Not too long ago when my mom was really into playing games on her computer she’d often tell me how she was finishing a game for the second or third time. I never really got that, because between beta testing and reviewing I’m lucky if I get through a game once, let alone multiple times. There are rare occasions where I get caught up in something I know I shouldn’t, though, and such is the case with Gardenscapes HD. I’ve already finished the game on my PC, yet I find myself almost to the end of it on my iPad now. It’s possible that I’ve even enjoyed it more this time around as well.
There’s something about the world of Tiny Planet that captured my attention from the very first game screen. The Tiny Bang Story HD is not your typical hidden object game; it’s a bit light on story, and it assumes that you don’t need any handholding. It can also get frustrating at times, even with something as simple as figuring out what to do next. Through it all, though, I found myself hardly able to put the game down. That’s even after playing the first chapter 3 times (once on my PC and twice on the iPad). There were only two significant letdowns to the game – it ended too quickly, and the end was actually a bit anti-climactic. Continue reading…
The tower defense genre is one that has always eluded me. Sure you have to construct towers (or some sort of defense) and possibly upgrade them during a level, but a bulk of each round is spent simply watching as hordes of monsters parade along a route and your equipment picks them off. Thankfully, though, over the course of time there have been a few that have bucked this trend, Kingdom Rush being one of them. Between constant interaction, interesting level design and a ranking system that allows you to buy permanent upgrades to your defenses, Kingdom Rush takes enough simple steps forward to push it ahead of the crowd.
In show business there’s an old saying that goes (if you haven’t guessed already) “The Show Must Go On”. That’s exactly what this game is all about. You’ll visit several different operas, each of which is having trouble in five different areas. Through a corresponding number of mini-games you’ll hopefully solve the opera’s problems so they can continue with the show. Of course how well each performance goes depends entirely upon your skill at each of the mini-games. Will the crowd give a standing ovation or will the actors fall flat on their faces?
If you want radical sound from your iDevice, you could pop in Iggy Pop’s New Values. Or, if you can’t keep pace with Iggy, why not check out MF Player Pro-radical HiFi. It is a ‘radical’ break from the traditional clean-cut – and often labelled ‘sterile’ – Apple sound. It’s an HiFi app in every sense of the word, and it’s radical in all others. The most obviously radical feature of MF Player is its most radical price, a gnarly 1.999 pennies. And that’s the clincher, really.
But let’s not spoil the rave yet, my party animals. There is praise to get through first. Namely, there are too few apps that are seriously designed for iDevice audiophiles. EQu has been a favourite of mine till now, and Equalizer (TMA Review) has grown up to be nearly perfect. MF player sports some of the lovely effects of a parametric EQ, but also adds its own flavour. While there isn’t a parametric EQ built in, the effects of MF Player are only really attainable by very very expensive EQ hardware, or impeccable settings.
Out of all my university courses, my least favourite was probably mechanical drawing. You know, where you have to meticulously prepare a technical image of an object to scale according to all the rules and regulations. I’ve had little problems understanding how it should look like, but doing it neatly – let’s just say that it didn’t always go according to plan. I’ve even had dreams about the sketches, though they were more like nightmares. And funnily enough, those drawings in my dreams looked almost exactly like Blueprint 3D.
Sometimes I fear that a particular genre will start to get old, especially when the App Store gets littered with games from that genre. The physics puzzler is one such genre that comes to mind, but thankfully Greedy Penguins isn’t the game to make that fear come true. This cute puzzle game about feeding some hungry aquatic birds can be challenging, but it is also satisfying and often quite entertaining. Control is a bit troublesome, which I have a feeling is due to the small iPod Touch screen, but overall the playing experience has been top notch.
Pirates and zombies – these two things are just destined to go together. No wonder when LucasArts designed Monkey Island all those years ago the villain was made one. Now more than 20 years have passed and Telltale has boldly set out to show what the evil pirate would be like if he was human. Meet the dreaded LeChuck turn into a lovable oaf in Monkey Island Tales 2 – the follow-up to Monkey Island Tales 1 (TMA Review) and tremble with… well, not fear.
At first it sounded like the perfect marriage – dungeon crawling and classic point and click adventuring. That alone was enough to entice me into trying Dungeon of the Damned, never mind the cool “old but new” graphics and nostalgic interface. Unfortunately execution isn’t always as good as concept, and sadly what Dungeon Of The Damned has turned out to be for me so far is a boring traipse through a lifeless dungeon with no adventure game elements, little combat and frustrating puzzles. The lack of a map doesn’t help anything either.
At times it seems developers just miss that creative spark in terms of writing, leaving us stuck with stories full of cardboard characters and clichés. But every once in a while a streak of genius may turn such a seemingly boring tale into something new and original. And depending on the viewpoint EPOCH falls neatly into the latter category. Or not.