Hardcore Droid http://www.hardcoredroid.com by gamers for gamers Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:55:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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. android-rpg-dead-dragons-01 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. android-rpg-dead-dragons-02 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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République Sneaks Into The Play Store: Hardcore Droid News http://www.hardcoredroid.com/republique-sneaks-into-the-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/republique-sneaks-into-the-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:33:10 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29662 I’ve got a treat to share with you guys today – a game that features voice acting and a compelling story for your mobile device!  The game is République, a stealth action that’s received very positive reviews when it released on the iOS some months ago.

République follows Hope, a young girl trapped in a bizarre cult operating as its own nation. You don’t actually play as Hope, but as a person who’s trying to help her escape by hacking into the surveillance and computer systems of République. You can jump from one camera to the next, access personnel files, and control security systems. When the coast is clear, you tap to send Hope to a different location in the game’s immersive 3D environment.

The first thing you’ll notice about République is its graphics. They are gorgeous. Animations and character models look great for a mobile game, and the faces of characters actually display some emotion. It’s a hefty download (1 gig) but you can see that all that extra data is being put to work.

The game sprang to life from a successful Kickstarter campaign a few years ago, and the first three episodes are available on the Play Store now. Each chapter has a few hours of gameplay each, and you can pick the first episode up for an introductory price of $2.99. If you dig it, you can pick up all five chapters for $14.99. You can see for yourself over here.

Here’s a trailer for the second episode (possible spoilers ahead!)

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NHL 2K Series Hits The Play Store: Hardcore Droid News http://www.hardcoredroid.com/nhl-2k-series-hits-the-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/nhl-2k-series-hits-the-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:58:56 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29660 The 2K series has been the underdog of the sports market for the last decade or so, playing second fiddle to the elephant in the room named EA. Premiering on the Dreamcast way back in 1999, the series has evolved, improved, disappeared and has now resurfaced. Now it’s back on the Android and iOS.

The game features all the stuff you’d expect from a sports game. A career mode, a 3-on-3 quick match and a multiplayer shootout option if you want to play with friends. The game also works with Bluetooth controllers, if you can’t handle the swiping and touching (personally, I can’t!).

The game will set you back $7.99, but it provides a full experience. There are in-app purchases listed on the Play Store, but I couldn’t really find anything too drastic, so it should be safe. I’m always rooting for the underdog, so I recommend NHL 2K for any hockey fan looking to play on the go.

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Zombie Gunship Reality Creeps Onto Play Store: Hardcore Droid News http://www.hardcoredroid.com/zombie-gunship-reality-creeps-onto-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/zombie-gunship-reality-creeps-onto-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:14:11 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29656 This week’s strange release comes to us from Limbic. The game is Zombie Gunship Reality and is pretty much unplayable at the moment. Why?  You might ask. Well, there’s currently no hardware to play it with. The game is meant to be played with Project Tango, an augmented reality headset that’s yet to release.

The game is essentially Zombie Gunship with gyroscope controls. You would move around with the headset and tablet, blowing away baddies and shooting guns. Here’s the ridiculous trailer for it:

 

Wow, what a workout.

As of now, the game is just sitting on the Play Store as a bit of a tease. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what Zombie Gunship Reality and Tango have in store for us.

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Rovio’s First Non-Angry Birds Game Is Flappy Bird Clone: Hardcore Droid News http://www.hardcoredroid.com/rovios-first-non-angry-birds-game-is-flappy-bird-clone-hardcore-droid-news/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/rovios-first-non-angry-birds-game-is-flappy-bird-clone-hardcore-droid-news/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:55:07 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29654 Rovio, the developers behind Angry Birds and hardly anything else, have released a game called RETRY, a game that’s remarkably similar to the hit game Flappy Bird.

RETRY has no aggravated avians or mean pork in sight, but you do control a plane, tapping the screen to activate the propellers. But that’s where the similarities end. The game is broken up into stages, instead of the ‘endless runner’ style of Flappy Bird. The objective is to land your tiny plane safely at the hanger at the end of each level. The system is more forgiving than it seems at first – though you will crash into the “roof” (clouds) and various outcrops often, it’s possible to land safely on any flat surface, or even water. The game also allows you to save at various mid-level hangers along the way, though you’ll need to collect coins to unlock them.

RETRY is the first game by internal developer Lvl11 and it’s very solid. From the chiptune sound effects and music to the pixel graphics, Lvl 11′s freshmen effort is impressive.

The game is free of in-app purchases and advertising, though there are ads to unlock save points, and you can still bother your friends for extra goods. If you liked Flappy Bird, but couldn’t handle the frustration, this might be for you. It’s a solid game, and a change of pace from developer Rovio, even if it’s a bit of a clone.

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You Review It: Nightmare Cooperative http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-nightmare-cooperative/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/you-review-it-nightmare-cooperative/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 08:25:33 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29619 From the Play Store:

Fiendishly difficult! Adorably cute! Utterly engrossing! 
How much gold can you get before your entire team is destroyed? IT’S NEVER ENOUGH!Play The Nightmare Cooperative now – it’s a strategic adventure where you lead a group of unlikely comrades through some rather difficult situations. Your village has fallen on hard times (due to reckless spending by the Village Council) and it’s up to you to bring back some gold.The Nightmare Cooperative is a puzzley roguelike. You control a group of characters, each with different special abilities. The trick? They all move together, as a group. Something of a cooperative, if you catch the drift.Every playthrough will be different, and you’ll always have to start at the beginning, no matter how well (or badly) you did before. Your score is the amount of gold that you pickup during your journey. Opening crates gives you extra gold, but releases more monsters.

In her Hardcore Droid reviewClaire Donner gave Nightmare Cooperative 4.5 out of 5 stars, detracting half a star for a few technical glitches. Did you dig up more trouble lurking in its depths? Tell us why or why not in 300 words or less.

Return to You Review It  >>>

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Nightmare Cooperative Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/nightmare-cooperative-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/nightmare-cooperative-review/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 06:27:48 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29607 Android-RPG-NightmareCooperative_00Scottish developers Lucky Frame are on a mission, as their website states, “to encourage creativity through technology”. Their latest effort, a puzzle-heavy roguelike called Nightmare Cooperative, fulfills this promise by pushing the player’s strategic faculties to the brink, while soothing away maze-induced insanity with its impressive artistry and wry wit. The premise is, rather than a heroic tale of derring-do, a hilariously dour political snarl grimly recalling the burdens of real-world citizenship. A medieval Village Council has emptied its coffers on monuments to its own members, so it calls on all its knights, archers, mages and other able-bodied residents to do a little “fundraising”. This means scouring the corners of a series of deadly mazes to gather as much gold as possible without being killed by pitchfork-wielding guards, poisonous critters, and other atrocities. Luckily, you won’t be alone; you’ll start out in as a pair of heroes, and then increase your party’s members as you find more warriors slumbering in the corridors.

Nightmare Cooperative
is what veteran gamers know as a “roguelike”, a type of RPG inspired by the classic 1980 dungeon crawler Rogue. These games typically involve turn-based play on a tile-based board filled with treasure, obstacles and enemies. Nightmare Cooperative offers four color-coded levels–Catacombs, Ice Caves, a Desert, and Tech World (a perplexingly earthy brown tunnel-like environment)–each of which contains four mazes. Your party must make its way from the far end of the maze, around walls, pools of deadly liquid, and gangs of monsters, to reach the stairs to the next maze. Along the way you’ll find treasure chests which contain the gold you seek, but they also release more acid baths, hooded goons, and (pleasingly Metroid-like) beasts. To make matters worse, each time you take a certain number of turns, a new enemy spawns somewhere on the board.

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Nightmare Cooperative is what veteran gamers know as a “roguelike”, a type of RPG inspired by the classic 1980 dungeon crawler Rogue. These games typically involve turn-based play on a tile-based board filled with treasure, obstacles and enemies. Nightmare Cooperative offers four color-coded levels–Catacombs, Ice Caves, a Desert, and Tech World (a perplexingly earthy brown tunnel-like environment)–each of which contains four mazes. Your party must make its way from the far end of the maze, around walls, pools of deadly liquid, and gangs of monsters, to reach the stairs to the next maze. Along the way you’ll find treasure chests which contain the gold you seek, but they also release more acid baths, hooded goons, and (pleasingly Metroid-like) beasts. To make matters worse, each time you take a certain number of turns, a new enemy spawns somewhere on the board.

Although the roguelike genre is an old one, Lucky Frame has eschewed lazy design conventions meant to play on our nostalgia. Instead of affected 8-bit visuals and MIDI music, Nightmare Cooperative offers beautifully articulated characters resembling tiny construction paper collages, and a hypnotically immersive soundtrack. The music consists of spare, somber guitar and percussion sounds; one almost expects to hear an ambient accompaniment of crickets or rainfall. The sound effects for each game action are similarly subtle and melodic, blending into the score in the manner of improvisational jazz. Although the game is firmly two-dimensional and lacks any sort of complex animation, its lovely audiovisual components rescue it from being a hokey throwback to games of yesteryear.

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Gameplay is as simple as you might expect from this vintage genre. Each turn moves all of your characters lockstep, one panel in whatever direction you swipe, and each enemy takes a simultaneous turn. Clearing these increasingly complex mazes while loosing the fewest party members requires a lot of brainpower. Can you trap one of your characters in a corner to keep him from plunging into a nearby spiked pit while another makes it to the stairs? Can you trick one of the dumber monsters into crossing a deadly lava puddle as he chases you down? Luckily, you’ll periodically get a leg up in the form of special items like armor to absorb extra damage, vampire fangs that leech an enemy’s health, and enchanted trinkets that increase your attack power.

What’s this about attack power, you ask? To attack, you can simply bump into an assailant to put him down, although this hurts you as well as it hurts him. Preferably though, you’ll be able to use each character’s special move, if you’ve picked up a little blue action potion. To the right of the maze is a list of each current party member, displaying their health levels and the number of potions they’ve accumulated. Each of these little blue potion beakers allows the character to perform their special trick one time, when they’re in the right position on the board. When a character is highlighted and switches to a battle stance, you can touch the large blue action potion icon on the lower right of your screen, and your Barbarian knocks encroaching creatures across the room, your Priest heals his nearest cohort, your Warrior shoots an energy beam across the maze to hit a diagonally-located enemy; any character with an action potion and an opportunity to use it will do so with a click of this button.

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Unfortunately, herein lies one of Nightmare Cooperative’s few faults. The controls can be fickle, intermittently failing to respond, or suddenly hurting you across the board. This is a huge bummer when it results in a mass kill-off of your party as they knock into bad guys and traps–especially since you cannot save your progress. Once your last character has died, you have to start all over again from the beginning. Sure, every maze is different and therefore every play-through is unique, but still, it hurts to lose all those guys and gear. Similarly, you can tap on anything on your screen and a text box will appear, describing the properties of anything from your Ice Mage to the Yeti he’s about to battle. However, responsiveness here is spotty, and some text boxes will linger too long over an area you really need to see.

Resolving these technical hangups would certainly give Nightmare Cooperative a well-deserved shove from game very-goodness to game greatness. The difficulty level rests right on the border between fun and maddening, and its randomized mazes give it that element of surprise that makes a game dangerously addictive. In fact, the very worst thing about this game is the fact that it is nearly impossible to stop playing. For many of us, this is the kind of game that can interrupt important functions such as relationships, personal hygiene, and the ability to walk down the street without wandering into traffic. It is possible that without the dampening effects of the occasionally sticky controls and forced restarts, Nightmare Cooperative could make life into a real nightmare.

Write your own review of The Nightmare Collective  >>>

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Google Play Now Supports Nearby Multiplayer: Hardcore Droid News http://www.hardcoredroid.com/google-play-now-supports-local-multiplayer-hardcore-droid-news/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/google-play-now-supports-local-multiplayer-hardcore-droid-news/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 15:21:58 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29601 Google Play has featured online multiplayer for some time now, but has finally updated to support local multiplayer. Now you can scream directly in your friends face when you lose!

The feature has been making its way to users recently, but now that it’s official, you should have no problems seeing it. Notifications will appear if someone nearby is playing the same game as you. You can also search for nearby players in the matchmaking screen. Maybe this can be used as a casual icebreaker on the train.

The choice to add multiplayer is of course, left to the developers. Developers have to add the Play Games APIs to enable multiplayer. There are already a good number of games that use Play Games in some capacity, so hopefully you’ll actually have the opportunity to try this. Any games you want multiplayer support for? Let us know in the comments.

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Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Comes To The Play Store: Hardcore Droid News http://www.hardcoredroid.com/rollercoaster-tycoon-4-comes-to-the-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/rollercoaster-tycoon-4-comes-to-the-play-store-hardcore-droid-news/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 15:11:28 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29598 Rollercoaster Tycoon, once one of the staples of the ‘sim’ management genre, has had a few rough years, but that still didn’t stop Atari from releasing the latest installment exclusively for mobile. Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile features all the fun from previous installments with all the new annoyances of the free-to-play format.

If you’ve never played a Rollercoaster Tycoon game before, here’s the lowdown. the game is basically an amusement park simulator. It’s your job to keep your park profitable by strategically expanding, adding everything from food stalls to infrastructure like bathrooms and gift shops. The more attractions you make and upgrade, the more money you pull in, and the more you can build.

The real fun of the game comes from building your own coasters, but actually customizing the tiny parts is somewhat difficult on a touch screen. I couldn’t help thinking how much easier it would be with a mouse and keyboard.

Most of the parts can be unlocked using in-game currency, but the real cool stuff sits behind the premium paywall. You must collect tickets either by grinding for days, bugging Facebook friends or simply pay your way through.The IAPs aren’t incredibly annoying, not as much as the controls, anyhow.

The game launced for the IOS a few months ago to poor reviews when it launched as a paid app, so hopefully the free-to-play model helps paint a better picture for the series. If you’re feeling the nostalgia coasting through your blood, you can download it here.

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Anomaly Defenders Review http://www.hardcoredroid.com/anomaly-defenders-review/ http://www.hardcoredroid.com/anomaly-defenders-review/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 06:00:05 +0000 http://www.hardcoredroid.com/?p=29528

android- strategy-anomalydefenders-thumbIt’s not often that I receive genuine bona-fide messages from the future. So you can imagine my surprise when, on downloading the 800 megabytes of Anomaly Defenders I was greeted, not by the Android game I thought I was installing, but by a completely real message from actual aliens. To the astonishment of me and everybody else in this benighted poop-closet we call the present day, it seems I’d been chosen to  take command of the forces of these alien fellows and save them all from certain destruction! It seems like they had literally nobody else to call; I can only presume that Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson were all too busy being f@!ing crazy to respond. So I got the job!

Hooray!

In an obvious breach of the Geneva Convention, it seems that future-humans were totally going to destroy all these pitiable alien folk. According to the alien lady who briefed me, I had to buy time for these puny, pants-pooping aliens to launch their escape pods and begin some traumatic exodus into the outer dark where there is only a wailing and a gnashing of mouth-parts (or teeth or whatever it is they have). It was a story so utterly original and completely novel that it just had to be completely real! And when I reached the future, I could really tell it was the future: everything was made out of glowing turquoise and orange lines, and there were robots and stuff. It was all so unexpected that my puny present-day human brain nearly exploded from the shock of it all. I could almost understand why those naughty future-humans wanted to blow everything up. Living in the future must be hard with all those lights glowing and going BAZOW around you!

android-strategy-anomalydefenders-01And how, I hear you asking, was I supposed to buy time for these plucky exiles-to-be? Why, by building towers that would destroy the incoming waves of human attackers as they crawled along fixed and pre-determined paths! I can only presume that the generals of the future have all suffered massive brain hemorrhages, and that their junior officers have taken to just following the lines their drool makes on the carefully-drawn maps of the battlefield. It was all very intimidating as I had absolutely no idea how I could ever prevail against such daring and nuanced strategic minds!

And then I started my defense. The enemies came, and I built towers; the towers shot at the enemies, and the enemies eventually exploded, leaving me enough resources to build more towers. I found this cycle to be so utterly rewarding and fulfilling that I decided to repeat it for another 24 thrilling levels. I never even used my magical ability to speed up time (woah! But it’s true!) at all, because defending those escape pods constantly demanded my attention in meaningful and interesting ways, and never once asked me to go through cycles of meaningless and repetitive micromanagement actions! All the time I was commanding the defense, I simply couldn’t think of any of the other things I’d rather be doing: whether it was eating fish and chips, filing my tax returns, or breaking my own legs and those of the furniture I was sitting on, never once did I think I’d rather be doing any of these utterly riveting and entirely compelling things! I was so engrossed, I even spent extra time with the game trying to learn the details of its technology tree, building at least seven spreadsheets in order to help me work out what the best upgrades were. That’s how much I cared for those happy-go-lucky alien refugees, folks!

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So, yeah. That’s Anomaly Defenders, a Tower Defense game of average presentation that quickly reveals itself to be so clunky and tedious that I had to resort to sarcasm in order to avoid falling asleep while I was reviewing it. Next time I get a message from another planet, I’ll probably ask around and see if Tom Cruise can fit them in. That or tell them to go f@!k themselves.

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