Android Games Roundup [8/25/18]
A funny thing happened on the way to me trying to be productive. I found more games to play on my phone! Unfortunately puzzles games weren’t well represented this time around. They’re in here, but I wasn’t a real big fan of either of the ones I looked at. I got to reminisce about the past for a while, play a short but decent action game, and ran across a couple of amusing casual affairs to keep you occupied while waiting in a line somewhere. And then there was the sequel to one of my most played games in quite a while, which has now become one of my most played games for the time being. As always enjoy, and hopefully you’ll find something in this list that resonates with you.
Alto’s Odyssey – So I loaded up Alto’s Adventure one day, and before I could do anything there’s an ad for the sequel, Alto’s Odyssey. I’d been waiting for the game anyway, making this one ad I was actually happy to see. I didn’t really know much about the sequel, but it turns out it’s mostly more of the same. Luckily when it comes to Alto, that’s not a bad thing at all. There are cool new objects to interact with, like hot air balloons and tornados, and new mechanics such as wall riding to master. The general structure of the game is the same, where you complete three challenges to advance a level and after certain level milestones you unlock new features. Zen mode returns as well, which I still have very little desire to play. The graphics are as detailed and amazing as last time, and the whole atmosphere is just as serene even when you’re on the twentieth try to complete that one challenge that keeps eluding you. I miss the llamas, but I’ll take running with the birds to being chased by an elder any day. The only real question is which Alto I’m going to contend with each time I turn on my device.
TinyBlox: Last Minute Survival – I imagine there are many games like this on the Google Play store. Personally I don’t have much experience with this style of game play, so I can’t really say if this is better or worse than others of its kind. I do know that I enjoy the game, though. The basic premise is that you have to get as many blue squares as you can while avoiding the red ones. You can acquire squares either by tapping on them or dragging your finger over them, though the latter is very adventurous unless there is a long streak of blue squares in a row. Your progress is timed, and the level also ends if you touch too many red squares. Luckily there are power ups that you can snag to make life easier. Get a bomb to destroy the red squares for a length of time, or a paintbrush to paint the town blue, as it were. There are also items to double your score, slow the timer and more. The best part of the power ups is that you can use them at your own pace, and you can snag up to four at a time. TinyBlox also offers a lazy mode that eliminates the pressure of a timer, but it requires a score of 10,000 on the regular mode to unlock it. There are several achievements to earn which are broken up into three categories: Challengers, Masters and Grand Slams. There are also two scoreboards, one for regular mode and the other for lazy. Judging by that list, I’d say not too many folks have unlocked Lazy mode yet. Like many casual mobile games this one is great for killing a few minutes waiting in line for something else to do.
Salt and Pep – I wasn’t really sure that I was going to like this game. I couldn’t honestly tell what kind of game it was from the screen shots, and the visuals seemed a bit unprofessional. It turns out that not only did I like Salt and Pep, but the graphics ended up being one of its biggest charms. It what could best be described as The Secret Life of Condiments, it’s all out war between you – the salt shaker – and all the evil toppings that have taken your precious pepper love. The mechanics are basically Flappy Wings though the genre is more scrolling shooter. Many of the opponents don’t fight back, but when they do it can feel like a kid friendly bullet hell game. The main game is comprised of 10 levels, and while it’s not overly difficult you will die a few times until you’ve sufficiently leveled up your different abilities. Pickups consist of a one time multi-shot and a cube that restores all of your health. There’s also a survival mode that plays basically the same but has a different level structure and doesn’t give you any health cubes. The game provides 10 achievements and two leaderboards, one for high score and the other for total score. The main thing I’d love to see in this game is more – additional story levels, new abilities to max out and maybe even another game play mode. That, and it would be nice if you had control of when you used your mutli-shot. Otherwise this is an entertaining little game, and definitely great for the kids.
Greedy Bunnies – I love puzzle games. I also really like cute games. I so want to like Greedy Bunnies. The premise is actually rather interesting. You make matches of just two objects based on what the game tells you to find. When you’ve cleared a path from left to right for a bunny they will walk across the screen and grab the carrot they so desperately want to eat. The trick is that you have to be careful in how you make your matches because you could potentially orphan pieces that prevent you from getting a bunny to its destination. There are three different types of power ups to help you when you’ve messed up, and from time to time a new mechanic is introduced to make things just a bit more challenging. The problem I have with this game is two-fold, however. The first is that new obstacles don’t come frequently enough, and in the case of the first two they really just felt like slight variations of each other. The second is that despite the random generation of objects within a level, every level really feels the same. Game play gets repetitive too quickly, and I don’t even look forward to a new mechanic being revealed. I’m glad the developers tried to do something different with Greedy Bunnies, but after a while I just felt like they only thing they were being greedy with was my time.
Loop Chain : Puzzle – It looks like this is the wrong roundup for puzzle games. Loop Chain is a simple enough premise – twist pieces around until they are all connected to at least one other piece. One nice thing about this particular rendition of a popular game mechanic is that not every piece on the board has to be linked together. They just have to be touching another piece, with no loose ends remaining (ie: a straight line connected to something at one end and nothing at the other). I also ran across at least one board that had more than one solution, which is always a nice touch. I even like the minimal graphics and the music, though the latter does wear on you when you realize that it’s only about 5 measures repeated over and over again. Much like Greedy Bunnies, the game just gets boring after a while. Worse than Greedy Bunnies, however, is the fact that there are no new mechanics introduced into the game, or at least there hasn’t been for more than 50 levels. There’s a leaderboard that’s really only meaningful to the first person to beat the game, and there are no achievements to earn. In the end this feels more like a mini-game that should be part of something else rather than the focus of the game itself.
Ball’s Journey – This is the epitome of casual gaming. The entire purpose of Ball’s Journey is for you to tap at just the right time to launch said ball as far as you can. The only conceivable thing you might classify as “skill” required is the need to be able to tap when your trajectory arrow is on top of the yellow line so that you can get the perfect shot. And yet I find myself oddly enthralled by this game. Maybe it’s the fact that as your throw gets more powerful you begin to see an ever increasing segment of the cosmos. Or possibly it’s because at some point you earn the right to toss around a chicken, and who doesn’t love that? The game does offer a bit of management in the fact that there are 4 skills to unlock, including the amount of money you earn while offline. Yes, you can actually make money (in-game, mind you) while you’re not even playing the game. Ball’s Journey is a bit of a misnomer, because you can actually unlock a variety of object to toss around like a hatchet or a bomb, and there are also several different characters to unlock. This happens when you either meet certain goals or pay for them via IAP, but it appears that everything can be earned in-game if you have the patience. The only thing I’m not thrilled with is the fact that you have to watch a video after almost every toss, which gets to be frustrating after a while. I realize that’s the sacrifice for not paying for the game, but I would think once every 4 or 5 tosses would suffice. Anyway, quite often I’d give up quickly on a game that showed ads so frequently, but for Ball’s Journey I find myself making an exception.
The Revenge Of Shinobi Classic – I love mobile gaming, but there’s no question that my passion for playing games is firmly rooted in my history as a console gamer. The first one I bought on my own was the SEGA Genesis, and it’s been a thrill to go back and play some of these games as SEGA re-releases them as “classic” editions on the Android platform. It’s been neat to try some of the ones I missed out on when I actually had my console, but in the end the ones I’m really drawn to are the titles that I remember spending hours with when I was a kid and teenager. The Revenge Of Shinobi is one of those games, and honestly it holds up pretty well. The graphics look great for a game that’s nearly 30 years old, and the music and sound effects are well done too. There are occasions where the controls aren’t as tight as I’d like them to be, but unlike some of the classic titles they nailed the virtual joypad pretty good on this one. The ability to rewind the last 15 seconds of game play by watching a video is pretty slick, and the save feature is nice as long as you are willing to sign in with Google Play. All the advanced features require you to watch videos, and while you can spend IAP to remove non-SEGA ads I’m not sure that it will eliminate the video feature. It would be nice to get rid of that, but in the end those features don’t truly represent the original game anyway. I’m not sure how much this is going to appeal to those who didn’t grow up with older consoles, but if you’ve been looking for a legitimate way to play some old favorites on new devices, this is not a bad choice.
That wraps up another edition of the Android Games Roundup. Check the list below for prior installments and keep on gaming!