About This Place

First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?

A couple of mobile game reviews

Doom RPGImage via Wikipedia
Ape Escape GP

Sony's "Ape Escape" apes make their way to the mobile phones with "kart" driving fun. Nine different circuits are available, featuring three types of surfaces, from tarmac (best with slicks) to rain/snow (best with wet tires) to dirt tracks (best with dirt tires). There are four apes, one has a balanced kart, the other three feature good brakes, good top speed, or good acceleration respectively.

You can race in the "grand prix" mode, which basically means you play one course after the other until you beat them all, with the other 3 apes on the track. The other mode is the "time trial", which means you're on the course alone (with a "ghost lap" of the fastest guy so far) and try to set fastest times. If you play the 3 advanced courses (the last 3 of 9) and set records, you can unlock additional tires and engines to further improve performance (which would allow you to set even MORE records!)

The tracks are quite tight at spots and getting off course may only slow you down on earlier courses, but on later courses if you went off you need a "restart" which means you lose several seconds.

The "grand prix" is best tackled in the high-acceleration kart with proper tires and as much acceleration as you can muster. You must also learn "drift" driving as you must drift into the corners without getting off track. At higher speeds, this is much harder than it sounds. With that technique down, you can apply that to the time trials as well.

While you do unlock some parts at the end, there really isn't any reason to keep laying this after you've unlocked all the parts and established all the records, except just to see can you beat your own record. For that reason, this game has relatively low "play life". However, as the races are quite short, they can serve as short distractions when you need a quick "game break".

Doom RPG

Doom as RPG? No kidding. It's from John Carmack and friends no less. iD's first software release in ages. And it's an very interesting adaptation. Graphics are reminiscent of Castle Wolfenstein 3D, with the "always facing you" sprites. And as this is not an action game, but more of a "turn-based" affair, it requires a bit more thinking than you may suspect. Fight enemy through doors, and you're not hit from multiple sides. Different weapons affect different enemies in different ways, but shotgun, esp. the double-barrel shotgun still reigns supreme. You do get soulsphere and such as well, and there are hidden secrets on every level. And yes, you do get the BFG-9000 near the end.

The story basically is the two scientists seem to be having a feud, and while you help clean up the levels of bad guys, you also discover who's really on the side of right and who's on the side of wrong.

You'll see a full range of enemies, from imps all the up to hell barons cacodemons and even pinkys. And they have appropriate sound effects as well. On a phone with good speakers such as the Verizon/LG VX8300, it sounds really eerie, and that Doom sound track gets your heart thumping... Though the random monster scream can get a bit monotonous.

The end fight is a classic, though not that difficult once you know what to do, and what's best, you can keep playing if you wish! You'll just be shunted back to the beginning as if nothing had happened. So you can play through again, with your character now at a higher level!

Again, secrets are available every level, and you can also go for 100% kills on every level for improvement of your end score / rating. You can save the game at any time if you want to do some experimentation.

All in all Doom RPG is a great adaptation of the Doom franchise to the mobile world, and should not be missed by any fans of the franchise as well as any mobile game enthusiasts.

Orcs and Elves -- OaE is basically Doom RPG in a fantasy setting. Instead of shotguns and plasma rifles, you're wielding swords and a magic wand. Except this magic wand talks, and will be doing most of the talking. Instead of going to a base hub, you go visit a great dragon Gaya, and use the fire portals (read: teleporters) to travel to different levels and back. However, this being a later title, the story and effects are improved, and there are actually cutscenes now.

The levels are still in Wolfenstein 3D fashion where the sprites always faces you, but now you can see some levels with higher ceilings than just a single level, and some of the puzzles require a bit more timing (as in what moves to make when, not action-type split-second timing). There's also much heavier use of various potions which enhances various aspects such as accuracy, strength, and so on. There's even "dwarven ale" which turns you into drunken fighter (harder to hit, but loses accuracy).

The story is that you're an half-elf visiting the Dwarven King, but upon arrival, every dwarf you find is a ghost! Orcs attacked in the night and killed everybody, and now the whole place is flooded, ruined, or otherwise occupied by various monsters, and such as well as Orcs warriors and dark elf assassins. You have to get to the bottom of this. You start out with a simple sword, but as you go on, you'll get better weapons, mainly by trading boss loot (gems) with Gaya the great dragon, who also acts as your "merchant". You can buy better weapons, and the boss loot means you get special weapons and armor. At the end, you'll find out who's really to blame, and deal with the source once and for all.

The graphics are pretty good for the mixed platform, both 2D sprites and 3D rooms. Automap is included, and as usual, there are plenty of secrets and attempt to go for 100% kills. Different weapons affects different enemies in the game in different ways and it takes a bit of experimentation to figure out which ones were optimal.

And you can save the game at any time.

All in all, if you like the idea RPG on a PC, then Orcs and Elves is a good place to start.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted -- NFS:MW is an adaptation of the PC street racing game where you "lost" your ride to an unscrupulous racer called "Razor" Callaghan, and you wage a campaign to win your ride back... by beating everybody in town in races, and evade a lot of police in the process.

The mobile version features some impressive 3D and a HUGE selection of cars and parts and customization. Over 20 parts, 75 different visual upgrades, and more than a dozen different cars are in the game, and no less than 70 different races are available. Unfortunately, only 15 of them are real "races". The others are speedtraps, and outruns.

Speed traps are relatively simple in concept, but hard to execute. Basically, along the course are five to six speed cameras. The idea is to blow past them at as high speed as you could. You must beat the overall average, which is given to you. What happens inbetween the cameras... Just don't get busted (i.e. stopped by police). The problem is make sure you don't crash right before a camera... or you'll never get the speed back up again.

Outrun is even worse in concept. Basically, you have to make it from one end of course to another, within the time limit. However, you can GAIN extra time by performing jumps (hang time bonus), slides (power slide), close miss (coming very close to another vehicle at high speeds), losing / wrecking police, and so on. However, you lose time if you hit police (or police hit you).

The only races you do are against the blacklist members. Fortunately, those don't have any police, but there are still traffic.

The actual courses are a loop, but due to the way it's setup, as the courses are long enough and you don't go from start to finish, and sometimes go backwards, you don't "feel" as if you're doing the same parts over and over, but you actually are. Sometimes, there are bypasses to existing roads that you must take, as well as lane closures for construction, and such.

A lot of objects are destructible, such as lampposts, signage, and so on. Damage you did are counted, but doesn't seem to affect gameplay, except how fast your "heat" level increases and you start attracting top-tier Corvette cops.

Controls are quite responsive, and videos are nice.

All in all, NFS:MW-M doesn't have enough racing.

Special Crime Unit -- CSI meets mobile phone... You'll try to solve a murder case on campus... A murdered coed. Was it her rich boyfriend? Boyfriend's sister who sees her as golddigger? Was it her jealous girlfriend? Was it the professor? Or was it the ex-boyfriend? Gather evidence on body and various rooms, analyze them in some minigames (concentration, basically) or pattern matching, and see where the evidence takes you. Basically, pick the right tools, use it on the right portions, and solve the few puzzles, and learn the questioning, and you got it. Graphics are optimize for handsets (somewhat cartoony, even though subject is quite serious). There are four difficulty levels, but they only affect the "score" you get and the number of mistakes you could make. The solution remains the same each time. All in all, probably not worth the money.

The Fast and the Furious: Fugitive 3D -- F&F:F is basically the "between story" where you fit between F&F and 2F2F, where you do illegal races across the country. Each city you upgrade your ride. While they can be visually upgraded, there are no performance upgrades, and somehow these cars don't look as sharp as the ones in NFS:MW-M The decals look like badly applied bitmaps that've been shrunk too far.

However, ones you actually get into the car, this game really shines. Cars actually slide and glide around corners, and when the game calls for it, actually take damage. In fact, many of the missions requires you to chase down another car and crash it into submission within a time limit (shades of "Driver"). The other mission types are checkpoint(s) (navigate to the checkpoint/s on this map without crashing into too many things and within the time limit), and your basic "race". Each city has four races which should have two other opponents, and usually 2 to 3 laps depending on the length of the course. There are four cities. Add to that, some "story missions" such as chase, checkpoint, and race, and you can see you have quite a bit of racing to do.

There's actually also quick race (1v1 against AI), and arcade (where you can practice all the missions and try to set time record).

As stated before, the actual races are very good. The problem is the AI can't negotiate corners and they slow WAY DOWN to turn, giving you plenty of opportunity to pass at corners... If you don't crash into them at the corners. On straights the AI may beat you... though it may help if you use one of your only three NOX shots per race. If you crash into too many cars or things, police starts showing up in the races, and if they disable your car (hit it too many times) you lose. There are also missions where you need to "evade". Basically run AWAY from chasers and stay alive until the clock runs out.

Finally, there's the "escape to the border" mission, one per city, where you run for the stateline, Blevins right behind. You're on a straight road, and heading for state border, except the cops are right behind, and they actually can go faster than you, so you may need NOX to stay ahead of them... But don't hit any traffic or construction sites (lane closures) while you're at it... As you don't want to go back to jail yet.

Driving feels perfect, but can't customize vehicle at all, just visual upgrades.

All in all, this feels like one of the best driving games, but I haven't tried EA's NFS:UG2 yet.
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