Posts Tagged ‘iOS’

I think I can say that I’m a little obsessed when it comes to the original Plants vs Zombies game. I became so addicted to the garden defense gameplay to the point that I had to own the game on every platform in my possession including my iPhone, iPad, and Xbox 360. I almost purchased it on PlayStation 3, but I was able to calm my gardening urges. With that said it looked like my obsession would finally calm down, but all of that would soon change when a certain sequel would arrive on my iPad and iPhone. Plants vs Zombies 2. The Crazy Dave in me has once again resurfaced as my obsession to defend my lawn against the endless zombie horde is back. Why? Because I’m crazy!

Plants vs Zombies 2, from PopCap Games, is a free-to-play game available exclusively on iOS devices. Wait a minute! A game published by EA is free? Did I just step in to the Twilight Zone? EA and free are two words that never go together. There’s got to be a catch. Well believe it or not there is no catch, no pop-up screens demanding money, or lite version of the game. Plants vs Zombies 2 is considered a “freemium” title where I can play the entire zombie defense game without spending a dime, but there are options available in the store for me to spend my hard earned money for some new plants or upgrades if I choose to, however it’s not required.

Just like the original game, Plants vs Zombies 2 still had me eliminating the zombie horde by using my army of plants and endless sunshine against them. Basically, it’s the same addicting game that I’ve been playing for the past couple of years. Just like the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While the original game had me defending my home, the sequel had me going back in time to destroy the zombies in places including Ancient Egypt and The Old West. Each of these new stages looks colorful and fun, and I also like the Super Mario Bros. style overworld map for stage selection.

With a new game comes new plants to choose from. I did have some favorites to mix things up on my battlefield with my peashooters and sunflowers. I had a blast with the Bloomerang allowing me to hit zombies with boomerangs, the Bonkchoy which threw punches, and the Coconut Cannon shot coconuts for some big damage. While those plants were fun to use, the one I enjoyed the most was the Snapdragon. Any plant that can shoot fire across three rows is awesome in my book. Also added to the game was plant food which is obtained from killing the glowing zombies. Using plant food on one of my plants granted them momentary beefed up abilities to help take down a large wave of zombies.

While the gameplay is addicting and fun, there was one thing I didn’t like and that had to do with the store. One of things I noticed in the store was some plants that can be used in the game for a fee. These old favorites in including the Snow Pea, Jalapeño, and Squash would be really useful but they’re costly. I guess losing some helpful plants is the trade off between having a free game, and one that would cost a bit of money. Then again I do like some of the new plants so I probably won’t miss them that much. I can always play the original game.

Plants vs Zombies 2 is more of the same, but this same is still addicting and fun with tons of replay value. It’s a game where it doesn’t matter what skill level you are, because it’s casual enough for anyone to pick up and play, and have a good time. I didn’t care about the story, but I still love Crazy Dave and his antics. The zombies are also humorous and at times can put up quite a challenge. The best part about the game is that it’s free, so there’s no reason for anybody to not download this game.

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Developer: PopCap Games
Platform: iPad, iPhone
Players: 1
Price: Free

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I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying playing both Borderlands and Borderlands 2 on my Xbox 360. I’m so addicted to both games as I kill and loot and repeat for hours either by myself or with my friends. Then I found out that Borderlands was coming to my iPad. “Holy shit! That’s awesome!” Was my response as I went right to the App Store and made my purchase. I couldn’t wait to boot it up. Then I started playing the game and I quickly said “What the fuck is this?” This isn’t the first person shooter/role playing hybrid that I love. Borderlands has gone real time strategy. It took some time for me to get used to this which made me ponder whether this version of Pandora was worth visiting.

PROS:

The Original Cast Is Back
The vault hunters from the original Borderlands are back once again. Roland, Lilith, Mordecai, and Brick are out on the search of tons of loot and riches. Standing in the way are plenty of bandits, creatures, badasses, and so much more. Each of the characters once again feature their special abilities and upgrading skill trees to bring them to their full potential. It was so cool to see Brick hulk up once again and take out enemies with his bare fists, Lilith’s phase walk, and Roland use his turret. Mordecai’s Bloodwing, on the other hand, was a little out of whack especially when trying to take enemies out on higher elevations.

CONS:

This Is Not The Borderlands I Know
Borderlands Legends as an RTS game represents a dramatic change to what fans like myself are accustomed to. Basically it boils down to a love/hate relationship. For me it’s more about the hate, because the Borderlands games that I love are more about shooting, leveling, and looting all in a first person perspective. Instead of controlling one character, I now control all four characters making decisions for all of them on the fly, and sometimes that doesn’t work out to well due to the fact that the touchscreen controls are not that responsive. I also want to mention that the writing seems to have taken a different direction as well. Where’s all the comedy? Borderlands is more about the game that never took itself so seriously. Legends feels like I’ve been teleported to The Twilight Zone. What the heck happened?

Where’s The Loot?
Another big change. One thing I loved was when I killed enemies they would leave behind some valuable loot for me to take or trade with my friends. In Legends all there are no gun or shield drops…only cash from a certain enemy or two. Well that sucks, because that kills a lot of the fun. When I want an upgrade I have to wait until I get to a vending machine and take the little money that I have to buy and sell weapons for all my characters. I have to decide what’s more important. Is it the cool rare weapon, or a much needed shield for extra protection. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that Marcus still lives on the same two word concept, “No Refunds!”

Inconsistent Difficulty Spikes
What really drives me to drink in this game is the fact that the difficulty seems to ramp up really quick. When I mean really quick I mean by Level 2. Then for some strange reason it gets easy again. What the fuck people! Borderlands Legends doesn’t seem to stay consistent with level progression on par with enemy difficulty. It’s a real pain in the ass when I have low level characters with shitty weapons taking on a horde of tougher enemies where I end up dying a lot. Then I proceed to the next level and it’s a piece of cake only for the difficulty to spike again in the next level. Aargh!

IN CONCLUSION

Ok, so it may have Borderlands in the title, and in it’s style, but the familiar game I know and love is not here. Honestly, I’m just a little disappointed here. I don’t know who thought that an RTS would be a good idea. First person shooters do work on iOS devices and if Borderlands Legends was like that, along with the loot, then this game would be a winner. Instead it’s more like a game I just want to delete and forget it ever existed which is what I’m going to do. I think I’ll just stick to Borderlands on my Xbox 360.

Developer: 2K Games
Platform: iPad, iPhone
Players: 1
Price: $6.99

Fairhaven…mobile sized. Not only do I have the latest Need For Speed game on my Xbox 360 I also made the purchase of Most Wanted on my iPad and iPhone. It may be a bit downscaled, but this version of the hit game still packs an amazing punch. On the go and running from the law…what could be better? Doing it in real life maybe. I do have the car for it, but for now I’ll be a good samaritan and just stick with the games. So is this smaller version of the game just as good as the console? Absolutely!

PROS:

Traditional Racing Formula
Like many racing games on the past, this version of Most Wanted sticks to what works best. Racing and unlocking cars with my speed points. Everything is kept right to the point as I can move around the map of the open city of Fairhaven and pick races.The cop chases are fast and frantic and are just as relentless as the console versions.

Looks Amazing
Need For Speed: Most Wanted is clearly the best looking racing game on the iPad and iPhone. I shit you not. The first thing that hit me was how awesome Fairhaven looks. At times it can be a bit hard to notice especially when I’m in the middle of an intense race or cop chase. I also have to comment on the sense of speed when I hit the nitrous and blast past the competition while praying that I don’t hit the wall in the process.

Excellent Controls
Most racing games never seem to get the controls down right. Well I didn’t need to worry about that with Most Wanted. Picking up my iPad and using it as a steering wheel while in a third person view was really cool. Swiping upward activated my nitrous and swiping down braked. The controls are kept simplistic mailing it easy for pick up and play for me. Casual gamers will also enjoy this, and hardcore gamers will use the options to the fullest to fulfill the toughest challenges.

CONS:

Multiplayer?
While Most Wanted features a great single player campaign with tons of cars and options to unlock the multiplayer however is a bit lacking. The only competition I had was beating times on races. Sadly , there is no head-to-head multiplayer action which hurts the game just a bit. To me racing is all about competition. Who has the faster car. Who can take turns better. Winning by an inch or a mile. I want multiplayer! Oh well. At least I have the Xbox 360 version for that.

I Want To Play As The Cops!
I know it’s not Hot Pursuit, but once again I’m jumping on the bandwagon to EA about some sort of update that would allow me to play as the cops. This game would be even greater to put me in the role of the enemy and take out the Most Wanted. I can only dream.

IN CONCLUSION

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is clearly the best racing game that I have played on the iPad. I also like it on the iPhone as well especially when I’m out and about. It’s easy for anybody to pick up and play, yet difficult to master which is great for gamers like myself. Whether I’m playing on my Xbox 360 or my mobile devices, Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a winner and a must buy for anyone who likes racing games.

Developer: Electronic Arts, Firemonkeys
Platform: iPad, iPhone
Players: 1
Price: $6.99

The Mayan Calendar prophecy predicted the end of the world. Unfortunately the popular readings of cataclysmic destruction from all the so-called scholars were greatly falsified. Worldwide panic set in from the masses except it wasn’t from the hellfire and brimstone. It was the walking dead who become the problem. Zombies have now taken over the city and the battle for survival has begun in Dead Trigger, from Madfinger Games, now available on the iPad and iPhone.

Armed with a Colt M4 assault rifle, my mission was to complete various objectives and make it to the safe zone without getting overrun by the undead. Sometimes I had to eliminate a few zombies, or maybe it was a fetch quest where I collected an item and returned it to a certain location. In between missions I shopped for upgrades and other survival items with the money I earned. Who knew that even during a full scale zombie apocalypse that money was still the driving force that ran the world.

One thing that amazed me while fighting off the undead was how good looking the environment was. Dead Trigger features some awesome visuals as I made my way through open spaces and small corridors as zombies crawled out from crevices or climbed over fences. Good thing there was an explosive barrel or two (easily noticeable due to it’s red color) that made shooting tons of lead not needed at times. Then again running out of ammo was never really a problem.

As for the gameplay, blasting the zombies using the touchscreen controls on iPad was spot on. No lag and no confusion. I was so impressed with the gameplay that I was completely hooked right from the beginning. No zombie was safe from my head shot skills even though there wasn’t any zoom in option with my guns. The touchscreen mechanics in Dead Trigger are fantastic for a FPS game which are on par with another zombie shooter I play on iOS devices, Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies.

Sadly, the zombie apocalypse is still not safe from the eventual absurdness of the in-app purchase. With three rounds of zombie terror in the books, I made it to the safe house but my M4 ran out of ammo (all this in a cutscenes of course) and I threw it away. What the fuck was I thinking? All I had left was a little money and the only gun I can afford is a handgun. Now what do I do? Grind my way for a looooong time for a better gun, or spend a little more of my hard earned cash for more credits and good coins to buy better guns when I level up. C’mon Madfinger! A smart solution to that mess would be charging a couple of bucks more for this game and nobody would bitch about it.

Dead Trigger’s zombie apocalypse is amazing. Of course the 99 cent asking price makes this battle for survival even more attractive than it already is. All I can think about while blasting a zombie’s head off was “I can’t believe this is a game on the iPad!” The in-app purchase option sucks, but I wasn’t forced to go that route making for a long grinding game which is still great for my on-the-go lifestyle. With all that said I recommend giving Dead Trigger a run, because blasting zombies is still fun to do, and it might be some good training if a zombie apocalypse ever does happen.

Developer: Madfinger Games
Platform: iPad, iPhone, iOS
Players: 1
Price: $0.99

What a week! I’m not even at the show this year and I’m exhausted. Press conferences, endless gameplay videos to watch, the NBA Playoffs, and spending time with my nephew at home has worn me out. I’ve basically seen everything I needed to see from this years big event. Now with the 2012 edition of E3 winding down it’s time for me to pick my winners and losers of what is considered as the video games “Super Bowl.”

Keep in mind that my main consideration centers around the Xbox 360 as well as iOS gaming on my iPad and iPhone, but I will say that the Wii U is pretty awesome. Anyway…moving on.

WINNERS

UBISOFT: This should come as no surprise. If any one company stole this show it would be this one. Ubisoft brought in the big guns with games that include Assassin’s Creed 3 and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Both of these games look amazing and are on my buy list. However, what really blew my mind was a brand new game that was not a sequel called Watch Dogs. The upcoming sandbox game centers around how the world is watching you, but also allows you to take advantage of today’s hi-tech electronics and use it to your advantage in key situations. Check out the demo below to see this game in action.

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HALO 4: 343 Industries sure had some big shoes to fill with original developer Bungie moving on to another project. I had my doubts about the return of the iconic Master Chief considering the fact that I thought I “Finished the Fight” back in 2007 with Halo 3. The game’s Legendary difficulty ending said otherwise. The storyline for Halo 4 was kept top secret for the last year so Since the debut of the teaser trailer at last year’s E3. This year the gang at 343 Industries needed to show something of the camapaign to get me excited. They did and they succeeded. Both new and old enemies, Forerunner weaponry, and Spartan Ops for some co-op action. Count me in.

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TOMB RAIDER: Is it me, or does this game look a little familiar to another popular Playstation franchise. Uncharted maybe? Crystal Dynamics may be hearing the about the similarities, but this origins story of the legendary Lara Croft is outstanding. I’ve never been big on the Tomb Raider series as a whole, but this game has me wanting it right now. It’s mature oriented and has a sense of danger all around it as Lara fights for survival at every turn. It’s an awesome action/adventure game.

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Now it’s time to move to the ugly side of the show where I talk about what didn’t impress me one bit.

LOSER

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 2: This series is now officially “dead” to me. Last year, I didn’t buy Modern Warfare 3 due to no real interest in the campaign and the fact that the multiplayer absolutely sucks. I did enjoy the campaign in the first Black Ops game back in 2010, and of course there was the awesome zombie mode that carried over from World at War. I wanted to really give this game a chance, but after watching the uninteresting demo from the Microsoft Press Conference that mostly featured camping and sniping I felt that it was time to move on. This year’s zombie mode may be good, but I’ll wait until it’s on my iPad.

Pros:
Gravity physics are well done
This game is so addictive
Plenty of free updates down the road

Cons:
Path arc and Space Eagle makes the game slightly less challenging

Review based on Version 1.0 (iPhone) and HD Version 1.0.1 (iPad 3)

Can you hear that sound America? It’s the sound of lost production in the workplace. People calling in sick. Parents forgetting to pick up the kids from school. Just about everything has shut down. Why? Because of an addiction. An addiction to one of the greatest mobile games of all time. Angry Birds! Now that I have my new iPad 3, I can finally end the search for that first big game to play in glorious HD. Angry Birds Space! Yeah I know that there are so many versions of the popular game along with a few clones, but this new one is different. It’s innovative, challenging, and it’s in space. Yes, even in space nobody can hear a pig scream, but you sure can hear the sounds of cheering birds in the thrill of victory.

Angry Birds Space, from Rovio, is the fourth game in the series which also includes the original, Rio, and Seasons. The first three games felt like more of the same except with different environments along with a new bird or two joining the cast. Rovio felt that it was time for a change. Space becomes the new pig busting frontier. Now the effects of gravity play a key role in success, or hitting the refresh button to start all over again. However, the only thing that will not change is your addiction to these lovable yet angry avian war birds. Let the addictive fun begin…again.

Now I’m sure that everyone is somewhat familiar with how Angry Birds works. For anyone that is new all I have to say is where have you been all this time? You still have the same concept of using your finger to aim a slingshot to propel your birds, but this time you will send them into the depths of space with the goal of blasting those barricaded pigs on the planet surface. Once you get close a planetary body the effects of gravity and momentum will take over sending your birds crashing into the makeshift structures destroying everything in their path along with a few pigs in the process. It’s that simple. Anyone can play this game, but very few can master it.

Along with the usual assortment of raging birds a new bird has joined the flock. Shaped like an ice cube, our new flying friend can freeze anything in it’s path making for some funny moments especially when you have frozen pigs in space. The space eagle also makes an appearance which you can collect or buy them as you progress your way through the game’s 60 levels. The eagle creates a worm hole that sucks up any pigs in the way making passing certain levels a little too easy. Honestly, I think we’re all good enough at this game to not worry about using the eagle. if you have to depend on him just to pass, then Houston we got a problem. Speaking of easy, there’s also the highly visible path arc which can make the game a bit simpler as well taking away some of the challenge. Well you have to make some of the casual players happy right?

Throughout my time with Angry Birds Space I once again realized why this game is so damn addicting. Your always going for that high score and those three stars. Perfection is the goal and you’ll let nothing stand in your way of achieving it. Speaking of achieving, you’ll also find Game Center support with a new set of achievements and online leaderboards. There’s also unlockable bonus levels (which featured a Space Invaders type game) and even a hard mode for a real challenge. Along with all the free updates and new levels down the line, Angry Birds Space will keep you busy for a long time both at home and on the go. Playing on the new iPad 3 in HD is amazing. I also have it on my iPhone 4 and it also plays very well. I will recommend that you download the iOS 5.1 update or else if you haven’t you may run into a little snag or two like the app crashing.

Rovio literally takes Angry Birds to new heights, and once again they’ve exceeded my expectations. Angry Birds Space is addicting fun that never stops from crushing the evil pigs all the way to the king pig himself in epic boss battles. The only question I really have for the development team is how much longer they plan to milk this franchise before the product becomes stale. I almost thought that this would happen, but I was dead wrong. Angry Birds Space is new, innovative, challenging, but most of all it’s fun for everyone. Buy this game right now.

Pros:
Great Touchscreen controls

Cons:
16:9 Ratio Awkwardly Stretches Screen
Can’t Change Characters During Gameplay

Review based on Version 1.0.1

Back during the days when arcades were the big thing, Konami brought us some side scrolling beat-em ups that had players endlessly plunking down quarters. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons and X-Men. All of those games were very entertaining as I would continuously feed the arcade machine with tokens to continue on my adventure from beginning to end. Ahhh…the memories. These days, the games that had people filing into the arcades can now be found on our favorite consoles and smartphones. I recently downloaded X-Men to my iPhone an the nostalgia rushed back once again. This time without all the quarters.

Konami’s X-Men (now available in the App Store) is a port of the classic 1992 arcade game. Here you get to play as six of your favorite mutants against the evil forces of Magneto and the Brotherhood. Available for you to choose from is Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Dazzler. Personally, I liked Wolverine and Cyclops the best because they are my favorite X-Men characters. Each of the mutants have the same button mashing combat with attack and jump buttons. Of course what makes them different was that each character has their own mutant power. These mutant powers allowed you to clear the screen of enemies, but came at a price: a small chunk of your health.

For those not familiar with the game, X-Men sent you on a mission to “Save the City” as well as rescue Charles Xavier from the evil clutches of Magneto. Using your favorite mutant you would take on endless waves of palette-swapped Sentinels as well as other enemies and face a boss character at the end of each level. The Sentinels (like the Foot Clan in the TMNT arcade games) may have had multiple colors, but that didn’t  mean they were tougher than the others. The boss mutants at the end of each level really helped bring out the brilliance of X-Men as you took on characters like Pyro, Juggernaut and a host of others.

This port of X-Men on the iPhone and iPad is based on the American version of the game. Yes, there was a difference between American and Japanese versions. In the American version your mutant powers used up your health. Once you were below four health bars you could use your mutant power only one last time without costing you health. After that, well you were up the creek without a paddle especially if you get surrounded by Sentinels. The good news is that this game does contain unlimited continues allowing you to finish the entire game in one sitting which is about 25-30 minutes. This is perfect for those who live the “game on-the-go” lifestyle.

X-Men transfers very well to iOS platforms. The touchscreen controls are perfect and well responsive to the action on the screen. You can also change up the button display, but the defaults work just fine. The graphics are also also top notch especially for a game that was released almost 20 years ago. I do suggest that you keep the graphical display in the 4:3 ratio. There is an option for 16:9 which will fill the screen, but blows up the game to the point that the graphics look very fuzzy making the game look awkward. You would think that this wouldn’t be a problem considering the fact that the six-player arcade version did have 16:9 widescreen and is shown that way on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Sadly, on the iPhone and iPad it doesn’t.

Now that I have X-Men on both my Xbox 360 and my iPhone I can enjoy the classic arcade game no matter where I’m at, and I get to save a roll of quarters in the process. I also find that the game has plenty of replay value especially with achievements on Game Center. One of the achievements alone has you beating the game with each character which will keep you busy for awhile. There’s also multiplayer via WiFi, but I didn’t see a lot of people online playing. Overall, X-Men is great nostalgic fun for both fans of the comics, movies and television shows as well as casual gamers looking for a good thrill.