Android Games Roundup [2/20/18]


Welcome to my first roundup of 2018! Sorry I’m a bit late to the party (does nearly two months count as fashionable?), but life has a funny way of not letting you do what you want to sometimes. Anyway, I’ve shifted gears a bit, because honestly I was getting tired of things just flat out not listing my iPad as a supported device or not NOT listing it but the game really not working on it anyway. Plus, I got a new-ish Android phone for Christmas, and it actually plays a lot of those games I just mentioned in the last sentence. So, my first collection of summaries is actually about Android games, though if there is an iOS version available I will provide a link for that as well. Just remember, I played all of these games on an Android phone, not on my iPad 2.

Also, I decided to do something else that I’ve not done with a roundup before, or at least not with roundups on this site. Instead of just listing games I liked (though that will still probably be the majority of what shows up), I’m actually going to mention games that I didn’t care for so much either. You should be able to tell the difference pretty readily, but just in case I’ll conclude each summary with a “Play” or “Pass” designation. And here’s a slight spoiler: Homescapes, Fastlane and Into The Dead 2 deserve a couple of extra “plays” added on to the end of my verdict. I play each of them almost every single day, which hasn’t happened for a long time even with the games that do still run on my iPad 2. So, without further ado, let’s actually get to the reviews…
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Abi: A Robot’s Tale in Review – Dystopian Robot Adventure Gaming Anyone?


I grew up on adventure games, and while there seems to be a resurgence in popularity of the genre (disregarding the underground movement that argues they never went away), I still get really excited every time a new one pops up that isn’t filled with hidden object screens or scores of mini-games that are either mind numbing or frustratingly executed.  Abi: A Robot’s Tale definitely has more of an old school feel to it, at least in terms of game play… up until roughly the last third of the game.  I’m still rather intrigued by where this series might go – at least I hope it’s going to be a series – but I trust that future installments will steer away from where this one ended up.  Keep on reading and all will soon become clear.
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Toby: The Secret Mine in Review – What’s Not Secret Is This Game Is Fun


Once you start playing Toby: The Secret Mine you might think to yourself that it feels a bit like Limbo.  Don’t worry, that’s to be expected.  Even the developers admit the inspiration in the first line of their iTunes description.  What makes a game like Toby worthwhile is that it stands out despite the similarities, not because of them.  I’ve run into a few games that try to emulate these two visually, but so far I’d say they are best in class in terms of the game play style.  The most important thing is that they are proof positive that a platformer doesn’t have to be all about shooting every bad guy or collecting coins and power ups.
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Deep Town: The Twin Candles HD in Review – More Of A Stagnant Spark Than A Roaring Flame


I’ve been a fan of G5 for a long time.  I realize they don’t actually develop the games themselves, but their logo at the beginning of an adventure was usually a guarantee of a solid game play experience.  No one is perfect, however, and for G5 it seems that Deep Town is one of their rough spots.  The premise behind the game is intriguing enough that you’ll want to press through to the end, but how you get there is a big enough mess that it might not be worth it unless you are a huge fan of adventure games.
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The Enchanted Books in Review – Wins Most, Loses Some


I love adventure games, and while I have nothing against the “hidden object movement” it’s nice to play a more traditional adventure every once in a while.  The Enchanted Books certainly fits that bill for the most part, though due to its Myst-like nature there are no NPCs to interact with.  Otherwise it’s just what you’d expect from a solid adventure game – plenty of rooms to explore, lots of inventory based puzzles to solve and the occasional mini-game just to make sure that you don’t always need to find a key to unlock everything in the game.  Unfortunately there were a couple of issues with the general flow of the game, but thankfully they didn’t stop me from seeing it through to the end.  Overall this was another solid adventure from a developer with a decent catalog to their name.
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Lost Grimoires 2: Shard of Mystery in Review: A New Chapter In The Saga


The tale of Lost Grimoires continues… sort of.  Like many of the popular Big Fish Games franchises, the only thing this has in common with its predecessor is the name, at least as far as I can tell.  That’s okay, because it’s a decent game in its own right, with most of the same features that made the first installment of the series worth playing.  I didn’t find the story quite as compelling, but that didn’t bother me too much either.  If you’re into adventure games with hidden object scenes and the occasional mini game, Lost Grimoires 2 will make another worthy addition to your collection.
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The Shadow of Devilwood – Adfree in Review – At Least They Tried


At a time when it seems like the term “adventure game” is used to either encompass everything that’s not a puzzle game or made synonymous with hidden object games, it’s nice to find an entry that’s more along the lines of what I’d consider a “traditional” adventure game.  That is to say a game where you explore a land room by room, gathering objects to solve puzzles and occasionally playing a mini-game to unlock and area or reveal yet another object puzzle piece.  Unfortunately, The Shadow of Devilwood still has a lot of flaws, but at least its heart was in the right place.
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RunGunJumpGun in Review – Intense, Addictive Fun


Welcome to Flappy Bird 2.0.  The protagonist has a gun, the obstacles fight back and if you want to truly “complete” each stage you’ll need to have a reaction time that borders on crazy.  If you’re not into “retro” gaming you might be put off by the screen shots, but you really shouldn’t let that deter you from trying this game.  From the moment I first loaded it up I was hooked, and it gets better with each section and world that you unlock.  The only thing you might want to consider is either having a pile of pillows nearby or putting an Otterbox type case on your device for when you inevitably throw it out of frustration (if you are that type of person).
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Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom in Review – These Golems Don’t Want A Ring


I’ve always considered the Artifex Mundi logo sort of a stamp of quality when it comes to adventure and hidden object games, and Lost Grimoires is certainly no exception to that rule.  While this may not be the most challenging offering in its genre, the story is compelling enough to keep you until the very end and there’s enough game play that you shouldn’t feel slighted in that department.  The hidden object scenes seem a bit superfluous, though the mini-games serve the correct purpose of acting merely as an occasional distraction instead of stalling the game too often.  Overall the game is well balanced, and the addition of the concept of alchemy to help solve some puzzles is a nice bonus.
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Vulture Island in Review – Donut Games Does It Again



While it seems like several developers have “mastered” the art of churning out casual games one after the other, Donut Games is one of the few companies that has managed to do it with consistently high quality.  In the last couple of years they’ve started publishing some more complex offerings as well, the latest of which is Vulture Island.  On the surface it might seem like a simple platform game, but it has an inventory system that reminds me of the classic “Dizzy” games from the golden age of gaming.  It also veers away from the traditional “beat the first level, move on to the next” trope in a way that makes it much more interesting and satisfying to complete than your average Super Mario clone.  Platform gamers should rejoice in this new take on the genre, and those that find the all too linear storytelling of a traditional platform game dull might just find something they like here as well.
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