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:
Last Fish (Normally .99): Very often the Kindle apps forget that Kindles have gyroscopes built in. Why is that, Kindle app developers? Last Fish takes advantage of the gyroscope, as it is a search and tilt game. You play as a fish made of light in space, and each level you must seek out other light-based objects. At first there are only light objects, but after a few levels there are also voids that effect your life points and act as obstacles on your quest. In the arcade levels there is a void fish that chases you and adds even more of a challenge to your goals. Last Fish strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and variety in its game design. The levels progress at the perfect pace re: challenges, and the arcade games are a wonderful extension of the regular levels. Not only is this my favorite game of the last two weeks, it’s among the best Kindle apps I’ve ever downloaded.
Best Featured App:
Civiballs (Normally .99): This week’s physics puzzle is Civiballs, a game where a scientist and his monkey inexplicably go back in time and use simple machines to solve complex puzzles. The aim is to get colored balls into pots that match their hue, and you do so by using basic laws of physics along with an ever-changing landscape of stone shelves. This game is actually kind of hard. It has limited tutorial but in this case I think it works to the game’s advantage. Different elements all react in different ways, and the lack of tutorial encourages experimentation. The elements such as crossbows and cannons are explained, but they interact with the level around them in such a variety of ways that you have to try most levels more than once before successfully beating it.
Featured App Runner-Up:
FlipPix Art—Sports (Normally 1.99): One of my favorite games on the 3DS is Picross 3D. FlipPix is the same mechanic, just in 2D rather than 3. You solve puzzles by filling in or deleting boxes on a grid, and the solved puzzle forms a pretty little picture. This particular version of the game features images relating to sports. The grid has numbers on the columns and lines letting you know how many boxes will be filled in once the puzzle is solved. Having played similar games both on paper and on my 3DS I went right for the hardest option—the 20×20 grid—although you can play on a grid as small as 5×5. The only downside to this one is that the puzzles don’t change based on how many boxes there are in the grid, so you’re essentially solving the same puzzle at different difficulties.
The Game I Can’t Put Down:
Emily’s Taste of Fame (Normally 1.99): Apparently there is a whole series of Emily games, which I did not know before this week. Emily has lots of adventures; cooking, planning weddings, babysitting and the like. Emily is a busy girl. Taste of Fame is a pretty standard Diner Dash spin-off, but there is an actual storyline that strings the locations together. The higher levels in each “world” even have extra challenging elements added to them—such as having to take phone orders in addition to serving the customers actually in your store, or keeping a screaming child from knocking everything in the candy store over. This is the game I couldn’t put down, however it doesn’t win best game for the week because it isn’t as original as I would have liked it to be. There were ads in between levels for Emily’s other games, but no levels were unlocked with real money, and no elements could be purchased with anything other than money you earned by serving picky folks.
MOST RECENT LET-DOWN:
Call of Mini—Zombies (free): I avoid first person shooters as a rule. However, there’s always an exception and this week Call of Mini: Zombies almost became that exception. After playing four levels, however, I got tired of the repetitive nature. The controls stayed laggy and hard to maneuver (you move around using a joystick on the left side of the screen, but can’t turn around without the right side camera angles.). Additionally, your camera button also made you shoot—and with a gun that actually runs out of ammo that’s a waste of precious resources. I tried out some other modes, like the boss fights, for the sake of achievements. However I believe the boss levels can only be fought fairly with other players along with you. Being a solo player eliminates you almost immediately when one hit from the boss takes you out. I was really excited to like this game when the first four “days” were fun, challenging, and interesting. But once these flaws started showing up faster than the zombies, I decided to give up on Mini Zombies for good.