Android Games Roundup [3/20/20]

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So there may be a few more of you than normal looking for something to play right now (if nothing immediately clicks, look up the post’s date to see what I might be referring to), and hopefully you’ll find something in this list to keep you occupied for a while.  For the most part the games this time around get an thumbs up from me, and actually I was fairly impressed with most of them.  Framed 2 was not only a delightful and challenging puzzle game, but I got to try it out “free” courtesy of Google’s Play Pass (the Android pseudo-equivalent of Apple Arcade).  The real standout for me this time around, however, was Dadish.  Not only is the game incredibly fun to play, but it looks great and is quite humorous to boot.  Fans of platform games shouldn’t even question picking this one up.  And as always there are a few other options as well.

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Framed 2 [8/16/17] – In a way Framed 2 feels more like a visual novel than a true game, but thankfully there are no dialog trees to be found here.  Instead, the game is presented in a series of panels like a comic book, and in order to progress through the story you have to rearrange the panels so your protagonist can get from the first to the last on a given page without being harmed or apprehended.  You first watch the scene to see how it will play out “as is”, and then you can start rearranging the panels to try and produce a different outcome.  Some panels can just be swapped while others can be rotated but remain in their relative position.  At times you may even have to swap panels around while the scene is being played out.  And on top of all that, I’ve run into a couple of places so far where they managed to stick a mini-game into the mix.  The best part is that this is all complimented by some really slick graphics and pretty decent music.  There are even some cut scenes thrown in for good measure.  If you need constant action or actual text / spoken dialog with your story than this might not be your cup of tea, but if you like imaginative games that look great then Framed 2 is definitely worth your time.

Verdict: Play
Note: Downloaded as part of Play Pass
Framed 2 on Google Play
FRAMED 2 Loveshack, FRAMED 2 – $4.99

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Adventurous Box [2/18/19] – I probably say this way too often, but one of the best moments in gaming for me is when I download some random game simply because it’s free and it actually turns out to be pretty decent.  Now I’m not going to pretend there’s anything groundbreaking about this game, but it checks all the right boxes for me (sorry, not sorry for the pun).  The controls are simple – left, right and jump arrows, along with a “climb ladder” one when necessary – and they respond beautifully.  The levels are well designed and not very large, so even if you have to play them a bunch of times it doesn’t get frustrating very often.  While not minimalist, the graphics are pretty basic, which actually is a good look for this game.  The music isn’t bad either, and I never felt compelled to hit the mute button.  Best of all, when I die, which happens often due to my lack of patience, I actually want to give the level one more try.  Now I will admit that occasionally I found myself wanting a save point, which ultimately would be ridiculous given the short nature of the levels, but I think that’s natural if you die enough times in roughly the same spot.  I’m also kind of sad that there is only 20 levels, because the game deserves more.  Still, what the game does offer is certainly entertaining.

Verdict: Play
Note: Downloaded while it was free
Adventurous Box on Google Play

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Bluebird of Happiness [2/6/18] – No, this is not the first official They Might Be Giants mobile game, though it is actually the name of a song (just not one of theirs).  Still, forget all of that because this is actually an interesting adventure game in the vein of the old classics that Sierra Online and others used to make.  It seems that the modern “adventure” game has either become associated with FPS games (which makes no sense to me) or hidden object games, and while I am a huge fan of the latter, it’s nice to see something that’s strictly “explore locations, talk to people and solve object based puzzles”.  There are no objects to search for – unless you happen to miss a rather obvious one (true story) – and no obtuse and often annoying mini-games to complete.  As a result the game isn’t overly long, but it’s also free so that’s okay.  The story is a bit odd, and I didn’t like either of the endings so much, but I enjoyed getting to them so I’ll mark that as a win.  I love the visuals, and the interface is pretty decent.  I would suggest that despite the generally cheery visuals and the fact that the main characters are kids, this is definitely not a game meant to be played by young children.  For those seeking an old school adventure game experience, though, this is certainly worth the few minutes it will take you to play.  You can even get your name in the credits if you drop them some IAP, which I happily did after I was done playing.

Verdict: Play
Bluebird of Happiness on Google Play
Bluebird of Happiness Odencat Inc., Bluebird of Happiness – Free

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Escape LaLa [6/29/18] – The lines between hidden object games, escape rooms and adventure games becomes increasingly blurred as time goes on.  In the full title this game is described as an Escape Room, though there is definitely more than one room to explore.  On the other hand, there is no dialog, or any description of what’s going on for that matter unless you use a hint, which for me certainly steers it away from the adventure game end of the spectrum.  However you classify Escape Lala, though, it is an enjoyable, if not extremely short, game.  The pixel graphics are top notch, and a surprising amount of effort was put into the animation when it does little more than make the game look better.  The music is decent enough, as are the sound effects.  Nothing too memorable, though I do find it interesting that the treasure room has a different theme than the rest of the game.  The puzzles are mostly object based, though there are a couple of mini-games (which in the context of this game might be better termed micro).  No hidden object screens to be found here, though.  Each room contains at least one coin which can be used for a hint, and your total score at the end of the game is a multiplier of the number of coins you found, minus some points for each hint you used.  Again the game is fairly short, but it’s definitely worth a download and play through since it’s free.  And then you can toss the developers a bit of coin via IAP or just support them by buying the sequel, Escape Lala 2.

Verdict: Play
Escape LaLa on Google Play
Escape Lala Gal Pasternak, Escape Lala – Free

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Rocky Rampage [Preview] – Welcome to your next single-tap, ad fueled casual adventure.  Imagine a world where Captain Underpants rode kangaroos, bowled over Viking rejects from the movie Labyrinth and got a little too ambitious with purple dye and you’d begin to understand the silliness of Rocky Rampage.  The basic idea here is that you launch the main character into the air and keep him going for as long as you possibly can.  Unfortunately your upward trajectory only takes you so far, at which point you’ll come tumbling back to the ground, though as you progress further into the game there will be plenty of things to keep you aloft if your timing is right.  Also, once you hit the ground you can take out non-harmful enemies to regain energy and launch yourself back into the air.  All of this is done in an effort to get further along in each level until you finally get to the end boss, which requires several collisions across multiple runs to finally defeat.  In the mean time you’ll earn gold which you can use to upgrade your current hero and eventually to upgrade the various power ups you’ll unlock along the way.  As you complete each level you’ll also unlock a new hero – or rather, a new pair of underwear – that you can switch to and upgrade.  Sure the game play is ultra repetitive, and there’s no deep strategy to master, but if you’re looking for something to do for a few minutes every now and again, you could do a lot worse than Rocky Rampage.  And, the game is definitely family friendly if you’re worried about that sort of thing.

Verdict: Play
Rocky Rampage pre-register on Google Play
Rocky Rampage: Wreck 'em Up Joyseed Gametribe, Rocky Rampage: Wreck ’em Up – Free

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Dadish [2/11/20] – So who would have thought that a Veggie Tales knock-off staring a family of radishes would be any good, but here we are.  You play Dadish (get it?), trying to rescue your naughty kids that have scattered themselves across some pretty nasty terrain.  Of course one would question the competency of the parents to be living near such dangerous locations in the first place, but I suppose that’s not really the point.  The important thing is that this is clearly an homage to the platform games of old, while recognizing the fact that a level comprised of too many screens doesn’t work well on mobile devices.  Don’t expect to find anything revolutionary or even evolutionary for that matter.  Rather, what you find is a game with well designed levels that makes the best use of already defined platforming tropes.  The controls are basic and work fine for the most part, though when you have to go up against the end bosses they can be a bit finicky, mainly because the directional buttons are close enough together that it is easy to hit the wrong one.  You must pass a level to move on to the next one, and each level also has a star to collect though at this point I’m not sure what happens if you get all of them.  For the most part I would describe this as a causal platformer, but I was a bit taken aback by the difficulty increase between the third and final worlds.  A few of the levels offer checkpoints, but keep in mind that those are only good for the course of play.  If you back out of the level or quit playing for a while you’ll need to start those levels over again.  If you are a platforming fan I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with Dadish.

Verdict: Play
Dadish on Google Play
Dadish Thomas Young, Dadish – Free

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Tappy Bear [12/15/19] – I’ve truly come to appreciate simple games in the mobile world, because quite often I don’t have much time to get into a game once I start playing.  However, as charming as I find Tappy Bear, I think it might be a bit too minimalist for me.  The basic premise is that you move a hungry bear left and right across the top of a waterfall to grab all the fish that are swimming by.  If you miss one the game is over.  Also, if the timer runs out the jig is up.  For me, the biggest problem is that it’s more fun to move the bear with the beat of the music than to play the game the right way, which basically makes it impossible to stay ahead of the timer.  At the end of the day, though, there’s no variety to the game.  The background stays the same, other than changing from day to night, and you’ll get different looking fish, but that’s about it.  There are a couple of stats, one of which is a rank so I guess you’re being compared to other players, but the value next to rank is the only indication you have of how you’re doing.  There are no achievements and nothing to earn or work for, so ultimately the game feels pointless to play after a while.  If the developer added a few things like an actual leaderboard, possibly some achievements, and something you could feel good about earning (maybe something that affects game play, for example), there might be a stronger draw to keep coming back to the game.  And, given the lighthearted nature of the game it would be good for kids as well.  Right now, little kids might be the only ones entertained by Tappy Bear.

Verdict: Pass
Tappy Bear on Google Play

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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