Android Games Roundup [11/5/19]

roundup-20191105-intro

Welcome to the Halloween edition of my Android roundup!  Okay, I know what you’re thinking.  “Doesn’t the author realize it is November?”  Then you’re going to scroll down and take a look at the selection of games and think “hey, these aren’t even scary!”  You got me on both counts.  Sadly I barely have time these days to round up my roundup, let alone do a special one for the holidays.  I was really hoping to at least get this one posted by Halloween, though, so I could have had a roundup in October.  Unfortunately, the site was down for a few days so that didn’t happen.  But, the site’s back up now, the roundup is here, and you finally get to read about Gems Of War, a game that came out a long time ago but that I just finally got introduced to, and that continues to suck up most of my available game time each night.  Oh, and there are a few other things in this roundup as well.

roundup-20191105-galaxy-warrior

Galaxy Warrior: Alien Attack [10/31/2018] – I’m always on the lookout for the next great scrolling shooter, and at one point I was hoping that might be Plunder Kings.  Sadly I was somewhat disappointed in that one, but the search kept going and now I think I’ve found it.  Initially I was expecting this to be one of those cookie-cutter space shooters that I’d play for five minutes and then ceremoniously remove from my device, but it turns out there’s a lot on offer here.  Game play is your typical “destroy everything that comes at you” fare, but the levels are well designed and the world is very much alive and fluid.  As an awesome example, in the first level you’ll often see the creature / ship flying beneath you that you’ll eventually take on in level 2.  Each level has three stages of difficult which in turn offer five objectives apiece.  You don’t have to complete all the objectives on every difficulty, but it is fun to go back and try as you upgrade your ship.  On the battlefield you’ll collected different colored gems, and if you get three in a row of the same color you’ll be equipped with the corresponding special skill, which you can unleash with the touch of an icon at the bottom of the screen.  There are three different ships to acquire and enhance if you’re willing to put some grind into it.  The ship glides smoothly under your control, the music is decent, and the graphics are levels above what you’d expect from a game that didn’t come from a big name mobile developer.  I know this has kind of become my catch phrase with the roundups, but while the game doesn’t really break any new ground the ground it does cover is well covered indeed.

Verdict: Play
Galaxy Warrior: Alien Attack on Google Play

roundup-20191105-long-keith

Long Keith The Sausage Thief (Snake Game) [8/5/19] – Long Keith is actually a clever premise.  It appears to be your basic snake clone, except that the eponymous Keith is constantly growing.  In order to stunt this growth and make it easier for you to navigate each level you must help Keith eat the sausages that pop up.  On the other hand, it is imperative that you not run into any walls or accidentally consume anything with a red background.  This will automatically end the game.  Occasionally a sausage will pop up that has special powers like causing you to accelerate for a bit or wiping out all the bad things on the board.  In between levels you can use the sausages you’ve collected to buy disguises if you want to.  Unfortunately you have to first unlock the disguises by completing levels, and then you have to purchase them in order to use them.  That wouldn’t be so bad, but up to this point I think I’ve only completed 5 levels.  This is partially a skill deficiency, but mostly because I don’t care enough to put the effort into it.  While the concept is amusing, the game play is quite frankly boring.  The levels aren’t interesting, and compared to the fast game play of other snake clones like Snake Towers, playing a level here long enough to earn more than one star just seems to take forever.  There’s definitely some potential here, but in a genre that’s as old as the cell phone itself, there’s nothing Long Keith has to offer that sets it apart from its rivals.

Verdict: Pass
Long Keith The Sausage Thief on Google Play

roundup-20191105-kazarma

Kazarma [9/8/19] – Kazarma is basically a third person infinite runner with levels and a space ship.  In other words, the perfect casual game.  There are five worlds to conquer, each comprised of 10 levels that can be played at normal, hard and insane.  To complete a level you just have to get to the end of it, though sometimes that sounds easier than it is, even when you consider how short the levels actually are.  Once you complete a level you’ll earn a letter ranking which appears to be based on a combination of how many bad guys you kill and how often you get hit.  Throughout a given level you’ll be able to collect power ups as well as coins, and if you successfully complete a level you’ll get the option to triple your coin intake by watching a video.  The coins you collect serve a variety of purposes, from letting you continue when you die and buy power ups at the beginning of a level to purchasing new ships or making permanent upgrades.  I don’t think the different ships affect game play, though some of them definitely look cooler than others.  On the other hand, this means that the upgrade path applies to all ships, so once you’re stats are upgraded you don’t have to start again when switching to another craft.  Each new world adds its own pitfalls, like more aggressive bad guys and jumps in world 2 and sliding platforms (ironically, your ship cannot cross gaps) and dive-bombing drones you can’t shoot down in world 3.  You might find yourself grinding some of the earlier levels to get the money necessary to upgrade your ship, but with as short as the levels are that’s not really a bad thing.  The game looks great, with a visual style that really sets it apart from other scrolling shooters.  The music is pretty decent as well.  Other than the fact that you’re limited on how much you can upgrade your ship, there’s not much to complain about here.

Verdict: Play
Kazarma on Google Play
Kazarma Legal Radiation Team, Kazarma – Free

roundup-20191105-gems-of-war

Gems Of War – Match 3 RPG [6/16/2015] – Not too long before writing this something reminded me about the game Puzzle Quest.  As far as I’m concerned that’s still one of the best match 3 / RPG hybrids, so I thought I should try digging up a copy of it to play again.  Then a friend of mine reminded me about his suggestion of Gems of War, which is basically a spiritual successor to Puzzle Quest, so I downloaded it to try it out.  Let’s just say that I’m starting to forget what else I’ve got installed on my device!  There’s so much going on in this game that I’m just going to cover the extreme basics, but if you like the whole match 3 / RPG hybrid format you won’t be bored with this offering.  You start picking a main adventurer, and you can recruit three additional members to that party.  As you increase in levels you’ll be able to put together multiple parties, each with 4 members.  Acquiring new troops won’t be difficult, either, as I’ve already gotten so many I don’t know what all I have available to me.  All of the characters you get can be upgraded in multiple ways, while your main character gets upgraded as you defeat enemies and increase in levels.  You’ll also be able to equip your main character with multiple different weapons that can be upgraded.  Each realm has a quest mode, an explore mode and a trials mode to conquer, and you can earn money off of realms that you have already quested in.  The game also offers the perfect PvP setting, as you can compete against others without actually interacting with them.  I had actually left this particular review for a bit with the intention of coming back after I had played some more to tell you about additional features, but the truth is there really are too many to cover in such a short blurb.  As I said before, if you are a fan of the match 3 / RPG hybrid, you really need to try this out.  Even if you only explore a fraction of the available options you’ll have plenty to keep you busy for hours at a time.

Verdict: Play
Gems Of War on Google Play
Gems of War – Match 3 RPG 505 Games (US), Inc., Gems of War – Match 3 RPG – Free

roundup-20191105-train-taxi

Train Taxi [5/25/19] – This is one of those games that is quite deceiving.  The premise is actually a clever take on the old game of snake – you move a train around a track collecting the passengers, and as you do the train grows.  Grab all the passengers without crashing the train into itself and you win the level; otherwise you need to try again.  It’s also different because sticking with the train theme means you have a particular path you have to follow, and the path is divided by way points that let you choose periodically which direction you want to go.  So, it’s sort of a turn-based version of snake.  The concept is cool, and for a few levels it is actually pretty fun.  Then after 30 some levels you realize that you’re doing the same thing over and over again, and in this instance that is not so much fun.  Other than longer tracks and bridges, there Is basically nothing added to the game play over time.  You can earn gems and coins to buy trains, but even that gets old quickly because the trains don’t affect the game play at all.  As a snake variant the game is compelling for only a few levels, and it has no ability to pass for a train simulator, so if you’re looking for either type of game I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

Verdict: Pass
Train Taxi on Google Play
Train Taxi SayGames LLC, Train Taxi – Free

roundup-20191105-flow-water

Flow Water [5/25/18] – I feel like this is “pick on developers for trying to be creative” day.  Much like Train Taxi, Flow Water lures you in with a vibe that you’ve not played a game quite like this before.  The reality is this is probably one of the older concepts in puzzle games, where you have to get something flowing from point A to point B by moving the environment around.  In this case, as the name adequately describes, you are attempting to get water to flow, specifically into one or more fountains littered around the board.  The fact that the game uses an isometric perspective is really cool, and certainly makes the game look slick, and the addition of layers is a nice touch.  Truth be told, you throw in the fact that there are no timers and that you can’t truly make a mistake, and it seems to have everything a causal player would want from a puzzle game.  It turns out, however, that when you strip those things out completely the game loses another element: fun factor.  Aside from occasionally struggling to place a piece correctly or not always seeing the entire path the water needs to flow, there is nothing wrong mechanically with the game.  The problem is that after completing more than 60 levels, I can’t really say that I’m having much fun with the game.  Because there are no timers and there is no penalty for doing anything wrong, there’s also very little sense of accomplishment once everything is in place in a given level.  In the end, I’m not particularly compelled to re-launch the game after quitting a given session.

Verdict: Pass
Flow Water on Google Play
Flow Water Fountain 3D Puzzle Maria Vegas Gallego, Flow Water Fountain 3D Puzzle – Free

roundup-20191105-spell-caster

Spell Caster [8/4/19] – I am not a huge fan of word games, so unfortunately for Spell Caster it was already fighting a losing battle for my interest.  I was hoping, however, that the developer might have taken enough advantage of the dungeon crawling motif to sway my opinion.  Sadly, that did not in fact happen.  The game is comprised of four worlds, and in each world you’ll travel through many levels conquering creatures.  To defeat said enemies you’ll need to spell words with the letters you are given.  You can use each letter only once.  You can shuffle the position of the letters which might help you visually recognize new words, and you can get hints, though you only get a couple to start with and have to use gems to buy more.  You can also use gems to continue when you’ve died.  Naturally, gems can be acquired either through watching videos or through IAP.  You can even view a list of words you’ve already spelled on a level, but use this cautiously because the countdown timer before your enemy attacks doesn’t stop just because you’re in the list.  The game has no plot, no missions, and no real drive to wander from screen to screen.  You do earn experience points, and after so many points you get to increase one of three stats, but that’s about the extent of the RPG elements to the game.  If you’re into word games you might enjoy this one, but if you’re not a fan than this will do nothing to make you reconsider that position.

Verdict: Pass
Spell Caster on Google Play

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