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?

KMGR of "Worst Case Scenario"

Worst Case Scenario was a series of books on improbable situations and how to deal with them, such as hurricane, flood, animal attack, and so on. As you can imagine, to make it a game you are tested on your knowledge of worse case scenarios. But this time the coverage was widened to dating, fashion, as well as history and other disasters. But is it any fun? I guess it's okay for a trivia game, but nothing outstanding.

There's no fancy animation, no multimedia presentation here, just presenting you a question and three choices... Pick the answer quickly, but accurately. You get a small "streak" bonus if you get several questions right in a row.

Other than all that, there really isn't much to say about this trivia program, except it has a "party mode", i.e. "pass-along" mode where more than one person can compete in knowing trivia. No net community, no global competition... Just "weekly new trivia packs".

Overall, this is just a trivia game, nothing more.

Overall score: 4 out of 10
Pros: interesting questions and answers
Cons: nothing new, everything old

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And here are some previews for upcoming reviews...

Tomb Raider: UnderworldImage via WikipediaWorse-Case Scenario -- trivia with an edge... do you know what to do if attacked by a bear? How about a gorilla? What to do with golf ball in a tree? Perhaps you need to play this game... in a party.

RISK -- the classic board game comes to the mobile. Play against AI, on quick map (north and south Americas), or try to take on the whole world against 3 levels of AI, complete with cards and bonus armies and all that.

Tomb Raider Underworld -- put it plainly, Lara Croft goes to Hell and Heaven to find clues of her mother's disapperance, and compete with other adventurers... and some a demon or two, in full 3D.

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KMGR of "LEGOs Batman: The Mobile Game"

LEGO GroupImage via WikipediaLEGOs series did pretty well in re-imaginging the popular universes with LEGO characters and relatively simple gameplay in very cute 3D. But can it deliver again in a mobile game? Hmmm... No, not really.

The mobile game is strictly a platformer, and a 2D one at that. Not even pseudo-3D like in the Transfomer tie-in, but a pure 2D like Donkey Kong. You only get to play Batman, no Robin in this game. A bunch of rogues have broken out of Gotham jail, such as Penguin, Riddler, Joker, Killer Croc, and more. Batman just bring them back one at a time as police are overwhelmed with the henchmen alone.

Batman here is sometimes equipped with batarang, which acts as a distance weapon. Later you may run into explosive batarang and homing batarang. You can also punch, do a flying kick, and do a sliding kick (great for going UNDER a henchman's shot). The cape also acts as a shield. You have limited lives, but you can find more as you go. There are plenty of environmental hazards to decrease your life counter, of course, like pitfall traps, henchmen who will shoot at you.

The 2D game is cute, but ultimately a bit too boring. The enV's larger screen helps somewhat so the game doesn't quite feel as claustrophobic as a regular phone, but you can still only see maybe one or so levels up. It doesn't really help much. Most of the problem is you have to master the precision jumps onto and off moving platforms, doing special jumps that if done will get you to the exit and if done slightly wrong will result at best in you dropping several levels and forced to spend frustrating moments to jump back up leve by level, or at worst, drop into traps and waste lives.

The game also wants you to explore by scattering "jade parrot figurines" all over for Batman to collect "to be returned to the museum". He, what a lousy excuse. A few is fine, but up to a dozen per level, and like 10 levels? Sorry, lame excuse.

The game is cute enough that you want to give it another chance, but it's hard to get excited with the primitive graphics, primitive sounds AND primitive gameplay. You are given a grappler gun, but you can only use it at designated "grappler swinging spots". What fun is that? it's more useful as a weapon, believe or not, against Joker's attack helicopter (no, I'm not kidding).

All in all, LEGOs Batman: The Mobile Game have to count as an also-ran. It is cute, but nothing else, really.

Overall rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: It's cute, decently animated, and levels are big enough
Cons: More frustrating than fun, nothing new later

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KMGR of Call of Duty: World at War (mobile)

Call of Duty: World at WarImage via WikipediaCall of Duty 5, aka CoD: World at War, went back to WW2 for some of the most hectic and brutal combat available... Soviet defense of Stalingrad, American island-hopping in the Pacific against entrenched Japanese defenders, and a few SAS attacks on German positions in the war. However, the mobile game itself left out the Russian front, leaving you with a plain-Jane version of 2D shooter on a cellphone that spans a mere 9-10 missions, all of which are quite short. The sprites are tiny, and animation primitive. All in all, it's just a below average shooter.

CoD5, using the same formulas as before, does not set you as a particular soldier. Instead, you play different soldiers on different fronts. In Europe, you're with the British SAS as they chase down the Germans in town, while in the Pacific you're with the US Marines as you try to evict the Japanese defenders with flamethrower and other weapons.

As stated before, sprites are small, and there isn't much animation other than occasional trees waving in the wind. Enemy soldiers don't move much, though they are known to duck behind cover every once in a while, and some may even have grenades. Your allies will attack as well, but they pretty much just follow a script: run up to cover and shoot from cover, that's it. They can't dodge grenades or follow orders. Thus, they are merely cannon fodder, so use them wisely.

You can move up to cover and you'll hide behind it, and you can shoot from behind cover a bit. You can also throw a grenade (you only got 3) for those nasties who need a bit more persuasion to leave. There are occasional tunnels and rooms you need to clear, which takes you to new parts of the map. Again, sprites are tiny, and nothing you do is new. There's a section where you need to plant signal flares to help direct artillery, but that's just go up to "blue spot" and hit OK to "mark". Setting a satchel charge? Same thing. Go up to blue spot and "mark".

You get either your Tommy gun, or the occasional flame thrower (kinda fun lighting the defenders on fire... for a few seconds). To keep it rated G there's no blood, and bodies disappear after a few seconds.

The two areas, Europe and Pacific, do look and feel different, but the same ideas in map design make them feel more common than they should. There's only one way through the map, and that's pretty much the whole game: kill bad guys as you run up to cover, shoot enemies (if you use the single-shot better).

The graphics are average or below average. As least the game is quite responsive. Sound is rather bad as well.

All in all, COD:WAW is an also-ran on the mobile, and should be skipped if you like the genre.

Overall rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: responsive, simple to get into
Cons: not much there any way, below average overall

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KMGR of "Need for Speed: Undercover"

IMHO, NFS:Undercover Mobile has completely ruined the premise of the game. There's no intro about you're working undercover. You're just a generic racer, with this chick giving you info on what races you've unlocked and maybe a tip or two before the race.

At least the graphics are impressive... The cars are more impressive than its nearest rival: Fast and Furious: Pink Slip. However, the streets aren't quite as good.

You basically start with a crappy car: The VW Golf R32, a decent boy racer, but not exactly in the same league cars as Porsche 911 or Nissan GT-R R35... You race through six districts in a variety of races: circuits, knockout circuits, sprints, take out the cops, speed camera, and new to the series... highway battle. The idea is you get ahead of the other guy and get ahead by more than 50 yards.

Oh, only first place counts. However, you can restart or redo any race you wish. If you win, you can replay the race later, with any car, but the winnings will be MUCH less.

As a result of that, you can only get maybe 3 cars and fully outfit them when you play through all districts, but there are like 8 cars in the game. (Hint: get the Nissans and you'll be fine)

Game relies a LOT of nitro and proper application thereof. There's some drifting, but drifting at speed in traffic is suicide. Also, the game double mapped the action button... in straights the OK button activates "bullet time". In curves it activates "drift balance", like NFS:ProStreet. So the wrong thing always gets activated at the wrong time. (Argh!) Personally, I'd forget about drifting altogether. (Won without drifting at all) Save the nitro for near the end, except you don't know where the end is, as there's no "progress indicator"! (Unlike F&F:PS)

However, driving feel is excellent, and the roads are long, and scenary is excellent from district to district. With F&F:PS the different areas look alike, just different portions and different times of day. The different amount of nitro does make a difference, as with Nitro you can probably hit 250+ miles, essential for speed cams and such top speed runs.

All in all, NFS:Undercover is just another racer, as the new mode was already on the PC version of NFS:Carbon as "mountain battle" (inspired by Initial D's "Touge Battles") And there's no "plot" at all. In fact, you're told to 'continue the mission with the console or the PC version'. Argh! It's nothing special, and while visually impressive, it's nonetheless NOT a winner.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: good cars, great graphics, lots of road racing in traffic, upgrades
Cons: some races very hard, nothing really new here at all

More mobile previews this week!

Call of Duty: World at WarImage by csullens via FlickrComing soon... reviews of the hottest mobile games... including...

Need for Speed Undercover -- race your way through the underworld and help takedown a criminal empire... sort of. In reality, you just race, and race, and race through 6 "zones", beat a few bosses, and have to "finish" the game on a PC or console. Argh! At least it has nice cars... but you won't own most of them unless you play the game OVER and OVER and OVER...

Call of Duty: World at War -- COD5 comes to mobile... would (should) you care? Perhaps not. It's just more WW2 stuff, and nothing special from MOH:Airborne (mobile) or COD4. No stealth. Nine or ten missions in Ardennes or Pelileu or Okinawa, that's it. You get either the Tommy, or on occasional, the flamethrower. You also have 3 grenades for special situations. And it's WAY too easy.

Legos Batman: The mobile game -- yep, LEGOs Batman comes to mobile. It's strictly 2-D platform game, and the primitive graphics is quite charming when compared to other 2D games like "The Dark Knight: Movie Mobile Game". Only 2 missions so far will have more impressions later.

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KMGR of "SimCity: Metropolis"

SimCityImage via WikipediaSimCity MetroPolis is a refinement of SimCity into more of a game experience, and for veteran SimCity mayors, this may be a bit too easy. However, for those new to the genre, it provides a fresh into the world of SimCity, and is relatively easy to pickup, with a much more accessible interface and interrelationships between the various needs of the city, and it even has decent graphics!

SimCity Metropolis has you being appointed to the position of mayor by the president of SimNation. However, the president is giving you various goals, usually 3 of them like "keep pollution rating at 7 or better", "get population up to 10K", and "keep satisfaction rating at 7 or better". You work only one of the three suburbs at a time, each suburb/district has different layouts and different set of buildings.

The view is regular isometric, and resolution is quite good on my LG enV. The land is criss-crossed with various streets and parks. Build-able land is limited, and from which you have to choose residential, industrial/commercial, and culture/services.

Residential buildings are basically your houses, from simple townhouses to hi-density condos, for the sims to live in. They come in various sizes, and their capacity and price will vary.

Industrial/Commercial buildings provide jobs, power, pollution (or cleanup), and so on. Some also contribute to traffic, increase/decrease of satisfaction ratings, and such, and comes in much larger sizes. Could be factories, treatment plants, even powerplants, or as simple as communications hub, company HQ, and so on.

Culture/Services buildings provide service to the Sims, and generally make them happier, like clinics and hospitals, baseball and basketball fields, restaurants and Squarebucks coffee, memorial plaza and cosmodome, and so on. They generally raise the satisfaction of the Sims and increase their physical fitness as well.

Clearly one must balance the needs of the city vs. the budget and the goals. And doing so within the time limit (usually 12-36 months) can be a challenge to the newly minted mayor. However I am usually months ahead of schedule, as I am very good in fitting pieces together to get max buildings into min real estate.

The interface is very simple. Use the D-pad to move the cursor around the map. If it's on an existing building, you can query it, demolish it, recycle it (into another building of same size), and so on. If it's on empty space, you can use the arrows to pick a type of building, then choose from list, then move the size guide around until it turns green (i.e. a valid build). Hit OK, and it'll be built in a few seconds!

There is no need to set prices as that's automatic. Just build things, and the Sims will come to live, work, and play. You'll need to build a balance of buildings, of course.

Every once in a while you're called upon to make a decision on something strange, like "alien habitat", as an alien wants to remodel the neighborhood. Do you let him, refuse him, or ignore him altogether? At other times, a monster or an asteroid will destroy one of your buildings. Every few months the SimPrez will update you on your progress (or lack thereof) and remind you which area seems to be a bit low.

If you finish all three "50K residents" missions, you get another term as mayor and this time, you get sandbox mode: no more goals, just upgrade existing stuff.

All in all, SimCity Metropolis is a nice intro to SimCity more of a game, less of a toy. But it's not a breakthru.

Overall rating: 7.5 out of 10
Pros: simplified interface makes things easy to get into
Cons: still a lot of wants to track and satisfy, not all relationships explained

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KMGR of "Hunting Unlimited: Big Game"

The Deer HunterImage by CrowHand via FlickrHunting Unlimited:Big Game prides itself in offering a variety of challenges in hunting. You hunt several types of prey, and some predators, in fact. In HU:BG, you hunt deer (four varieties), bears, ducks (many different ones), even big cats (cougars, lions, and tigers), in four different locations across the world.

The graphics is mostly 2D reminiscent of Deer Hunter, but the four locations are different enough to not bore you. There are also 3 "hides" at each hunt location so if you don't feel too good about one location you can go to another one.

Each location has three hunt venues... the birds, using a shotgun, the "deer" (including elk, and so on), using rifle or bows, and finally, the predators (bear or big cats), using high power rifles or bows.

The bird hunt is reminiscent of classic "duck hunt", except you have limited ammo, 360 degree rotation, but you do have duck calls that can entice them to land and get closer and such. (However excessive use will scare them away). If you finish the first hunt location and accomplish all secondary objectives you'll get a bonus item: duck decoys. Each location has a bonus item, in fact, such as bipod for the rifle, laser ranger finder for bow and gun, and so on.

Same 360 view is available for the "deer" hunts. Usually you want the bucks (male) and not th

Ae does (female) as bucks have the rack (horns) but you have receive special requests as secondary objectives like "tribe needs you to kill 3 bucks and 2 does". While gun have good range, unless you have the bipod they do "shake" a bit. Bow, on the other hand, have very low range (under 100 meters).

The special hunts for predators often require you to kill a deer in order to bait the trap. THEN you can hunt those predators as they approach the "rack". Yes, it's possible to use a bow to hunt the big cats and bears.

On the other hand, the "records" section is sorely lacking. I was expecting a graphical "best kills", like maybe those deer heads you mount on walls? But it is all text. Argh! And I was expecting the graphics to be a bit better than this 2D stuff.

All in all, Hunting Unlimited: Big Game does not really break any boundaries when it comes to hunting games. You don't quite get the "RPG" feel of Deer Hunter 3, but the variety and secondary objectives makes up for that, just wish it gives you better "record kills" than a few lines of text.

Overall rating: 6.5 of 10
Pros: secondary objectives keep you coming back to try again and again
Cons: breaks no new ground at all, 2D graphics still disappoints

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KMGR of "Quantum of Solace"

Yep, the mobile game is already out before the movie. Is the game any good? Let's just say, it spoiled the plot of the movie already. The James Bond you know is gone. This guy is impulsive, not suave. He solves problems with his fists and firepower, not really with his wits. And this time, he's got vengeance on his mind, as he wants to find out who blackmailed Vesper Lynd into betraying MI6, and basically, into dying. In the process, he got into plenty of hot water, was wanted by no less than MI6, CIA, AND some South American Country... Killed at least two leads, and only bedded ONE girl this time around, and wasn't even the main girl. :)

The game is about as dumb as the movie, believe it or not. The game is a standard 2D platformer, almost as dumb at the WANTED game a while back. At least that game had that "curving bullet" trick. QoS here just have the 007 brandname, as you end up fighting thugs, MI6 agents, guards, even the American Delta Force guys. As they all want your hide. So what can you do? You can do a bit of melee, duck down a bit, jump up, and find pistols and Submachine guns (two types of each). There are even stun grenades about, and at the very end, grenade launchers. There are crates to hide behind, and crates can be busted for any goodies.

And that pretty much describes the whole game. Jump here, jump there, avoid this guard, kill that guard... hide from that guard, so you can ambush him (hide in a door, and take out the guard as he goes by, shades of Batman: The Dark Knight game here... In fact, half of the game you're simply running and hiding and ambushing, as the enemies are too strong. You just have to make your way through the gauntlet, one enemy at a time. Later, you get to unleash your arsenal as you empty a whole magazine at an enemy to deplete his hitpoints. Big deal.

I pretty much finished the game as I figured out the mechanics. Some sections I need to try a few times, but nothing that is extremely frustrating. It's more... boring, as there's nothing fresh here. This is one formulaic game.

Overall rating: 5.5 out of 10
Pros: it follows the plot of the movie pretty closely
Cons: perhaps too closely, feels more Prince of Persia than 007

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KMGR of "Rolling with Katamari"

Image via WikipediaKatamari is one of those games that sneaks up on you. Who'd have thought that a game that involves rolling up other things to be so addictive?

In this mobile adaptation, you're sent by the King to Earth to rolling
up various things. The King had accidentally knocked all the stars out of the sky, and you need to make up some replacements from the objects on Earth!

You start out small, literally... Size of an ant, rolling up things like cookie crumbs, grapes, and so on, starting in a kitchen. The idea, is, obviously, that the bigger "ball" you've rolled up, you'd be able to roll up bigger items, like spoons, wedges of cheese, and so on. Each level has a time limit and a size requirement: you have X minutes to roll up a size Y ball.

The game gives you choice of 2 control schemes: rotational, or directional. The rotational lets you rotate left/right and is somewhat more precise, but turning takes a bit more time. Directional is faster in changing directions, but is not as "precise". And precision is needed, since you have limited time to achieve your objectives, and time is crucial, and you don't want to run into things you can "roll up" as that just wastes time.

The game is in an isometric view simulating 3D, and the objects are 2D, but very cute. Grapes roll along the table, mice scurry about... and so on. When the ball is so big to hide the prince from view, there's a separate "viewer" in the lower right corner that always lets you know which way you/he is facing.

This game takes a bit to get used to. I'm am ashamed to say I have yet to make it through the FIRST level yet.

All in all, this ball-rolling game is harder than it seems, which is apparantly a good thing.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: rolling a ball is easy, right? Not so! Cute and simple.
Cons: harder than it looks, NOT 3D at all

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How about some MORE mobile game previews?

James bond - quantum of solaceImage by titlap via FlickrYep, more previews!

Rolling with Katamari -- rolling up misc. objects with the little prince Katamari has reached mobile platform! Can you grow your way up from ant-sized?

Quantum of Solace -- yep, the adaptation of the new 007 movie's already out. It's not that good, IMHO. It's a standard 2D platformer, enough said.

Hunting Unlimited: Big Game -- a much more playable hunting sim than Deer Hunter 3 (reviewed previously), this has you hunting tigers, bears, and more, plus the more mundane ducks, deer, elk, and so on, across the world. However, only 4 locations.

Bonus Update -- SimCity Metropolis -- scenario/goal-based SimCity, where you're tasked with developing 3 zones of a small town into a full-fledged city while solving all sorts of problems along the way.

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KMGR of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars"

Star Wars - The Clone WarsImage by Don Solo via FlickrYep, Clone Wars the TV series inspired a game for the mobile. However, you don't get to play Anakin or his apprentice this time. You get to play clone trooper Denal, who takes orders from Captain Rex. Denal is a squad leader, so he'll lead several soldiers around. He later can carry grenades and EC bombs (stuns droids and such). Go through 15 missions on 3 different planets, and help the Grand Army of the Republic defeat the Separatist movement.

The game is strangely reminiscent of the Avatar game reviewed earlier. Basically, you control the squad by the D-pad: up is forward, down is backward, then left and right rotates this "direction arrow" 360 degrees, and that's the direction you go (forward or back). Your squad is relatively intelligent. They wil aim in the general direction and shoot any enemy near that if they are in range. If you come up to a short wall they wil crouch and go into cover and shoot over the wall if need be. Make use of the walls as this will significantly reduce your casualties! You'll run into regular droids ("Roger roger"), the heavy droids, the droidekas ("It's shielded!"), and even the occasional spider tank. However, you will have plenty of help. Sometimes you can summon reinforcements, air strikes, or even help from a local jedi.

The game is 2D-ish with a "hint" of isometric 3D. The troopers and the droids are nicely animated, and you'll be taking out hundreds of droids per mission. However, you will lose some troopers per mission. The idea is to minimize your casualties by employing your grenades and EC dets at the right time, and use cover properly.

Most objectives are timed, and you need to reach a waypoint to 'recharge the timer' so to speak. Timer is not TOO tight, but you have no time to dawdle either. You must keep moving, basically. Even bypass some enemies if you must. Some missions even comes in multiple parts.

Music is from the TV series, albeit edited down a bit. Some missions let you be more advantageous in other missions, such as reduce amount of enemy, enable air strikes, and so on. So this linked mission nature makes the game replayable if you got bored and want to try alternatives.

Main complaint is about the control interface. You can sort of get close to where you want to point, but if you want to be precise, like pick up a bonus grenade reload on the ground, which is quite small, you have to be VERY precise to get to it. This leads to delays as you turn 180, go back and forth, and so on. And your squad can be overwhelmed when attacked on multiple sides. You must engage one with grenade, then turn to the other and engage

All in all, Clone Wars is an enjoyable little "shooter" that emphasizes terrain and precision. If you like Star Wars, give it a try. You should like it.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Simple controls, exciting battles of Star Wars / Clone Wars
Cons: Squad AI aren't as good, playing a "peon", control precision has problems

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KMGR of "Ghostbusters: Ghost Trap"

GhostbustersImage via WikipediaGhostbusters: Ghost Trap is not really a Ghostbusters game, but rather, some other game adapted to the Ghostbusters property. It is rather ingenious adaptation though, and the overall theme fits, so it works... for the most part.

Basically, you are in overall control of the Ghostbusters Team. There is a single ghost in this "level". By using your proton packs, you need to drive the ghost into the ghost trap near the end of the level without it 1) touching any slim on the walls or 2) touching any pedestrians more than twice. The ghost seems to have "weight", meaning that unless "pushed" by a proton beam it will tend to fall and gain speed. It will also move from side to side if it has any horizontal velocity, but it can be slowed or sped up via more proton beams, albeit in the right direction. Ghostbusters are scattered throughout the level to help you "guide" the ghost into the trap. Each will use his proton pack in a partcular direction (of the 8 cardinal directions of the compass) to "push" or "pull" the ghost as shown by the icon below him. The idea is, again, to push or pull just enough from each so that the ghost touch minimum amount of slime, and get to the ghost trap at the very end (which activates automatically).

Sounds complicated, but there is only ONE button... OK / 5, which controls the firing of the proton packs from the nearest ghostbuster to the ghost. Remember, proton pack can both push and pull (sort of like a tractor beam).

Later levels will have a time limit, or worse, limit the amount of proton pack power you have.

Any problems? You can retry the level easily if you lose.

Some levels have "ghost cards", which, if touched by the ghost you're "guiding", will gain you special info on various types of ectoplasmic manifestations. Thus, you may not want to go straight to the ghost trap.

With at least 50 levels spread throughout New York, there are a lot of ghosts you need to catch.

Graphics is 2D sprites, cartoony, but nice and clear. Everything looks right and fits the theme. Music is a bit on the fad side, gets boring.

Overall, Ghostbusters: Ghost Trap is not too bad, as it is somewhat innovative in "one-button" gameplay. And the overall game does seem to fit the Ghostbuster theme. However, there just seem to be a little bit of disconnect in there (perhaps there are just too many Ghostbusters on each level?) that somehow didn't quite look right. Still, it is a rather fun game.

Overall rating: 6.5 out of 10
Pros: single button gameplay, Ghostbusters are back
Cons: some sections, when ghosts have almost no horizontal velocity, is very boring, while others are just extremely frustrating

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KMGR of "Transformers G1"

Transformers Optimus Prime G1 Encore Reissue -...Image by mdverde via FlickrYep, Transformers are back, and this one it's back to basics, not that awful "3D" shooter as a part of promo for the movie. This is all the way back to the original beginning, about how the ship crash landed on Earth and all that. And this time, the game is turn-based tactical combat! But is it any good? Surprising, yes!

TG1 lets you control up to 4 Autobots (depending on the mission) up against equal or superior number of Decepticons. The terrain is of course, a factor, and there are energy buildings such as transmission towers, and powerplants that you need to capture in order to produce energon cubes. The more cubes you have, the more repairs you can make, or the more reinforcements you can deploy (or revive "downed" Autobots, same thing).

The game is turn-based... You make your moves, then the opponent make theirs. Team combat is emphasized as supporting fire, when you fire on an enemy already under attack on another side, gets a 25% attack bonus. Leaders like Optimus Prime, brings a 10% leadership bonus for all units near him.

You can move, transform, attack (only if you're adjacent to enemy), ranged shot (if you are capable), or special ability (such as Ratchet's repair or upgrade). Each Transformer is rated in speed, transformed speed, attack, and defense. Obviously, you can't attack while transformed, but you have much better speed.

When one attack or defends, the semi-isometric view switches to "combat view", where the two robots shoot at each other, doing X amount of damage to the other. Damage is calculated by using the attack and defense factor of each, plus any bonus factors like supporting fire or leadership bonus. Then you go back to tactical view. It usually takes several rounds of combat. Eventually the loser turns into a pile of scrap heap.

Graphics is definitely on the lower end of the scale, but this fits the retro subject just fine. The sprites are easily recognizable. The one complaint is all the bots are the same size (or looks to be) when we know that Optimus Prime is quite a bit larger than Bumblebee and so on. Music is similarly retro sounding.

All in all, Transformers G1 is a retro-ish title that's much better than an arcade shooter. This tactical combat sim is simple and easy to learn. While it's not the best game ever, it deserves a play by any Transformers fan (or ex-fan).

Overall rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: All the familiars are here, turn-based combat gives you time to think
Cons: A bit monotonous until you hit the "special" missions

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KMGR of "Silent Hill", aka "Silent Hill: Orphanage"

One of the maps players obtain in the first Si...Image via WikipediaSilent Hill: Orphanage was released on other cellphones last year, but was only just released on Verizon just in time for Halloween Is it any good? Yes, it is, esp. when you consider it didn't really break new grounds, but managed to squeeze in quite a bit of story, alternate dimensions, and so on.

The game itself is just named Silent Hill on V.CAST. You play this guy Ben, who grew up at an orphanage. And 30 years later, you are somehow drawn back... Why are you here, and what is calling you back? That's up to you to find out. The game is basically a mini-Myst, in a sense. You "move" from scene to scene, and in a scene, you can interact with some of the objects by look, grab, talk, and inventory. By inspecting and grabbing items, you can discover more items, and by using them at the right time against the proper items, you can find more items, and eventually solve the puzzle. However, there are some monsters involved, and some of the characters do carry a gun.

Graphics are less than full screen on my LG enV, but should fit a normal phone nicely. Looks faded and eerie, just a horror game *should* look, if a bit cliche. Sound is less than spectacular, as the dialog and stuff is all through text, to cut down on the game size, I guess.

All in all, if you must play all the Silent Hill games, this ain't that bad. It's just not that GOOD either. I've seen better point-and-click adventures ("Escape!" comes to mind) but for a horror game, Silent Hill ain't bad.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Got the feel, easy controls
Cons: The gunplay doesn't quite "work", some puzzle segments too obscure

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More mobile previews!

Just to tease, here are the games that will be reviewed...

Silent Hill: Orphanage -- Myst-like point-n-click adventure with puzzles and a bit of combat. Relies on psychological horror and creepiness instead.

Transformers G1 -- turn-based tactical combat among your favorite Transformers (tm) robots, the first generation!

Ghostbusters: Ghost Trap -- More of a ghost-pushing puzzle instead of an Ghostbuster (tm) adventure, but it does fit the ghostbusting motif.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars -- Control a squad of clone troopers and participate in 15 battles across 3 planets in the Clone Wars.

Enjoy the reviews!