Hardcore Droid http://www.hardcoredroid.com Hardcore Gaming on the Android OS Thu, 16 Apr 2015 03:49:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Syberia II Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/syberia-ii-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/syberia-ii-review/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 01:10:33 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33828 Android-Adventure-SyberiaII-thumb

When you’re out in freezing temperatures, sometimes it’s not really the cold that bothers you so much as the wind.

Unquenchable by its very nature, the wind surrounds you and attacks head on from every direction. Like a fan of infinite knives, it cuts you down to your core where only your resolve will determine what is left. The cold may kill you after a long enough period of time, but it’s the wind that may just well make you embrace it.

The winds of change can often be just as cruel, especially when it comes to video games. Technology doesn’t always age well, and while I’ve personally always chose to focus on the artistic side of gaming, the truth remains that gaming is based on technology, and Syberia II just goes to show that artistry can only cover those limits so much.

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Syberia II is a pure point and click adventure game, built very much in the style of Myst. Like that adventure classic, Syberia II’s greatest strengths are story and environment. The environment of the game in particular is worth dwelling on for a while, as it mixes both an old and simple land with the clockwork toy inventions of an eccentric…well genius or mad man based on who you ask. It’s an incredible dynamic and leads to a world that really is unlike any other.

The story is a bit more of a mixed bag. On the outset, it’s an intriguing little yarn centered around a specific story of a woman helping a crazed inventor find some mythical mammoths, and a grander story of the perils and triumphs that come when we truly decide to plunge into the darkness and chase our dreams, as well as an interesting examination of machinery vs. spirituality.

Unfortunately it’s not told very well. The voice acting was always somewhat sketchy and certainly hasn’t aged very well over the years, but the bigger offender is the writing. The dialogue in this game is incredibly stilted, and hurts what is actually a very good overall tale with its inability to really compel or excite the player moment to moment as it unfolds.

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The nail in the coffin, though, would be the gameplay. The first Syberia received quite a bit of flak for its uninspired puzzles, and while those are much improved in the sequel, what hasn’t changed is the general lack of excitement the game inspires. By their very nature, titles in the point and click genre aren’t exactly action-packed, but the failing of Syberia II is that it doesn’t really make the effort to add any further entertainment value.

Compare Syberia II to the adventure games of the golden age of LucasArts, or the works of Tim Schafer, and you’ll find the difference is the effort those games made to create entertainment value out of otherwise dull moments, largely through humor or sudden occurrences.  Syberia II, on the other hand, relies too heavily on its gorgeous design and grand story. To be perfectly frank, neither of those elements have aged particularly well in comparison to modern gaming.

It’s that lack of entertainment value that holds Syberia II back from the upper echelons of this genre. Is it a grand adventure with ambition and scope that almost any gamer can admire? Most certainly. Is it fun to play? Not particularly.

The winds of change can be cruel indeed. With Syberia II, they have turned a once mighty testament to the narrative and cinematic possibilities of gaming, into a relic of an era gone by.

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Treasure Hunting Bailiffs In Skullduggery! On Android http://www.hardcoredroid.com/skullduggery-brings-treasure-hunting-bailiffs-to-android/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/skullduggery-brings-treasure-hunting-bailiffs-to-android/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 16:00:47 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33821 Playing as a selection of stretchy, flingable skulls, or SOAS (Semi-Organic Autonomous Skull), Skullduggery! follows the macabre treasure hunters and bailiffs as they search and collect artifacts and taxes from undead debtors for the Infernal Revenue Service, an otherworldly IRS. In each level player’s catapult their SOAS through a variety of platform puzzles and challenges collecting coins and relics and avoiding enemies like skeletons and zombies. Players can re-aim, and re-launch, their skull mid-flight, slowing time as they do so, to change direction and avoid obstacles, hazards or projectiles, or in an attempt to uncover hidden areas and riches.

Single player mode contains 32 large levels spread over four worlds, each featuring a variety of enemies, pitfalls and puzzles to navigate and three objectives that change each time. Each level contains a bunch of objects for players to use, some guiding you through the level and while others help you collect bonuses such as lamps that can be used to burn through boxes and reward you with coins and gems. There are also power-ups to collect like the familiar magnetism that attracts treasure or gigantism that increase your size, letting you break through walls and crush enemies. There is also the choice to hide yourself inside objects like chests, jars and trashcans to avoid enemies and score a critical headshot or simply sneak past unnoticed and unimpeded.

Skullduggery! also includes a multiplayer mode that can be unlocked by purchasing the full game, along with other features  including two extra worlds and 13 bonus skulls, where players compete in head-to-head arena battles.
You can get the single player campaign for free here, and additional features can be unlocked for a onetime IAP of $4.99.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/x-men-days-of-future-past-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/x-men-days-of-future-past-review/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:54:21 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33808 XMen-Days-of-Future-Past-Android-Game-Review-thumbThe world of X-Men is an excellent backdrop for storytelling, especially in games. It has a huge array of memorable heroes and villains, a winning combination of political strife and giant purple robots. But short of a few Marvel crossover games, the X-Men have been fairly quiet in the gaming world since the X-Men Legends series. This new Android platformer at least fulfills the promise of playing as a wide range of characters, but it seems to be a bit lacking on the gameplay front.

X-Men: Days of Future Past follows the general plot of the most recent X-men film of the same name. Both Magneto’s mutants and members of the X-Men travel back in time to prevent a future where “Sentinel” robots walk the streets, killing mutants and placing them in prison camps.

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The game, however, features a style more in line with the comics than the film. This is a smart choice, since the movie is now almost a year old, and it avoids the feeling of this being another movie cash-in game. Still, the art felt a little flat to me, evocative of comic style in the most generic way. Characters are animated at their joints, with little change to the rest of their bodies during movement. It’s not uncommon to see in games like this, but it still looks a little hokey.

The game is a relatively simple platformer. Players pick from a roster of seven mutants, each with their own set of powers and upgrades. Simple, well-implemented virtual buttons control movement, jumping, and attacking, with special moves activated by holding the attack button or swiping across it in different directions. As I’ve often said before, virtual buttons are far from the best platforming experience, but the action here is relatively slow-paced, so they don’t get in the way.

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Unfortunately, that’s also its biggest weakness. Enemies never come more than three at a time, and each can be dispatched with a simple three-hit combo. The difficulty level is mostly managed by scarcity of health pick-ups. The enemies don’t get much harder, but I found myself dying simply because I had fought too many without healing. A few special moves have a chance to stun enemies, but it’s often impossible to avoid damage.

This structure actually negates some of the interesting variety in the game. Each of the playable mutants feels different and true to their character. Colossus is slow, but hits hard, while Scarlet Witch backs up her weak projectile attacks with the ability to fly. It’s impressive that they all have different abilities and attacks (unlocked with experience points gained from fights and collectibles). But since my character experimentation resulted in death on later levels, I always reverted back to Wolverine, who is the most evenly balanced between speed, power, and defense.

On paper, the game sounds like a solid package: 23 levels, each with hidden collectibles and objective-based scoring to encourage replay, along with the seven playable characters (with Magneto still to come in a later update). But with sluggish and repetitive gameplay and an unfortunate difficulty curve, I would hesitate to recommend it.

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Dungeon Crawling Fantasy MMO Spirit Lords Arrives On Android http://www.hardcoredroid.com/dungeon-crawling-fantasy-mmo-spirit-lords-arrives-on-android/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/dungeon-crawling-fantasy-mmo-spirit-lords-arrives-on-android/#comments Sun, 12 Apr 2015 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33784 Set in a dark fantasy world where the last human city attempts to rebuild after a war between the physical world and the Spirit realm, Spirit Lords is a top-down 3D multiplayer dungeon crawler. Players lead their hero through the underground labyrinths in search of the power to restore mankind, encountering a variety of races and enemies while collecting treasure and vanquishing dungeon bosses.

Along with the assortment of swords, shields, armor and other equipment that can be found in the dungeons are Spirits, magical creatures than can be captured and trained to help your hero harness powerful abilities. Each Spirit has its own powers to bestow but by fusing them together players are able to unlock new and powerful techniques, and with more than 200 abilities on offer there’s a lot to find and play with. the level design of Spirit Lords lends itself to short play sessions, adapting the classic dungeon crawling formula for the mobile devices and the brief, opportunistic windows gamer find throughout the day, with even the longer levels only taking a few minutes to complete. You can get it here for free on Google Play.

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Dungeon Hunter 5 Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/dungeon-hunter-5-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/dungeon-hunter-5-review/#comments Sun, 12 Apr 2015 12:31:39 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33790 dungeon-hunter-5-best-android-rpg-thumbAnd so it was written, and so it came to pass that he who they call the Interloper, The Prince of Lies and Purveyor of All That is Evil was in his cups and so it was that in his cups he interfered with an entity such as himself. Some among they who make their home outside the blighted lands say that the Dark One was seen with the demon imp men call My Little Pony, still others whispered that the Master of Deceit was seen dragging what appeared to be a Bloon by its amorphous heels back—back into its fiery abode, and yea, from this unholy union a scion was spawned, a creature of unfettered corruption that men came to know as Free-ablo, still, others called this abomination of nature, Dungeon Hunter 4.

And yea, within yet a fortnight Free-ablo was revealed for a master thief and faker, beguiling men into doing commerce with his unholy IAP, and so it was that men turned their backs on him; and so he was forgotten in the lands of the hardcore, oblivion his doom. And for a time it was said that none whom men call the freemium dev did hasten to bind the hardcore RPGs to the unholy IAP. But lo, it was not to be, for Free-ablo had a brother, and so it was that Dungeon Hunter 5 came onto the land and fear likened onto a dark wave spread over the land of the hardcore.

 

So, Gameloft has taken the beloved Diablo-clone and mixed into it the trappings of a digital card game, and a freemium one at that. On paper it reads like a recipe for disaster, and in some respects it is, as Gameloft sadly cannot let go of some of their more greedy IAP ploys. But there is in spite of said ploys a game of genuine value at Dungeon Hunter 5’s core. Really, at the end of the day the ARPG meets digital card game is somehow a winning recipe, and if it weren’t for the fact that ploys to squeeze money out of players is written into DH 5’s code, this would have been a five star game. As it stands it’s a tough mix of extremes, but at the end of the day, it’s a game I can haltingly recommend, at least for now.

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The fifth entry in the Dungeon Hunter franchise is one part Diablo-clone, two parts collectable card game and maybe a half part base defense title. The Diablo-clone facet is overall fun and well put together. You play as a medieval bounty hunter, kicking ass and taking names in the aftermath of the Demon Wars, a reference to the plot of Dungeon Hunter 4. The story—something concerning bounty hunters, an archmage and a pair of warrior-women, one antagonistic, the other vaguely sycophantic—is entirely forgettable. Typical RPG-fare, the narrative seems to boil down to revealing a cast of stock fantasy characters who primarily exist to send your skip tracer off on various stripes of fetch and kill quests. Generally it’s pretty satisfying stuff, if you’re into that sort of thing. Unfortunately, any sense of narrative flow is persistently interrupted by the game’s steep difficulty arc. In typical freemium dev fashion, Gameloft spiked DH 5’s mission to mission difficulty curve to make leveling your character and gear numerous times between missions a necessity. Unlike the majority of the freemium games I’ve encountered, however, DH 5’s grind is actually kind of compelling.

I had mixed feelings about the between-mission mini-games, which eventually comprise the lion’s share of gameplay. On the one hand, DH 5’s card and stronghold games are often fun; on the other hand, they grow repetitive after a dozen or so hours of play and often enough feel like a complex graft job designed to con players into buying more of the great variety of IAP stuff Dungeon Hunter 5 is hawking, more on that shortly.

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It also must be said that DH 5’s ARPG gameplay is as solid as its graphics are pretty. The visuals, resembling of all things Diablo III, have a soft, hand painted quality, making the title’s characters and environs look like a scene off the cover of a sci-fi/fantasy novel. And the title’s combat works and then some; it’s lively and satisfyingly visceral, with blows and explosions that often dazzle and always carry the illusion of impact and weight.

And the loot? This is a Diablo-clone after all, and what would a self-respecting Diablo-clone be without a mountain of glittering loot. This is where Dungeon Hunter 5 parts ways with its brethren and much vaunted daddy as DH 5 is a collectable digital card game, and every scrap of loot you acquire exists in-game as a card.

Begrudgingly, I found DH 5’s collectable card game pretty engaging, if maybe a little overwrought. Besides belonging to one of five elemental types, each piece of DH 5 gear is gauged first by whether it’s between a one star (common) to five star (super rare) item. For each star a player can level an item a set number of times that grows progressively larger with each new star, with top-tier five star items peaking at level 125. You level up your gear, usually armor, weapons and spells by fusing other items to them. Eventually, when your item hits its peak level, you raise it to the next tier of levels by evolving the item, and effectively adding a star to it. You do this by fusing these special, crazy evolution materials to it, most of which can only be acquired via Dungeon Hunter 5’s Daily Dungeons, special missions that offer up different evolution materials depending on the day of the week.

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I found building mega weapons and uber armor compelling, especially when enjoying the fruit of one’s labor often meant obliterating players ten levels my superior. Unfortunately, however, the only items I earned over the course of the first half of this epically long game were two star uncommons, which could only be evolved by way of a ton of digital footwork to lame three star rares, a class of gear that might, at best, take you halfway through the game. Ultimately, if you hope to play for free and win the Diablo-clone aspect of Free-ablo’s Return, you are either going to lay down some money to buy some new rare gear or you’re going to dedicate a whole chapter of your life to getting it done.

The other challenge Dungeon Hunter 5 players will inevitably run up against is gathering the vast pool of loot they’ll need to level up their gear as much as three stars and 200 levels. And no, that’s not a typo. To counter this eventuality, DH 5’s devs created the stronghold mini-game. In the stronghold game you set up your holdfast with monster minions guards, who somehow generate gold and quartz (the latter is a resource used to fuse and upgrade minions). And then you go raiding. You charge into another player’s stronghold. You kill all his monsters then make you way into their inner sanctum to face off against the stronghold’s master, an AI controlled, asynchronous depiction of same said player. Usually you’ll be able to fell players several levels above your own by playing smart, and ultimately this aspect of Dungeon Hunter 5 almost never gets old. Almost.

So, no doubt this all sounds like some pretty cool stuff, and generally it is. Unfortunately, a number of greedy design decisions significantly mar what would have otherwise been a superb video game. When you die in a mission, for example, the game asks for five gems—fair enough, you have to pay to resurrect. That’s OK, I guess. But then if you refuse the offer, the game dangles all the items you would have won in front of you while asking you to essentially pay to resurrect. They pull this tactless move not once but twice before letting you continue. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Squeezing the player into constantly spending to play rather than simply charging for enhancements is unfortunately Gameloft’s MO, and their dubious approach to selling IAPs is, over the long haul, fully operational in DH 5. For example, remember the aforementioned spiked difficulty curve? Apparently it’s not enough that the mission to mission difficulty curve is so steep that most players will find it necessary to invest in some three to five star items, sold unfortunately via a kind of lottery system, wherein at five dollars a try, you’ll mostly win lame three star items.

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Gameloft yet further monetizes DH 5 by making gameplay cost resources that can only be replenished with cash or downtime. Unfortunately, this crappy, time-honored freemium ploy is integrated into both the single player missions and the stronghold game, but whereas the missions’ resource—an ‘energy’ gauge—is rather generous, your stronghold resource—called ‘stamina’ for no reason—depletes completely after just three raids. What’s worse, because of the way in which the game’s various elements work together, you’ll eventually hit a paywall if you’re playing on a budget, during which you’ll be able to play for a *maximum of ten minutes every three hours or drop about fifty dollars an hour buying gold. Worst of all, in my game, because I never won any five star gear via DH 5’s arms lottery (after spending fifty dollars at five dollars a pop), I hit the game’s paywall at level 30, found myself too weak to raid and had to submit to interminable mission-replay grinds to raise the money I needed to level up my avatar’s gear.

It is exactly here where this potentially great game loses both its way and major pointage with us here at Hardcore Droid: For throwing up a paywall at the 20-25 hour mark, where the most dedicated gamers are sure to be tapping away at their screens, Dungeon Hunter 5 deserves a whopping 2 point drop. Penalizing your most dedicated players, because you can—because clearly they’re the players who are most likely to pony up some extra green is a bum move on a good day. Doing the same in what many consider a seminal bastion of hardcore gaming—the vaunted Western ARPG/Diablo-clone is something far worse.

You’d think that some of the folks at Gameloft might, especially since they are actively lifting so many development ideas from Blizzard, take a cue from their marketing book as well and provide players with a fair return on their investment. And while it’s true that Gameloft deserves to be commended for making a freemium grind that’s actually worth playing, it’s also true that most of us here at Hardcore Droid found ourselves disappointed by this merely adequate game, wishing that like a top-notch freemium title, like, say, Blizzard’s Hearthstone, DH 5 consistently provided players with genuine value for their money, rather than incrementally offering less for more, and over the long haul penalizing their most dedicated players. Who knows, maybe if they had done things differently across the board, we’d be looking at a game as legendary as the one Dungeon Hunter 5 strives so hard to emulate, rather than at this decent video game that ultimately will soon be forgotten.

*This estimate was made with a level thirty character at league level Master II.

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Final Fantasy Record Keeper Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/final-fantasy-record-keeper-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/final-fantasy-record-keeper-review/#comments Sat, 11 Apr 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33739 Android-RPG-FFRecordKeeper-01Final Fantasy Record Keeper is a love letter to a series with which many people grew up. I myself have a deep affection for the series. At least up until ten. The setting of the game seems to be an inter-dimensional cross-section of the Final Fantasy universe where the events of all the games are history and maintained by Record Keepers. But as the world is wont to do in almost every Final Fantasy game, a looming evil intrudes on the realm and threatens to destroy all the records and leave everything in ruin. The main character is a scholar of Final Fantasy-related mythology who jumps into the various realms of the games to relive key battles and keep the worlds intact. In true Final Fantasy fashion, you get to name him. In true Alex fashion, I chose to name him D Booty.

The main thrust of the game is battle, which is conducted in usual turn-based fashion, upgrading your characters and customizing your party. You can recruit all your favorite characters from the series. Cloud Strife, Squall Leonheart, Terra Branford, Bartz (or Butz as he was known in the Super Famicon version) Klauser and Zidane Tribal are all characters you can unlock to join your fight against evil. You can even get Vaan and Lightening if you thought XII and XIII were good…for some reason. Each character can learn different abilities, spells and summons in order to vary their uses in battle and unique Limit Breaks are included to mix things up.

Battle is nothing that would come to surprise any Final Fantasy fan that has played any of the fames in the main series. It’s turn-based and can range from methodical to smashing the attack button depending on the caliber of enemy you’re up against. It should be noted that fighting makes up the entirety of the game. If you’re looking for story outside of “evil force is invading from another dimension and you must kill things in order to stop it,” then you’re out of luck. Each battle scenario is preceded by a three-sentence summary of events that lead up to the events of the battle you are about to participate in. For example, one of the first scenarios you fight in is the AVALANCHE attack on the Sector One Mako reactor in Final Fantasy VII and the preceding summary details how ex-SOLDIER Cloud Strife has been hired by the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE to take the reactor down.

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Other than the summaries, there are screen-shoots of certain events (that are rendered rather poorly, I might add) that correspond with the battle you are about to engage in. As a Final Fantasy fan, there is a distinct sense that there is a huge missed-opportunity here. You have all these great characters coming together in one game and they never interact with each other. Not once. They just fight side-by-side and continue on to the next fight. The lack of story in the game really makes it not feel like a Final Fantasy game, which is a true shame. Even if the developers were intent on making a game that was simply a string of battles, I would have loved if they had went the way of Final Fantasy Tactics, which is essentially a string of battles, but interlaced with one of the most engaging and finely-told Final Fantasy stories to date.

That being said, the game is free-to-play. It’s one of the only free Final Fantasy games on Google Play at the moment, in fact. On top of that, that game doesn’t force you to pay once you’ve downloaded in order to complete it. It seems completely possible to continue throughout the game without having to drop money on upgrades and such in order to survive. It won’t be a cake-walk, though. You’ll have to invest a good amount of time to get your team up to snuff and take on the heartier enemies that game has to offer.

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What the game does best is music, taking all of the most memorable tracks from the original games and dropping them in depending on which world you’re slicing your way through. Truly my most nostalgic moments were getting lost in the old songs of my childhood.

Ultimately, there is fun to be had here. However, the gnawing specters of what could have been, perhaps the cross-over that Final Fantasy Dissidia was attempting to be, are ever-present in my mind as I play, which undeniably detracts from the experience.

 

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Bounty Hunter Burton Arrives In Space Marshals On Android http://www.hardcoredroid.com/bounty-hunter-burton-arrives-in-space-marshals-on-android/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/bounty-hunter-burton-arrives-in-space-marshals-on-android/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 19:26:07 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33778 Space Marshals, the first game of a universe spanning science fiction trilogy from developer Pixelbite, has arrived on Android. Playing as specialist Burton players are tasked with hunting down fugitives across the galaxy. The story combined with the games western theme paints Burton as a space-faring bounty-hunting cowboy traversing the universe battling enemies and equipment befitting of the sci-fi universe.

Players can use a variety of methods to capturing targets and completing missions, initially dictated by their chosen starting load-out. While there is the option to saunter in, guns out, cutting down any enemies foolish enough to cross your path Burton also has access to a variety of less destructive tactical equipment, such as disguises and distractions, that help him make more subtle, stealthier entrances.The game features a wide range of weapons and to find, ranging from shotguns and sniper rifles to crossbows, energy weapons and axes, and the variety of equipment allows you to customize your gear to before missions to suit your style of play.

You can get Space Marshals for $4.99 here on Google Play.

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You Review It RPG: Nyctophobia: Eternal Purgatory http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-rpg-nyctophobia-eternal-purgatory/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-rpg-nyctophobia-eternal-purgatory/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 22:21:22 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33761 ~From the Play Store

You, the warrior are in an intense and monstrous journey to first find a key and then the exit to descent to the next level by moving on a map, a creepy cavern and dungeon while stepping on tiles. The catch is that on the entire journey you are literally in the dark as you can’t see just a few tiles around you and you have limited stamina.

So, you have to find the key and the exit fast unless you love dying. As you move, you bump into different scary crawlers, weird creatures and monstrosities which you can fight and chests that give you upgrades. Also, from time to time you bump into big, ugly, monstrous bosses.

In his review of Nyctophobia: Eternal Purgatory, Hardcore Droid’s Joseph McGee gave the game a winning 4.0, praising the game for it’s challenging and rewarding combat system as well as its high replay value. Is he right? Or is he blind to its flaws? Let us know!

<<Back to You Review It>>

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ARC Update Brings Android Apps To Popular Desktop OS http://www.hardcoredroid.com/arc-update-brings-android-apps-to-popular-desktop-oss/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/arc-update-brings-android-apps-to-popular-desktop-oss/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 19:16:48 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33772 Google’s latest changes to ARC, or App runtime for Chrome, allow it to run on multiple operating systems, rather than just the Chromebooks it was initially designed for. It’s now able to work on systems running Windows, OS X, and Linux, in addition to Chrome OS. After its installation ARC lets users access Android apps on the non-Android device by downloading its Android Application Package (APK) from Google Play.

Not all apps will work with ARC but, due to it being based on Android 4.4, it’s able to run a large amount of the standalone apps (those which don’t require external devices or systems, such as the OS, to run) available from the store. The program can also be configured to work with certain Google Play Services, like Google + and cloud messaging.

However, while many apps will work on ARC, very few have been optimized yet meaning they’re still designed to be controlled with taps and swipes instead of mice and keyboards. It seems that simpler control systems seem to translate better and a few developers have already taken measures to design features around the format, although the software is still in beta so it will likely be some time before the phenomenon is commonplace. Despite that, and the fact that it can only run one APK at a time, the newest updates to ARC provide an easy and consistent way to use Android apps on other systems.ARC is simple to set up with a quick download from Google’s Chrome website, which you can find here.

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Nyctophobia: Eternal Purgatory Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/nyctophobia-eternal-purgatory-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/nyctophobia-eternal-purgatory-review/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 15:02:14 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=33704 Android-RPG-nyctophobia-01In the epic poem The Divine Comedy, Dante had to battle his way through nine circles of hell. Apparently, nine isn’t enough for the team over at ZupperGames. “Their UK outfit recently released its first mobile game, the single-player Nyctophobia: Eternal Purgatory, which pits players against monstrous creatures in a never-ending series of levels.”

You are placed on one end of a map and need to find the keys on each level to descend to the next. Simple enough, right? The only problem is you can’t see anything. Nyctophobia (to save you a Google search) is “a severe fear of the dark”, so the only way to find your way out of hell is to step into the unknown. A turn-based game, each move to an adjacent tile exposes the tiles immediately around the player. This feature leads to a surprisingly tense play-through; a number of times I’ve ended up face-to-face with Frankenstein-like creatures that leave me scrambling for treasure chests, keys or the exit.

You are given two bars, where red designates your health and blue your stamina. Mercifully, your health is replenished once you reach the exit of each level, but the same can’t be said for your stamina. As you tap your way from tile to tile your stamina depletes, an ever-present timer that counts down to your death. Treasure chests located across each map may offer a small boost to stamina, but sooner or later it will run out and your character will die. This is where the game really gets fun.

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Whether you die in the simple hack and slash battles with enemies across the map or by running out of stamina searching for the exit, the game does not end there. When you die, you are given the option to “buy” one of three bags of equipment. Each one costs progressively more than the next, so if you want the good stuff you need to save up coins. The only way to gain this in-game currency is by killing enemies. There is no pay-to-win option at all in Nyctophobia, which is commendable. The only way to get better stuff is to play the game.

So after you equip your new gear, you are placed back in the game against enemies that match your improved stats. From here, it’s back to the familiar tap-and-slash scurry through the map, looking for the keys and exit. Should you die again (and you will), nothing is lost. You can simply keep playing or upgrade your equipment with you saved up cash.

While it may seem like a never-ending game would get repetitive, Nyctophobia has a surprising amount of replay value. You can earn extra coins from in-game challenges, like not healing at all on a map, or killing every enemy on a map. This turns Nyctophobia into a bit of a puzzle game, with players having to decide if they should try their luck against the enemies or bolt for the exit. For just 99 cents, you get a literally an endless amount of game, with new enemies every few levels and seemingly randomly generated maps, each requiring a different approach.

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I may not know who my character is or what I’m searching for as I do battle with the innumerable creatures from hell, but exciting challenges and unpredictable nature of the game make it one I find myself coming back to again and again. Dante may have eventually fought his way through hell and back, but I am not so lucky. Fortunately for me, there is plenty for me to do as I forever duke it out with the devil.

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