Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Nyko Shield Dock

Docks are a hard commodity to come by for almost any portable device; even top of the line popular smartphones.  Even when you do find one, it is usually a piece of crap that still requires you navigate your device onto a plug of some sort.  It seems there is always something to dislike about any dock you find – if nothing else, the price.

Nyko is a leading manufacturer of third party accessories.  They make everything from controllers to charging stations to oddball peripherals.  I love their Playpad Pro controller (reviewed here) and I’ve purchased tons of their stuff in the past.  When I found out that Nyko produced a Shield Portable TV Dock, I jumped on it immediately.

Review: Pac-Man 256

From the developer of Crossy Road and Bandai Namco comes yet another free-to-play Pac-Man game; Pac-Man 256.

glitchWhat’s the 256 stand for?  In the original arcade game of Pac-Man, once you cleared 255 levels the game glitched out on level 256.  They have taken the concept of this glitch and wrote it into an isometric view pellet eating “endless munching” Crossy game.

The game doesn’t deviate much from standard Pac-Man rules.  Eat pellets.  Eat fruit.  Get the energizers and eat the blue ghosts before they turn back into their multi-colored deadly selves.

The maze is endless; scrolling infinitely;  you eat until you die.  Along the way, you’ll get mini-quests like “Eat 5 Apples” or “Eat 124 Dots” which will reward you with a “gift” of credits or coins (yeah, here comes the IAP part).

Sometimes you’ll be offered a gift if you’re willing to watch a video.

Review: Fun Fast Five Reviews (2015-01-09)

Number 5: Scurvy Scallywags

Scurvvy Scallywags

Scurvy Scallywags

While this game may look like a traditional ‘match three’ game, I’m happy to say it is not.

It also isn’t a unique genre; match 3 + rpg.  Puzzle Quest opened this genre a long time ago.  But there is something special about Scurvy Scallywags.

Of course there is plenty of matching to be done, but you have more control over how the pieces shift when you clear them, adding a huge element on strategy to a mostly random luck style of game.  You’ll fight multiple bad guys on the same level, cast spells, build new ships to travel the world (the story and map are just a means to get you to another game level) and improve your pirate.

There is IAP, but it is so unobtrusive, you may never even notice it.

Few games stay installed on my tablet more than a couple of weeks.  I’ve had this one for a long time.

Google Play | Free + IAP | By Beep Games, Inc.

Number 4: SuperFrog

Superfrog

SuperFrog

Hailing from the 16-bit Amiga roots, SuperFrog is one of my all time favorite platformers.

Pretty much every platformer mechanic is here; running, jumping, long jump, hover, fly, invisibility, hidden areas, projectile weapons – all wrapped in bold, colorful disparate environments.

As with any good platformer, you should use real, physical controls to play it – not the built in touch screen stuff.

For the purists, the original levels are unlockable and the game has some addition modes of play as well.

There is NO IAP and at the time of writing the game was on sale for a mere $1.  No brainer.

Google Play | $4.99 (currently on sale for $1) | By Team 17 Digital Limited

Number 3: Trivia Crack

Trivia Crack

Trivia Crack

I love trivia games.  I love to play trivia games with friends.  I love well rounded trivia games that give me a chance to win, even if there are categories of which I’m clueless (see Sports).

Trivia Crack is just that; a trivia game featuring many categories and tons of questions (I’ve never seen the same question twice) that you play against real people online.  You play hot seat style; each person plays until they miss a question, then the other person is notified and they get to play.  The game is sub-named “crack” for a reason; it is incredibly addictive.

After three correct questions (or a lucky spin of the category wheel) you will play for a “piece”.  Once you have all the pieces, you win.  You can also challenge your opponent (with the same lucky spin) to a “war” of questions for a piece they possess.  If you win, you take their piece.  Simple – but effective.

There are ads in the game (if you’re playing the free version) and there is IAP.  Every hour you can start another game (and hold up to three ‘game starts’ in reserve).  I’ve had 10 or 15 games going at once.

Fair warning: You better only play with your friends and people you trust because the IAP essentially allows you to “pay to win”.  So you need to play with friends you know will play the same way you will.  Otherwise, a stranger could use the various power ups to get control.  There are plenty of cheaters out there too (questions offer too much time – so Googling the answer isn’t difficult) which makes playing with your reliable friends much more desirable.

Google Play | Free (w/Ads) / $2.99 No Ads / IAP| By Etermax

Number 2: Stormworm

Stormworm

Stormworm

Who doesn’t love Snake games?  Nokio enslaved a generation of cell phone users by including the eat-and-grow snake game on their phones.  There have been hundreds of snake games over the decades, but this one is a bit different.

The basis is the same; eat and grow.  Don’t hit objects or yourself or you’re all done.  But that’s where the similarities end.

In this Snake game, you are playing on a 3D rotating sphere.  There are powerups, chain bonuses and much more – giving the game a hyper addictive quality and enough new quirky additions to make it almost feel like a new game altogether.

The game isn’t free, but for $2 it is hard to go wrong.

Google Play | $1.99| By Studio Stormworm

Number 1: Gridwars 2

Gridwars 2

Gridwars 2

Geometry Wars set the world on fire.  Geometry Wars 2 refined the genre.  Recently, Geometry Wars 3 finally came out.

Now we finally have a clone worthy enough to be called a clone of Geometry Wars on Android.  Oh sure, games like last week’s Inferno 2 capture some essence but this is almost an illegal knock off.

Endless waves of enemies.  Smarter, faster, more dangerous enemies.  Twin stick shooter.  Furious action.

Free, no ads.  No IAP.  No reason not to have this.  Now.

Google Play | Actually Free | By iLinStudio

Review: Fun Fast Five Reviews (2015-01-02)

Number 5: Storm the Castle

Storm the Castle

Storm the Castle

A strange rapid fire game similar to Risk where you have to occupy all the castles on the screen by moving your men quickly between castles.  There are some environmentals to get in the way and the pace can get to be almost frantic.  Powerups can be freely earned in the game or purchased as IAP.

The super fast play is addictive but the game can get frustrating at times.  Being able to group soldiers together from different castles really adds to the game.

Google Play | Free + IAP | By Playtime

Number 4: Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone

Hearthstone

Take 2 parts Magic the Gathering and 1 part World of Warcraft and wrap it up into a nice Blizzard-produced package and you have Hearthstone.

While easy at first, the game ramps up quickly and you will find yourself challenged; just be patient.   It is really the same game as the PC version, too.  Just remember you’ll probably need some good hardware to run it smoothly and honestly the game is a battery hog.

But it’s so polished, you’ll forget most of that. 🙂

Finally, the IAP might get in the way if you lose a lot or end up playing it for a long period of time.

Google Play | Free + IAP | By Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Number 3: Retro Grid

Retro Grid

Retro Grid

This is an old school shooter both in play and with graphics.  While there is no controller support (I hate constant fire finger shooters) the game is so much fun you’ll want to play it anyway.

Shoot down tons of bad guys – all in chunky pixel shapes you’ll remember; from Space Invaders to TIE fighters.  Polished, fun and addictive.

There is a cap on playing the second ship – you have to rate the game apparently.  I just used the first ship and blasted the time away.

For totally free?  Hard to go wrong.

Google Play | Free | By OsmanElbeyi

Number 2: Inferno 2

Inferno 2

Inferno 2

A near perfect game; a beautifully polished and honed sequel of Inferno+, Inferno 2 is what would come from a mating of Geometry Wars and Gauntlet.

Play through 80 levels of neon glowing action.  Shields, drones, four types of weapons, four types of super missiles along with tons of passive powerups make this one of the most fun shoot-em-ups on Android.

Everything you loved about Inferno+ is here and the things you hated (like lack of controller support) about Inferno+ are gone.  The hidden walls are back – along with new walls that require missiles to blast through.

Great graphics and a thumping soundtrack round off this amazingly fun game.  It isn’t free – and that doesn’t matter; it is worth every penny.

Google Play | $2.99| By Radiangames

Number 1: Game of Thrones (Telltale Games)

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Set more in the WORLD of Game of Thrones rather than set in the TV show, Game of Thrones from Telltale Games is another fine example “digital interactive storytelling”.

While you won’t play known characters from the TV show, you’ll eventually interact with them using background characters from the show’s rich backdrop.

The Telltale formula is in place; Quick Time Event gestures during action sequences, wander-and-explore and of course the signature “choose your own adventure” decision gates you’ll come to where hard decisions will have to be made.

I enjoyed the first Episode very much (only one episode is available at the time of writing), if you’re a big Walking Dead fan, you may feel the “formula” is a little out of balance.  There are more QTEs in this game, a smaller number of wander areas and while there are choices to be made – they are not nearly as drastic or story-changing as with Walking Dead.  You’ll want to make several play passes through the episode to see what I mean.

Still, it’s TellTale and that’s almost assured quality.  Plus, it is Game of Thrones – bit characters or not.  Finally, you get to talk to the show’s epic little actor, Tyrion – which is almost worth $5 admission alone.

Google Play | $4.99 First Eps; $20 for Last Four | By Telltale Games

Review: Threes

Sometimes you run across a game that is so simple sounding that you don’t even want to install it.  Easy to dismiss by looking at screenshots, Threes is a game about – well, making threes … and multiples of threes.  Could there really be anything fun about sliding numbered blocks around a screen and making them into pairs of multiples of threes?  Sounds like work … and math.  Who wants to do math when they are gaming?

Fortunately, Threes isn’t a mindless box shuffle but rather a tight, well-designed game that has “greed” (the good kind) written all over it.  And that works for me.

Review: Smash Hit

Let’s start this off by saying I’m not an “endless runner” fan.  I tend to prefer games where I can better control my destiny than with a single button click.  Mediocre’s Smash Hit er .. smashes the mold of endless runners by making it gorgeous, enveloping and occasionally frighteningly difficult.

Review: Chip Chain

Writing reviews for addictive games is hard.  Mostly because I have to stop playing them long enough to write the review.  There are some games that are instantly addictive in their simplicity while others require you to peel back some layers of the gaming “onion” to really get to what makes the game so great.  Occasionally, you get a game that not only instantly hooks you, but gets more addictive as you figure out the deeper nuances of the game.  The movie WarGames inspired game W.O.P.R. (my review) very much fit that mold and I’m extremely happy to find another gem in the Android gaming arena with Chip Chain.

Review: Nimble Quest

Let’s be honest. Mobile gaming is a crapshoot. For every truly great game on the go, there are tens of thousands of games you wouldn’t play on a dare. Trying to find a quality game that isn’t loaded with Smurfberries-Or-Wait or one that isn’t just another “Angry-Fruit-Zombies-Endlessly-Running-While-Cutting-the-Rope” wanna be clone is really difficult; and it is getting harder every day as more iOS developers port their clones to Android – all the while, Android developers are chasing the two or three breakout hits hoping to ride the clone wave to profitability.

Then along comes something like Nimble Quest which begins to restore your faith in the platform. You’ve never played anything like it – and believe me, that is a good thing.

Review: The House of the Dead Overkill: The Lost Reels

House of the Dead: Overkill proved that the Nintendo Wii could be just a bloodthirsty, crass and mature as any other console.  Sega brought a “grindhouse zombie” on-rails light gun shooter filled with buckets of blood, over the top profanity and heaps of adult situations to the “kiddie” Nintendo console – with plenty of positive press and gamer appreciation.    The game was then taken HD to various other platforms – and now has arrived in a “smaller” version dubbed “The Lost Reels”.

Review: Dragon’s Lair

Dragon’s Lair – either you love it, hate it – or have never heard of it.  Regardless, the Laserdisc driven quick time event (QTE) style game holds a firm spot in the history of video gaming.  But how does the Android version stand up?