Hardcore Droid http://www.hardcoredroid.com by gamers for gamers Wed, 30 Jul 2014 04:57:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Game Of Thrones: Ascent Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/game-of-thrones-ascent-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/game-of-thrones-ascent-review/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 02:24:01 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28372 GoT

Have you ever been on a date and realized right away you just did not like the person sitting across from you? Maybe it was the something about the outfit they wore, or some incredibly awkward thing they said. Maybe you were struck with the sudden realization they were actually an octopus vaguely disguised as a human.

Whatever the reason, bad first impressions can wreck any relationship. I was recently reminded of this fact while playing Game of Thrones: Ascent. A game that’s often so painful, it had me excusing myself to the bathroom and contemplating the survival odds of a fourth story exit through the window.

Game of Thrones: Ascent attempts to put you into the world of the books and show the game is based on,  by having you play as a new noble in the land of Westeros  trying to make a name for themselves. To do this, you’ll have to participate in the complex political network that serves as the foundation to the Game of Thrones universe. Specifically this means forging alliances, keeping your foes at bay, managing the activities of your skilled people and generally making decisions that which will ultimately announce to the rest of the land just what kind of ruler you are.

Theoretically this strategic set-up is the perfect genre for a Game of Thrones game. After all, while the sex and violence of the series may grab its share of headlines, in reality it’s the family vs. familial-political skullduggery that makes it all so very compelling. Being put into the middle of that intrigue has the potential to be extremely compelling.

What sinks the whole ship right off the bat, however, are the mechanics. Ascent started its life as a Facebook game, and you can feel that pedigree with every painful minute spent playing it. In the first five minutes of Ascent you will have to suffer being carefully walked through a series of dull menu interactions that comprise the entirety of the game’s “strategy.” The level of hand holding present during this tutorial is sure to insult any gamer with a first grade diploma, and if it doesn’t the constant series of achievements that pop up for every simple interaction you complete certainly will.

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So what are you actually accomplishing during this marathon of reminders to press the highlighted button to continue? Well you’ll be doing things like taking on new recruits to your house, making improvements on your keep, aligning yourself with a major house, sending a sworn sword out on mission and gathering resources. It would all be very interesting if it weren’t for the fact that it’s accomplished so effortlessly. There is no sense of reward or accomplishment to be found here, and that’s because the game rarely allows you to truly make strategic decisions. The moments it appears to do so by offering you multiple ways to handle a situation are actually largely for show as it takes a deliberate effort on the part of the player to make the game present actual consequences for your actions.  Let’s just say if you’ve ever successfully completed a grocery list and managed to not accidentally buy a chocolate fountain instead of some onions, you’ll have experienced the strategic depth of Ascent in full.

Yet Ascent is not done insulting the intelligence of its users as once the tutorial is done, because that is when you are introduced to its microtransaction system. Like many mobile games before it, nearly every action in Ascent requires a lengthy waiting period to complete, which can be averted by spending gold. Gold, as you might imagine, is a rare resource most easily acquired by spending real money.

You know, at this point I’m convinced these games are trying to weed out their strongest critics by having them repeat the same complaints regarding them until the point they are driven to creative insanity. For the sake of being thorough, however, allow me to reiterate that this is the most insulting and crippling of microtransaction systems ever conceived, and  turns what is already an insultingly stupid and muddling experience into the same that demands that you continually pay it handfuls of cash.

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Ascent is essentially a time capsule of everything wrong with mainstream mobile game design. The only praises I can think to throw its way are all for ideas the game has, which it fails to properly execute. Ascent possesses many gameplay concepts which sound incredibly intriguing. This is especially true of the way the game handles alliances and how it integrates so many aspects of the series into gameplay events.

And yet they are all ruined by constant prods to spend money, random reminders to invite your friends and general gameplay design that encourages progress for the sake of progress without really offering any sense of reward for the effort. The blueprint of Ascent may be incredible, but a good blueprint in the hands of people not willing to put forth the work to make game experiences rewarding and meaningful really doesn’t amount to much.

Much like that bad date, whatever initial promise to be found in Ascent quickly dissipates the more you get to know it.  There are too many strategy fish in the Google Play sea to recommend Game of Thrones: Ascent to anyone but the most morbidly curious of series fans for a brief encounter. Just be sure to take note of all nearby exits before sitting down with it. You’ll thank me later.

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You Review It – Game of Thrones: Ascent http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-game-of-thrones-ascent/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-game-of-thrones-ascent/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 02:23:56 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28379 From the Play Store–

EXPLORE THE STORY LIKE NEVER BEFORE 
Your quest begins in the days before the mysterious death of the King’s Hand. With over 2,500 quests and dozens of adventures, your decisions impact how the story unfolds!

CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND 
Are you a fosterling or a hedge knight? Do you follow the Old Ways or worship The Seven? Shape your identity within the world of Westeros!

PLEDGE FEALTY TO THE GREAT HOUSES 
Swear Fealty to one of the great houses – Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Tyrell, or Greyjoy – and consort with familiar characters. Perhaps Tyrion will drop by for dinner, or Ser Jorah will check in on your support for Daenerys? Or maybe you’ll find yourself at Robb Stark’s side in the feast hall for the infamous Red Wedding!

FORGE YOUR ARMY 
Hire a legion of Sworn Swords to send on Adventures and explore Westeros!

ESTABLISH YOUR NOBLE HOLDINGS 
Build up your Keep to craft gear and items, accumulate wealth and improve your stats.

COMPETE AGAINST MILLIONS OF PLAYERS 
Earn points towards your Power rating, improve your global ranking, and rule your friends! Sign into Google+ to compete in the power leaderboards, or challenge friends to match your Achievements!

FOLLOW THE SHOW 
Frequent updates with content matching new episodes on HBO! As each episode airs, see new quests each week and explore the show like never before! Create your story through Seasons One, Two, Three, and Four to create your own history in our unique Volume You!

Prepare yourself: Winter is Coming!

 

In his review of Game of Thrones: Ascent, Matthew Byrd gave the game a 1.0 as a result of some insulting gameplay tactics. Was he right to condemn the game to the deepest of the seven hells? Let us know by writing your own review below.

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Notable New Release: Retaliate http://www.hardcoredroid.com/notable-new-release-retaliate/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/notable-new-release-retaliate/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:42:47 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28354 Roman I XVI’s new scrolling shooter Retaliate blast onto the Play Store earlier this week, and has already garnered some pretty positive feedback.

Retaliate is a retro style shooter for Android with a unique twist. You start with no ammo and you must steal your enemies’ ammo so you can use it against them. The unique gameplay requires you to move into enemies’ attacks one instance, while avoiding them the next.

The game boast simple controls that will allow gamers of any skill level to jump in and play, while fans of old-school scrolling shooters like Galaga, Space Invaders and Galaxian will feel right at home.

The entire game is also free-to-play, while offering a $0.99 upgrade that removes ads.

This isn’t Roman I XVI’s first Play Store offering. Their previous effort, Harper Sparkles, is a free game designed to appeal to children.

We recommend you give Retaliate a download. At $0.99 — you really have nothing to lose.

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You Review It RPG: Dragon’s Dungeon http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-rpg-dragons-dungeon/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-rpg-dragons-dungeon/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:41:17 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28362 From the Play Store~

Dragon’s dungeon – for Roguelike’s connoisseurs and amateurs of RPG. Collect all your valor and courage, descended into the dragon’s cave full of dangers.

Fight with the bloodthirsty monsters, explore the dark corners of labyrinths in search of new equipment and priceless treasures, improve your skills with the help of non-standard system of the character development and defeat the terrible dragon. Random generation of levels, various equipment, a variety of opponents and numerous recipes for crafting will make your every adventure inimitable.

You expect:
- More than 100 types of monsters;
- More than 500 items;
- 6 characters with unique skills;
- Crafting system to create special items;
- Three enemy lair 25 levels in each;
- Generation of random mazes.

In his review of Dragon’s Dungeon, Hardcore Droid contributor Tyler Burt gave it 2 stars out of 5, finding it to have some decent ideas but a tedious pace and sloppy execution.  What did you think?  Write your own review below:

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/guardians-of-the-galaxy-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/guardians-of-the-galaxy-review/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 02:21:26 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28204 android-arcade-guardians-of-the-galaxy-thumbI can’t remember when I’ve ever anticipated a movie more than this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Based on the comic book adventures of a misfit outlaw gang of super-people, GotG is a shift in tone for the Marvel movies, and one that fans have been waiting impatiently for over the past couple of years. Now, just before the movie’s release, Marvel Entertainment has unveiled a new mobile action game featuring the Guardians themselves. It’s a great arcade brawler, but runs into quite a few snags that keep it from being as fun as it could be.

Players who are already familiar with the comics won’t care much, since GotG is written in part by Dan Abnett, who also scripted the 2008 Guardians series that reinvented the team. The story is pretty standard space-adventure fare: the team must collect all five parts of the legendary Universal Weapon to keep it out of dangerous hands. Along the way, they meet and recruit various other Marvel characters to help in their fights. The story isn’t very complex, but it’s a lot of fun, and captures the spirit of all the characters involved. Some of the characters won’t make much sense to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie or read the books, which as of this writing represents 90% of the general population.

But it’s still a good story for younger players, and the art in the comic-style cutscenes is very expressive and fun. Marvel has chosen a “super-deformed” art style for its mobile games, which is an interesting move. We first saw this in Marvel Run Jump Smash not long ago, where characters all had large heads atop their tiny bodies. It’s starting to become almost a house style now. But even a simple, cartoony approach can pack a lot of detail, as GotG proves handily with its rich sets and character designs. It’s a great game just to look at, and the music (featuring clips from “Hooked on a Feeling,” centerpiece of the movie’s soundtrack) makes the whole experience totally immersing.

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As brawlers go, GotG is actually one of the more complex games you can find on the market right now. You control a team of four characters at a time (which unfortunately means you’ll never have all five Guardians on screen at once). The controls are based on tapping and dragging on all the characters to designate targets and use special powers and combos. The combos are tons of fun to watch, but laggy graphics mean you won’t always get to see Star-Lord jump in the air and perform a rapid-fire takedown while Gamora performs a classic run-by stabbing. Characters also frequently stand near one another, especially after a combo—so close, in fact, that it’s often impossible to make one character move without first moving the other. When you’re in the middle of a firefight, there’s not a lot of time for moves like that, making GotG’s combat system occasionally maddening. On average, though, the interface works well enough to provide a dynamic battle experience that gives the player a huge amount of freedom.

Each character has different strengths—some are melee fighters, some are ranged, and others are just healers. Each character does damage in a different way, and there are different categories for different weapons: characters can attack physically, psychically, explosively, with energy weapons, and more. All these types of damage have different strengths and weaknesses, but the game never really explains what’s good against what, leaving you to muddle through as best you can. It’s not a big problem overall, but I was still very frustrated at my inability to understand the damage system.

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I compensated by just going for the highest overall numbers I could get and leaving it at that. Upgrading weapons, buying new gear, and using chips of ISO-8, a cosmic isotope that increases attributes depending on its color, can increase stats. Without these upgrades, you won’t be able to beat the campaign (a series of moderately difficult battles until the very last level, which is incredibly tough). Other, less scrupulous studios might force players into a pay-to-win scenario where key upgrades were locked behind a paywall, but GotG boasts no IAPs whatsoever. I can definitely get behind that, and it’s worth buying the game just to support this kind of practice.

Still, GotG’s five-buck price tag might scare away a host of players that are used to getting this kind of game for free. The story mode isn’t all that long, three to four hours at most. That puts the onus on GotG’s arena mode—in which you can face endless enemies with any characters, including defeated villains—to make the game worth the price. If you’re an achievement completionist, this will be tons of fun. If not, you won’t get much enjoyment out of GotG after the last level.

I fall somewhere in the middle. As a Guardians fan outside the game, I’m redisposed to liking these characters, and leveling them up to their maximum potential is its own reward. (Rocket Raccoon was my first character to reach the level cap, because he is the best comic character ever.) Your mileage is definitely going to vary on that one, but there’s so much complexity in GotG’s mechanics that brawler fans are certain to find something that catches their interest. And don’t forget that buying this game strikes a blow against IAPs everywhere. That’s a lot of power for five bucks—just the right amount of power for the galaxy’s most loveable super-team.

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Dragon’s Dungeon Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/dragons-dungeon-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/dragons-dungeon-review/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 01:25:10 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28317 dragons-dungeon-01Ten years ago, nobody could have predicted that the word “roguelike” was going to turn into a buzzword. Now, in hindsight, it actually makes sense. For game developers working with limited budgets, making a randomly-generated, infinitely replayable game in the mold of some of the greatest low-budget games of all time has to sound more appealing than making your limitations more visible with a linear game designed for one playthrough. What developers sometimes forget, though, is that randomness is pointless without a good gameplay mechanics and a vision for what the end result of all that procedural generation might look like. Dragon’s Dungeon, unfortunately, is one of these roguelikes, and trying to crawl through its dungeons is sure to leave players anxious to play something better before they even really start.

Tdragons-dungeon-02he main thing that Dragon’s Dungeon has going for it is its amount of content: large levels, multiple classes, a crafting system, and a giant amount of skills and items. Players take their characters down through huge multi-level dungeons, unlocking quests as they level up. The quests provide variations on the standard dungeon crawling, and come with their own rewards. Dragon’s Dungeon’s problem, though, is that the actual dungeon crawling is really tedious. Each level of the dungeon is basically a simple maze, and the enemies are rooted to one place, leaving the player character safe until they choose to approach.

These decisions take a lot of the suspense out of dungeon crawling, but can still work if executed well, like in, say, Desktop Dungeons. Unfortunately, there really aren’t enough enemy types at any given time, and the enemies themselves are mostly interchangeable. In addition, combat with any given enemy is fairly lengthy, with multiple hits needed to fell even a bat. There’s also a “superhit” system, which promises a critical hit if the player taps the screen rapidly on certain hits. These hits are basically always guaranteed to be critical, so there’s not really much point to making the player tap the screen rapidly, which has never been an especially fun mechanic.

dragons-dungeon-03The loot in Dragon’s Dungeon never feels satisfying to acquire, and it’s in part because the game forgoes text almost entirely, having you rely on the graphics to get your bearings. When you get some loot, it will only flash on the screen momentarily, so you’ll need to dive into your inventory to see what it is and what it does. The inventory is somewhat clunky to navigate, as is much of the game’s UI, and it often doesn’t feel like it’s worth the time to go see what you just picked up. A roguelike with as little text as possible is an interesting idea, but the way it’s implemented in Dragon’s Dungeon removes the crucial elements that text provides in games like these: the ability to both use your imagination and get your bearings. When everything is just a blob of pixels with no context, the entire spirit of the genre is missing.

Dragon’s Dungeon plays like a game where the development team got so caught up in making character classes, a crafting system, dungeon concepts, and loot that they never got out of the idea phase. The result is a game that feels like it hasn’t fully been brought to life. Take the character system and quest system and put them in a game where the enemies move around and the dungeon has more variety than the bare minimum, and then maybe we can talk, but as it stands now, Dragon’s Dungeon feels less like a poorly-done game and more like a really, really incomplete one.

 

Write your own review of Dragon’s Dungeon here >>

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Boom Beach Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/boom-beach-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/boom-beach-review/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 16:00:01 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28247 Boom Beach thumbnailPut Army Men, James Bond, and tabletop strategy into a juicer and Boom Beach is the result. It has the theme of the first and the tongue in cheek humor of the second, all built on the bones of the third. One part building game, one part battle strategy, one part fun.

The game begins as your beleaguered forces land on a small island in the middle of a clouded archipelago. Before you can build more than a sniper tower, Lt. Hammerman of the Blackguard, a cartoonishly Bondsian villain, pops up and announces his intention to crush your puny base. His gunboat bombards your few standing buildings and a landing force attempts to penetrate to your headquarters. Luckily, your sniper kills them before they make serious inroads. Retaliation is expected. Train soldiers and build landing craft using gold and wood respectively, the familiar currencies of 99% of building games, then scout your nearby target before opening up with your gunship’s bombs or flares and sending in your troops. If done right, you free your first group of stereotypically feathered and painted natives.

Boom Beach Native

This is just the beginning of the campaign to destroy the oppressive Blackguard. This cute tutorial did not overdo it with the obvious, since this should be easy for anyone who has played building games before to figure out at a glance. Returning to your base, you are free to design your island from the ground up, but construction is always the annoying aspect of freemium building games. Construction and training takes time, wood and gold, but you can purchase resources and fast forward time with a few diamonds, the freemium currency. You can discover the gemstones while exploring, win them as a reward in combat, choose them as the daily gift or, naturally, purchase them for real money.

Once you have enough troops and a radar dish you can explore the nearby islands for the offending Blackguard. Your radar’s level determines how much of the archipelago is available to unlock with gold, otherwise it’s obscured by clouds. Clearing clouds with gold opens up enemy islands for scouting and attack. Since each battle costs gold scouting first is a good idea; then a tap on opponents’ defenses shows their damage, hit points and range. Your forces can’t be directly controlled, so using the scouting mode to figure out the best plan of attack is part of the strategy. Wins are rewarded with resources, gold, medals, and an hourly tribute. Losses grant only humiliation and the cost of training new soldiers back at your home base.

Boom Beach Player Base

Exploring and raiding was fun. When I leave Boom Beach for a few hours, I know I’m going to return to find some of my bases have been reclaimed by the enemy. There is also the chance that you will encounter other player bases in the archipelago. They offer the most challenge and the best rewards. Of course, for several hours every day your base is open to attack, so defense deployment is also part of the strategy. If an enemy makes it to your base, you lose resources proportionate to your level as well as a medal.

Boom Beach is so great it’s a shame Supercell, of Clash of Clans fame, has chosen to go the freemium route. Most building games bank on the fact that the player gets bored during construction, but in Boom Beach the player can explore, scout, and plan the next incursion while waiting. In addition, the diamonds, the only item available for purchase, become less important in the late game, when crystal shards for use building power-up statues become available as rewards – they cannot be purchased with diamonds. Why not just allow a certain number of coins to equal a diamond and charge for the game itself? Buying diamonds via the in-app store negates the strategy implied in deciding when to upgrade or build and lessens the awesomeness of a pretty awesome little game. With those changes, Boom Beach would be four-star.

Supercell has an established cartoon style that is as clear and appealing as it is cute. Raiding added something more to the building game formula and the smooth design makes playing a pleasure. The pointless inclusion of in-app purchases will only affect Boom Beach’s deceptively simple strategy if you confirm Supercell’s assumption that gamers are fools quickly parted from their money.
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You Review It Strategy: Boom Beach http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-strategy-boom-beach/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-strategy-boom-beach/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:48:14 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28341 From the Play Store–

Description

Storm the beach and win the day! Boom Beach is a combat strategy game where you fight an epic war against the evil Blackguard. Take your expeditionary force to beautiful paradise islands invaded by the enemy. Fight for every beachhead, free enslaved islanders and explore the uncharted archipelago. The fight becomes a race to harness the ancient powers hidden on the islands. Are you ready for the BOOM?PLEASE NOTE! Boom Beach is completely free to play. However, some game items can also be purchased for real money. If you do not want to use this feature, please set up password protection for purchases in the settings of your Google Play Store app.
FEATURES
✔ Explore a huge tropical archipelago full of danger and treasure
✔ Play with thousands of other players, raid their bases and enjoy the spoils of war
✔ Attack hundreds of unique island bases controlled by the evil Blackguard
✔ Face fearsome Boss Enemies and uncover their evil plans
✔ Discover the mysterious power of ancient statues and Life Crystals
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In her review of Boom Beach, Hardcore Droid Contributor Aliya Barnwell gave the game a 3 out of 5, finding the game itself good in spite of the in-app purchase option. What did you think? Write your own review below
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You Review It Strategy: RTS Rex Tribal Society http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-strategy-rts-rex-tribal-society/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-strategy-rts-rex-tribal-society/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:25:07 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28330 From the Play Store–
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Multiplayer Real-Time Strategy game, based on the idea that men and dinosaurs lived together.Through earth’s expanding period, extreme conditions, razed most of the living beings, but some natural sanctuaries survived, giving birth to new ecosystems, with new hunters, and prays. Millions of years have passed and life is spreading over earth once again, with the blessing of the creator, your people is to rule all over others, and populate the planet once again. Survival of the fittest, faith or honor, be the first to conquer and outrank your enemies on this new borning fantastic world.
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In her review of RTS Rex Tribal SocietyHardcore Droid contributor Aliya Barnwell gave it 1.25 stars out of 5, finding it barely deserved to be called an alpha build.  What did you think?  Write your own review below:
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Star Horizon Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/star-horizon-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/star-horizon-review/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 05:36:14 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=28286 star horizon-action-android-04Star Horizon is a premium game in the Google Play store. It was $3.99 to download, and while I got enough content to make it worth the price, it wasn’t content I was interested in playing.

The story of Star Horizon is promising enough in the beginning — you are a pilot named John who is put into a mysterious cryo sleep. When John wakes up he decides to fly around space with his A.I. named Ellie (who is programmed to have an attitude and an opinion about EVERYTHING) trying to solve the mystery of what happened to him.

In the first mission, John is presented with an option to either save his friends or stick to his prescribed mission. As the player, you get to choose which option he goes for. Your choice affects the storyline you get to play, which is an interesting element to add to a flying game—but unfortunately the concept is introduced early and then abandoned quickly.

But the storyline overall has little to no effect on how the game progresses, regardless of what option you choose. Every level seems the same. In fact, more than once I wasn’t sure if I was replaying a level or had moved on to something new. Sometimes it felt like I was flying in circles, and for all I know, I could have been.

android-action-star horizon-03Although you can maneuver the ship from side to side and do some barrel rolls in order to dodge enemy fire, the majority of your movement through the levels is on a set track. Once each level is completed there’s a checkpoint that is basically a racing game. Both the environment and the format remind me of Luke’s race to blow up the Death Star. It’s probably the most exciting element of the game, which is rather disappointing for a game that’s supposed to be heavy on story. Not only does shifting and dodge rolling actually affect your success on these checkpoints, but there’s the added challenge of trying to maneuver while attempting to shoot at your enemies.

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The game can be played on difficulty levels of easy, normal, or hard. I started on hard and moved my way down when I got tired of playing the same checkpoint over and over. The only difference I could find between difficulties, however, was how many health and defense points I got at the beginning of the level. MAYBE the enemies were easier to shoot down, but even on the hard level the game was not particularly challenging.

There were some overall attempts made to integrate storyline and gameplay, but the difference between an enemy that had to be defeated and an area that had to be defended was somewhere between minimal and non-existent. Even visually the two were essentially the same—which may have been the reason for my ultimate downfall in a few points.

Star Horizon could not keep my attention for very long at all. I returned to it time after time hoping that the next level would be better. In between battles, I could upgrade my weapons but they all remained in the same three categories: single shot, multi-shot, and long-range torpedo. It took so long to earn enough points to upgrade that by the time I could afford anything it wasn’t worth it.

android-action-star horizon-00There is one thing in which Star Horizon is head and shoulders above other games, and that is the graphics. For all the issues with the gameplay, Star Horizon is a truly beautiful flight through space. The backgrounds are serene, the bases and ships are battle-worn, and the enemies are unique. There are full planets in the distance that give you a sense of place in the universe without having to know exactly where you are. Even the little pop-up images of Jack and Ellie are highly detailed, if verging on generic.

While the game is truly a work of art, the graphics do not make up for the disconnect between story and gameplay. If only Star Horizon would pump up the stakes—give Jack something to actually fight for, and open the game up a little more to exploration—this would be a truly wonderful game.

 

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