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?

Mobile Game Review of "Escape!"

Unfortunately, this game's so new, it's not even on Skyzone's own website, nor on the creator, Underculture's website!

Basically, Escape! is a first-person point-and-click adventure that gives you multiple locations, and various puzzles to solve. Obviously, you need to get out of your room, which is just a room with a bed, some locked rawers, and a stinking restroom. In these two locations, you will locate enough items to help you escape the room.

Once you've escaped the room, you must escape the level, and so on until you got to the end...

The graphics isn't much... It's more of line drawings than actual art, but it serves the purpose of the game very well... The plot is a bit cliche... You woke up with no memory. On your bed was a folder that says subject is showing no resistance and no adverse reactions. What is going on, and how do you get out of here?

It's the little puzzles that go from one thing to another that makes the game interesting. Every item you get is useful for something, and the game takes away the items that have no use, so no need to worry about things... If you have it, it's good for SOMETHING.

And you will have to be creative about some items, but others would be rather obvious. It's a matter of FINDING the items, and fortunately, hotspots with clickable item gives you a highlighted cursor. So be sure to explore each and every pixel in every screen! You may find something surprising!

Suffice to say, this game screams for a sequel, as the ending doesn't really end. If you screw up, you got sent back to the beginning for not solving things the right way. But it's hard to screw up except near the end when you simply want to try different things.

Sound is forgettable, and so's the music. Fortunately, it's impossible to "die" in this game, and there's no time pressure, so it's all basically up to your brain to solve the various puzzles. No further difficulty levels available, but then, that'd be quite hard.

All in all, Escape! is a short little game that can occupy a couple hours of your time, but once you finish, there's no goin back.

Maybe a 7, for good puzzles, no timer, but that's about it.

Preview of some upcoming games!

Promotional photo of Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows.Prison Break Image via WikipediaMonopoly Tycoon (EA) -- more business sim, less random dice and fortunes, but still the monopoly theme. Who is the real tycoon? Build businesses, make money depending on waxing and waning economic times, buy up more properties, and continue until win condition is fulfilled.

WANTED! The Movie Game -- this is the tie-in to the movie, except it's a standard 2D platformer, but with the "curved bullet trajectory" trick. Run around, kill lots of people, with knife or gun, you get the idea.

Prison Break: The Mobile Game (Vivendi) -- this is based on the hit Fox TV series way from the beginning. You are forced to solve puzzles to increase your "loitering time" to explore the underground maze to find the way out, without getting seen by the guards, while go to various people and solve various "quests".

Marsho Madness (Konami) -- You are under attack by evil marshmallows... Unless you can lock onto them and zap them first! Press the sequence to lock on, then fire to take it down. Later you gain special powers like "chain laser", as well as powerups like target scope (makes all lockon sequences much easier), and nuke bomb (takes out all enemies on screen). How long can you last?

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Mobile Game Review of "Godzilla: Monster Mayhem 3D"

Godzilla, a well-known kaij┼ź.Image via WikipediaGodzilla: Monster Mayhem 3D is an redo of the game of same title from 2005, except this time it's in full 3D. Is it fun? Yes, in the typical campy sort of way.

The game has two modes: confrontation (fight another monster 2 out of 3 rounds), or destruction (level a city within time limits without getting killed by the humans). Initially, you can only choose Godzilla himself. As you beat other monsters in Confrontation, you unlock them for both modes.

In Confrontation mode, the game is basically a 2D fighting game. You, as Godzilla, have three moves: normal attack, tail attack, and if charged, the energy beam attack. If you knock the enemy down, and if you can get there fast enough, you can pick him up and throw him for extra damage. As stated before, it's two rounds out of three. The normal and tail attacks can be repeated, and leads to more powerful attacks. You can also do a high block, and a low block.

In destruction mode, you get to unleash your destruction powers upon a city. The city is "walled off" with energy barriers, so there IS a limit to the destruction. There is a time limit. If you don't finish in time, it's game over. Obviously the humans don't like you messing up their city, so there are police cars, tanks, machine-cannons on roofs, rocket shooters, helicopters, bombers... And they all shoot at you, unless, of course, you stomp and shoot them. Between their attacks, you wipe out buildings and keep your health up by walking over those red cross balls. I did mention the time limit, right?

While it's fun to try the different monsters and see what each has to offer in terms of moves and attacks, the game is basically the same. Sure there's like 10 different monsters, like King Gigan, Megalon, and even MechaGodzilla, the game really plays the same. The 3D perspective actually is more of a gimmick as you play confrontation almost as a 2D game, albeit you get perspective for the buildings and such. And every once in a while, when you do a super move, the camera pans around and goes into slow-mo. In destruction, the camera is fixed, but at least you can walk around the city in full 2D...

All in all, Godzilla 3D is a cute title that brings back all the campy fun of the franchise, and smashing cities is a lot of fun. However, the lack of ability to use the environment in monster-to-monster fights, such as shove or throw other monster into buildings, or use objects as weapons, makes the game less than it could be. At least the graphics are full 3D and all monsters looked their part. Music is kinda annoying, and sound effects... aren't enough of them.

All in all, 7.5, mainly due to the 3D-ness. The rest of the game doesn't quite measure up.

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Mobile Game Review of "Road Rash (mobile)"

Road Rash, CompleteImage by vonguard via FlickrEA's Road Rash mobile concentrated on what made the game fun... the combat. There's no racing, as it's already messy enough doing the combat. It's strictly a fighting game... albeit both opponents are on wheels.

There's this plot that you are some unnamed biker avenging death of your girlfriend, Maria, at the hands of "Charlie's Gang". However, as you continue through four continents, you find that nothing is really as it seems...

You start by customizing your own biker... Sleeve, body, stripe, helmet, bike body, bike stripe... All can be a different color. It's all up to you to make your biker unique. You'll be up against various nasties, some sporting things nastier than your typical stick and fists. And the final boss... Well, let's just say he has more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

The combat itself is relatively simple, but that's where the fun it. You both ride on the road, and you start beating each other up. You have two attacks (high bash, or low kick), and two defense (dodge, or block). High bash do more damage, but low kick will push the other bike back in addition to the damage. Block will block most damage, but some enemies bypass blocks. Dodge will dodge aside by doing a swerve, but also gives up space to your opponent. If you got to edge of the road, you get to tap a quick 5 key sequence like Dance Dance Revolution to determine who forces who. If you are forcing someone off the road, that determines who succeeds. If you are defending (i.e. trying to PREVENT being forced off), same thing.

The idea basically is to beat the other guy's life bar to zero (a Knockout, or KO), or to shove the other guy successfully off the road, in which case, he hits a sign, a rock, or a shrub and suffers "road rash". However, you can't just keep beating, as you have a "stamina bar" as well. You can only swing so many times before you ran out of stamina and have to rest and defend while the bar recharges.

You can also throw bonus items like knives, tear gas, napalm grenade, and so on at your opponent. Save them for difficult opponents as they will give you a small edge for short periods. However, you earn them by beating opponents, or dodge helicopter attacks for 25 seconds without being hit. It's not as easy as it sounds, as those rockets come in series and you have to be quick to dodge them. However, if you survive, you get bonus napalm bombs.

The bosses at each continent are very special, as they have special moves. For example... The South American boss use Capoira melee techniques off his bike in addition to stuff. Later bosses have even MORE tricks up his or her sleeves...

As you beat up more bikers, you will occasionally gain experience points to increase your various skills... You can put the points into attack power (+20), kick power (additional kickback, +10 damage), bike handling (decrease the amount you move when you were kicked), and life (make your life bar larger). Each skill can be upgraded five times.

As you go through the continent, you get a choice: more stops (but more experience points), or less stops (and less experience)?

All in all, Road Rash is another adaptation that gets the essence of the game. It's no longer race and fight, but just fight, but the game is still fun nonetheless. However, it's not fun enough for rate above a 7.5. Graphics is just 2D, and music is boring.

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Mobile Game Review of "Fox Motorcross 3D"

Kawasaki KLR 650Image via WikipediaFox Motocross 3D from Superscape is a 3D motorcycle racing title that has you doing high-flying stunts on dirt bikes like Jeremy McGraff. As usual in the series, you *have* to do stunts, in order to get nitro charges. The more nitro charges you have, the faster you can go, and the more likely you will win.

The graphics are quite good for a mobile title, and the camera angles are designed to exploit the 3D-ness of the title. As you jump, you switch to "stunt cam" as you do the special moves. When you go nitro fast, the screen actually blurs. It's a good looking effect. The tracks are good too. Twists, turns, up, down, and more. The starting gate, made of blow-up structure, actually waves in the wind.

The sounds are a bit more forgettable, and so's the music.

The game modes are varied. You can do free-runs (not competing, just practicing), single race, supercross (the campaign, of 3 cups and 12 races), or EXTREME (where even touching the road sides will cause you to fall over). View the leaderboard to see who's the real king of the road.

The controls are responsive, and you do get to upgrade your ride after each race in the campaign with the winnings. And you do need the upgrades, which can cost a lot, like 15000. The final cup becomes almost impossible to place in the top 3 unless your bike is nearly maxed out. There's also no tip on how to handle each of the areas.

Still, you must admit this is a lot of game packed into a small package. You'll be trying different things here and there to improve your time. Too bad they don't have like a famous sponsor giving you advice on how to go faster.

All in all, this game deserves 8 out of 10. If it had the advice function I'd given it a 9, but leaving it all to us to figure out makes it less fun.

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Previews of some upcoming mobile game reviews...

MegalonMegalon Image via WikipediaPreview some of the hottest games appearing on Verizon Wireless!

Fox Motocross 3D -- that's Fox motorcycles racing, not Fox TV. Race in 3D against up to 8 other cyclists in this spectacularly 3D racer. Perform stunts in the air to get extra nitro charges, which boosts yours speed tremendously but runs out quickly, so you need to do MORE stunts to go faster.

Road Rash -- classic beat them'up on a bike comes to mobile. The mobile version has no racing... It's strictly a beat'em-up on wheels, as you go go through 4 continents to track down your girlfriend's killer.

Godzilla: Monster Mayhem (3D) -- Confront or destroy? Battle other classic monsters such as Megalon, or destroy major cities as fast as you can while taking out defenders, all in full 3D. (Note: this is the 3D version)

Escape! (Skyzone / Underculture) -- you awake in this strange location with no memory. Memos you find hints at memory erasure, body disposal, and human experimentation. Can you find your way out, or are you condemned to spend rest of your days in this hell?

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Mobile Game Review of "NBA 2-on-2 Slam"

NBA 2-on-2 Slam is basically an updated version of the NBA Slam game THQ put out a couple years back. This time, you get pick 2 players out of EVERY current NBA team, plus a couple legendary teams you can unlock. They all got right looks and jerseys.

It's only 2-on-2 ball, so mechanics are simple: action (shoot, or steal), pass, and jump (which is also block). Most actions are contextual based. If you have the ball, it's "shoot". If you don't, it's "steal".

Controls are pretty responsive, and you motions are quite fluid. Graphics aren't 3D, but the 2D graphics are quite good, very clear and nicely animated, complete with spin moves, dunks, and much more. I have the LG Vx9900 enV, with the large screen, so the action fills up the screen, which helps a LOT, as you can see more than just a tiny piece of the court.

Everybody can dunk... By moving about, shooting, and filling up the slam meter (which recharges). When the slam meter fills, a "slam" icon appears on the playing field. Move the player with the ball to it (before it disappears), then press a series of buttons up/down/left/right like "Dance Dance Revolution", and you can do a slam. Not that it gets you extra points...

You can do a quick game (your "home team" that you picked against a random team), a regular game (your home team against a team you picked), or a challenge, which is the "campaign", where you have to beat a series of teams in order to unlock the legendary NBA duos.

All in all, I am NOT that much of a fan of action games, esp. sports games which relies too much on speed and hand-eye coordination, and NBA 2-on-2 slam is no exception. It seems to be a very competent game that does what it does well enough, without making you decide on too many things.

I'll give it a 7.50, but that's about it.

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Mobile Game Review of "Special Crime Unit: Blood on Campus"

I saw the link for this old game I've played and decided to review it before I forgot about it. Special Crime Unit: Blood on Campus is the predecessor to CSI:Miami (the mobile game) and it actually has better writing, more difficulty levels, and a lot bigger case, than CSI:M. I'd recommend this game over the other one, really.
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Mobile Game Review of "WALL-E"

The WALL-E movie tie-in mobile game is actually pretty good. No, I'm not kidding. I gave it a 6.5.

Need a second opinion? IGN gave it the same score: 6.5.

Mobile Game Review of "Diamond Islands"

Diamond Islands, a puzzler from Digital Chocolate, is reviewed on my IGN blog.

Upcoming Reviews, now you get some previews instead!

NBA logo depicting Jerry WestImage via WikipediaWall-E the official movie (mobile) game -- not bad, 2D puzzle with very simple mechanics: move and throw blocks, collect "items", non-violent, no death either, no time limit. You CAN get yourself into impossible situation though, but restart is free.

NBA 2-on-2 Slam -- move real NBA players around the court and play 2v2 ball. Defend, steal, block, shoot. It's all there, and only 3 action buttons, but it's enough. Every team, most major players from each team, plus 10 legendary teams. However, don't like the slam function at all.
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Mobile Game Review of "Monopoly: Here and Now"

Review of this updated Monopoly is up on IGN. It's pretty fun, but it is really a mobile game?

Mobile Game Review of "Get Smart: The Movie Game"

Get SmartImage via Wikipedia
Now the movie version is due out any day now, does in-Fusio's game adaptation of the movie carries out the mission properly? Yes, but with no flair.

Get Smart is a 2D scroller that is somewhat reminiscent of the arcade Elevator Action. You need to move about the levels, avoiding various pitfalls such as laser slicers, while defeating the guards with weapons or martial arts. If you can sneak up on a guard, one shot / one blow can take him out. If not, it'll take 3 shots or 6 blows to do the same.

The "level" is composed of floors with isometric view, but there is no free movement on the floor, as there are only 2 vertical positions: higher, or lower. The "fun" basically is trying to sneak up on the guards and take them out. There are bazillion crates you can break for goodies, but breaking them makes noise, and that attracts guards. Borrowing a page from MGS, the guards have ? or ! above their heads indicating searching or spotted!

Occasionally you'll spot a door with a keypad, but usually before that you'll spot a keypad by itself that will give you the sequence to get through by spotting the usage pattern. Similarly, on a number lock of the elevator you can spot the combination nearby.

The usual gadgets (or should we say, gag-gets) are there... The shoe-phone, the pen-flamethrower, the explosive dental floss and more. A lot of the levels have extra areas that you can open for bonus health and ammo.

The insult combat is hardly new... We've seen the combat in Monkey Island series on the PC, and the lines are much better there than here. These insults just don't seem to have the right flair to them, esp. early in the game.

One thing I have to say, some of these levels are LONG, and you only have ONE LIFE to go through the entire level, no mid-level saves or checkpoints. That can make for a VERY frustrating gaming experience.

All in all, Get Smart seems to have made use of the license properly, and is a competent game in itself. However, it is very derivative and lacks innovation. I can only give it a 7.0
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Mobile Game Review of "Scene it? Movies"

This movie trivia game only rates a 6.5 / 10 on my book, sorry. It's simply not that good, not that special, and not that interesting.

Preview of some upcoming reviews...

Diamond Islands (Digital Chocolate) -- another no-timer puzzler, this one involves rotating a totem around islands while touching various "diamonds". Hard to describe, but easy to pick up, it's surprisingly SLOW to load on my handset... And the loading screen trivia gets VERY old as it repeats far too soon... At least the game itself is challenging...

Scene It? Movie (Namco) -- based on the DVD game, this mobile version has over 1000 questions and seasonal downloadable question set for you to challenge your friends in group mode as well as test your own silver screen knowledge, from directors to actors and actresses to movie posters and much more. Correct answers, streaks, and fast fingers are essential here.

Monopoly: Here and Now (EA) -- based on the updated Monopoly from Parker brothers, all the places, utilities, and such have been upgraded to modern versions. Even the car has been upgraded to a hybrid. However, it's really the same game. Up to 4 can play, and 3 of those can be AI (three different difficulty levels available!) The objective of course is to drive the other players out of business by making them pay exorbitant rents whenever they land on your properties. That never changes. However, inability to save game doomed an otherwise excellent diversion.
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Mobile Game Review of "Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars"

My review of C&C3:TW (mobile) is up on IGN. By separating the build and battle phases, EA has managed to make the RTS workable on a cellphone!

Mobile Game Review of "Cake Mania 2"

Jill's back with more cake baking goodness. This time, enjoy her creations in SIX different wild locales, from lunar surface to Northwestern cafe, and 4 other exotic locations. On the other hand, the gameplay hasn't changed... This Diner Dash variant have added a bit of charm with the locales and new customers, while retaining the old charm.

The play routine remained the same: give menu to customer, bake cake, add frosting. Double-deck if needed. Add topping if needed. Present to customer for money. Grab money. It's the same formula. Except there are 4 different types of cake, 4 different types of frosting, up to 16 different types of toppings depending on which topper(s) you have upgraded or purchased... And remember... double-deck cakes. It can get very hectic. There are two win levels... the basic win level is just a win, while if you fulfill a higher amount it's called a superstar win. Basically, you did not make ANY mistakes.

If you manage to survive the level by earning the required amount of money, you can use the money you earned to upgrade your kitchen, which either makes cakes bake faster, or add frosting faster, or adds new toppers, or add a plate in center island to "suggest" cakes to buy or just have a place to put them down. You can even upgrade your shoes to make you go faster. There are also cookie ovens to make customers calmer (giving you more time to bake their cake) and TV (to make customer anxiety rise less... IF you got it on the right channel).

There are a few tricks you must learn to max the efficiency. 1) it's possible to queue up to 3 actions for Jill. For example, pick up cake from oven, drop cake at froster (and add vanilla frosting), then pick up cake from froster. A fourth action can be added as soon as the cake was picked up from the oven, and would be "drop cake at customer location". Add another "grab the cash" after the cake was left at the froster. 2) You don't need a plate to assemble a double-decker. Just frost the first cake normally, then flop the second cake on the first, and frost the second cake. This saves money and time. 3) Double the oven, double the fun.

All in all, Cake Mania 2 is what you'd expect from a sequel... MOTS (more of the same). You now have a choice of which locale to tackle first, though the mechanics is really the same. Diligent upgrades and careful playing to keep all customers happy and maximize tips are needed to stay afloat in the challenges. Still, the money requirement feels too... artificial. Wish they have a better excuse than that.

A 7.5 / 10 overall.

Mobile Game Review of "Mobile Battles: Reign of Swords"

Finally found a game as deep and involving as NASCAR 07 that I can't stop playing... Mobile Battles: Reign of Swords. Mobile version cost a little, and so does the PC version ($9.99 for now). Conquer various kingdoms, and fight multiplayer with server-resolved combat! Read my review on IGN.

Mobile Game Review of "Armageddon Squadron"

Review of Armageddon Squadron is up on IGN. Very 3D looking title gets a 8/10 rating from me.

Mobile Game Review of "Crash Nitro Kart"

I tried looking this game up, and it seems that this game is a REMAKE of the original which came out 4 years ago, but strangely, the version I got seems to be much more limited somehow. This game is copyrighted 2008 by Vivendi Universal, and is listed as a new game circa May 2008. So is it any good? Hmmm... Not really.

The story is makes this technically a sequel... Nitrous Oxide has returned, and Crash and friends must do an interplanetary race to save Earth. Blah-blah-blah. It's just a text screen, no animated intro, no nothing. Hello!

And instead of the variety of characters to play as, you can play only as four: Crash himself, Pasadena, Nina Cortex, and Dr. Cortex. Each of the vehicles are specialized in except Crash's buggy, which is pretty balanced.

The racing is actually VERY simple, and in effect, boring. You driving around in the "behind" 3rd person look. The vehicles are all sprites, as are all the objects on screen, thus making this an Outrun derivative when we know cellphones can support true 3D racing such as Fast and Furious: Fugitive, WRC 3D, or NFS: ProStreet. Just for that, you'd want to score a few points off.

When you actually get racing, it gets worse. Initially this sounds exciting, as you have 4 cars on the road, constantly shooting at each other or leaving traps for each other. However, instead of the dozens of weapons in the console version, you're left with only 4: the invincibility mask, the missile, landmine, and nitroboost.

The idea of a weapon is that you can hit someone ahead so they'll stop, and you get ahead instead. Same with the landmine, except you use it to STAY ahead. Best play to put the mines is very close to the "boostpads", which gives you a kick in speed, as if you've lit off a nitrous charge. You get one of those free per lap, so don't waste them.

The problem with this racing is you can't stay ahead. The objective is to stay close enough so that you can collect the weapons and nitrous charges to get ahead in the final lap. And there are only 3 laps. And even if you do get ahead, a missile will send you flying back to the end of the pack.

There is no aim reticule, so it's pretty much a "guess and shoot". There's also no range indicator, so it's quite possible you've shot one off at somebody out of range. The invincibility stuff only lasts like 3 seconds, but it can prevent a mine from going off. The Karts themselves are pretty unremarkable, but at least each has a different design. Some are good in one area, but lousy in others. They look different, but they are very obviously 2D sprites.

Music repeats within 10 seconds, and starts to be VERY annoying indeed. AND only about 10 circuits? Come on! There's nothing complicated with a circuit, is there? The really weird thing is... the background does NOT shift! And this is supposed to be a "CIRCUIT"? The circuits aren't that hard to start with, and the enemies do rubber-band (i.e. they get a bonus if you're ahead, and penalty if you're behind). The problem is you aren't warned of incoming shots or such, so you're just driving along, and suddenly you "die" as you reset onto the road. ARGH!

Sorry, but this game stinks about as bad as the old one. 6.0, and that's being generous. You can find much better racers. Even the Monkey Kart Racing is better than this one.

Mobile Game Review of "Burger Rush"

Burger Rush is basically another variation on Diner Rush and Cake Mania, except this time, instead of just spinning plates, you have to play "connect-3". You know the gameplay from Bejeweled... Slide something over so you form 3 in a row. If you do 4 or 5 in a row you get bonus. Well, you have burger ingredients here... Except they all want 8's. 8 pieces of lettuce, 8 pieces of meat, 8 slices of tomatoes... you get the idea. Some customers want cheese and lettuce, some want meat and pickles, you get the idea.

As you play, you get more ingredients, like sauce, pickles, and so on. You also get sweet treats which you can use to calm down irate customers (because you're slow in preping their order(s)!) You earn a certain set of "tokens" per level and you can use the tokens to buy expansions, such as soda and fries and sell those with the burger for more intake.

The idea is to make X amount of money in a set amount of time. If you can double the required amount, you achieve "expert win", which doubles the # of tokens you win. The tokens are spent on upgrading burger ingredients (and prices), as well as improving ice drink and fries regen speed (they take time to become available).

The initial levels are quite easy, and you can VERY EASILY achieve expert win if you have ANY experience in the connect-3 genre. However, once you go beyond level 10, the difficulty seems to rise exponentially, since more ingredients in the same playing field means you will spend MORE time looking for LESS combinations, and more time wasted getting rid of some useless ingredients before you find the ingredients you need. It is simply NOT balanced, once you progressed beyond "burger stand" level. Drinks and fries should be sold automatically. Instead, you actually have to press buttons to put them on the tray, AND still complete the burger.

I have nothing against Connect-3 gameplay. I still play Bejeweled sometimes, and I played Puzzle Quest: Warlords all the way through with all four professions. However, this one seems to lack the actual testing at the higher levels that makes the game actually WINNABLE (unless there are some tricks I'm not aware of). There's also NO HELP SCREEN at all. You weren't told what those ingredients are. The game also fails to utilize the wider screen on my LG VX9900 enV, instead cramming stuff onto the top, leaving the playing board VERY VERY SMALL and ingredients almost impossible to distinguish.

All in all, Burger Rush is a derivative game that fails to balance itself, and its lack of a help screen along with bad use of screen real-estate makes this game score lower than its cousins such as Diner Rush or Cake Mania. I have to give this one a 6.0 for all its failures. It has potential, but needs more "soul".

Preview of some upcoming games...

Burger Time -- connect 3 gameplay linked with assembling orders... Hmmm... Beginning was too easy, later it's way too hard. It's not balanced properly, IMHO. Extra stuff distracts rather than adds to the gameplay. It's not as good as it could be.

Crash Nitro Kart -- Crash Bandicoot must race for the fate of the universe again, in a bit-mapped 3D (think Outrun) way. You also get weapons and traps (and shields) and boost pads and nitro charges (1 per lap). The point is the get most points for the championship. it's okay, but only 9 courses? Hmmm....

Armageddon Squadron -- 3rd person 3D WW2 aerial shooter comes to mobile. Think "Heroes of the Pacific" or such 3rd person flight sims, but on a mobile, with some anachronistic stuff like guided AA missiles, and modern aircraft carriers, and you got AS. Looks good, only got past first set of missions so far.

Mobile Battles: Reigh of Swords -- combination of simple unit battles similar to Warlords, with massive online play. Play on the PC or the mobile (or both), finish the single player campaign and challenge rival players as you carve out your own fiefdom using variety of units. Upgrade them with the spoils of war, and see how far you can go! Can you unite the 12 kingdoms for King of Carronne?

Mobile Game Reivew of "Turbo Jet Ski 3D"

The review for "Turbo Jet Ski 3D" is up...

Mobile Game Review of "Brain Tester 24-pack"

Digital Chocolate joins the fray of "brain tests" with Brain Tester 24-pack, that promises to test you in Memory, Logic, Spatial, and Perception. There's also the "Stupid Test". With stat tracking, 30 achievements to unlock, Gold, Silver, and Bronze level for each of the 24 tests, is this the ultimate in brain testing? Or is this more of an also-ran? I'm afraid it's more of the latter than the former.

Basically, you are given 6 tests in each of the four areas: Memory, Logic, Spatial, and Perception. The six tests are progressively harder, but the controls are usually very simple... left, or right, usually a Yes / No answer, or "choose left or right" answer. A perception test would give you three objects. The object in the middle could be a mirror of the object on the left, or right. Pick one, quickly. Spatial would have you guess if asteroids will go through the clouds, or hit the "buzzer" to intercept the bug crawling under the leaves. You have to hit the buzzer at the right time, not too early, and not too late.

While tests are usually pretty good, the spatial tests have some problems, as they are usually "make only 1 pass". If you hit ONE wrong move, it's pretty much all over. As is any interruptions such as incoming calls. The rest of the tests are merely average, and does not use the larger screen size vailable on the LG VX9900 enV. It also does not explain how the score is calculated, what depends on speed, what depends on right vs. wrong choice, and so on.

The game does have stat tracking. You can take a full test, which randomly picks a test from each of the four areas. The score goes into the "Hall of Fame". However, it isn't much fun if you don't know how you're scored. I can barely get up to 67%, even on my best days. On some of the tests I am scoring correct answer per second, which is about as fast as this can go, yet I can only score a SILVER medal. I think the timing / scoring in this game is messed up somewhere.

And the "stupid test"? It's more of a joke. And a few of the achievements was scoring differently on the stupid test. Whoopie-doo.

Sorry, but if I want my brain blasted I'd have more fun doing the Harry Potter School of Magic test than this one.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10 -- last of imagination, some tests MUCH harder than others

Mobile Game Review of "Sushi Samurai"

Sushi Samurai hs you running a restaurant, cooking 30 different Asian dishes, from simple sushi to complicated Chinese and Asian dishes. You need to remember the ingredient list (in the proper sequence), then perform each of the minigames properly in order to create the perfect dish. There are five dishes per level. You start as a zero-dragon level chef. The objective is to be the best cook ever... the only one that go beyond 5-dragon chef... for the title of... Sushi Samurai!

The actual ingredient list is mostly based on reality, but also includes some oddities like "dragon oil" and "glacier water". At least the dishes are real sushi and Asian dishes, from tuna roll to cho-cho beef. The minigames are cutting (slice something in 2 equal portions), boiling (high / low / medium heat, or stir), stir-frying (up , down , left, or right) , barbequing / grilling (down, but not too far down to the fire), sprinkling (spicing), scooping (rice), and rolling (sushi or spring rolls).

So basically, you play a series of minigames with the ingredients, one at a time, until you assemble the whole dish. You are graded for each step. As long as you score above a certain threshold, you'll get the medal... jade (70-79), ivory (80-89), or gold (90-99). If you get 5 out of 5 dishes right, you'll get that dragon rating.

The minigames are well organized, appropriate for the ingredients and recipe, but it's all on reflex. The action is simple. Most are simple timing games... push OK when the knife appears to be over the cutting line, and things of that ilk. There is also a bit of memorization as you get to look at the ingredient and recipe ONCE before the start. You can peek once or twice later if you really need a reminder, but it'll cost you a penalty in the rating.

The animations are nice and clear, and cute. The music is okay, sounds vaguely oriental. The judges are all dressed in Japanese ceremonial robes, but they look like caricatures... appropriate for the genre, I guess.

All in all, Sushi Samurai is a non-violent game that is a combination of short memorization and combination of several reflex-based minigames, and a cooking theme. It is a bit of fun as you memorize ingredients and recipe, and play the various minigames in order to construct the dish. However, once you made it to the top, there's little reason to continue playing. And being all reflex-based game, it's not that interesting in the long run.

The game rates a 7.0. While the game itself is fun, with varied challenges, the challenges are all reflex based and very little memorization or strategy.

Mobile Game Review of "Sid Meier's Civ IV: War of Two Cities"

Technically speaking, this mobile game has NOTHING to do with CIV4 on the PC at all. Instead, this game is a combination of Armor Alley (or for those who remember that far, Rescue Raiders), and Scorched Earth. On the other hand, this is one of those directions that the mobile market has not gone before, so at least they deserve some points for freshness.

In case you have never heard of Armor Alley or Scorched Earth... Here's an explanation.

The "playing field" is 2D, almost like an antfarm. Each side's "base" sits at the respective end. You, the blue team, is on the far left, while the enemy, red team, is on the far right. In between are some mines (produce ores), some farms (produce food), some random forts, forests, and rise and fall of the terrain, dot the landscape.

The base gets a "city wall" that will stop any enemy, but it can be knocked down given enough damage. The objective is to get your unit to touch the enemy base, thus destroying it, and prevent enemy from doing the same to yours. There are also forts scattered around the landscape that can hold up the enemy, giving your artillery more killing power.

Your base can shoot its built-in artillery whenever the cannon bar (caused by ore build-up) is full. The more mines you have (and any bonus tech you have to improve mining) the faster the bar fills up. Similarly, the unit bar fills up at the rate that depends on by the amount of farms you have and what technology you have to boost food production. However, you get to decide how to use the bar by producing the three types of units: soldiers, shooters, and mobile units. Mobile units cost a LOT, but they will mow down ANY lesser unit. Shooters have a chance to kill anything at a distance (even mobile units) but are at mercy of soldiers. Soldiers are weak, but they are fast, and only they can capture farms and mines. You press 1, 2, or 3 to build soldier, shooter, or mobile respectively. As the "ages" changes, the actual units change, but the basic unit divisions remain the same.

Between battles won, you get to advance in technology, by picking one advance out of three separate areas... military, science, and engineering. They all affect something, from cheaper units, to units shooting further, to faster ore or food production (i.e. faster bar fill up), to tougher city walls, and so on.

You get four civs to choose from, each civ has a special bonus. Americans gets 1 bonus advance out of every 5 advances, while others have cheaper units, or starts with extra advances, and so on.

The battles are surprisingly tense, esp. on medium and hard levels, when the enemy artillery is more and more accurate.

The "trick" is to use your advantage in tech and exploit the advantage ruthlessly. If you have Feudalism, which leads to cheaper mobile units, then build more mobile units. If you have cheap infantry, build infantry, but keep an eye out on what the other guy is building as well. You can't win with your units alone.

All in all, while this game has very little to do with the Civ name, it is surprising fun to play and tense for the back-and-forth action as the line see-saws between the two extremes. If you like action-strategy games, you should give this at least a try.

I'd give it a 7.5 out of 10, for being different, and pretty good to play.

Preview of some upcoming games...

Some mobile games being played, but not far enough along for a full review yet...

Turbo Jet Ski 3D (Gameloft) -- race jetskis around the world, participate in acrobatic events, perform rescues, and some special challenges. Unlock more characters, outfits, jet skis (each handles differently), and other events, as well as a "cup mode" of play.

Brain Tester 24-pack (Digital Chocolate) -- another variation on their brain test games... Test four aspects of your brain with 8 games in each area. Track your progress, then take "The Stupid Test!" and see how well you do!

Sushi Samurai (Skyzone) -- slice and stir-fry your way to 5-dragon rating by preparing various oriental dishes, from simple sushi to complicated dishes by playing various minigames, including chop, boil, scoop, BBQ, and more. Know the ingredients!

Sid Meier's Civ IV: War of Two Cities (Floodgate) -- action strategy featuring a combination of Rescue Raiders (or Armor Alley) and artillery (think Scorched Earth), with tech levels leading to production bonuses or reduced costs for units.

Mobile Game Review of "Mystery Case Files: Agent X"

Go see my review of "Mystery Case Files: Agent X" on IGN Mobile Gaming

Mobile Game Review of "Matchmaker -- Love U" up on IGN

Review of "Matchmaker: Love U" is up on IGN

Mobile Game Review of "F-16 Air Fighter"

In-Fusio's own pages are filled with Flash stuff so I can't link to the page directly. I had to link to press release instead.

In-Fusio's F-16 Air Fighter is basically... Galaga with F-16 skin. It is both ridiculously unrealistic (chain gun, bombs, missiles, guided missiles, and a "wave weapon", each with 4 levels of "upgrades") and while still attempts SOME semblances of reality as it touts its license from Lockheed Martin, makers of F-16.

It's basically a 2D shoot-em-up in the most basic sense... Your chaingun fires automatically, and you have to use your other weapons to kill various other targets, both on the ground, and in the air. The enemies are at least portrayed somewhat convincingly... Lots of MiGs, choppers, tanks, cities, and more. The problem is it couldn't decide whether it's a sim or a shoot-em-up, and ended up as neither.

Music is boring, graphics are okay, except you sometimes launch from aircraft carriers (!). Though usually you try to air-refuel by flying behind a tanker and try to snag the fuel basket. Basically the mission gets tougher by adding more enemies, but usually I'm too bored about this game to notice.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10

Mobile Game Review of "Critter Crunch"

Review of Critter Crunch is on on IGN. While the game was available elsewhere, it only became available on Verizon last week. It was worth the wait though.