Articles tagged with android

Feb
10
Posted by Ben at 02:11
I reviewed Trulon: The Shadow Engine last year, I enjoyed it. It's a bit sedate and it doesn't quite go as deep as I would have liked, but it's a fun game.

If you missed the PC release or even the smartphone versions, then it might be worth taking a look at the upcoming Xbox One version

Trulon: The Shadow Engine is coming to Xbox One on February 24th. We did a gameplay video way back when, it's posted below

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Aug
24
2016
Posted by Mark at 17:29
Platinum seem to be quite fond of their multi-game deals, bursting onto the scene with a deal with Sega and then moving onto what looked like a tie-up with Nintendo to make The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2 and StarFox Zero.

Now, they're working with mobile publisher Cygames.

The first game is a console spinoff of their obscenely popular mobile RPG Granblue Fantasy, subtitled Project Re:Link.

It's going to be a 3D action-RPG, and the trailer looks to contain plenty of the spectacular fighting we're used to from the company:

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Oh, and Nobuo Uematsu off of Final Fantasy is doing the music.

There is no specific platform specified for the game yet, but it's interesting that Cygames seem to be looking to move beyond their mobile roots, also announcing Project Awakening for 'high-end consoles', which Platinum is ostensibly not involved with.

The other game, however, demonstrates that even Platinum aren't immune from having to dip into the mobile market, with their debut smartphone game Lost Order, a 'Real-Time Tactics' RPG, which Siliconera has screenshots of.

It's likely that this will be a Free-To-Play title, as this has been what Cygames has generally made their money doing, but this has as yet not been confirmed.

There are no release dates set as yet, and a blog post by Platinum even goes out of its way to stress that the games are not confirmed for the West at all.
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Pokémon Go
Edition
09-08-16
Posted by James at 15:44

It's obligatory Pokémon Go article time!!!

But there's a good excuse: It's the summer games drought, where publishers decide not to release any games because we're all out getting some sunshine in our free time and no one else can say otherwise. The climate does make a great case for Pokémon Go, though, so that's what I've mostly been playing over the last month.

In a way, Pokémon Go is the all-encompassing idle game. You walk around your neighbourhood or areas unknown in the chance that a rare Pokémon might come into proximity, or hoping that one of the nine nearby Pokémon will pop up on your map, ready to battle and capture.

Your phone then gives off a satisfying buzz, you prod the Pokémon on the map, catch the critter and then it's off to look for more. It never really requires your full attention, but the heavy reliance on random Pokémon spawns combined with the social pull for groups to play or discuss the game makes for a game that’s nearly irresistible to leave alone. You're not only always making progress; you’re increasing your chances of being able to do so in the first place.

I’m still unsure whether playing Pokémon Go has made my journeys more exciting yet. Discovering new Pokémon in the same old areas is always exciting, but on the flipside it can all feel like busywork if you’re playing on your own and the novelty of the AR feature wears off. In particular, evolving Pokémon for experience points is often a long and cumbersome experience, and it can be disheartening to visit gym after gym of more powerful Pokémon than your own.

What makes Pokémon Go a bit more unique in the realm of games-as-a-service apps on mobile is that it’s compelling without the need to rely on tempting you back with superficial rewards.

There are no daily log-in bonuses, and a new player can quickly get accustomed to the game without being "trained" through a long and arduous tutorial that points the player towards all the different things they can do. Many of Pokémon Go's mechanics are left entirely unexplained to the player, which gives the experience the same sense of adventure as your first main Pokémon game.

Because Pokémon locations are all shared among players, it doesn’t feel as cynical as other games in the genre can. Niantic simply doesn’t – and can’t – discriminate directly between players in an obvious, direct way.

While Pokémon Go is undeniably seen as a social experience, the game actually lacks any sort of direct social features, too. There’s no way to spam your friends’ social media feeds with invites to the game for in-game currency, neither is there any way to directly compare your own achievements with friends’.

Social interaction is mostly driven from within the game’s intrinsic mechanics – I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had with others, comparing our roster of creatures, or what we managed to capture over the weekend. It almost feels like a return to purer times as a result, where games weren’t actively trying to use their current playerbase to convert new players, or existing players into payers.

While I've unknowingly sunk many hours into catching dozens of Pidgeys and other common Pokémon in the name of levelling up and making progress, there's a lot to appreciate about Pokémon Go's design, and it certainly feels less cynical than other games on mobile.

Perhaps that's reflected in the spending patterns of players -- Macquarie Securities claimed that the majority of purchases in Australia were driven by a large number of players rather than super-engaged big spenders. Maybe I was wrong to point my finger at The Pokémon Company after all...
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Aug
05
2016
Posted by Ben at 02:14
We posted about Chime Sharp last week, a game I backed on Kickstarter, so take that, and this, under consideration.

Pixelgrams: Pixel Puzzles is a game by Ste Curran, developer of said Chime Sharp. It's basically a pixel art jigsaw game, I've seen comparisons to Picross

Anyway, Pixelgrams: Pixel Puzzles is out now on iOS and Android and is Free, add supported, with in-app purchases.

I've had a bit of a play about with it and it's not bad. I was getting a little frustrated that you couldn't see what you were supposed to be making before hand, meaning some puzzles, even early ones, were harder than they needed to be, but then I noticed that you can in fact see the items. Each world has an overworld map of sorts, all the items you're going to have to make are on there, so yeah, pro tip

Android
iOS
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Jun
29
2016
Posted by Ben at 02:09
I was going to make some brexit joke but honestly I'm still too depressed about the whole thing.

Anyway, Square Enix have announced that the Playstation Vita version of Adventures of Mana is out right now on PSN

The Vita version of Adventures of Mana is available for Ł10.49. However, to celebrate the release, Square Enix have put the ios and Android versions of Adventures of Mana and Secret of Mana on sale for a limited time; priced Ł7.99 and Ł2.99 respectively
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Jun
21
2016
Posted by Ben at 14:27
I keep posting about In Between. I reviewed it, liked it quite a bit, and I think it does a good job of pulling its themes in to its gameplay. I've written that god knows how many times now, but I'll write it once more to say that In Between is currently 10p on the Google Play store

I've very briefly played it on my phone. It looks nice and sharp, the pc version looked a little muddy, but that might be the screen as much as the graphic. Control wise it's touch screen virtual d-pad type stuff with a few quirks, not as precise as an actual d-pad or a keyboard, but in the early stages at least, not unplayable
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Apr
19
2016
Posted by Ben at 14:58
We're big fans of the old Pang games here at bitparade, so Pang Adventures is a game we've been keeping our collective eye on.

Not a close enough eye though as it turns out Pang Adventures is out today on android, ios, Steam, PS4 and Xbox One

There's a discrepancy in pricing across the various platforms that publisher DotEmu say is made up for with differing features. So while the android and ios versions are Ł2.29 (at least the android version is), the Steam release, which includes online multiplayer absent from the phone version, is Ł6.29 (usually Ł6.99). The slight dent in that is that the PS4 and Xbox One versions are Ł7.99 and currently lack online multiplayer, keeping it local co-op instead
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Republique

14-04-16
Posted by Duane at 06:24

Back in the early 2000's certainly after the release of Konami's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Ubisofts Splinter Cell, it felt like any third person action game had to include a section of the game that required you to be stealthy. These were often the weakest aspects of those games as it tended be something that both changed the pace of progression and asked the player to do something that felt against the nature of that particular game up until that point.


Whilst playing Republique, I'm reminded of this time, not because of any “shoe-horning” of a game type into something else, but because its been a while since I've played anything remotely like this. The player is initially tasked with aiding Hope escaping from a prison cell and the building she has been entrapped in and to do this you have to avoid the detection of guards using a combination of the games default camera settings and Hope's mobile phone that has an app installed to allow her to control CCTV camera's to gain an advantage over her captors. It all sounds needlessly complicated but, having been initially developed for mobile platforms its genuinely not, you can happily ping around the various cameras in each room/hallway, get an idea of your surroundings,m investigate any items of interest that appear and the navigate Hope to the nearest exit.

You see, Hope needs to escape, her reasons aren't just because she's been incarcerated, but that she is also going to be recalibrated, she has gained access to literature that those in power deem to challenge their Orwellian control over the populace and they will use any means necessary to keep the people from uprising the oppression they have been placed under. In some respects it reminds me a little bit of another early 2000's era game, Ubisofts Beyond Good & Evil, this is down to a number of things, the use of camera's (admittedly done differently between the two as Jade in BG&E is documenting the oppressors actions rather than escaping from them), the game having a female lead character and the fact you tend to be in a rather defensive position rather than a need to be on the attack all the time, avoiding confrontation is usually (or in Hopes case, pretty much always) the best option. It also feels a little French, which I cant explain why, but the game feels like the kind of work we would have seen from Ubisioft prior to them just becoming a publisher that releases an Assassin Creed or Tom Clancy game every year. I suppose the develop, Camouflaj, being from Canada plays some part in that (although I only discovered that after beginning to write this review).

I actually really like Republique, although I struggle to play it for long periods of time, even though it is broken down in an episodic nature I find it difficult to play through a good chunk of each episode in one sitting. I'd say this is partly down to the games rather oppressive atmosphere, you want to free Hope, just because the game and its setting does everything in its power to make you feel that way. I also think that my struggles with it are also down to its very mechanics, the camera's aren't always clear and its sometimes difficult to know what a guard is doing as they move behind scenery that you just cant get a good view of add in that Hope isn't the easiest character to control, whilst the pace of the game is reminiscent of stuck behind someone in a town centre who just wont move out of your way and let you get on with your business. There's room for improvement here, but Republique, as a rather rare example of the stealth genre now, is actually a decent attempt at an entry into the genre and certainly rises above elements that used to get tacked onto other games, like that ridiculous stealth section in Atari's Fahrenheit.
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Trulon:
The Shadow Engine
01-03-16
Posted by Ben at 14:02

Trulon: The Shadow Engine is a game that is very much a mix of styles. The look and tone of Trulon is bright, colourful, soft looking, yet its story is something a little more complex than one side good, one side bad, but it is a game that's lacking a bit of punch

Trulon: The Shadow Engine is a mix of traditional JRPG gameplay with card battling and deck building. There’s an overworld, the occasional random battle, levelling, even items to equip. The levelling in particular makes a real difference to characters, gaining a level can make challenging areas bearable. I have to admit, there were a few areas where I felt the need to go and gain a level or two, the simplicity of the early game is, every so often, rocked by spikes in difficulty

The card system and deck building are where the depth of Trulon comes in. Winning fights may earn you a card, which can be equipped to selected fighters. During battle you’ll be presented with a handful of cards from your personal deck, plus a couple handed to you each turn by the game, these are essentially your moves. Certain characters can only use certain cards, Gladia for example never learnt a healing move, but she was my go to if I wanted to cause a lot of damage, conversely Valencia can alter enemy stats, even get them attacking each other. you have to be careful though, the cards coming from your deck can only be used once per battle, burn your stun moves, dodge moves, or even healing moves too early and you could be in real trouble.

Characters can be equipped with perks, activated by special cards, that, as well as attacking/healing/whatever, will also bestow an affect on you or the enemy. It may be that using a card will give you some HP back, set the enemy on fire, or even let you pull another card, but once you spend enough time with the game you begin to build these perks in to your strategy, thinking a couple of moves ahead. That’s not to say combat is without its flaws. Because you don’t have control over which cards are in your hand you can find yourself screwed, if you need a heal spell and all you’re getting is defence perks the fight can be over pretty quickly. Which is another problem, later on, especially when you’re fairly comfortable in terms of victory, fights can feel like they take an age. It’s hard to know what could have fixed this, but fairly routine fights can feel like a bit of a trudge to the point I was avoiding some of the random encounters.

Trulon’s one big problem runs right through everything it does, namely that it doesn't engage you. It lacks punch, something that shakes you out of the automation you've slipped in to from the combat. Some more dramatic music would help, or at least changing up what’s there, particularly if someone is low on health. More in the way of animations too, graphically, while it’s nice enough, it can come across a little flat. Also displaying how close people are to levelling up at the end of the fight, make it so I feel like I'm making progress, pull my attention back to the game.

The story too needs something. It's not a bad tale, two nations suspicious of each other, it hints at something more, something bigger. It will be interesting to see if the 'phony-war' angle does feature in the upcoming book, certainly there's some apt parallels to be drawn from the naive populace. That said there's a lack of drama to how it's delivered, a handful of still pictures, one-paced text. It's hard to care about it. Especially true for what happens to the characters, there's no meat behind them, they just kind of exist, despite playing through the game you still feel like you've learnt nothing about them. Not a huge problem in and of itself, but it is indicative of a greater problem

I don’t want to be too hard on Trulon though, it’s good, surprisingly good. I expected a quick knock around of an rpg, superlight but easy to burn through, what I got was a decent challenge, with moments of real strategy. While the limitation of cards can come to the forefront, not giving you the hand you need for example, when you chain together a huge series of moves, combining your party’s efforts in clever and powerful ways, you can really see the potential of Trulon. For example, I equipped one of my characters with a perk that meant she could be triggered to have another turn, combining that with ‘Haste’ for extra turns, raising stats, stunning enemies, then using other characters with cards that dealt more damage to stunned enemies. Rinse repeat for a few turns, then freeze the enemies with one of my other characters, ‘Shadow Dance’ the next turn to draw attacks that will be dodged... When the cards fall your way you can wreak havoc.
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Dub Dash

11-02-16
Posted by Mark at 13:18

Let's get bogged down in genre!

Dub Dash isn't very dubstep-y. Well, it probably is, but it's not the wub-heavy stereotype that people who mistook pointing out that some game trailers a few years ago had dubstep in for satire think of when they hear the word. Dub Dash wants to tell you it's a rhythm game. It isn't- it's more that it's a game that's set to music. I'm not sure exactly where the distinction lies, but this isn't on the same side of said distinction as any of the genre's Heroes.

You play as what appears to be a sentient tyre as it rolls its way down a path, dodging oncoming obstructions with a tap of left or right before automatically returning to the centre. Holding the button causes you to 'bounce' back and forth. The obstacles themselves are positioned so as to coincide with beats in the music- the appropriately disco neon world being cut up into squares, perfect for the regular electronic drums.

This is where Dub Dash's connection to rhythm games starts to fall and it starts to resemble something more in the way of an infinite runner, albeit finite, each level being the length of a song, and split into a handful of checkpointed segments.

Each of the levels, initially at least, add a new twist to the gameplay. The first one it introduces is a side-on flying segment- another popular theme with the infinite runner- and the next a track similar to the first, although this time you shift from lane to lane permanently, rather than bouncing.

The segmented nature of the levels, however, means that the game will suddenly switch from one play style to the other with no warning of what's on the other side of a wall save for an abstract icon telling you what style you're changing to, meaning you inevitably hit the first obstacle- making the game more a task of rote memorisation rather than sightcatches or simply following the rhythm.

It also puts up a few control issues- after a segment where you follow a path into and subesquently back out of the screen reverses the controls in time for a return to the bouncing game seen right at the start, which is a nice touch, but the button for increasing altitude in the flying levels is inexplicably the up arrow.

Like the infinite runner genre itself, Dub Dash is better fit on mobile- and because of that it's much easier to recommend the long-standing iOS version of the game or the Android version, which is launching more or less at the same time as the PC version.

The PC version does have a split-screen multiplayer mode up its sleeve, but the binary 'complete-the-area-or-not' nature of the single-player mode rather than the score attack of traditional rhythm games results in a scoring system that doesn't really lead to competitive play.

Despite these flaws, Dub Dash is compelling enough- most failures feel enough like they're your fault for getting confused to keep you coming, and if that's too much there's a Challenge mode where you can earn lives, to take the edge off the punishment in the main campaign.
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