We are certain that our Kindle-toting brothers and sisters are sometimes neglected, and in need of some extra game review love. To remedy this, Hardcore Droid has engaged the Kindle Featured Apps, especially the Free App of the Day. Our resident Kindle expert par excellence, Jen Schiller, is downloading the free feature every day as well as at least one game from among the Featured games. Jen will train a hardcore gamer’s eye on each and every one of them and report back to you with which of their number are worth your time. For the Kindle owners whose e-Reader sees more games than books, this will be the bi-weekly roundup not to be missed.
As most Kindle owners know, every day Amazon’s Kindle store features a handful of apps including a highlighted app for free download. To meet the challenge of assessing each and every one and report back to HD readers as to which ones were worthy of their time, I checked in every day, downloaded the free game, and then chose another featured app or two to try. At the end of two weeks, the best games were determined by which I hadn’t deleted yet (pretty simple qualification). I determined which ones to keep based on a few different criteria, which were decided on after I played each of the games for multiple hours and through most of their “main” game modes. The first of the criteria is simple: none of the games require in-app purchases at any time. Moreover, the games had to have some unique element to their gameplay, a variety in their levels, and excellent replay value at the very least. See our last Kindle Review here.
Best Game of the moment:
Ravel’s Presidents (normally $1.99): Word games have been letting me down lately, but Ravel’s Presidents is an interesting twist on some of the classics. You get a boggle-y jumble of letters, and you have to find all the proper words from the jumble. Then you have to descramble the words into a presidential quote. Unless you’re a total nerd for that kind of thing, it’s a pretty hard game. There are three levels of difficulty and all three are pretty tough to crack—they take a lot of concentration and there are no hints or shuffling of letters. You have to deal with what you get or reset the puzzle entirely. Good luck.
Dumb Ways to Die: This is the week of arcade-style games, and the first up is Dumb Ways to Die. This game is based on a video ad that the metro train company recently put out to encourage safety around trains. The video features these little nugget people dying in really dumb ways to an adorable, catchy tune, and the game is pretty much the same thing, except you have to stop them from dying. The longer you go, the faster they attempt their dumb tasks. While there are only about 10 different ways to save the nuggets, there’s always the challenge of beating your last top score; plus you unlock more nuggets on the menu screen and get access to silly videos the higher you go.
Toilet Time: Toilet Time is second on my arcade list. It’s a crude little game where you play a bunch of potty-related challenges, ostensibly while also wasting time on the potty. The game is just that—a time-waster, but it’s tons more fun than I expected. Much like Dumb Ways To Die, Toilet Time speeds up the longer you play, making each task harder than the time before. In this game your high score unlocks joke items in your toilet-themed museum which is amusing and gives you a goal to strive for. I guess. If you’re into setting goals while you poo.
Playing with Balls:
Amazing Alex ($.99), though there is a free version: Rovio, the company that created Angry Birds, has granted us another fun little title. Amazing Alex is a physics game. Alex is a kid with lots of *ahem* balls that he is setting up obstacle courses for. He’s got shelves and slides and balloons and stacks of books…all that sit in the toolbox ready for you to use to collect stars and make it to whatever objective Alex has set for you. The only weak point in this game is a lack of direction. I figured things out easy enough by fiddling around and pushing all the buttons, but there’s little to no guidance explicitly given. I feel that’s a theme in Rovio games, as though discovering the basic functions of a how a game works is half the fun. Not always the case, Rovio.
Most Recent Let Down:
How To Train Your Dragon 2 Storybook App($2.99): This actually pains me to write. I cannot stand when movie tie-in games are lazy and underdeveloped. Granted, the HTTYD 2 app is more than just games, but the whole thing is a little sloppy. There is a story you can listen to or read, with a bunch of stills from the movie. There are coloring pages that you can scribble on (do kids actually do that? Where’s the fun if the crayon isn’t in your hand?) and then there are two mini-games. One is a dragon racing game, like the one in the film, and the other is called “Dragon Hunters”. It’s essentially whack-a-mole where you’re Toothless and the hunters from the movie are moles. Neither game is interesting, innovative or fun. The racing game is so poorly designed that I just couldn’t bring myself to play more than one lap. Possibly worst of all the game costs $2.99—a price at which I would expect something much much better.