Hardcore Droid http://www.hardcoredroid.com Hardcore Gaming on the Android OS Sun, 05 Jul 2015 01:18:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Sproggiwood Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/adventures-in-sproggiwood/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/adventures-in-sproggiwood/#comments Sun, 05 Jul 2015 01:15:01 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34799 sproggi thumbSproggiwood is a casual roguelike, where your character, the Cloghead, has to complete missions for his adorably moody boss, Sproggi. For me, a lot of the appeal of a roguelike is in the random possibilities. This is what worked for me in Dungelot and in Enchanted Cave 2. Each randomly-generated level could hold treasure OR certain death and the fun is in seeing what happens! Sproggiwood has the same ridiculous randomness, and cutely evil overlord Sproggi is the source of all that craziness.

Myths and fairy tales often involve a trickster character, someone who uses traps or disguises to pull pranks on unwitting characters. Sproggiwood turns the fairy tale meeting with this trickster character into a gameplay experience. The game opens with a talking sheep leading the player off to an exciting new land. But wait! The talking sheep is actually an evil Sproggi and the player is trapped in a dark Sproggiwood. But wait! Actually, Sproggi’s not evil and he’s not even such a bad guy, he just wants to make peace with the Mushroom Kingdom. But wait! The mushrooms aren’t fooled by Sproggi’s plans, so he decides to destroy them all. So many silly surprises in this game.  Sproggiwood successfully brings the mischievous trickster to players, offering players all the surprising reversals of fortune and all the fooled frustration that genre implies.

sproggi is evil android

Each adventure is a randomly generated grid of enemies, treasure and traps, with an exit leading to the next level, and then the next, and finally, to the boss battle. Your little Cloghead will need to battle his way through, looking for treasure and trying not to get clobbered by enemies. When a weapon or armor is found in an adventure, it can be used until the end of that adventure (or until you find a new item for that slot), and after the adventure, it can be found and purchased in the village shop. Some magical items add to the zaniness with fun — if not entirely beneficial — effects, like a random teleportation.

You’ll begin with a farmer, but as you complete missions, you’ll get new character classes like rogues, archers and vampires. The vampire was by far my favorite, both in adorable art and useful upgrades, but every character class has something sweet and funny to enjoy.

Do you like the beginning of games, before you’ve leveled up and you’re just a squishy target with no skills? Well, I hope so, since that’s what a lot of Sproggiwood is! Experience is reset back to zero at the beginning of each mission, and after experimenting to find the ideal build for each character class, restarting from zero every time becomes pretty repetitive. Roguelikes annoy me when they’re all about replaying the same content, and Sproggiwood can suffer from repeated content, becoming more like a chore than a game.  The game is cute, with high production values and adorable characters, but I got pretty tired of them with all the replaying one has to do to advance in this game.

Completist gamers will note all the unlockable villagers and bonus to be earned by replaying levels. Replay it again with a new character! Replay all the levels with all the characters on all the difficulty levels! I was already starting to find more similarities than differences in my replays of the same randomly generated dungeons, so I wasn’t really motivated to switch characters and run it still more times.

sproggi village steam assets

In between dying and restarting in the adventures, players can relax in their village. Don’t worry, though, you won’t have to click to clear woods away before you can build improvements, and you won’t have to wait three hours for an upgrade to complete. Instead, you’ll have fun shopping for new weapons, armor and advancement upgrades here, and you’ll bring cute new villagers to live happily in your little corner of Sproggiwood. Players can also add decorations to their villages, another mechanic that is surprisingly pleasurable when it’s not connected to in-app purchases or appointment-style wait periods.

Overall, I enjoyed exploring Sproggiwood for all the reasons that roguelikes work, like the excitement of random encounters and the thrill of completing a difficult mission. Sproggi, my villagers, the enemies, and even the dangerous bosses were adorable. But I ultimately found the game a bit too repetitive to really love my Sproggiwood adventures.

 

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GunCat Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/guncat-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/guncat-review/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 22:41:03 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34822 guncat, action, android gameThe internet has entire data servers devoted to birds, and entire server farms devoted to cats. Why not add an Android game or five? Few things are cuter than a cartoon cat shooting a huge gun. Guncat gives you just that; a cute kitty with crazy firearms that really hates birds. In the course of the game, you teach a lot of birds not to be annoying, but you know cats – they’re kinda lazy.

Guncat is a one button action game that sets you as the killer kitty defending your sleeping perch from an overhead onslaught of birds. You don’t move or aim; you just tap the screen to shoot. In the beginning, birds fly by slowly, going faster the longer you last. Birds that survive steal your ammo, and if you miss, you break your point multiplier. The round ends when you run out of ammo or hit a black crow (AKA bomb bird).

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The birds themselves come in quite a few species, and shooting all of one species collection permanently increases your base multiplier by five. Some birds carry green ammo boxes, so they are high priority targets. Shoot birds carrying coins or treasure chests for the moolah to upgrade your gun, change your fur color, or buy your kitty sweet but-useless things like houses and hats. Better guns hold more ammo, making it easier to choose your shots when the birds start flying really fast. You can also spend coins on more ammo if you run out, on unlocking birds in those species collections to increase your base multiplier, or on keeping your round going by reviving your cat after you hit a bomb bird.

Since so much of the game depends on coins, the fact that you can simply buy them with real world money lowers the overall review score for Guncat. In the in-game store, you can watch a video ad in exchange for 100 coins, or spend up to $7.50 on 800,000 coins. If you don’t want to spend money to revive your kitty, you have the option to watch a video to continue, but only the first time you die. The next time you need to be revived you have to pay, whether you used the video the first time or not the option to just watch an ad instead of paying gold disappears.

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And it’s worth pointing out it doesn’t explicitly say that buying one of these coin packs would negate the ads that pop up on occasion. This game is a fun time-killer, and I might be inclined to pay a dollar (though, honestly, no more than that) just to turn off the ads. Graphically the game is one of the most adorable things run on Unreal Engine 4, though admittedly Guncat’s scope isn’t very demanding. The sound effects are just enough help time your shots, though the squawks of dying birds and the cash register cha-ching are satisfying as roast quail.

If only there were a little more to Guncat. The Google leader board support adds some replay value, but achievements aren’t as attractive or addicting as new or interesting gameplay mechanics. Guncat is simple fun, but it would be nice if the clothes and beds had in-game effects, and there should be an obvious way to turn off the ads.

 

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Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/final-fantasy-tactics-war-of-the-lions-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/final-fantasy-tactics-war-of-the-lions-review/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 00:05:15 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34790 final-fantasy-tactics-Android-thumb

I find that whenever I talk about an absolute classic like Final Fantasy Tactics, I have this bad tendency to make an assumption about my audience. I assume that you know about, and therefore care about, Final Fantasy Tactics just as much as I do.

And yet, as times goes on it becomes ever more apparent that despite the game’s legacy, and the legacy of the name it carries, not to mention the games numerous re-releases and countless influences, the opposite tends to be true. It seems fewer and fewer people are as aware of…well, everything that Final Fantasy Tactics is, even as seemingly every other game from that era becomes legendary whether it deserves it or not.

That being the case, let me approach this differently. Let me start from the beginning.

Released in America in January of 1998 (some 6 months following its release in Japan), Final Fantasy Tactics was treated by most American gamers as something of an enigma. Not only did it carry the Final Fantasy name and not be of the traditional JRPG mold, but it was this weird little strategy title where you moved your characters around a map through their grid-like movement system, and pitted them against various foes spread about.

Today we know it as a tactical-RPG. To be clear it was a tactical-RPG at the time, but due to a terrible tendency for publishers to not want to expose American console audiences  to something different, one that once plagued Western gaming, many people remained unaware of the genre at large.

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But the bliss of Final Fantasy Tactics did not lie in our ignorance. Instead, though it may have been inspired by many before it, Tactics did just enough on its own accord to make even experienced gamers in the genre, feel like they were experiencing it for the first time.

A part of this are  the graphics and presentation.   The movement and information system, both vital to such a title, are so cleanly laid out and smoothly integrated into the action, that they have this miraculous way of  being immediately understandable yet infinitely deep. This is of course in companionship with the Final Fantasy series’ typical character, world and sound design standards of excellence.

Another carry over from that series makes the next largest contribution, and that’s the job system. We’ve seen this idea of assigning characters certain skill sets, and balancing your party with them to try to create the most exceptional party possible. Here, it’s made even greater with the addition of a larger possible cast of characters, as well as a permadeath system that makes losing a character you put so much time and thought into all the more painful.

Even better, it turns a genre that too often falls into a rock, paper, scissors type affair into something more closely resembling the game of chess so many strategy games aspire to be. Having to manage a large group of varying skill sets, and only being able to level up so many at a time, means that you can only react to the circumstances of your encounter so much in terms of counter type plays based on inherent characteristics.

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Instead victory in Final Fantasy Tactics is very much earned. Many situations put you in this position where you can almost always win, but the situations upon which victory will hinge often change each round. And yet you must still learn to participate, rather than react.

Sadly,  elements of the Final Fantasy series that didn’t  get carried over to Tactics are the storytelling and writing standards. While this version doesn’t have the same laughably bad translation  as the original Playstation edition, the story being told here is more interesting as a whole than how it plays out moment to moment. This can lead to moments where the battle at hand doesn’t quite carry the same heft as it otherwise might.

Luckily, though, this version is the same  as the PSP remake of this game called Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, which gave gamers a little bit more, and a little bit better. Better graphics and translation, and more character jobs and story interludes told in fantastic cel-shaded cutscenes. It is arguably the definitive edition of the game.

The question then becomes; can we say the same of the android version? The answer there is not quite. While the touch screen controls work flawlessly, there are  times when the framerate drops or the game just crashes that didn’t seem as prevalent before the game made its way to mobile, and when you combine that with the lack of a save state or quick save option, should the game crash,  you’ll open yourself up for a world of heartbreak in the middle of a 40+ minute battle.

Yet, the issues are rare enough that they can in no way impair my recommendation of a game that can last you over one hundred hours and only gets better as you go along. Similarities and differences aside, this is a game well-worthy of the Final Fantasy golden age. Play it on Android if you can, but know that even if you wait until your final days to play  this game on some sort of future gaming system we can’t yet comprehend, you can still play it and enjoy it as much as I once did so long ago, because it is a truly timeless experience.

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Final Fable Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/final-fable-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/final-fable-review/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 23:29:31 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34772 Android-rpg-final-fable-01

Remember movies like Transmorphers? Back in the days before online streaming, when people actually rented or bought DVD’s, there was a whole market for lazy movies that were meant to fool you into thinking they were something else. Your clueless aunt would stroll through the entertainment aisle of the store and pick up a copy of Transmorphers for your birthday, not knowing the difference between it and that copy of Transformers you actually wanted. Well, developer IGG seems to be resurrecting this slimy gimmick for the mobile games industry, especially with games like Final Fable.

While no reasonable person would hopefully mistake this game for a Final Fantasy, the hacky title of this RPG is just one small part of Final Fable‘s tireless pursuit to make you think it is a better game than it is. The game is littered with distractions in the form of various upgrades and item shops, while the actual gameplay is very thin. It all looks quite nice, with playful character designs, fluid animations, and an overall consistent fantasy aesthetic, but anyone familiar with the typical traps of a freemium game will immediately be wary.

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Final Fable brings you to the realm of Fantasia, where it turns out that you just so happen to be the chosen one of something or other. Who knew? Fantasia is a universe inhabited by classic favorite fairy tale characters, ruled over by Aesop of Aesop’s Fables in a Zeus-like role and appearance. All of the characters’ storylines are re-imagined with a darker edge, like Snow White gone mad from obsessing over her appearance and Three Little Pigs that look more like the Gamorrean guards from Star Wars. It certainly takes some inspiration from Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us, based on the comic series Fables, just without the modern New York setting or gritty noir feel.

You battle your way through these twisted fables with the help of an army of heroes in automated, turn-based combat. As you progress through the game you pick up new heroes, like the Little Bad Wolf or Katnip Nevergreen (come on, really?), as loot for beating certain bosses. Attacking is fully automated, and one of the only things you can do is tap on a hero when she’s fully charged up to release her special attack. Final Fable‘s one interesting innovation is in how you can rotate your party’s line-up mid-combat for strategic advantage. You can hold seven in your party at one time: a leader and six supporting heroes. Only three of those six can be in the front line of a battle at any given time, but you can swipe right to bring back-row people to the front and send your front line people to the back to recharge health.

Android-rpg-final-fable-03But, as with most games of freemium ilk, Final Fable is less about playing and more about upgrading, upgrading, upgrading! There are always more heroes to unlock and new levels to reach to keep the lizard part of your brain sated with all the accomplishments you’re supposed to feel like you’re making. There’s even two different ways to increase the stats of your heroes—leveling up and evolving—and the latter requires buying or collecting a certain set of items. You even have to pay gold pieces to level up your heroes’ skills and special attacks rather than having them level up with the hero. Outside of configuring your party, there is no customization possible, only more stuff to get. And if you aren’t earning gold fast enough, then what do you know? You can pay real money to get in-game stuff, as the game likes to remind you from time to time.

The problem with games like Final Fable is that they take the concept of a reward too literally. Rather than rewarding you by providing a good story, or a satisfying game experience, this game will just heap gold and gems on you for so much as signing in to play for the day. It’s like the game is desperate for you to play, and it isn’t hard to see the motivation behind its neediness. Freemium is nothing new, and for the most part neither is this game. I’m not fooled by all the flashy upgrades, or the knockoff title.

 

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Rush of Heroes Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/rush-of-heroes-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/rush-of-heroes-review/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:11:15 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34756 rush of heroesWhat is an RPG without the ability to change your character in any way from the template? What is a dungeon diver that is filled with identical dungeons? The answer to both of those questions: boring. Add to that several layers of timers, currencies, and shiny graphics, and what you get is a game that exemplifies the problems with pay-to-win apps — yes “apps” because downloads like this can hardly be called games.

At first I thought Rush of Heroes had a lot of depth, despite its cute anime-style characters. It’s based on the statistics of an RPG, and doesn’t really bother to simplify those numbers. All the stats are there for you to view, so it can seem like there are a lot of skills or stats you can change to make your character unique. This is what I thought at first.

Rush of Heroes

I was sucked in by the whirlwind training session that introduced me to the first character, a pushy yellow minotaur I named Nostrils, and sent my off into an instance to battle monsters. Then I realized I couldn’t control any attacks but specials. I was impressed by the upgrade system and all the loot, until I realized it mostly revolved around pumping coins into my gear and gobbling loot up directly from the menu.

Rush of Heroes starts strong, but the repetitive nature becomes clear pretty quickly. The backgrounds of the levels themselves are the same for each full instance. Exactly the same. And no matter what the level looks like, they all have the same structure.

Since you don’t have control over any of the combat besides the specials (and even that can be automated after the level has been cleared with three stars, the max ranking available) the time you actually spend engaging in any fighting action in the game is limited to a few scant taps. The rest of the time in game is spent in menus.

rush of heroes

Granted, there are a lot of menus. There’s your inventory, and player pages with all your skills and gear; there’s the township where you can choose to fight, visit the tavern or check your mail. In the tavern, you can draw for random goodies once a day. System mail pops up in your mailbox, usually with rewards of runes or gold to keep you hooked.You can tap on the airship floating above the tavern to go to an instance, which is the world map-based main story line. Then you have the dungeon, which is like one part of an instance. The arena lets you fight against other players, but you’re locked into auto in that mode.  In the header menu there’s a chest, for which you get a daily key, and an event list, which is really a list of quests you can complete during the course of your “adventuring.”

Upgrades to your equipment are made with gold, runes are used to refill your stamina — which you need to engage in any combat — and shards (which look like puzzle pieces) are used to evolve your character. You find other loot during instances — you can tap on it or pick it up automatically, even that requires little actual interaction — and sell it or use it for experience. There are no mana or health potions.

Gold and runes can be purchased for real world cash. They offer packages at insane prices up to $100. More than a few aspects of the game, like the skill points and your ability to draw for a random item or character in the tavern, among other things, are controlled by timers which of course can be sped up with runes or cash. Yep, that’s right: skill points are controlled by a timer. Because obviously we gamers are so pathetic that  we should be rewarded simply for having a little patience, and not for any actual feats of dexterity.

Rush of heroes boss

“Games” like Rush of Heroes are a real danger. They give the illusion of content by throwing a lot of stats and menus at you, but since your control over altering them in any meaningful way is nearly nonexistent, upgrading quickly becomes boring. You can increase your power, but have little actual control over which stats to improve. Take equipment, for instance; you can upgrade it with gold in two ways, mind you, but you can’t just give any character a different set of clothes or exchange gear between characters.

Anyway the characters’ humor is the only decent thing about Rush of Heroes. You can take up to five with you on a mission, and their conversations, shown mostly through text but with the occasional odd voice over, range from snarky to weird, funny to bland. “I feel the rage of a bald man!” Says one character. Later it’s revealed that bald guys have feelings too. What’s more there are a bunch of characters, the idea being that we “gotta catch ’em all.” But when you can’t control any of them, why bother?

If constant no-combat leveling,  regular rewards just for letting time pass, and dangling a bunch of characters in front of players doesn’t develop addiction without providing real content, I don’t know what does. Pick Rush of Heroes up at your own discretion, but know that since there is next to no challenge in combat, no consequences if you die during combat, and no ability to customize your characters, there’s really no game here.

 

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Borderlands Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/borderlands-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/borderlands-review/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:52:24 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34740 Android-action-borderlands-thumbWhen it first came out, Borderlands seemed like a bizarre video game Frankenstein: the mission structure of World of Warcraft, the loot system of Diablo, the humor of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, all wrapped up in a Halo-style shooter. But over five years and two sequels later, the novelty has worn off and we’re left to consider quality apart from influence.

Luckily, Borderlands holds up, at least from a gameplay perspective. The general gunplay has weight and variety, particularly with some of the stranger guns’ bullet effects. An early unique shotgun sends out flowing waves of electricity, while later weapons may fire rockets with other elemental effects. The randomized arsenal is still impressive, even as it’s been expanded in more recent installments. There’s nothing quite like picking up a colored drop and testing out its wild firepower.

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The game’s world, the planet of Pandora, retains much of its original charm. Claptrap’s crass enthusiasm has always walked the line between endearing and annoying, but the performances here are more muted than in a sequels. That may be a plus to people who wanted their shooter with a little less “attitude.”

The cel-shaded visuals basically protect Borderlands from showing its technical age. Still, the structure leaves me wanting more. The game dipped its toes in cartoon style, but simple fetch and elimination missions don’t convey that attitude during gameplay. It can feel like long stretches of grind, punctuated by moments of character.

The game runs like a charm on Grid. While a few games can stutter a bit, Borderlands runs without a hitch. What’s more, the controls and layout on the Xbox-like Shield Controller are hairpin tight. In fact it was almost exactly like playing the thing on Xbox. The keyboard and mouse controls never quite felt right in this game, so that’s actually preferable to the standard PC version.

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Like most Grid titles, the graphics have been reduced to 720p to avoid lag. However, the fact that you’re playing on a Shield Tablet (8 inches) or Shield Portable (5 inches) means that you are playing it at a rather high resolution. And the thing about Borderlands is that it’s such a thrill to be calling them up at a moment’s notice on Grid’s Netflix-like game service, made even cooler and cozier by kicking back in your bed or favorite chair. The experience is very quick, convenient and has a novelty that has yet to wear off.

Unfortunately, multiplayer was hosted over the now defunct GameSpy and is thus inoperable. Local LAN works but you’ll need a Bluetooth keyboard to get it working and someone else with either a Shield console, Portable, or Tablet to make it happen. Unfortunately, the only reason you need the keyboard is to name the server; seems a shame that the folks at Nvidia didn’t plug in a default so that Grid Players could easily create a LAN server. Co-op was a major pillar of the game, a boon to those quieter, grindier moments.

Still, the game is structured well for pick-up-and-play action, and its big console-style UI makes it a good fit for Shield controls. Although it’s better with a friend, it’s no slouch when you’re on your own. There are far worse places to find yourself than planet Pandora.

 

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You Must Build a Boat Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-must-build-a-boat-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-must-build-a-boat-review/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34716 puzzle-android-you-must-build-a-boat-01Many videogame snobs will reject match-3 puzzle games like Candy Crush outright for a perceived lack of plot. But the plot of a videogame, like any form of storytelling, can be boiled down to one basic element: The protagonist must have an objective. Enter You Must Build a Boat by EightyEight Games, their sequel to 10000000. It’s a match-3 that plays like a dungeon crawler RPG, and it’s easily one of the most fun and addictive mobile games I’ve ever played. Every single aspect of the game hinges on one goal: build a boat that’s large enough to cross the ocean. How and why are irrelevant.

You start with a crew of three on a simple raft. By fighting monsters in dungeons, one of many fantasy RPG staples present in the game, you gather resources and recruit the monsters to join your merry band of misfits. But slashing through these dungeons isn’t as easy as swinging a sword. Attacking, using magic, unlocking chests, and charging your shield are all done by matching the corresponding tiles into groups of three or more. If you can’t match sword tiles in time, monsters push you off-screen and the round is over. If you can’t match key tiles in time to unlock a chest in your path, you guessed it: you get pushed off-screen and the round is over.

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Thankfully you can attempt a dungeon run as many times as you want. There are also no waiting periods and no ads for micro-purchases of any kind, a (justifiably) hated feature of games in the Candy Crush vein. There is nothing to stop you from building your boat as fast as you can… besides the real world and other boring garbage like “not missing your stop on the subway.”

Every dungeon has mini-objectives that contribute to the larger goal of building a seafaring vessel, like finding masts or sails. Eventually your boat gets pretty tricked out, and you end up with a blacksmith, a magical items shop, a pub, and various other service providers. At one point you can even recruit a monster who invests your gold in the stock market.

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Which brings me to the most delightful feature of this game: It’s silly. Wonderfully wacky and self-aware in its use of RPG tropes. The 8-bit design and MIDI-file soundtrack give the game a nostalgic feel that should make nerds feel right at home.  Your crew’s banter in the (quick and painless) tutorial is playful and sarcastic, repeatedly breaking the fourth wall. The items you loot from chests are an assortment of useless (often contemporary) objects like ice cubes, jerky, muscle magazines, and multivitamins, which, true to RPG form, you can later sell for gold.

While the combat mechanic is simplistic, the puzzles and dungeons are increasingly challenging. And the clear goal, that you must build a boat at all costs, is constantly reinforced, giving the game a sense of urgency and purpose outside of matching tiles. I managed to beat the game in just a few days, but there’s an option to replay on a higher difficulty and beat my previous time.

So what are you waiting for? That boat isn’t going to build itself, you know.

 

Write your own review of You Must Build a Boat>>>

 

 

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You Review It: You Must Build a Boat http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-you-must-build-a-boat/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-you-must-build-a-boat/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34717 From the Playstore:

BUILD A BOAT
Travel the world in your boat, from the top of the Mage Tower to the bottom of Hell

GATHER YOUR CREW
Recruit a crew to live on your boat and offer their services

FRANTIC MATCHING
Match as fast as you can to keep on running

CAPTURE MONSTERS
Turn Monsters to your cause to get bonuses and have them aid your in battle

CAST SPELLS
Use magic to aid your quests, and don’t forget to visit your onboard Arcanery to upgrade them

RANDOM DUNGEONS
With procedural dungeons and random Dungeon Modifiers, It’s never the same experience twice

BUILD YOUR BOARD
Upgrade your tiles, Quaff Potions and Pray for Modifiers to whatever fits your play style best

SPEEDRUN
How fast can you build your boat?

 

In her review, Hardcore Droid’s Jessica Critcher praised You Must Build a Boat as a a fun and addictive puzzle game that plays like an RPG. Do you agree?

<<Back to You Review It>>

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My Unturned Day Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/my-unturned-day-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/my-unturned-day-review/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:43:15 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34733 android-indie-my-unturned-dayThe zombie invasion is now at your fingertips. We sure have come a long way from 2012, haven’t we? My Unturned Day is the mobile counterpart to one of Steam’s most popular free to play games. The original game is a sandbox, open world survival game similar to Grand Theft Auto due to its open, free-form nature. The goal is to survive the zombie invasion for as long you can, using everything you have at your disposal. Comparisons between the two games are inevitable, though considering I am yet to play the PC version, I went into my Unturned Day experience totally blind. Coming away from it, I discovered a game with a solid foundation and heaps of unfulfilled potential.

The first thing that caught my eye was the game’s mobile-friendly interface. Movement is easier when you drag your thumb across the left side of the screen in the direction you want to move, while the right side of the screen is organized with all the buttons needed to take out zombies. Your vitals are listed on the bottom left side of the screen. The second thing I noticed was the graphics, which bear a resemblance to Minecraft’s as both games give off a similar, kid-friendly vibe thanks to a voxel graphics.

Once I had my bearings, I headed toward what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse as the time shifted from day to night. It was there that I encountered my first couple of zombies as I spotted one inside the house while one jumped me from behind. It took me three shots with my pistol to blow the first zombie away while I turned my attention to the second one with limited health. It also took three shots to put zombie two away. As a third zombie rushes me, I switched to my axe, which put the third zombie out of his misery with one shot. The sound of my axe connecting with the head of the approaching zombie was not only seemingly lifelike, but also strangely satisfying.

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The graphics aren’t the only similarity this game shares with Minecraft. Survival elements also run rampant in My Unturned Day. You can set up camp, replenish your vitals and even craft new items to assist you in your survival. However, I found that there is a learning curve to this that is magnified by the game lacking a tutorial. I had to go online to find out, for example, how to craft a sleeping bag to mark my spawn point. With a tutorial, players could dedicate more of their time to the game itself and less time going to third party sources in search of how to complete these tasks. In fact, there are several guides you can download to your phone from third parties, but these could all be replaced with a simple tutorial mode.

There are graphical and aesthetic differences to be found between the Android and PC versions, though these differences are trivial and have no effect on the gameplay, which is where My Unturned Day really shines. Other than that, both games appear to have few differences. One just happens to fit in your pocket, and let’s face it, that’s pretty cool!

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The mobile game also features an online multiplayer mode, though I had a very hard time getting it to work. Live multiplayer over Wi-Fi, in my opinion is often a feature that can elevate a decent game to greatness. Most people will tell you that they buy games like Halo and Call of Duty for its multiplayer modes as opposed to the campaign mode. Multiplayer undoubtedly helped to turn these franchises into moneymaking juggernauts and certainly it would be a huge boon for a winning title like the mobile version of Unturned. As of now, My Unturned Day’s multiplayer is broken, but there is no reason for me to believe that these problems cannot be easily remedied by the developers, AR Gaming in a future patch.

In addition, the game has a dedicated community that seems to be keeping the developer on its toes. The original game has a 9/10 rating on Steam with nearly 130,000 reviews and is being updated on a near-weekly basis as it takes the necessary steps to reach an elite level, which I believe it is fully capable of reaching one day.

Even though violence is the name of the game, My Unturned Day’s overall appearance keeps things fun, as does a its simple, highly functional interface that anybody can figure out. Overall, My Unturned Day makes the most out of a simple concept. This zombie invasion, open world survival game will keep gamers entertained in a number of different ways for hours on end; and if developer, AR Gaming can market it properly, My Unturned Day has a chance to be that rare title that appeals to both hardcore and casual gamers alike.

 

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DomiNations Is Advancing to the Industrial Age in New Expansion http://www.hardcoredroid.com/dominations-is-advancing-to-the-industrial-age-in-new-expansion/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/dominations-is-advancing-to-the-industrial-age-in-new-expansion/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:01:34 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=34686 BHG_LOGO Hardcore DroidIndie developer Big Huge Games and distributor Nexon M recently announced a new expansion to the best-selling Android RTS game, DomiNations. Players will now be able to advance to the Industrial Age, bringing new wonders, structures, blessings, and units into PVP battles.

Currently the game starts in the Stone Age and allows advancement through the Enlightenment Age. The Industrial Age adds oil (already introduced in the June update) and machinery to the mix, allowing for tanks, fighter planes, and machine gunners.

Indie Gaming Returns in a Big Huge Way

Big Huge CEO Tim Train and DomiNations Lead Designer Brian Reynolds have extensive experience in the genre, having worked on Civilization II and Alpha Centauri prior to founding Big Huge Games, which created the popular Rise of Nations PC game distributed by Microsoft.

From 2000-2009, the company was independent, until it was acquired by THQ in 2009 then passed on to 38 Studios, which went bankrupt. Not willing to see the company they founded die, Train and Reynolds reacquired the Big Huge Games name and revived the company as an indie developer once again.

Now they’re focused on the mobile RTS genre, as they explained to HD over lunch at E3.

“We want to bring history to life, which is a difficult sell to gaming execs on paper, but makes for an amazing in-game experience,” explains Train. “With the new expansion, we’re allowing players to upgrade their base and armies to bring the battle to the Industrial Age of human evolution.”

Thus far, it seems to be working. The team’s drive to incorporate real human warfare, along with a realistic history component made DomiNations one of the most popular Android games in the Play store with over 1 million downloads. The game is reminiscent of Rise of Nations, down to the cover art, and seamlessly blends base building and PVP warfare, offering many more hardcore options than competitors like Clash of Clans.

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Celebrating the Industrial Age

Train explained there will be a week-long event at launch, ushering in the Industrial Age by encouraging players to return for a week-long Industrial Blessing, which grants a 20% bonus to caravan, farm, and road incomes, along with league battle reward bonus.

Among the new wonders are the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Brandenburg Gate, and the Kremlin, each providing unique stat boosts.

New units include the Machine Gunner, Biplane, Zeppelin, Commando,  and Tank, which add heavy firepower to the game’s battles. In addition, new mercenary soldiers will become available to bolster your military ranks, including the Gurkha, Bedoin Raider, and Flammpanzer.

Library techs available for research in the Industrial Age include Drilling, Savings, Heavy Weaponry, and Nationalism, which turns farmers to conscripted soldiers when a farm is destroyed. Industrial Age blessings, such as Air Defense Blessing and Oil Blessing will also be available to ensure players get the most out of a new era of resources, warfare, and challenges.

HD spent some time playing the game at an exclusive hands-on demo at E3 2015 in LA, and it’s quite impressive. The new units, especially air units, provided new ways to build armies and lay a path of destruction on enemies. Look for the new expansion to hit the Google Play store Summer 2015.

 

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