It has taken me a month before sitting down to write this review largely because I’ve been doing nothing with my free time except play Man At Arms TD for iPad ($4.99). After many hours logged in making maps, playing online, replaying levels and combining cards, I have finally finished the lengthy campaign mode and am left wanting even more!
At first glance, Man At Arms TD is not as slickly designed as its tower defense (TD) counterparts. In a genre where games are getting more attractive by the day, Man At Arms TD is rather plainly designed with some awkwardness in the animation. Gameplay wise, Man At Arms TD does not reinvent the wheel with its gameplay.
I once dreamt of becoming a doctor when I was a kid. The dream quickly dissipated when I realized I couldn’t bring myself to dissect a live frog when I was in high school. Now, the closest I get to playing doctor is by playing iPad/iPhone games revolving around a hospital theme.
Doctor Life ($2.99/Universal for iPhone and iPad) by WIGU Games came out recently, the kind of hospital-themed time management/sim game that will make you feel like a doctor. Having played a fair number of hospital/medical themed games in the past, such as Hospital Havoc 2, Are You Alright, the Amateur Surgeon series, Hollywood Hospital, Doctor Life is the first of its kind to actually focus on real medical conditions and treatments.
Did you play the original Bug Heroes game? I did. Years later, Bug Heroes 2 ($0.99/Universal) is Foursaken media's latest addition to their lineup, following Bug Heroes Quest.
I must admit that while I played the first game extensively, the unlockable characters via in-app purchase threw me off. It didn't help that I sucked at the game and it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I just didn't have powerful enough characters to use.
As for Bug Heroes 2, there are significant improvements and more problems compared to the original. It's still the same game as the original – you control an arsenal of fighting bugs (spiders, ants, etc.) and use them to fend of waves of aggressive enemies who are out to steal your food stash (a.k.a. your base). This time, however, you have two (2) heroes to control. These heroes are obtained randomly (slot machine style), and more heroes require a certain number of stars to unlock further.
I haven’t got much patience for hidden object games (HOGs) of late, but I do appreciate most of them for the gorgeous design and interesting storylines. Hidden CIty: Mystery of Shadows (Free) by G5 Games is their latest title to hit the App Store. While there are plenty of HOGs out there, not many have explored the free to play model. In the past, HOGs were far more expensive than your usual games, owing to the depth and richness of the content. It also takes a lot of time and patience to finish one, hence a single HOG could last you for months, depending on how busy you are and how many games you play on average.
Forces of Nature (on sale at $0.99) by Mean Bean Games is a game that will catch your eye immediately because of the art. There's something fairy-tale like and compelling about the hand drawn art that reminds me of an animated film I saw when I was a kid, The Iron Giant. Another thing common between Forces of Nature and The Iron Giant is the fact that they're both sending a strong environmentalist message.
Mother Nature's champion is Sprout, a feisty little seedling who plants various defenders to fend off heartless robots that have taken over his world. Sprout's mission is to protect the giant tree from land and air units. Water is his main currency for planting seedlings which can be fixed (tower defense type) or moving. Sprout does damage on his own, and strategically dashing behind enemies can even score combo points.
At the heart of Forces of Nature is a side-scrolling castle defense dressed up rather beautifully and quirkily.
I decided to hop on the Flappy Bird bandwagon after seeing an ominous Facebook post warning the rest of the world that no matter how bored you are, DO NOT download Flappy Bird. Apparently, this game which has been out since May 2013, recently and mysteriously went viral.
That kind of a warning is the surest way to get someone interested in this quiet little game that suddenly went viral. Kids everywhere are playing it, adults like myself can barely get past the first pipe!
The game certainly doesn’t score points in the looks department. I instinctively look for Mario and perhaps a colorful red and white mushroom to pop out. The art here is rather plain and dull looking.
Flappy Bird has generated enormous attention as the game du jour with some writers mystified and frustrated about the game’s soaring popularity. Maybe because it’s free? Maybe because it’s supposed to be simple but it’s not? Is it because this game unites both iPhone and Android users, therefore, the entire smartphone toting world? Are mobile games going downhill? Whatever reason it may be, it’s undeniable that Flappy Bird now gets 15 minutes of fame the same way Candy Crush took over the world for some time.
Perhaps the game’s real secret is its infuriatingly simple premise : just get past the spaces between the darn pipes by tapping on the screen to propel your flappy bird. Tap too hard and you will hit the pipe. Tap too slowly you fall into the pipe instead. Timing and excellent eye to hand coordination is the name of the game. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it seems.
For some reason, Flappy Bird is more of a tappy bird, in my humble opinion, but knowing this doesn’t make me push past my all time high score of four.
Before January ends, let me share with you an awesome guest post by fellow blogger Jennifer Birch. She sent me an email awhile back with her own take on games she’s excited about this 2014. Thank you, Jenni! Enjoy!
The year 2014 might be in favour of those born with under the horse sign according to feng shui experts, but we can all agree that Apple users are the luckiest ones. Exciting new games are debuting on the iOS platform this year. As early as in the first quarter, new titles are already raring for their release. Below are some of the most highly anticipated and most-awaited games for iPad and iPhone enthusiasts.
Frontline Commando 2
Coming from Glue (who also made the app store hits such as Zombies Ate My Friends and Eternity Warriors II), it won’t be surprising if this turns out to be an equally brilliant ‘freemium’ action game. While some absolutely abhor this type of business model, others are actually sensible such as the case of Frontline Commando. The original boasts of clean-cut animations and good-enough targeting mechanism, but it is not your run-of-the-mill indie game for the iPhone. It feels deep and immersive with the constant content updates, unlike others that lie rotting as an icon on your gadget until they inevitably turn into a massive byte-waster.
From the previews of the game and the first look of our Kiwi friends (New Zealand got the game last December), it seems like it will be a massive hit.
In any fantasy adventure, the bard usually plays a supporting role, providing inspiration and support to the rest of the party with his songs about war and heroism.
In my current game of choice, and one I highly recommend, Bardbarian for iPhone and iPad (by Bulky Pix and Tree Fortress), it’s Brad the Bard who takes centerstage in fighting off nasty baddies invading his village. However, Brad can’t directly attack them, but his battle axe turned magical musical instrument generates notes which lets him summon allies who do the fighting for him. What Brad can do is to activate special powers to boost his units, such as increased damage, speed or protection.
channel your inner slash
It’s not easy to classify Bardbarian as one type of game but not another – the best way to put it is that it’s a crazy mishmash of different genres such as castle defense and a bit of RPG – crazy in a good way, of course.
If you still know the likes of Slash (Guns N Roses) and Kirk Hammet (Metallica), you’ll know that this Bard plays a mean guitar solo. So on top of a crazy, frantic game you get a pretty awesome soundtrack.
To be honest, I haven’t been into games lately because not many catch my attention nowadays.
BUT this is one game this reviewer’s been waiting for since it was in development back in 2012.
If you’ve ever played the original Battleheart (released in 2011), I consider it one of the best iOS games ever. What made it so unique was its party approach to real-time combat. The genius behind this game is how Mika Mobile, the developer, made an incredibly hectic game so easy to understand and simple. By simply drawing lines you can do a lot – damage enemies in battle, heal an ally, unleash special powers, etc. Battleheart has been imitated many times over but it’s still in a class of its own.
For Battleheart Legacy, Mikamobile has clarified that it will not bring its party system to the table, which I will sorely miss but offers instead a deeper and more complex solo RPG game, with 3D art (still the same cute cartoony characters, though, which is great), lots of quests and tons of new stuff to unlock and upgrade.
This game is on my watchlist and I really hope Mika Mobile will be able to roll it out within the month (it was initially set for release last December) or early next month.
In addition, I hope the original Battleheart will also be updated with more stuff. It’s been around since 2011 but I’m still playing it. Dear Mika Mobile, please hear this fan’s desperate plea. Love you, guys!