Tag Archives: Reviews
Powder Hound: Snowball Madness looks for all the world like a lighthearted one-touch skiing game, but it could just as easily be a horrific dystopian satire. Why else would the titular hound, Rocket, be skiing for his life while a snowball machine with an evil AI named Dred tries to wipe him off his skis with giant snowballs?
Dystopian or not, there’s really no need for story in a game like this, so the fact that developer Tim Holmgren added a little character is just a bonus. It’s nice to have a motivation beyond chasing your high score.
The controls literally couldn’t be simpler. Rocket automatically skis downhill at a slant, and tapping anywhere on the screen instantly flips his orientation. Holding down on the screen gives you a speed burst, but only after you’ve picked up a special bronze-colored star.
By tapping quickly, you can make Rocket weave back and forth and squeeze through narrower spaces than you might think possible. Let’s just say that if Rocket was a competitive skier, slalom would definitely be his specialty.
Of course, athletes don’t generally have to worry about being clobbered by snowballs. The random, unpredictable nature of Dred’s snowball-rolling makes the game a slightly different challenge every time, as does the random layout of the obstacles.
Smashing into a tree will end your run just as surely as it would in real life, and the same goes for hitting the sides of the screen. Like many other one-touch mobile games, the difficulty of Powder Hound: Snowball Madness is a feature, not a bug.
Not to say there aren’t a few of those as well — though none of them is game-breaking. The collision detection feels just a tad off at times, with the result that you sometimes wrongly believe you’ve collided with something, take your eyes off the ball assuming it’s game over, and actually collide with something a moment later.
The same is true for picking up the stars you need to collect to replace the energy you use up whenever you change direction. You have to hit them just right to collect them, and it takes some practice to get it right. The other minor irritant is pop-up ads that arrive at the end of every few trips downhill, but thankfully there’s an option to turn them off forever by paying $1.99.
There’s nothing overly complicated about the visuals in Powder Hound: Snowball Madness, but that’s just fine in a game of this kind. Both Rocket and the snowballs crisscrossing his path make satisfying tracks through the powder, and all the other environmental elements are pleasant enough. You’ll even spy birds flapping across the mountain at times — one of the few things that won’t knock you out of your bindings.
Not a dog person? You can swap Rocket for a cat, panda, or penguin with just a few taps before you head for the slope, and you can easily change your hat, glasses, and scarf the same way. There’s an obvious opportunity for some unlockables here, but it’s pretty cool that you have a bunch of visual options right away.
For those who can’t handle enemies in their games there’s also the Casual Mode, where the snowballs are removed. This option has its own Leaderboard and set of achievements for you to work your way through.
In the end, we may never find out what made Dred run amok and weaponize the snow around him in a bid to neutralize a harmless skiing dog. That that’s okay. If you simply need to kill some idle minutes by putting your reflexes to the test, Powder Hound: Snowball Madness fits the bill.
The post Powder Hound: Snowball Madness Review – It’s Snow Joke appeared first on Gamezebo.
Donut County is a dynamic puzzler, where the aim of the game is to remove every prop from each scene. This is much more complicated than it sounds. For instance, when you start each level your hole is no bigger than a bowling ball, so the challenge of the game is to expand your hole enough that it’s able to consume every single rock and tree on screen.
Whats it about
You join the people of Donut County 999ft below the surface of the earth, where all the townsfolks possessions have been dumped together. As the people of Donut County come together to try to piece together what has happened, they each tell their story as to how BK brought them a thousand feet below the surface.
BK is a rather selfish racoon who owns the donut shop. As he is the new owner, he is offering a delivery service to anyone, no matter how remote. This at first is welcomed by the residents of Donut County until they order a donut. After they order one, a hole appears on their property, which is being controlled by BK. He is trying to earn as many points as possible, by swallowing everyone’s possessions.
Ok, I get it, whats gameplay like?
Gameplay is as simple as it sounds for most levels. You move around the scene looking for small items working your way up to the biggest. Eventually, you will get big enough to swallow everything on screen.
Later on, you will have to use certain combinations in order to achieve your maximum size. These combinations can be as simple as knocking food off a cart, or as convoluted as swallowing hot coals to set the environment alight.
Is that all?
No, the intuitive levels build up to a climax between BK and his friends, versus the Garbage King. This final level in the game offers so much more than any of the previous. You enter a facility which has three locked doors, you’ll need to get the appropriate key cards in order to unlock the doors and cause as much mayhem as possible.
After successfully creating mayhem, the Garbage King himself will invite you to his office where he reveals his master plan. After this, a boss battle begins where you will have to manoeuvre your hole quickly with great accuracy to win the battle.
After this, the game ends. Which is especially sad as gameplay just started to offer more features beyond mindlessly swallowing every item on the screen. You had a purpose and had to solve certain puzzles in order to progress, which felt a lot more rewarding than swallowing up people’s homes.
Just to reiterate, the game does ooze charm. The conversations between BK and his friend Mira had good thought and effort put in throughout. Just like the “Trashopedia” which has a quirky comment next to every item you swallow in the entire game.
But, and this is an especially big but, Donut County goes especially light on content. When a mobile game is asking for more than your traditional couple of bucks, they better deliver more than just an hour or two of gameplay, which is exactly where Donut County falls short. There are a million games out there that offer way more content for a fraction of the price, which is really sad.
You get to meet all these quirky characters, you finally have levels where there is more to do then swallow everything, but then the game just ends. I like everything about this game, it’s just too short to recommend.
There’s a hell of a steep learning curve to Aqua Moto Racing 2. If you’re not familiar with the genre of watercraft racing you may initially approach it like a karting game. This will see you overshooting your corners, drifting over barriers, and generally making a fool of yourself.
But that’s exactly what makes this game rewarding. Stick with it and pretty soon you’ll be slicing through the water like an Olympic ice skater, hugging the buoys and cleaving to the perfect racing line.
Okay, you probably won’t get that good. But you’ll have fun trying.
The aim in Aqua Moto Racing 2 is, of course, to go fast – ideally faster than the other watercraft on the water. Each course is a circuit and you have to do three laps. En route you’ll find bags of money, chests full of gold, ramps, and buoys with directional flags.
The flags let you know which side of the buoy you need to pass on. If you cut a corner or accidentally pass on the wrong side that’s one strike. If you get three strikes, you’re disqualified.
You might think that means it’s a good idea to give buoys a wide berth, but no. The closer you come to hitting a buoy, the more your boost meter will be replenished, so there’s always an incentive to live dangerously – but also to race well, since racing close to buoys typically means taking the best racing line.
That’s the core of Aqua Moto Racing 2’s visceral appeal: riding the line between chaos and excellence, while grappling with controls so drifty that they make the ice stages in DiRT Rally look like Train Simulator.
Each course typically has three or four ramps. As soon as you reach one of these you’ll get the option to pull off six different stunts — two each at easy, medium, or hard — with corresponding rewards in the form of cash.
Again, risk vs reward is the name of the game. If you get a good run up, perhaps propelled by a boost using your fully replenished boost button, you’ll have plenty of time in the air to execute the most complicated stunt for the maximum reward. If you’re not so sure, you can only hope that you’ll have time to finish the trick before splashdown.
But what is all this money – the stuff you get from tricks, and the other stuff you find lying around – for? Simple: buying better watercraft.
The most basic model will get you through the game’s Beginner Cup, but if you want to get much further you’ll need to fork out virtual cash for better vehicles, which not only cost money but only unlock after you reach certain ranks.
Once you’ve got through a cup those courses, separated by country, will be available to play at any time, and you get the option to set the number of opponents, the difficulty, and the number of laps.
There’s also a storm mode, which makes life harder by increasing the size of the waves, and a mirroring mode, which only unlocks at the very end and lets you play an inverted version of each course.
It’s fun to dip into these tracks, but the cups are the backbone of the game. It’s here that you’ll know how well you’re doing, as you struggle to outrace your opponents on the best watercraft you can afford while being buffeted by gorgeous, photorealistic waves.
Aqua Moto Racing 2 is an arcade racer through and through, with a soundtrack that could have come from OutRun. It doesn’t have a lot of variety, and the lack of multiplayer may be a sore point for some, but what it does do is frantic drifty racing in glamourous locations.
Your time on earth is fleeting — especially if you’re playing One Hour One Life for mobile. This multiplayer survival game sees your character ageing a year for every minute, which doesn’t give you much time to record any major accomplishments, let alone keep yourself from starving.
The beauty of this game, which is based on Jason Rohrer’s PC title of the same name, is how all the characters are connected. While the person you play can only live to be 60 years old (hence the title), it’s possible for you to have a lasting effect on the game world during that time.
Items are permanent, so anything you craft can be left for your children or other players to use. The same is true for you, as you’ll often spawn as the baby of another player, who (hopefully!) will take care of you early on until you’re a few minutes/years older and can not only fend for yourself but contribute to the greater good.
Or not. It’s entirely up to you.
While the graphical style is simplistic, don’t let that blind you to the richness and depth of the game’s environment. Between plants, stones, animals, and other things you’ll encounter in the great outdoors, there’s a mind-blowing variety of ways to break down whatever you find into its constituent parts and then combine them to make useful tools and supplies.
It’s a crafter’s dream, and given the intense time pressure you’re always under it’s convenient that you don’t have to find any recipes. Simply tap and hold on any item and you can see all the ways it can be combined with other items to create new objects. This means it’s easy to fall down the crafting rabbit hole and just start tapping on more branches of the tech tree, until you a familiar sound reminds you that you’re in dire need of food.
Communication with other players is handled just as intriguingly. There’s chat in One Hour One Life, but it’s limited to just a few characters when you’re a toddler before expanding into a fuller vocabulary as your character ages.
This fidelity to the way in which real people learn to express themselves more completely as they grow up is something you’ve probably never experienced in a mobile game before, and it fits this game perfectly.
Just watching the way players interact is a fascinating social experiment. Often they’ll help each other out, especially when it comes to caring for children, but when push comes to shove it’s not uncommon to see an “every person for themselves” mentality take hold.
In terms of controls, it’s easy to move around by simply tapping where you want to go, and simple taps allow you to pick up objects. Swiping up on food eats it, and swiping down when holding anything will set it on the ground.
Other actions can be a bit more fiddly until you get the hang of them. Combining items, for instance, requires you to hold down on one as you swipe the other. This gets easier with time, but it’s tricky at first.
Fortunately it doesn’t really matter since you’ll spend most of your early lives just learning the ropes, in the hope that future generations of in-game people will benefit from the lessons you learn.
One Hour One Life might seem like it trivializes one of life’s immortal truths, but it also challenges you to do something with the time you have. This is a lesson we can all stand to learn.
If you’re going to make a city building game, you need to do something special to stand out. Pocket City has a unique focus when compared to games in the same genre, it cares about your experience. There are no IAPs, no advertisements nothing to stop you from sitting down and enjoying the game, which is a breath of fresh air.
I have avoided these types of games on the App Store for one reason, it always felt like gameplay was the secondary focus. The primary focus of city builders was to annoy you into purchasing something you didn’t need. Whether it was annoying ads, wait times or a level cap that could only be broken by additional purchases, city builders just felt charmless. Pocket City avoids all these problems by allowing gameplay to unlock content. There is only one currency to keep track of, and you can’t buy more of it. The only way to earn more virtual money is to well, earn it.
Now that I’ve got the IAP stuff off my chest, I can focus more on how the game plays. Pocket City adds more than enough content to keep you entertained for hours. Start off career mode by building your city. At this point, you have unlocked nothing special so your focus is to please the bars in the top right corner. The bars are colour coded to show what areas your city needs more than others. Green represents residential areas, where are your civilians going to live? Blue shows commercial areas, where are you townsfolk going to spend their money? Orange represents the industrial area, how will your people spend money if they have nowhere to work.
So, you start the game following the instructions of the bars, but that’s not all there is to do. Your focus can now shift onto something more specific, quests. There are several individuals that issue quests to you, a personal advisor who gives you objectives to aim for in the long run like a larger population. Street thugs who seek to disrupt your town with crimes such as muggings and car theft. A gardener with an eco-friendly attitude and many more including the police chief, fire department and bank manager. Their missions can be as easy as building a new building, or as difficult as finding a spot where your citizens do yoga.
Other aspects that keep the game interesting include the random events. Your city is situated in a hotspot for tornadoes and underground volcanoes, which can do monumental damage to your city if you’ve designed it poorly or are not prepared. Besides random events, there are unlocks that require you to go back and do some redesigning on your city. One quest requests you to put in bus stops while another wants a train line connecting the industrial and commercial area. So you are always going back and chopping and changing what you’ve previously done, or upgrading your old buildings.
The post Pocket City review – Everything you’d want plus more appeared first on Gamezebo.