and it’s up to you to use your match 3 skills to set things right.  You’d think by now this formula would be a little overdone, but these bears and their cast of quirky friends exude so much charm that you’ll almost forget you’ve played this game many times over already.  The best part is that the game is highly enjoyable even if you are not familiar with the property it is based on, though I suspect that there would be an even greater level of excitement for those folks.  Game play is your standard “beat boards, earn stars and spend them to fix something up”, yet there’s something amusing about watching a bear fix a satellite dish (they have to have TV too) or being concerned over the mailbox so they can get the latest things via mail order.  Many of the boards have interesting layouts, and there are little twists to all the match 3 norms like bunnies that you have to catch which actually move around the board.  Even though power ups, while functionally similar to other games, have their own “We Bare Bears” flair.  It’s hard to resist boomerang waffles and exploding hamburgers.  If you’ve really had enough of this match 3 variant than We Bare Bears might not change your mind, yet for me, even though I’ve spent way too much time playing Homescapes I still find myself quickly growing addicted to this game.
Verdict: Play
We Bare Bears Match3 Repairs on Google Play
We Bare Bears Match3 Repairs Sundaytoz, INC, We Bare Bears Match3 Repairs – Free

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

Next ArticleEventide 3: Legacy of Legends in Review: Not Quite So Legendary