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?

Previews, previews, and more previews...

Oh, yes, we got previews.

Tiger Woods 2009 by EA -- the golf juggernaut is now on mobile. And it really is the best a mobile golf game can be. (Sports)

Houdini's Infinite Escapes -- a puzzle adventure with Houdini theme... too bad it's a bit short, though new puzzles are downloadable. (Puzzle)

Mr. and Mrs. Tarzan -- RealArcade puts out a cute-looking stinker of a platform game... Lousy controls, and a Tarzan that looks like a cross between Fred from Flintstones, and Elvis (and a Mrs. Tarzan that looks like Wilma) I mean, take a look at the title screen to the right! Make up your own mind! All he does is fetch, and no more animal exploitation, even have to save the platypus. Argh! (Platform)

Wolverine -- the game adaptation of the movie... slash your adamantium claws through Stryker's goons and "bad" mutants in order to avenge your girlfriend. Since when does Logan go "stealth" though? (Platform / beat'em up)

Star Trek -- the game adaptation of the movie... It's basically a fancy version of Phoenix... with upgradeable ship, and some Star Trek text-overs. (Arcade)

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KMGR of "Pirate Ship Booty"

Blackbeard's CastleImage by Erica_Marshall via Flickr

Pirate Ship Booty from Digital Chocolate is an attempt to breath some new life into "Battleship", where you shoot blindly into the other map hoping to hit something, and hopefully sink all of the other side's ship before he does the same to you. Think of it as Sid Meier's Pirates, with combat resolved by Battleship Rules, and you wouldn't be too far off.

The game starts off by reciting Blackbeard's legend, that Blackbeard have stowed away enormous amounts of treasure that is only accessible by assembling a special map revealing his hiding place. Every few years, he will raid a port and carry away the most beautiful maiden to be his undead bride. It's a nice setup as the game starts... You are a Pirate Prince... you arrived at home port, finding it in ruins... Your father told you that your betrothed was taken by Blackbeard, then died... You must defeat the other pirates that roam the seas, conquer the other towns that do not report to you (so that they pay YOU every "turn"). Defeating foes will yield gold and treasures, which allows you to replenish losses and perhaps, outfit another captain with more ships. Yes, you can duel with "towns", where forts take place of ships.

On the Caribbean map, storm clouds move randomly, fleets move on their own each turn, and you have your limited amount of movement as well, so spend them wisely. You can conquer more towns, but some towns are owned by the Trading Company, whom will send merchant fleets, and if you are really bothering the merchant fleets, they will send in pirate hunter fleets. However, all can be defeated.

When encounter happens (two entities meet by movement, be them fleets or towns or special encounters), one can choose auto-fight, flee, or manual fight. However, there is an special circumstance. Against Blackbeard, the "endgame", only manual fight is possible. Autofight however, may not provide the best outcome as captain's special ability does not come into play. One can also choose to manually fight, or flee (avoid the engagement), if you have any movement left.

Next step in manual fight is to deploy the ships on the map. The map is same on both sides unless you're fighting against a town and its forts. You can rotate the ship (vertical or horizontal) and place them anywhere legal (on the grid). Opponent will do the same. Then the battle starts.

The battle is by Battleship rules, with a few twists... Each captain has a special ability. The Pirate Prince (your avatar) sees 3 squares instead of regular 2. This allows him to avoid things as most fleet have a move speed of 3. Rednose Kid has speed of 4, fastest in Caribbean. Captain Bonny (yes, female) is an excellent navigator and can survive storms without losing ships. The Notorious Henry Morgan has power of sixes, which means he gets an extra shot (4 instead of 3) if all of his ships are afloat. Yet other captains have ability to load special weapons faster, have special weapon ready to go at the beginning, and so on. There are some captains with no special abilities.

So what are the special weapons? Different ships have a different special weapon, and ships comes in several sizes... From the 2-space pinnace up to 5-space war galleon, each have a special weapon. It could be "big shot" (3 by 3 cross-shaped shot covering 5 spaces), scatter shot (4 shots randomly in 3x3 square), full salvo (a row or column of 5 shots), and so on. Every normal shot you fire adds to the special shot gauge. When the gauge fills, you can shoot the special weapon, and you can choose from whatever you got. In fact, there are some special weapons that are granted after certain "special quests". For example, "Barbarossa's Spyglass" let's you see what's on the other side in a small area of 2x4 (regular spyglass is just 1x4). In another quest, you can win "Rum Catapult", which uses the special weapon to shoot off a bunch of rum barrels. The enemy crew is so busy to grab the rum they only get off 1 shot per turn for 3 turns.

If you defeat the other fleet (sank all its ships), you loot the gold and send the losing captain packing. If it's a fellow pirate captain, he'll appear at your homeport in a pinnace, ready to fight for you (you now control him). If you lose the fight, the same will happen to you. Then you get to control the other pirate captains while you accumulate gold to redo your fleet. You should separate those captains with useful abilities in combat and re-outfit them (i.e. buy them ships to reform their fleet) so that you can use them to defeat other targets, such as merchant fleets, other towns, and pirate hunters. Believe me, you WILL need them to help you defeat Blackbeard's undead fleet.

When you have re-assembled the map, Blackbeard's hideout appears... and he'll send out a couple ghost fleets to harass you... But he will be waiting at his base for you to challenge them. It is best to send in a couple other captains before you move in, as he has TEN ships, compared to your SIX. So you need to send multiple captains with their fleets in to wear him down.

Win the final battle, and the game ends, as you have saved your betrothed, and got riches beyond imagining for all fellow pirates.

If you don't like the campaign, you can play a single "battle" against any of the AI captains, or even against a friend by passing the phone back and forth in "hotseat" mode.

The graphics are good enough, just cartoony enough to be fun, and not too scary for younger children (certainly no more scary than any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies).

All in all, the marriage of Pirates and Battleship seems to be quite successful. While it's not the best game I've played, it's certainly better than a lot of the drivel available nowadays.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10 (!)
Pros: different game every time, familiar mechanics with bit of adventure
Cons: can be a bit slow at times, and a bit too easy

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KMGR of "Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X"

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.Image via Wikipedia

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. is basically an aerial equivalent of the "Ghosts", the elite of the elite U.S. Special Forces. When the world is basically overran by Private Military Corporations (i.e. Mercenaries) and they eventually got too big for their britches, it is the job of H.A.W.X. and the Ghosts to put them back in their place... But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is the mobile version. Does it capture some of the feel of the other versions? Unfortunately, no. This is basically a vertical shooter like 1942, albeit with jets.

There are total of 10 missions that outlines the adventures of one of the pilots... Who was let go from HAWX, hired by Artemis, one of the PMCs, went on a few missions... You get to choose among four planes at the beginning. As you shoot enemies, if you destroy a whole "squad", they may drop gun pods which allows you to upgrade the gun firepower. Sometimes you can also pick up missiles, extra life, 2 squadron mates to assist in firepower, forcefield, and so on as powerups.

Each level ends with a "boss", could be a humongous mobile fortress (spewing shots all over the place, and move faster than you can fly!) an extra large stealth bomber with rear turrets, and so on. You also get to fly through a city (don't hit the buildings!) and a river valley (River Raid?)

You get a few planes to choose from initially... balanced, heavy ground-attack, or high-maneuverability. When you finish the campaing, you'll unlock the Berkut Russian superfighter. The game from there plays like 1942... Shoot happens automatically. Hit BOMB if you need to clear the map, until the level finishes or you ran out of lives. There are both ground and air threats. There are even bosses, some sort of superplane or a supertank, complete with huge laser, guns that scatter shots all over, and spawns little tanks and whatnot. And it won't go down until you pump bazillion shots into them. Ha.

So, is it fun? Only if you like that sort of game. Personally, I don't like twitch games that much, so this one is a bit low on my list. This game basically completely misses that HAWX is all about. The game designers at Gameloft gave us a 1942 remake instead, and that is simply ANCIENT news. Sound isn't bad, and graphics, well, okay. There are occasional bits where you need to fly through narrow spaces (hints of River Raid, if you remember that far back!) and even THROUGH a building or two. Cute, but those moments are few and far in between.

Overall, the game is a disappointment. I was expecting HAWX lite. I got 1942 painted up as HAWX.

Overall rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: nice arcade action, if you like 1942 / UN Squadron type of gameplay
Cons: and that's all this game really is, complete with bosses, has little to do with HAWX at all

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KMGR of "Monsters vs. Aliens"

This mobile adaptation of the movie game is just a platformer. As such, it's not that good, merely average, even though it does look rather cute.

As the name suggested, a bunch of aliens are invading, and Earth's last hope is a bunch of monsters the military had recruited, except everybody looks cute instead of scary. Get the idea? You play as either Ginormica (a VERY large girl in a track suit, as in size of small skyscraper), or the Missing Link, a scrappy fighter who infiltrated the innards of the alien giant robot and have to break various subsystems.

Ginormica basically runs around ground level, dodging alien mines and laser beams, pick up people from top of buildings, jumping past buildings if she can, and basically move as fast as possible. While jumping from building to building is sort of fun, it's actually quite boring as a platforming.

Missing Link, on the other hand, is even MORE boring... He has punch/tailwhip as the weapons, but don't let enemy drones and whatever touch you, nor fall into bad things. Oh, and do all the destruction before the timer expires. How's that for "no pressure"?

There are well over a dozen "challenge" (levels) to try as the role alternate between the two. However, the basic gameplay does not change. Music andsound effects are boring.

Thus, this game is only a 6, and nothing more.

Overall rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: not a bad use of the IP, simple controls
Cons: not a lot of imagination either, dynamics and score never explained.

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KMGR of "WWE Legends"

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

The Xbox360 game got shrunk to mobile. Is it still any fun? Surprisingly, yes.

WWE Legends lets you customize your own wrestler in a variety of styles (technician, powerhouse, high-flyer, showman...) as well as in appearance (barechested? vest? t-shirt? shorts? knee-length? spandex pants? boots? shoes? barefoot? skin tone? face? hair-style?...) After that, you can set up a match between your avatar and any of the WWE Legends, from Andre the Giant to Bret "The Hitman" Hart, from Jake "The Snake" Roberts to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and so on. About a dozen opponents. (Nowhere as many as the console version, of course) There are a variety of rules, from regular to cage match to Wrestlemania to Survivor, and much more. Or you can play a full career as your avatar, win and lose the heavyweight champion belt multiple times against variety of opponents.

The game is in full 3D, and while the polygon count is a bit low, the actions are quite convincing. The two wrestlers face each other, do huge chest slaps at each other. You can also do the Irish whip to force the other into the rope and bounce off, and hopefully do a clothsline, but you can also do football charge and knock the other guy down as a "reversal". In fact, most of the moves can be "reversed", and one of your various ratings lets you get reversals more often.

Wrestlers can also "lock up", and from there one can transition to various slams (but those can be reversed too) from full supplex to pile driver to body slam to fireman's carry and toss/slam.

Once the opponent is down, you can go in and do foot stomps until they get back up. If the opponent is down for a while you can go in for a submission hold or a pin depending if they're face down or face up.

Those who prefer hi-flying moves can jump onto ring posts and do a big jump / slam. One can also exit the ring and pick up chairs and whatnot for beat-downs outside the ring OR even bring the weapon inside.

Each wrestler gets a health bar (red) and a morale bar (light blue). Making hits raises morale. Getting hit decreases health. When morale is topped off, one can perform the "signature move" of the character that does extra damage. When the health is dropped to zero or less, one is susceptible to pins and submissions.

To force a submission, get the other into submission hold, then you must stop the marker as close to the center as possible. If you are closer to the center than the other player, you get points on your "bar". Whoever fills their bar first wins the contest (if you're the holder, the pinned submits. If you are the one getting pinned, you break out of the hold).

Yes it sounds complicated, but once you're playing you will remember. There are FOUR difficulty levels if you find the EASY is indeed, too easy for you.

All in all, WWE Legends is a good wrestling game that emphasize real-time action and WWE superstars. While TNA wrestling is still the top of the heap, this one comes quite close.

Overall rating: 7.5 out of 10
Pros: WWE superstars, customization of avatar, lots of moves
Cons: can be hard on tougher levels, plot leaves a bit to be desired

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KMGR of "Mystery Mania"

Mystery Mania is a light-hearted puzzle solver where each room consists of a puzzle to solve, by using the items in the proper order. Solve the problem, and you can advance to the next room and advance the plot.

The plot is a bit on the whimsical side. As F8, a robot, you have been awakened. Apparently your creator has disappeared inside the mansion. What is going on, and can you find and save the creator in time?

The graphics are a bit on the childish / caricature side, but things are nice and clear. And the animations are good. All parts that can be manipulated are clearly visible and touchable. It's HOW they go together in what sequence that makes the whole thing a puzzle.

Sound is unremarkable.

Between some levels are cutscenes rendered just like the game, except with some "static" overlay, that gives expository information on the history between you and the creator, and of course, what happened to the creator. Those are rendered nicely, and looks just like a playable level.

The puzzle's difficulty are relatively low. I solved the whole game, dozens of levels, in a few hours. Most took no more than 10 minutes. As you can't "die" in this game it's easy to try again.

All in all, Mystery Mania out to delight junior puzzle solvers who needs a bit of mental challenge. However, adults would find these puzzles way too easy.

Overall rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: simple to learn, puzzles are notthat hard
Cons: puzzles a bit too easy, one way through the game, period

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Another batch of previews! FIVE!

"Mystery Mania" by EA -- a series of light logic puzzles... use them to get out of the room. As the robot F8, can you solve your creator's disappearance and put things right in the castle?

WWE Legends -- take on WWE legends such as "The Rock", Million Dollar Man, Andre the Giant, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, British Bulldog, and more and have a career as a WWE superstar, and see how you stack up against the legends in this 3D wrestling sim

Monsters vs. Aliens -- a platform game that is derived from the new Pixar movie, you run around as the Missing Link or Ginormica accomplishing various tasks and taking out aliens. until you find out the whole story, at least.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X -- this game is sort of a sequel of the actual game... After H.A.W.X was disbanded, you went to work for the contractor Artemis, except Artemis isn't quite what it seems to be... In actuality this game plays like UN Squadron / 1941, complete with big flying or moving bosses.

Pirate Ship Booty -- a light-hearted Battleship! (tm) clone with pirate theme and story, plus a "strategic map" to move around, about how Blackbeard have a treasure hidden and only six pieces of a special map will reveal the location... protected by the undead.

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