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 "Firefighters: City Rescue"

A Fire extinguisherImage via Wikipedia

Firefighters: City Rescue is a cute little platform game where you play a firefighter and go up against multi-story fires. While it is sort of fun, it soon gets repetitive and later impossible as the game basically cheats by reacting to your moves.

The rules of the game is simple. A building is on fire. As the "captain" of the fire district, you lead your crew in from the bottom floor. You need to make your way through every level, all the way to the top, put out the main flame, and rescue all civilians along the way. Sounds easy, except a lot of things: floors can burn through, other things can burst into flames, a "fire monster" can burn you down (you have 5 lives, after which you lose the crew, and you only got three of those for the career). Your fire extinguisher can also run out, and you don't know how much is left! You can summon support from your crew like "get me a new floor" or "get me more fire extinguisher", and they may even fight a fire or two with you, but support is a limited quantity as well.

So what you're left with is a basic platform game with the fire in place of the "bad guy". You can extinguish the fire by using the fire extinguisher on it (except the smallest, those you can just step on. However, it's hard to tell the size of the fire in a hurry. You can carry a civilian to safety, and civilians will try to run from fire, but they can perish, and they can only be rescued by physically picking them up, carrying them to the left side of building, where they're automatically dropped onto the ladder truck.

That leaves the "fire monster", which periodically spawns from the mother fire on the roof. The fire monster moves from level to level, occasionally leaving kindling in its wake, which may or may not burn into a larger flame. Unextinguished fires will get bigger and eventually eat through the floor, which can only then be spanned by calling in support, whom will drop a replacement floor. And yes, one can drop through a burned-through floor. The firemonster can be fought two ways: you can jump it when it comes through, or you can spray it with fire extinguisher, which will force it to bounce back. Do that twice and it's "dead". However, it will soon respawn, depending on difficulty level. What you definitely don't want is get caught by the firemonster near a stairwell, as you can neither jump or fight it with the extinguisher then.

You start in the city rather normal and calm, then fire reports started coming in, and as time goes on more and more fires are spotted, in various sizes of buildings, with more or less civilians, faster or slower respawn of firemonster, and so on.

The problem with this game is it gets repetitive. Most games in advanced levels introduced new variations, new mechanics, and so on. This one just makes the level longer and more tedious, with same amount of lives.

Graphically it's okay, a bit cartoonish but okay. Sound is lousy.

Overall, Firefighters: City Rescue just doesn't match up to a real platform game. The only thing going for it is its "theme", and the lack of gameplay can't make up for it.

Overall rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: firefighting game? Haven't seen those in a while
Cons: not much in the game, no new wrinkles/variations

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KMGR of "Date or Ditch"

Date or Ditch (DoD) is a dating sim from Gameloft that basically is a "choose your own adventure" type of game where you, playing a guy, are presented with a situation and depending on your choices (flirty? Joking? Compassionate? Serious? Sarcastic?) you gain or lose points with the partner, and hopefully you can get the partner to the next level! In this game, all the partners are female, though there is a chapter where you need to try to convince your roommate, who's male, to let your girlfriend move in.

The game is presented in a typical Japanese RPG fashion... a tiny cartoon avatar move in this cartoonish world. Then when an encounter comes up, a detailed portrait of both parties appear on the top half, while bottom half is the conversation. You usually have 3 different choices, which would reflect the mood of your reply (which corresponds with your expression on the portrait!) The idea is to score... no, not in that sense, though that's part of the objective too. Say the right things will make the relationship meter go up. Say the wrong things and it will go down. The idea is to make it go up as far as possible, not as easy as you may think, as different girls responds to "wit" differently. Some like sweet/cute/compliment, some like scarcasm/irony/sharp wit, and some... are just downright smart AND nasty.

Without spoiling the plot, you will meet two girls, and encounter an ex-girlfriend, and it will be a heck of a time choosing among the three, and not to cause a situation that involves... uh... wrestling, and felines. ;)

Writing is light-hearted, and after each chapter you are rated on how well you did. Are you a hot tamale, or a cold turkey, or somewhere in between?

All in all, Date or Ditch is a good attempt at a bit of Interactive fiction. It does have some GAME aspects to it, but it's un-seriousness makes it a "fun" game to try.

Overall score: 7 out of 10
Pros: witty dialog, comedic situation without going overboard
Cons: still "choose-your-own-adveture" under all the chrome and glitz

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KMGR of "Pac Man Pin Ball DLX"

We all know the venerable Pac-Men, the pursuing bots, the board, the music and so on. How well do they translate into a pinball game? Not too bad, surprisingly.

The game is structured into three tables. You need to score at least 15 million to unlock the next table, and 30 million to unlock the bonus table. There is only one "bump" button, instead of the usual two or three. I never got a "tilt" warning.

Controls are simple: up to trigger all paddles, left to trigger left side peddles, right to trigger right side paddles... down to "pull back" on the initial shot. Space to "bump", and that's it. Periodically the Pac-Man minigame will start, and you will play it like any other Pac-Man game.

The balls seems to be responsive enough, but there doesn't seem to be enough bumpers and alternative ramps, as well as "bounce-back" if the balls went to the far side. The graphis are fast and crisp, but it's also not very realistic.

You can get music, sound effects, or none, which are bad choices. Sound effects are okay and sounds pac-man-ish, as are the music and graphics. The problem is in the incidental animation... Too long and too many. Takes a second or longer to select one choice because PacMan needs to eat the dots all the way across. Wasteful of time, this is.

All in all, the PacMan pinball is a has-been and nothing too new. Even the tables aren't explained, period.

Overall rating: 5.5 out of 10
Pros: easy to learn, no complicated controls
Cons: no fine control either, menu takes too long

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Another batch of previews...

North American Pac-Man title screen, showing t...Image via Wikipedia

Firefighters: City Rescue : be firefighter, rescue people, put out fires, avoid the fire monster before the whole building burns down. Can you save the city?

Pac-Man pinball DLX -- three tables to play (two needs unlock), with multi-ball, capture, ramps, and other realistic physics, plus the famous Pac-man as minigame, how well can you do?

Date or Ditch -- you are going back on the dating scene and met up with Lisa, a cute ditzy blonde, and Ellen, your old crush back in high school, both of whom are worth going out with. How well can you do, juggling two (or perhaps more) relationships? Basically "choose-your-own-adventure" text game about dating.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KMGR of "Ernie Els Golf 2009"

Ernie Els, South African golferImage via Wikipedia

Ernie Els Golf 2009 is a very competent golf game for the mobile. However, the lousy practice mode makes it less than it could be, as does the lack of courses. The extra variations in play doesn't help much in that regard. The result is good, but not as good as EA's Tiger Woods Mobile.

The game is full 3D, most of the time. As in all golf games, you tee off from the tee, try to stay on the fairway, get the ball to stay on the green, and putt the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. You get special shots like bunker, chip, backspin, and so on, if you need them, but other than one quick practice in the "tutorial", they are never touched again, and that's not enough!

Club selection is automatic, and one can "overpower" the shot at the cost of control. However, the wind effects seems to be exaggerated, and putting is nearly impossible. Even with the show-contour function, it's impossible to know if you're facing an upslope or a downslope (or just flat ground). This makes putting long distances (more than 20 ft) nearly impossible. You either hit the ball so light that you barely go 10 ft and it rolls off to the side, or you hit it so hard it went PAST the hole and off the green. ARGH!

And what's worse, you can't practice putting the way it's meant to be done. When you practice putting, you'd expect to be fixed in one position, putt one way, see how the ball rolls, and learn how much to adjust. But instead, you're moved about after each and every putt, so you can NEVER EVER learn what you did wrong!

You get to unlock some higher-power equipment like Big Bertha (tm) clubs, Calloway hi-spin balls, and so on after wins. However, how those affect you game was never explained.

The whole game was presented as if you are a new member of an exclusive country club with several courses, and several amateur players who wants to turn pro, you among them... So, they will challenge you to various matches in hopes of beating you.

All in all, Ernie Els Golf 2009 is a golf game that doesn't have any surprises, and plenty fo faults that may cause you to NOT come back playing it.

Overall 7 out of 10
Pros: each to learn,automatic choice of clubs
Cons: bad putting, not enough holes and courses

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KMGR of "Bully Fight: 120 Water Bombs"

Water Bombs filled with waterImage via Wikipedia

Bully Fight casts you as a young masked avenger armed with water balloons, ready to be unleashed on bullies and worse. Go through 40 levels (each with 3 levels of difficulty) of fights against several types of enemies, using several types of "ammo" on your side. Is it fun? Yes, another fine bloodless "shooter" from Digital Chocolate, a fine variation on artillery / Worms / Scorched Earth / Pocket Tanks.

Bully Fight is essentially in the same genre as Worms or Pocket Tanks or Scorched Earth, but BF brought an interesting variation. If no enemy is alerted, you can move and shoot as much as you want. However, if any of the enemies are hit (by splash, ricochet, or direct hit), it will then become enemies turn. It also become enemy's turn when you hit a fake goodie box (which raises the alarm). Then the enemy will shoot at you, then you can shoot back... If no enemies are shooting at you, you revert to "move and shoot".

To shoot you move up/down to adjust the angle then hit OK to start the power meter. Your last shot was marked, so hit OK when you reach the desired power level, and the shot will be released! All water bombs are considered to be the same, despite their different sizes, and there are quite a few varieties: regular, large, sniper, cluster, TNT, soda can, and more. Regular makes okay splash, large makes a bigger splash. Sniper makes no splash, but can take out most enemies in one shot. TNT doesn't bounce, but explodes on impact, taking down some walls. Soda can acts as grenades, being under pressure. Finally, there's also the umbrella, which acts as a temporary shield against water balloon impacts (but not TNT balloons or soda cans).

The idea is, of course, to defeat the "boss" on the level. And there are several types of bullies... Regular bullies, thugs, rednecks, dogs, clowns, and clown bosses. Regular bullies throw regular balloons. Thugs throw heavy balloons. Rednecks throw/kick cans and tries to get closer. Dogs don't throw, but just get closer, unless blocked or moved (or hit), until they get close enough to bite! Clowns can use all weapons available except anti-grav. Finally, clown boss spawns dogs, jumps between teleporter pads, and can use all weapons (except anti-grav). In the more difficult levels, the number of enemies are increased, and some enemies may be aware of you from the start, so you can't take them out one by one with others unaware.

To move higher, there are three ways... You can move up the ramp, if there is one; you can shoot a fire hydrant, which will start a spray upward, and you can ride the water plume; finally, you can use an anti-grav blanket, which are available on the map as goodie boxes. Shoot the goodie box(es) with a balloon or run into it. Just beware that some goodie boxes are fakes and triggers an alarm that warns nearby enemies instead. Goodie boxes can be hidden (reveals random item) or fixed (reveal a specific item).

When you finish one level by taking out the boss (taking out others may not be necessary) you are given points for the "hits", as well as two bonuses: one for amount of life you have left, up to 500 pts, and one for number of shots taken (it'd be great if you can get enemies to shoot each other), also up to 500 if you have taken minimum amount of shots.

With 40 different battlefields (levels) and 3 difficult levels for each, there are indeed 120 ways to play.

All in all, Bully has a cute story, plot twists, and enough challenge for an adult, wrapped in a kid-friendly package that's easy to play. Except for the childishness, this game would be perfect for adults as well.

Overall rating: 7.5 out of 10
Pros: easy to learn, plot twist, lots of weapons, equipment, and so on
Cons: a bit childish, some levels extremely difficult and depends on luck

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KMGR of "X-Games Head Trip"

X Games logoImage via Wikipedia

X-Games Head Trip is best described as Wario Games for the mobile. It's a bunch of barely related mini-games that are variations of 5 basic game types that involves either button smashing or timing, but rarely involves more than 2 buttons or lasts more than 10 seconds. The result may be fine for those who's on a perpetual Mountain Dew sugar high, but it's incredibly boring and frustration for the rest of us.

The games are sometimes based on variation of X-Games, like "keep the rail grind balanced", or "jump and break lamp", or "beat the other snowmobiler". However, sometimes it descends into the sublime, like "outrace the shark", or "chomp down the entire pizza in X seconds". I'm sure as the game go on, you'll see even zanier minigames.

You have three "lives", period. You need all of them to make it past 10 minigames to advance "one stage". It'll take dozens of stages for you make it to the hospital, so it's all very difficult.

What's worse, the game suddenly switches perspectives. Sometimes the game goes left to right, sometimes up to down, sometimes you need turn the phone sideways!

And while the minigames go fast they feel like fast food: leaves you empty afterwards. You can't "save" any progress. So if you can make it to the end you are a much twitch gamer than I am.

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 10
Pros: simple to learn
Cons: nothing interesting here to see

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KMGR of "Watchmen: the Movie Game"

The cast of Watchmen; Clockwise from top: Doct...Image via Wikipedia

Glu got the license to make a tie-in game for "The Watchmen". Is it any good? Unfortunately, no. Basically, it's a 2D beat-em-up intermixed with a bit of 2D shooter like R-type, but much less complicated. It's also a prequel, that deals with the "heroes" before the Keene Act that banned them except those with Government sanction. And that simply doesn't give you the impact of the whole movie's portrayal of a world gone mad.

The game basically centered on two characters... Night Owl, and Comedian.

Night Owl is prowling the streets taking out thugs left and right with his trimerang, chasing after the boss known as "Big Figure", and so is Roscharch. The enemies are pretty simple... fist, small knife, big knife, pistol, and later, hammer. You can move up/down/left/right, but only melee attack left/right. You can throw your trimerang left or right for a long distance attack. You can go up against enemy for grab, and do throws. And finally, you can unleash a "super attack" using one of your "grenade" tokens.

Sometimes, Night Owl gets to take Archie (Archimedes), the airship, up against some sort of crazy boss in a helicopter. The chopper has rear-firing machineguns, so you need to dodge shots, while using you flamethrower to cook the enemy chopper. (Wait, flamethrower on an airship? That makes no sense, when it fires forward!) The flamer has limited fuel, so your flame tongue only lasts a few seconds, and you need to make the most of it. Later, the chopper gets escorts to make your life even more difficult.

You also get to go to Vietnam and fight as the Comedian, who's fighting a different version of Vietnam, a lot more hand-to-hand and less gunplay. However, there are plenty of landmines, and enemies are strong, some are armed with rocket launchers and AK-47s. Use throws and weapons to your advantage.

And really, that's the game. Night Owl and Roscharch caught Big Figure, but it isn't helping. Dr. Manhattan and Comedian helped clean up Vietnam (with Comedian doing most of the dirty work, like taking out a tank). The game ends with the Keene act being passed, outlawing Superhero Vigilantes, and most are glad to retire. And that's pretty much it. Yes, spoilers, but it's one of "lame" plots.

Thus, boring, boring, boring.

Overall rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: not a bad "game", though Comedian sections feels way too hard
Cons: doesn't feel very Watchmen-y.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

First previews of March 2009

Ernie Els shares a laugh during the practice r...Image via Wikipedia

Ernie Els Golf 2009 -- golf on a mobile phone, any one? Decent graphics, Ernie Els' name, and some big-name equipment... is the game worthwhile to play?

X Games Head Trip -- Max Speed has suffered a head injury doing a motorcycle jump. On the way to hospital, he's hallucinating various competitions, from eating to jumping bikes to surfing... Five types of minigames and variations at random... Keep winning the minigames to get him to the hospital. Most minigames are easy, but not all are...

Bully Fight: 120 Water Bombs -- "artillery" has never been such fun! Fight your way through 120 levels of with different types of water ballooons... Take out various types of thugs and bullies, and beware of... clown bosses!

Watchmen: The Movie Game -- so the biggest name in comics is now also an action game. Is it worth playing? Or should you save the the money for popcorn at the movies instead?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KMGR of "Cleopatra's Treasures"

Cleopatra's Treasures, also known as Pyramid Bloxx is an action puzzler from Digital Chocolate. Basically, you need to cram in as many "treasure stones" into the pyramid as possible. Each treasure stone have a requirement... The cheap ones needs to be adjacent to none or one polished side, while the expensive ones needs to be adjacent to many polished sides. You "dig" for those stones by playing two minigames: match-3 (like Bejeweled), or a "toss the rock up without dropping it" action game. It is rather difficult to describe, and it can be fun... until you get totally bored to tears.

The toss-the-rock game is cute. Basically, you start from deep in the bowels, and you need to get this treasure stone all the way to the surface. The quicker it gets there, the more time can be spent on polishing it (to have more polished facets, up to 6). However, don't drop it. The man basically runs left and right, and when you hit OK, the rock goes UP. If you hit the OK at the right time, the rock lands on the person at the level above perfectly. If you're slightly off, the person will still catch it, but will be leaning to one side, making it harder to judge the next throw upward (as it will not be a straight upward throw). The more precious the stone, the more levels you have to go up. There are special snags like earthquake, sandstorm (underground?!), monkeys and donkeys instead of people, a double-height floor where you need to use one of those "double-fly" spells, and so on. If you drop the rock three times, you have to redo the rock from scratch. The faster it goes up, the more the stone is worth.

The connect-3 / Bejeweled variation is just that... The idea is the "clear" the entire board by completing the triples, the quads, and the quints, as well as make use of those special tokens that drop in like "clear row", "extra time", and so on. You get those tokens by completing stuff better than a regular triple. By completing the board before the time runs out. The more time there is on the meter, the more time you get to "polish" the stone and the more worth it'd be.

After it's been transported to the surface, the stone must be fitted into the pyramid according to some rules... The simplest and cheapest, red ruby, has no restrictions. There are 6 others... each with MORE restrictions in the form of needing nearby polished facets. For example, the first one you do must be a red since there are no facets in the pyramid. Once you fit in two red ones (2 facets), you can then fit in a 2-facet gem (green emerald). You can even replace an existing stone with a better one if you feel you can do better.

If you don't get all this, I'd suggest watching this gameplay video:


The problem mainly twofold: the connect 3 / Bejeweled, and the timing-based gameplay. The connect-3 is tired, and the color palette doesn't help, as everything is the same shape. I had to squint, and I had one of the larger screen phones (the LG VX9900 enV)! Second, I don't like timing-based gameplay. They are basically arcade games, and I am getting old. I don't have the reflexes I used to, and there should be ways to make games fun without relying on reflex, no matter how simple the controls are.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: simple controls, easy to learn
Cons: too derivative, too old, and in a sense, a bit too hard

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]