Hardcore Droid http://www.hardcoredroid.com by gamers for gamers Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:19:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Sentinel 4: Dark Star Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/sentinel-4-dark-star-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/sentinel-4-dark-star-review/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 01:36:22 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29752 Sentinel 4 thumbnailThe dark planet Xenon eclipses the sun before you, its edges gilded, three great claw marks scarring a hemisphere. Your command, the drop-ship Sentinel, sits in space above the alien mothership that lured you away from its home-world. Touching down on the surface of the planet triggers a hostile response — apparently the locals aren’t too happy to see you – but you know what to do. As the alien hordes begin to stream in, you begin to deploy your defenses. Soon the turrets are spitting and swiveling, and you smile down at the growing heap of corpses as they sink into the extraterrestrial mud. Your Commander droid sits in front of your base, waiting to take out any enemy that ventures too close. With turrets logically deployed, nothing reaches him, but this is just the beginning of what will prove to be a very long war.

This is the premise of Sentinel 4 Dark Star, Origin 8 Technologies’ alien future of tower defense.  As the fourth installment of the Sentinel tower defense series, it offers new features and graphics that are even better than when players first got their asses to Mars in the original, Sentinel Mars Defense. Overall, the gameplay remains mostly the same; use your turrets, droids and weapons array to splatter any hostile aliens advancing along the various and varied paths to your stronghold.

Sentinel 4 lava lvl

The menu screens are prettier than ever, with shadowed detail vaguely reminiscent of Mass Effect. The levels themselves are just as crisp, but the zoom is no more drastic than in Sentinel 3 and stops short of the bar set by the main menu and map screens. Followers of the series may have hoped for a bigger graphic improvement to the actual gameplay than Dark Star provides. It is by no means ugly, but the terrain has a degree of sterility that could create a sense of repetitiveness as players defeat 26 levels over four difficulties. The style hasn’t seen any major changes since the last Sentinel. This is not Defense Grid, or Dungeon Defenders, or even South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play, which is at least faithful to its IP. Hopefully a visual upgrade is on deck for Sentinel 5, considering the glut of tower defense games out there it’s a shame that Dark Star’s actual gameplay has the visual appeal of that geeky valedictorian who may win awards but can’t get a date. Don’t worry Sentinel, you’ll be the one getting hired after graduation. The game gets high marks for general ambiance, from the high-res presentation of the opening  and the smoothness of the menus to the deep base of the menu screen background music. In the future, there are always aliens to dispatch, and even the most hardened space marines listen to dubstep.

Traditional series tweaks remain in place, like the fact that money made from kills accumulates interest, and different maps offer different secondary bases to defend. Pause is no more forgiving; once you’ve set a turret you can’t change your mind and move it just because the game is paused and it technically hasn’t been built yet. While not exactly new additions, there are some welcome improvements to the RPG elements, like the master upgrade menu that allows you to use credits earned on missions to improve the Sentinel as well as assign turrets and path-blocking units to your command bar for use during levels, and the Commander, the permanent guard unit. It has a slew of special abilities, and can also be upgraded between levels. Fans of Sentinel 3 Homeworld will appreciate the beefed up Commander skill tree and  flexibility of the command bar, and players of lesser tower defense games will be awed by the depth these additions create.

Sentinel 4 upgrade menu

The RPG menu improvements are much better than the star fragments menu, which pops up before every level and offers one-time use boosts to things like turret damage or structure health. Star fragments are rewarded based on performance after every level play-through, so those who need more can simply replay earlier levels or try different difficulties. They are the all-purpose currency, exchangeable for coins, commander experience points, or the aforementioned one-time boosts.  The price for the game itself has come down on this game since its release and sits at $2.99 at the time of this writing. For me, that’s about right, so I will be hoarding my star fragment level rewards to beat those last few campaign levels on psycho difficulty, or maybe trade them in for XP or credits to get me over the hump. The average player doesn’t need to spend extra real-world cash to progress. The star fragments are relatively easy to come by.

The last but certainly not least addition is the Global Battle Nexus, where the efforts of all the players combine to sway the war. When the worldwide effort reaches a certain threshold, all players are rewarded. A player’s individual contributions raise your rank and reward bonus. Yes, there’s Google leaderboards and trophies, but the Nexus is a broader encouragement, like a feature ripped from an MMO. This in combination with the RPG elements, and lengthy campaign makes Sentinel 4 Dark Star one of the best android tower defense games on the market. Just look away as the identical alien corpses pile up around your square defenses.

 

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You Review It: Deep Dungeons of Doom http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-deep-dungeons-of-doom/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-deep-dungeons-of-doom/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:09:51 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29737 From the Play Store:

You’re Going Down! Enter the Deep Dungeons of Doom if you dare…

This game is only for the brave. Dungeons await, each one deeper, each one more perilous and each one more challenging than the last.

You will meet monsters and you will need skill and tactics to defeat them. You will find weird and wonderful treasures along the way. Most will help you, but some might not. You may choose to play as a Crusader, a Witch or a Mercenary – in fact each one might well be required if you are to successfully complete your quest – but knowing when to use each one is something you are going to have to figure out for yourself.

The reward for your endeavours? The Deepest Dungeon of Doom. Never before has such evil existed on such a massive scale. Only the most battle-hardened rogues will stand a chance of making an impact.

In her Hardcore Droid reviewClaire Donner gave Deep Dungeons of Doom 2.5 out of 5 stars for being just as cursed as it is blessed. Do you think Deep Dungeon’s drawbacks outweigh its delights? Tell us why or why not in 300 words or less.

Return to You Review It  >>>

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Deep Dungeons of Doom Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/deep-dungeons-of-doom-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/deep-dungeons-of-doom-review/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:41:25 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29730 Android-RPG-DeepDungeonsOfDoomLast year, a pretty, pared-down roguelike RPG called Deep Dungeons of Doom debuted on the Ouya, to a reasonably warm welcome. This fall, thanks to the joint efforts of Brazilian developer team Miniboss and London-based Bossa Studios, the game has made it to the Android platform. Its 8-bit chic aesthetic and compulsive playability explain its immediate popularity, but it has other flattening, oversimplified qualities that may give it a short shelf life.

You control a war party consisting of a Crusader, a Witch and a Mercenary who must clear a series of evil-infested environs on your way to the eponymous dungeon. Your start screen is a chunky, pixelated map of the kingdom punctuated with shops that sell curative elixirs and useful equipment, access points for character profiles, and most importantly, battle zones. With each corrupted region that you clear, more open up, culminating with the appearance of the deepest dungeon of doom.

On entering the fray, to the tune of some funky old school arcade music and crunchy sound effects, you land in a single room where you and the resident monster duel from fixed positions. You can block with a button on the lower left, strike with the right, or use an item in your inventory display at the top right if you’ve snatched up a life-sucking cursed scroll, a healing wand, or even a rock to throw. Holding down the attack button executes a special move: the Crusader heals himself, the Witch replenishes magic points, and Mercenary delivers a powerful blow. To win, observe each enemy’s unique attack pattern and parry accordingly—satyrs strike and immediately block, hanged men are briefly vulnerable before hurling projectiles, headless horsemen strike at long intervals but if you fail to block, their attack continues on to your death, etc. Once you’ve made a kill and gathered up the gold and occasional gear contained in the treasure boxes guarded by each creature, swipe vertically to proceed to the next room. Each level is headed up by an appropriately-themed boss, like the cybernetic polar bearbot in the Icy Caves, and the possessed priest presiding over the haunted Monastery. Even though rhythm-based combat is fundamentally predictable and monotonous, the challenge of keeping your cool and controlling your reflexes is fairly entertaining.

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Keep an eye on your Health and Magic bars at the top, but be especially mindful of your Agility, which determines your recoil time after attacking; each strike dims your Attack button, and you won’t be able to use it again until the button regains its glow. The starting strength of Attack, HP, Magic and Agility stats varies from character to character, and as you fight on, Dungeon Bonus screens intermittently appear to give you the chance to increase your powers. You’ll want to select increases that compensate for the weaknesses of the weapons you’ve acquired, bumping up Agility to improve the performance of your strong but slow Brass Knuckles, or adding HP to wield a devastating sword that slowly drains your health. However, these increases only last for the duration of the level, and if you die before beating the boss, you’ll lose these bonuses as well as any gold and equipment you’ve collected. Winners, however, can carry their weapons to the next level, but the stat hikes still disappear.

In spite of the bonus and gear losses, your characters do enjoy some permanent increases in their abilities. Each profile page displays a substantial grid of unlockable skills whose gold cost escalates with their potency. There are three skills available at each price tier, and seven price tiers, making your characters highly customizable. However, only one skill within a price tier can be active at a time, and like your equipment, each skill has a dark side, so make your selections strategically. The agile Mercenary can handle an attack multiplier that comes with an agility decrease, just as the Witch’s ability to recharge her own magic points recommends a defense increase that causes her magic level to drop slightly at the start of each floor. The fun of building up and reconfiguring these characters counteracts the impossibility of amassing an arsenal to some degree, and makes hitting that Revenge button after each death especially addictive.

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You only have to clear ten areas before the deepest dungeon reveals itself, but the difficulty level escalates sharply toward the end of the campaign, so it’s unlikely you’ll have the chops for the final fight by the time you get there. This sends you into a slog of scraping up enough gold in lower levels to afford all of the ultimate skill upgrades. The developers have tried to preempt the onset of boredom by offering randomized challenges to meet in the meantime—you get gold for killing three corrupted priests, clearing the Coal Mines with the Crusader, or expending twenty magic points in one battle—but there are other issues that make this game feel slow and uneventful. You always have to restart from the first floor after dying, and each time you access a different level, you have to sit through that area’s introductory cut scene again. Sure, you can tap through to speed things up, but these scenes are unusually long (and loaded with eye-rolling jokes) and could definitely use a “skip” option. Once inside, nothing tells you how many floors there are per level, dampening your sense of progress and sometimes making you wonder if you’ll ever reach the boss. Additionally, you can’t see your enemy’s health bar unless you’ve paid for that skill, creating feelings of futility (and eternity) when you’re using a low-attack character against an especially tough monster.

In the short term, the simplicity of Deep Dungeons of Doom makes it intensely addictive, and its vintage arcade vibe gives it a hip charm that’s hard to resist. In the long run though, the game’s poor pacing, and the frustration of losing everything with each death, will make it seem as medieval as its premise.

Write your own review of Deep Dungeons of Doom  >>>

 

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Plague Inc. Has Spike In Downloads, Thanks To Ebola: Hardcore Droid News http://www.hardcoredroid.com/plague-inc-has-spike-in-downloads-thanks-to-ebola-hardcore-droid-news/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/plague-inc-has-spike-in-downloads-thanks-to-ebola-hardcore-droid-news/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:52:50 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29725 Well, here’s a bit of strange news.  Mobile game Plague Inc., a free game which has been out for about two years, saw a spike in downloads due largely in part to the world’s interest in the deadly disease, Ebola.

“This is the first time something in the real world has has an effect on the sales charts, especially since Ebola came over to America,” Plague Inc. creator James Vaughan, who heads up one-man studio Ndemic Creations, told Polygon. “People are curious about it and want to know more about infectious diseases. Plague Inc. can play a role because it’s an intelligent look at how infectious diseases can spread.”

The games experienced a 50 percent increase in downloads in the last two weeks. Vaughn went on to say that he’s hopeful that he can use the heightened interest in Plague Inc. to help charities supporting those affected by Ebola.

He believes that the app can be used as a teaching tool, helping people understand how infectious diseases work and how they are spread.

In addition to the free versions of Plague Inc. that are available for iOS and Android, Plague Inc.: Evolved is available through Steam Early Access for $15.

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You Review It: Hail to the King: Deathbat http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-hail-to-the-king-deathbat/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-hail-to-the-king-deathbat/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:45:53 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29717 From the play store~

From the minds of Avenged Sevenfold comes Hail to the King: Deathbat.

Deathbat is a 3rd person, overhead dungeon crawler action RPG in the vein of The Legend of Zelda, Gauntlet Legends, and Diablo. The game’s story is based on the mythical origin of the Deathbat, Avenged Sevenfold’s logo and mascot. The game’s design is not for the faint of heart as players will need to traverse massive levels, combat skillful undead, and best unforgiving bosses. The epic story follows Andronikos, the resurrected King of the Underworld and the embodiment of the Deathbat, who is tasked with reclaiming the lands of Haides from the despotic Dark Andronikos. Along the way you’ll mix and match brutal melee combat with projectile magic attacks battling through beautifully designed and hellish landscapes inspired by the band’s iconic discography and artwork. Interact with characters along the way to solve puzzles and unlock the mysteries of Moros Island.

Hail to the King: Deathbat features classic Avenged Sevenfold tracks along with a new and original score, composed by the band in the immortal tradition of 8-bit masterpieces like Castlevania.

Features:
- Game tells the fictional origin story of the Deathbat
- Play through levels inspired by Avenged Sevenfold’s catalog
- Play as members of the band (available as in-app purchases)
- Features an original score, written by Avenged Sevenfold for the game
- No must-purchase upgrades; Price of game includes everything necessary to beat game
- 7 new paintings by artist Cam Rackam
- 14 pieces of never-before seen artwork intended for use in earlier albums
- Jimmy ”The Rev” Sullivan plays an integral part in the storyline and can be unlocked
- Rich, immersive storyline that will appeal to gamers and fans of the band alike
- Interact with non-playable characters to learn about and solve the mysteries of the island
- Unlock new weapons and magical abilities to defeat enemy hoards and difficult bosses
- 10-12 hours of gameplay
- Additional “Nightmare Mode” for those who are able to beat the regular game (adds an additional 10-12 hours of gameplay)

Localized in 8 languages: Spanish, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Italian

In his review of Hail to the King: Deathbat, Hardcore Droid’s Sharang Biswas gave a 2.8/5,  saying that while it would only appeal to a certain kind of fan. Do you agree? Or is he too picky? Let us know below!

<<Back to You Review It>>

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Hail to the King: Deathbat Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/hail-to-the-king-deathbat-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/hail-to-the-king-deathbat-review/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:38:02 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29692 Hail to the King: DeathbatA video game based on a rock-band. Huh. Not something I’d ever played before (turns out it’s not as uncommon as you might have thought), but I was a still a little skeptical.  Games based on existing franchises haunt my dreams. In my experience, they tend to amount to unsubtle marketing tools used to milk extra cash out of gullible fans, usually in the form of either a) an unoriginal reskin of an existing game, or b) a “trivia game”. Apparently, all you need for a good (read: marketable) game is to cobble together a few proprietary characters and drop them into a familiar environment, with no though of plot development or game mechanics (A few excellent exceptions, of course, do exist).

Nevertheless, the Action-RPG Hail to the King: Deathbat, themed around heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold, aroused my curiosity from the simple fact that it was getting such good reviews. When I sat down to write this article, 1440 of the 1700 ratings on Google Play gave it a full 5 stars. For a mobile game, especially one with a pricey $4.99 tag, that’s pretty impressive. So despite my misgivings, I decided to give the game a whirl.

Apparently, Deathbat is inspired by the “mythical origin of the Deathbat, Avenged Sevenfold’s logo and mascot”. I know zilch about heavy metal, hadn’t even heard of the band before playing this game, and so cannot attest to the veracity of that statement. However, mascot or not, the game’s storyline is pretty nifty. The world of Haides (yes, that’s pretty groan-worthy, but what can you expect from a game titled Deathbat?) was basically created as a bet among three gods, to see whether good or evil would prevail if people had free will. Yep, that’s right: Haides is one giant, Golding-esque exploration of the Doctrine of Original Sin. Most games would stop there and then let the player lead the world into an era of righteous…err…goodness… In Deathbat, however, the forces of evil have already triumphed:  the evil god Kerberos (cue: more groans) cheated and replaced Andronikos, the human king representing all that is good and just, with a corrupt, twisted simulacrum. You play as the real king, revived by the good gods to try and drag the world out of the darkness. In the form of a “Deathbat”, of course, complete with webbed bat wings and skeletal visage, because what else do you expect a resurrected champion of good to look like? This is heavy metal, people!

Hail to the King: Deathbat

He just SCREAMS “champion of good”.

As Andronikos, you have to reassemble the fabled “Talisman” and bring peace to the world. You do this by exploring lengthy levels, killing nefarious demons and avoiding, sidestepping, puzzling through, or for someone like me, blindly stumbling into dastardly traps. As gameplay goes, Deathbat is pretty standard.  You get one button for a melee attack, and one for a ranged magical attack (which you can also hold down to release a special crowd control effect determined by your weapon). For normal enemies, you really never progress much beyond rushing at them and swinging your sword. Boss fights are more interesting because they each have quirks. Should you run around and take pot-shots, trying to avoid their vicious claws? Or deal with their summoned underlings first to remove their protective shield?

In terms of aesthetics, the game delivers decently well. While I don’t care much for the somewhat dated 3D rendering of characters and enemies (and the shopkeeper-witch’s piercing cackle really grates on my nerves), the backgrounds and environments are darkly evocative and draw you into the gothic, heavy-metal world. The shadows-on-parchment art style of the opening cut-scene is especially lovely, and the music (particularly important for a game based on a band) is great, a sort of heavy-metal / 8-bit fusion score with a bit more oomph.

Hail to the King: Deathbat

Nifty story and cool intro cutscene.

Unfortunately, Deathbat is marred by some frustrating elements. I literally spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to move properly (your finger need to tap only on the left side of the screen-nowhere else), and even late into the game, the controls remained choppy. Aiming your ranged attack is a nightmare unto itself, and you’re often better off not even trying.

And you die. A LOT. All the time, in fact. Call me a wuss, but did you have to design a game where dying 5 times in a protracted, hour-long dungeon with multiple checkpoints and hundreds of enemies means restarting the whole dungeon? I don’t care to recall how many tries it took me to finish even the first real stage, but it verged on ridiculous. Health boosts are hard to come by so you have to spend all your coins on potions lest ye be doomed to be trapped in an endless cycle of grinding through the same monsters and repeating the same dungeons over and over again. Which would be fine if you were properly rewarded for grinding: a skill tree that you can advance within even if you keep dying, for example would be great. Or maybe the addition of ARPG’s most cherished tropes: loot. Diablo II, for example, lingered long after its expiry date essentially due to its loot system. Diablo III’s visual augmentation of your avatar as you earn better loot works wonders with keeping you hooked on the game. Deathbat’s paltry coin-rewards and measly shop do not.

Hail to the King: Deathbat

What could be good gameplay marred by a few frustrating issues.

On the whole, Hail to the King: Deathbat is a pretty so-so Action RPG. Interesting story, plenty of content and cool art and music help. But, what could be a solid combat system is hindered by exasperating controls, and the rinse-and-repeat nature of the game gets old fast. There’s a fine line between challenge and frustration when designing a game, and Deathbat clumsily lumbered into the latter’s territory, transforming into an irritating grind-fest. And while many people (at least 1440) may be fans of this style of action, I rarely find that unrewarded, drawn-out grinding sessions lead to engaging gameplay experiences.

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The Wolf Among Us Is Now Available On The Play Store: Hardcore Droid News http://www.hardcoredroid.com/the-wolf-among-us-is-now-available-on-the-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/the-wolf-among-us-is-now-available-on-the-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:25:10 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29714 Fans of Telltale’s recent adventure games will have something else to cheer about. This past summer, The Wolf Among Us, the Telltale adventure game based on the comic book by Bill Willingham and DC comics, was released for the Android.  The game was only made available via the Amazon Appstore, so players who didn’t want to deal with the Appstore for content would be missing out.

The game is made by the same group who did the excellent Walking Dead games. The game stars Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown and acts as a prequel to the comics. Fans of either the comic or The Walking Dead games will find a lot to enjoy here.

The game is broken up into episodes and there are five in total. Each episode goes for $4.99 and you can get the whole pack for $14.99. What’s more, episode one is available for free, so you can give it a try and see if the point-and-click adventure game is right for you.

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Enterchained Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/enterchained-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/enterchained-review/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:09:29 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29677 android-action-enterchained-01Are you in the mood for blood, swords, grinding, and probably more blood, and even more grinding? Well, Enterchained has you covered. The 2D brawler takes place in the famous Roman Colosseum, the Flavian amphitheater, where you play as an unnamed gladiator who must fight his way through endless waves of rivals to glory. The catch (and the game’s namesake) is that you’re chained to a fellow gladiator. Gameplay consists of moving in tandem with the AI to trip up and execute enemies in an arena with an endless army of challengers. Your goal is to collect better gear that will allow you to return to the arena and beat bigger and tougher enemies. Unfortunately, if you want to build the ultimate gladiator in Enterchained, prepare for a lot of grinding and repetition.

Why are two gladiators chained together? Nobody knows. And don’t expect an introductory story to explain it or even a tutorial because the game drops you into the thick of battle as soon as you press start. Fortunately the game’s early stages are forgiving, and give you plenty of opportunities to get a grasp over controls. That being said, there’s not much to learn. The initial experience may be chaotic, but once you get more comfortable with the mechanics, the gameplay is enjoyable if not a bit satisfying. Like many hack and slash games, Enterchained is incredibly straightforward in design. The gladiator you are bound to is a compliant AI who will follow when you lead. The cartoonish graphics are simple but well done, enemies come in different gear and combat styles, and the loot you collect looks great. The black and white color scheme is equally basic but tasteful, with green, yellow, blue, and red accents to signify different players, controls, and blood. If you’re doing a good job of clearing the arena, the floor should be covered in the blood of your enemies. Your fight to the death is accompanied by epic battle music complete with the ominous beating of drums and cheers from surrounding spectators. You’ll be using an on-screen controller with individual buttons for executing, throwing, and attacking, which encourages a lot of fun but ultimately tedious button mashing.

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Originally designed as a local multiplayer co-op for the PC, what sets Enterchained apart from other hack and slash games is the chain that binds you and your partner together. The chain mechanic is actually quite useful in terms of crowd control, but you should also be aware of its disadvantages. While you can use your chain to trip up opponents, the chain can also limit your movements. This is especially troublesome when your teammate becomes incapacitated or is too busy fighting an enemy to move with you. Tripping on your own chain is also possible which makes mastering the chain mechanic all the more important. Unfortunately, the co-op chain mechanic isn’t used to its full potential with the ever obedient AI employed in the Android version. Playing with the AI is not without its challenges. Sometimes the AI isn’t smart enough to get out of harm’s way which can pose a challenge when it comes to crowd control.  But even with these flaws (intentional or not), the clumsy AI still isn’t comparable to the aggravating yet entertaining experience of playing with a real player in an actual co-op. That being said, a lot of the game’s potential entertainment value is lost when translated into an Android game. On ‘Droid, the chain and the AI are just tools for you to complete objectives, not the combat handicap as the PC version intended. Without the co-op feature as the star of the show, Enterchained becomes a long dull grind.

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Enterchained is a simple game in nature –you’ll face wave after wave of enemies, cutting and dicing until you eventually succumb to enemies that are just too tough. Like a roguelike or coin op, dying is an intrinsic part of the game. There are no new levels or locations to unlock, you simply start from round one and work your way back up. So what’s the point?

It’s all about the loot. Each game begins with a set of objectives such as “chain trip three giants” or “defeat 30 enemies with sword throws”. When you fulfill these objectives, you unlock gear that will improve your performance in the next round. There’s a decent variety of gear to be had, which allows players to customize their characters according to their play style. There’s even a spiked chain that can instantly kill enemies that trip over it and a sword that will return when thrown. All items are represented graphically on the screen so your gladiator will perform and look extra tough in the arena. With up to 45 items to unlock, the game has the potential to keep you tied up for hours, especially if you’re a loot hoarder. My problem is with the grind. The excitement and drama of the arena are lost because it’s incredibly repetitive. Yes, you’ll unlock items that will help you defeat bigger enemies, but where’s the fun in having to mow down several rounds of the same mobs over and over again to get there?

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Make no mistake, your first round in Enterchained is guaranteed to amuse and challenge you, but you’ll soon find the game incredibly repetitive. Once you’ve got a solid strategy in taking down and executing enemies, the game ceases to be challenging. To sum up my main problem, Enterchained is a game that doesn’t have a lot of staying power; the repetitive gameplay, simple AI, and static environment are a complete turn off. The amount of loot you’ll unlock may be a great plus but considering how you have to face the same enemies time and time again, the loot isn’t worth it. For a long train ride or if you’re stuck somewhere with nothing better to do, Enterchained can be a great way to kill time as it can be played in quick bursts and played in this way it can be mildly entertaining at first. As a game that you’ll come back to without fail, however, Enterchained is as dull as a butter knife.

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Humble “Mo-boo-bile” Bundle Is Scary Good: Hardcore Droid News http://www.hardcoredroid.com/humble-mo-boo-bile-bundle-is-scary-good-hardcore-droid-news/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/humble-mo-boo-bile-bundle-is-scary-good-hardcore-droid-news/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 19:47:55 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29670 The Halloween themed Humble “Mo-boo-bile” Bundle (yes, that’s the actual name) comes to us this week, and features a pretty spooky set of games. The six games available this month include Rebuild, Oscura: Second Shadow, Containment: The Zombie Puzzler, Five Nights At Freddy’s, Dead Effect Premium, and The Walking Dead: Assault.

The Halloween bundle works like all the others—you pay whatever you want and can get the basic tier of games. Those games are Rebuild, Oscura: Second Shadow, and Containment: The Zombie Puzzle. Pay more than the average, and get Five Nights At Freddy’s, Dead Effect Premium, and The Walking Dead: Assault.

Give Humble Bundle your email and they’ll send you a free copy of The Spookening, but that’s not all. A new free game will be unlocked every few days with this bundle, so make sure you check back. The Bundle will be available for the next two weeks, to keep an eye out. The prices tend to creep up with time.

Any spooky games catch your eye? Let us know in the comments.

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RPG Dead Dragons Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/rpg-dead-dragons-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/rpg-dead-dragons-review/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:53:06 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29642 android-rpg-dead-dragons-iconWelcome back, my friends, to the RPG assembly line that never ends. Ubiquitous developer KEMCO has released their monthly RPG, this time titled Dead Dragons. Naturally, being a big fan of dragons in general, I had to check it out. What I found was sadly unsurprising: another mediocre JRPG story rushed out to support a poorly-defined combat system. KEMCO’s technique is starting to show signs of wear and tear, and Dead Dragons might be the beginning of the end for their current business model.

As with all KEMCO stories, Dead Dragons is wholly unremarkable in its plot. You play as Will, a young guardian whose father always insisted that dragons were still alive in the world. Naturally, since everyone else thinks dragons were wiped out a century ago, they are immediately shown to be alive, and quickly curse Will with a deadly Dragonscar that gives him magic powers while it saps his lifeforce. This will eventually kill him and birth a new dragon, so that dragons can eventually make a comeback and restore balance to the world. After being violently ejected by the mayor of his town (who amusingly says that he doesn’t want you to leave right before he tells you that nobody in the town ever trusted you, so get lost kid), Will spouts a bunch of nonsense about how he “can’t just accept that” and how precious his life is.

The entire story is really just based on your character not wanting to take one for the team, which put a damper on my desire to play as him at all. There are also the usual NPCs occupying the “mysterious ninja girl,” “loud and kind-hearted swordsman,” and “mousy, bespectacled cleric” roles. With a little bit of nuance and outside-the-box thinking, Dead Dragons game could have an enjoyable plot, but KEMCO doesn’t have time to write something original when they’re on a 12-game-per-year schedule. It’s one of the company’s biggest failings, and begs the question: why does KEMCO want to make RPGs in the first place? The most important part of making a successful RPG is crafting a compelling story, and Dead Dragons is anything but compelling. Throw in a handful of generic NPCs whose only dialogue is “…” and one housewife in particular who giggles about how it’s a woman’s duty to make herself look pretty even if she’s only going around the corner, and it becomes painfully apparent just how paint-by-numbers KEMCO’s approach to game development has become.

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The combat in Dead Dragons reaffirms this somewhat, though it’s at least somewhat novel. Each member of the party occupies a different square in a formation. By “formation,” naturally, I mean a straight line which rotates through each character in sequence. In contrast, all your enemies line up horizontally across from you. It’s one of the least realistic representations of combat I’ve seen in a JRPG since I played Final Fantasy Legends III on my old Game Boy Pocket. Each square can be filled with a “battle cell,” which imbues whoever stands in the cell with certain bonuses. By far the most interesting part of the combat system is Ruin Mode, in which one character summons some magical helpers to fight for a few turns. Only the summoner and his or her summoned monsters can attack for a while; after Ruin Mode ends, everyone in the party is healed and the fight continues. It’s pretty fun to see the main character’s super special dragon powers manifest in a way that isn’t just another variation on a power attack—instead, Will brings forth some giant claws made of shadows that decimate any enemies present. Still, I coasted through every random encounter with the auto-play function.

There’s nothing interesting about any Dead Dragons battle that isn’t with a boss. All the monsters in an area are, as is customary for a KEMCO game, recolored versions of those that appear in every other area. You have no way of seeing an enemy’s health bar for some reason, and you have to decide what actions your entire party will take before they all resolve in order, so there’s very little sense of being in control at any point. The only thing over which you have control each turn is the “weak point” you want to attack. When making an attack, you can choose one of three diamonds to attack—left, right, and up. One of them corresponds to a “weak point” on the monster that will increase your chance of doing critical damage. This might be cool if the weak points didn’t shift randomly between turns, rendering this attempt at realism just another way Dead Dragons breaks its own immersion.

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What’s more, I had to figure a lot of the basics out on my own. Dead Dragons seemingly assumes that you’ve already played all of KEMCO’s other games, or are simply an expert in turn-based strategy RPGs, because the in-game tutorial skips over everything about stats and basic battling and goes right to all that formation and battle cell jazz I mentioned above. Dead Dragons may be the least beginner-friendly RPG I’ve ever played, even though the battles themselves are absurdly easy. It’s just not fun for someone who doesn’t already have a strategy game encyclopedia in their brain.

When I started playing Android games regularly, KEMCO games were some of my first purchases. I enjoyed their stripped-down approach to traditional RPGs and found some of their stories somewhat enjoyable, if derivative. But while they’ve never really brought anything dynamic and new to the table, KEMCO is now at risk of ruining its own formula for middle-of-the-road success by simply getting lazy. Dead Dragons isn’t so much an actively bad game; it’s just boring and half-done. With more time to flesh out the world, give the combat system a bit of nuance, and punch up the graphics a notch, Dead Dragons would have been a lot of fun. Instead, KEMCO’s absurd monthly release schedule proves once again that you can’t make a good game by throwing tropes at a wall and hoping they’ll stick.

 

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