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?


Complete Steambirds Guide Released

Guide is now available at Hubpages:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Steambirds-Strategy-and-Hint-Guide

ANDROID SPECIAL: Steambirds Hints Part 4

Finally beat 1946 mission with 4 stars, and this means ALL missions are now passed with 4-stars!

One last general hint to share:  Turn to dodge!  you can turn faster than ANY enemy fighter, so you need to use that to prevent from getting hit. Enemy almost behind you? Turn! Enemy plane won't be able to make the turn and fly right by you.

And this is how I beat 1946 in Steambirds... With a bit of luck and the hint above. I'll number my planes from north to south P1 through P4. 

Turn 1:
P1 Turn northeast, heading just above the northern enemy, speed special engaged
P2 Turn north, max normal speed
P3 Turn south, max normal speed
P4 Turn southeast, heading just below the souther enemy, speed special engaged

Turn 2:
This is the crucial turn as it will determine your success or failure (i.e. your luck)

P1 Turn east or east northeast depending on if any of the blue enemies are arching north. If they are, go ENE to avoid them.
P2 Turn slightly west, so you're going WNW, start dumping gas
P3 Turn slightly west, so you're going WSW, start dumping gas
P4 Turn east or east southeast depending on if any of the blue enemies are arching south. If they are, go ESE to avoid, else go east.

The problems are P2 and P3, as they don't have speed to get away. P2 have shield, and P3 have U-turn. Worst-case scenario is the "green" enemy chases down P3 and shoots him before he can get away.

What usually happens is maybe one enemy will chase P1, and you have two or three chasing P2, two or three chasing P3, and nobody on P4. However, you need one more turn to see who's really chasing who. 

If you did not get hit up to this point, you should have a good chance getting 4-star performance. Basically, the P2 and P3 make tight circles toward the enemy (probably turning EAST) drop gas periodically and try to lead the enemies through it (but always turning) cutting through the gaps in its own gas clouds. P1 and P4 use speed to circle around and join the fight and/or kill any of their own pursuers by leading them past each other.

It takes a bit of patience but it can work.

Some "theoretical maneuvers"

The K-turn -- you need a plane with a U-turn capability. Basically, you make a tight right turn (minimum air speed), engage U-turn, then come out making a right turn. This theoretically should get you behind any enemy that was chasing you.

ANDROID SPECIAL: Steambirds Hints Part 3

General Tactics

Find out who's chasing who -- enemy AI picks one of your planes to chase for each of theirs. Spread out and figure out who's chasing who so you can exploit this behavior with the subsequent tactics.

If you have 2 or 4 planes, split up and down, then  if you have 4, split the north and south groups so they go at right angles to each other, and that should tell you who's chasing who.

If you have 3 planes, use the U-turn on the middle one (if possible, else just pick north or south) and spread the two outer ones.

Offset Shooting -- Your guns actually fire in a small CONE, not just directly ahead. You can be slightly off to one side of the enemy track and your guns will still hit the target. You *have* to use this to win the final bonus mission, where you're against 2 missile shooting flying HQs.  Experiment a little and learn how far off track you can be still still hit the enemy.


Get Behind Them -- most enemies do NOT have 360 degree guns (Exception: ballons and zepplins, and some planes with gas) If you get behind them the enemy's toast, as long as you stay slow and behind them. Just watch out for the gas (discussed later)


Stay Away From Them -- balloons and zepplins have 360 degree guns, but you still outrange them. Circle beyond their range and blast them.

If you have missile, they make great balloon and zepplin busters.

If you have patience, you can lead them through a gas cloud. Due to their low speed they take a lot of damage.


How to Kill Gas-ers (sometimes called dusters, as in cropdusters) -- the trick in killing gassers is do NOT follow directly behind it, but off to one side. (See offset shooting above)

You need the gas-er to chase one of your planes, then another plane come in from behind and kill it.

Another trick is to fly just INSIDE the enemy turn circle. You may have to go minimum speed to make the tight turn. Again, you need to "lead" the enemy with the front "bait" plane so it will turn and you stay inside the turn.

ANDROID SPECIAL: Steambirds Hints Part 2

Your tactics will depends on what you have and what your enemies have. Let's discuss the common "special abilities' and how they can be used.

* Shield -- protects the plane for ONE TURN from all hits, but cannot fire

Shield is used to get BEHIND the enemy, esp. when combined with the U-turn. Use the shield to get through enemy fire, then U-turn and blast it from behind.

Shield is also used to get "through" an enemy gas cloud so you can get INSIDE his turn.

* Speed -- makes the plane 50% faster for one turn

Speed is usually used to gain some distance on the enemy. Great for the "bait" plane. Gain some distance. Otherwise, not that useful, actually. 

* Gas -- spreads green gas behind the plane for one turn, damage all who fly through it

Probably the best weapon in the game, but a bit hard to use. Get in front of the enemy and lead the enemy right through the gas cloud. Gas cloud is persistent but it takes prolonged exposure to kill an enemy (i.e. fly through a lot of it). Figure out which enemy plane is chasing you, and try to get the gasser in front of them. 

* U-turn -- makes 180 degree turn in one turn and a very short distance (maybe 5 plane lengths)

U-Turn is useful to get behind the enemy then turn around quickly to tail him, and/or making firing passes against very slow enemies, such as balloons and zepplins. 

* 360-spin -- makes a flat-spin and keep going, shooting in all directions\

Fly between / through group of enemies (but out of their weapon range) and blast enemies in all directions. Not that useful.

* Missile -- missile always make a LEFT turn, unless there's an enemy almost directly in front in a respectable distance.

It is GREAT for balloon busting, but the main problem is it is very dangerous as missiles that didn't hit anything will keep circling and they don't care if they hit friend or foe. Try to stay just RIGHT and BEHIND the missile shooter so the circling missiles will miss you.

* Bomb -- string of 5 bombs, detonates one turn later.

Try to get the enemy fly right through it. Not persistant like gas cloud, so a little harder to use. Get the enemy to bunch up first. Find out who's chasing who. Use similar to gas cloud.

ANDROID SPECIAL: Steambirds Playing Hints

Was playing this game Steambird and got pretty addicted. I haven't gotten all 4 stars on all missions yet, but I am getting there. Here's a few hints for the players...
 
Special Abilities:

* Shield -- protects the plane for ONE TURN from all hits, but cannot fire
* Speed -- makes the plane 50% faster for one turn
* Gas -- spreads green gas behind the plane for one turn, damage all who fly through it
* U-turn -- makes 180 degree turn in one turn and a very short distance (maybe 5 plane lengths)
* 360-spin -- makes a flat-spin and keep going, shooting in all directions

Only in the special missions

* missile -- shoots a missile that will make a left turn if it doesn't see a target. Kills ANYTHING with one hit, even the zepplin
* bomb -- drops a string of 5 bombs behind you, explodes one turn later, wider damage than the gas

Each plane only have TWO special abilities. Your tactics will change depending on which one you got. Special abilities can only be used on alternate turns (needs one turn to "recharge"), sometimes more.

Guide to Enemy Planes

* Enemy Fighter -- just like you, get behind it and blast it

* Enemy Fast Fighter -- flies a bit faster than you, has fancier wings, try to have one fast guy distract it from the front while another kill it from behind
* Enemy Gas Fighter -- no guns, fat body, release gas behind it when you get close, don't fly directly behind it, but rather, ahead of it
* Enemy Twin-Engine Fighter -- slow, tougher, release gas behind it when you get close, guide it through the gas
* Enemy Bombino (flying wing) -- have a front-hemisphere heavy gun with a good range, but slow, get behind it, or make it fly through gas
* Enemy guard balloon -- short range but VERY heavy guns, VERY VERY slow, guide it through the gas, or shoot it from outside its range
* Enemy Zepplin -- have 360 degree guns, good range, slow, shoot it from outside its range
* Enemy Flying HQ (super bomber) -- immune to missiles, but armed with 2 missiles (special abilities), so VERY very dangerous, use shields to get past it and behind it, then stay behind it and slightly to the right so the circling missiles miss you.

Some playing hints:

* Check each of your planes and see what special abilities do they have, which will dictate your tactics.

* AI can exploited. Each enemy plane picks ONE of your planes and goes after it with a vengeance. It will SHOOT at targets of opportunity, but it will only chase down one target. Thus, what you need to do is get in front and RUN, and leave poison gas (or bomb) in your wake.

* If you have rear-firing weapons (gas, bomb) let the enemy chase you

* Exploit the range difference... airplane guns have better range than the zepplins and the balloons.

* Kill the planes, THEN the balloons / zeps.

* Exploit the border. If a plane flies out of the map, it's considered destroyed. Of course, this also means if you fly out (or you can't control the plane any more) you lose the plane too.

The final reviews...

Sorry for the lack of update, but the next three reviews will be the final reviews for this blog. The reason is simple: I got a new phone. My LG enV broke. It still works, but the "joint" between the two halves have broken.

So I got a Motorola Droid.

In the future, I will probably post some Android game reviews, but then the title will change.

For anyone reading this log, thank you for your support.

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KMGR of "Oregon Trail: Gold Rush"

Sailing to California for the California Gold ...Image via Wikipedia
Oregon Trail is back with a new variation... the Gold Rush. People are going west to California for gold, and you're taking the overland route. How will you pace yourself, and what will you do along the way, so that your family (or as much of it as you can) survive the trip? How will you handle food shortage, wagon breakdown, emergencies, and so on? And how will you fare in the minigames? This game is both educational and entertaining, but in the end, doesn't feel that different from the original "Oregon Trail".

The game has you start with your wagon, two oxens, and your family (you, your wife, and 3 children, and you can name each). You can choose a profession which gives bonuses (farmer: eats less, carpenter: can repair wagon, banker: more $$$). Then you need to pick the route. There are advantages and disadvantages to each route segment. Some routes are shorter, but harder to climb, while others are longer but relatively flat. Your food is limited, and so dawdling is not an option. On the other hand, the faster you push, the more tired you are, and more prone to accidents and diseases, and the faster your wagon condition deteriorates. So it is a matter of finding the balance between max speed dash vs. slow walk, and different time calls for different speeds.

KMGR of Bioshock 3D (part 1)

BioShock box artImage via Wikipedia
Bioshock 3D is an interesting game, as it is a true 3D shooter on a cellphone. You can look up/down/left/right, even side-strafe and move back/forth. There are stairs to go up and down on, and you can even "crouch" to go through certain areas. The frame rate is rather lousy though, and enemies come one at a time, so it's a matter of figuring out where to go and how to defeat the next splicer that appears.

The 3D version follows the 2D version almost exactly, as you come off the bathymosphere and witness the brutality among the strange wonders of Rapture. The plasmids have turned everybody into mindless seekers of ADAM. And the voice on the radio, Atlas, may not be as innocent as one would suspect. It is a strange world, with stranger powers... and dangers.

The looks are pretty darn good for a cellphone game. The levels look right, and while they are not terribly detailed, you do get to search trash cans, and such for loot. As well as frisk bodies. You need both health and EVE recharges, plus plasmids for additional powers as you run across them. Also, side-strafing is possible, though your ammo may not permit it except when you do the wrench swing.

Sound is pretty impressive. By NOT doing background music, the game was able to use digitized sound effects with very good fidelity. The scream of the splicer, the zap of the electric shock, and so on are nicely reproduced.

All in all, BioShock 3D is a much improved version of the 2D game reviewed earlier. However, it is but maybe 1/3 of the full PC game. You should give it a try, if just to experience the game world.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Impressive 3D engine, manages to give a hint of the full PC/Console game on a mere phone
Cons: the limits of the game engine shows, 3D engine overtaxed the phone, really
Verdict: a 3D shooter on a phone that works, and still feels like Bioshock!

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March previews! March previews!

California Gold Rush relief map wImage via Wikipedia
Sorry for the lack of activity. One of my other blogs is taking up a bit of my time. This month, we have five games reviews coming up, and they are pretty good!

BioShock 3D -- yes, there's a 3D version of BioShock for the mobile as well! Travel through Rapture, experience the slicer's howls, the power of the plasmids, and more... now in full 3D!

Oregon Trail: Gold Rush -- Oregon Trail the edutainment game now comes in a new flavor! Can you get your family to California?


Dictator Defense -- defend your place against dictators in a tower defense variation... the enemies shoot back! How well will you do against 40 levels of enemies?


Thinking out of the Matchbox -- enjoy puzzles? Here are 100 puzzles involving matches... Move them, remove them, add them... if you enjoy shapes and brainteasers, you should enjoy this one. 


Stolen in 60 seconds -- no, this is not about cars, but rather, burglary simulator... Similar to "The Sting" PC game... Plan a burglary, and get out of the place before the cops arrive, without hitting any alarms, and get the max loot possible.
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KMGR of Kitten Cannon

{{BArch-description|1=Vergleich Gesch├╝tzanzahl...Image via Wikipedia
Kitten Cannon is a copy of some Internet Flash-based "game" where you launch "something" and hopefully you get the most distance. However, it is not strictly trajectory that will give you the distance, but the random amount of stuff below the object. The objects can be deadly (for the object being tossed, and thus, stopping the progress, or adding additional bounce, or somewhere in between). It is not really a game, but a random number generator. And thus, well, it's a bit overpriced.

As the name says, you really do "shoot" a kitten out of a cannon, and yes, the kitten will bounce. HARD. Once launched, your kitten will fly past certain items below. The items are as follows:

KMGR of Schizoid

Schizoid (video game)Image via Wikipedia
Schizoid is an odd game to describe. It is best to think of it as part Pac-Man, part tag. And it can be pretty darn frantic. Graphics are simple, but fancy in its own way. Overall, it achieves that it set out to do.

Schizoid is a little hard to describe. Basically, you control the blue ship, and there's an AI controlled red ship that flies with you. Your objective is to touch all the blue enemies (which will destroy them) and avoid the red enemies (that will destroy you). The red ship is just the opposite... touch red, avoid blue. You don't "shoot" at all.

The playing field's layout will vary, and new enemies are introduced all the time. For example, the "eggs" on the field doesn't move, but if you leave them for too long, they will "hatch" and those enemies will move! Later, you get enemies that will combine, if you don't tag them first, and form indestructible enemies that you have to avoid at all costs!

You will be frantically pressing direction keys as you try to avoid some enemies while tagging others.

KMGR of Captain Galactic: Space hero

In 1995, the majestic spiral galaxy {{w|NGC 44...Image via Wikipedia
Captain Galactic: Space Hero from Digital Chocolate is another simple control, not so simple timing game that looks cute, and has some innovative mechanics. There's some corny backstory, but that's not the point of this game. The game is cute, interesting, and challenging.

The backstory tells you how your avatar was some nerd intern investigating this super crystal when it shattered and transformed you, giving you superpowers. You are given this spaceship to do good... just in time for evil to strike... Haha. You have to travel through the galaxy in your beaten up spaceship (you were attacked) as you reclaim parts, fight evil, free hostages, and defeat evil (regular and boss).

The controls are cute. You start on a planet, and you can run left or right, and you'll circle the planet. Press up to do a "leap", and if you time it right, you can jump from one planet to another. Hold the up key, and you go into orbit. Once your boosters are charged (you start flashing), release will send you into escape orbit, which you can use to fly to another planet. Each "level" consists of multiple planets. The objective is to defeat the various critters (often, by running into them, but you may have to do a "slam", which is go into space, then "dive" into the target from afar), while avoid the ones you can't defeat. There are also "coins" you can collect. Some planets have a city, which turns the game into a Super Mario-like environment where you can get additional coins and parts and other bonuses.

KMGR of Mini Golf Wacky Worlds

Holo Wai, the greatest miniature golf course everImage by Snap Man via Flickr
Mini Gold Wacky Worlds, from Glu, uses their pretty decent 3D engine in a new way, and the result is quite pleasing.

Mini Golf basically has you only using the putter, and play on 9 holes of interesting terrain. You rely a lot on bouncing the balls off the edges, and avoiding the special "traps" and such on the course, while go as few strokes as possible, just like regular golf, but if you went OFF the "green", you lose a stroke.

In this game, you have three 9-hole courses (must complete first course below par to unlock second course, and so on). Each of which are quite imaginative, and some have multiple paths where you must choose the "safe" (but more strokes) or the "danger" (less strokes, but more chance of ball going off course).

You start by choosing your starting position... You can slide your golfer left or right. If you prefer you can alter your profile first... Default golfer is female, but you can choose a male as well, and later, unlock even more avatars using "points" you earned by playing. Then it is time to aim... hit LEFT/RIGHT, then use UP/DOWN to determne putt strength. Finally, hit OK to hit the ball and see what happens! Repeat until you get the ball to drop into the hole.

KMGR of Zaxxon

ZaxxonImage via Wikipedia
Zaxxon, the classic "isometric 3D" shooter, was brought back as a mobile game. Is it any fun? Well... sort of, but only in the nostalgic sense.

For those who aren't nostalgic, Zaxxon is one of the first "3D" shooters, even though it's really 2D with isometric view. You pilot this space plane that flies through various space fortresses, moving up/down and left/right (your speed is fixed). You need to destroy enemy infrastructure and defenders, dodging obstacles (yes, you can crash). In the way you'll see turrets (at ground level), missile launchers (firing up vertically), and such. Between the fortresses you get some space planes attacking you in random pattern. And every few levels you get to shoot at a boss who shoots a seeking "cruise missile" at you, and you have to kill it or be killed. While playing, your fuel level is steadily dropping. So you need to kill the storage tanks to keep your fuel up, else you also die when your fuel runs out. How long can you last?

The translation is very faithful... all the barriers, "planes", turrets, radars, tanks, and so on. Turrets firing, missile launching, electric barrier shimmering, altimeter... everything is there. The only concession to mobile phone is they added optional "auto-fire", where you just shoot continually.

Other than all that, the game really has nothing new to add. The graphics palette is retro, the look is retro... if you are nostalgic, sure, but as a $3 game, this is a little excessive.

Overall rating: 6.5 out of 10
Pros: everything is here, plus autofire
Cons: and nothing else... at least Spy Hunter gives you an "improved" look
Verdict: only for nostalgic fans

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KMGR of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo

Super Puzzle Fighter II TurboImage via Wikipedia
Super Puzzle Fighter II is an offshoot of Street Fighter II. Instead of mashing buttons to get in your six different attacks and go for combos, you put down the "gems" on a playing field, and use the "break gems" to break as many gems as you can to 'attack'. You can play solo, but that is rather boring. The versus mode is a bit more exciting, as you take one the various other street fighter II fighters in a puzzle brawl to see who is the ultimate champion.

The gem-drop gameplay is very simlar to Sega Columns or Piyu-Piyu. You get two gems, which can be regular, break, or diamond, of various colors. They are dropped two at a time, and you can rotate them as you see fit. There are six columns to drop the gems onto. If you form a square of same color, they merge into super-gem. The larger the supergem when you break it, the more powerful the attack. You BREAK gems by touching it with a break gem, of course. It has to be the same color though. The diamond gem clears ALL gems of the color from the board, and is quite rare.

The problem is there is no tutorial mode, and no hint so you *have* to read the help to play, and that is just unintuitive, and then the versus mode doesn't explain about what's different about each fighter and the special rules.

And here are some previews for February Reviews...

Super Puzzle Fighter II TurboImage via Wikipedia

Here's some previews for the games that will be reviewed in February...

Super Puzzle Fighter II -- Street Fighter II meets Tetris

Zaxxon -- the original arcade game

Mini Golf: Wacky Worlds -- 3D minigolf, almost like Tiger Woods PGA...

Captain Galactic: Space Hero -- Very simple controls, very complicated timing gameplay

Schizoid -- think of it as space-age tag and avoidance

Kitten Cannon -- not really a game, but a random outcome generator

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Hint Guide for Field Runners

A masonry turretImage via Wikipedia

Following are hints for playing Field Runners, the tower defense game. Enjoy!

  • The enemy units will seek a path, but it will not see the most efficient one. It sees about 2 squares ahead. If you leave it a path ahead, and divert it off to the side, it will not see a path that is off to one side
  • Your layout should emphasize putting in the most turrets, and the most powerful turrets in the DIRECT path from entrance to exit, in order to intercept the air units. Those fly OVER everything, and thus can only be slowed down by the stun/goo turrets. For the regular game, that'd be the missile turret Mk III for the most part (cost is 20+15+15, or $50). Tesla/lightning turrets cost too much ($70+50+50, or $170). In the extended game the flame turret turret can be a good in the middle, after the units have been slowed. They don't "reload", so to speak. Once they start shooting, the flame is continuous. They are also great anti-personnel, but not so hot on the tanks and mechs and such. For that you need the mortar/mini-nuke.

KMGR of Wolfman

An 18th century engraving of a werewolfImage via Wikipedia
The Wolfman legend is getting remade into a movie, and you KNEW there is going to be a mobile game as well, and Namco nabbed the rights. It is basically a platformer with some clever bits, and it has unlimited continues and checkpoints. So it is player-friendly, but it is actually not THAT interesting overall.

The plot is your typical wolfman legend. You were investigating strange occurances near a gypsy camp when you were attacked by a werewolf. You basically fought, escape, re-caught, escaped again, got back home, and fought the beast that turned you and killed it, breaking your curse. Typical story, right?

The game essentially is a 2D platformer. You control either the man, or the beast, and both have some special attacks, as well as some good athleticism as you climb, jump, and fight your way through the level.

As the man, you carry a cane, which you can swing like a club. You can also use the sword hidden in the cane for special attacks if possible. You also occasionally can hide behind bushes, furnitues, and so on and perform sneak attacks.

KMGR of iShoot

The first Worms game featured darker tones tha...Image via Wikipedia
iShoot is basically a slightly more professionally done version of Scorched Earth / Artillery for the mobile. Play with up to 3 other humans (hot-seat) or AI (total of 4 tanks) and shoot at each other with other weapons. Start with 15000 and buy various weapons to shoot at each other with. Go through 5 (or more) rounds and see if you can win the "tournament". Use winning to buy more/stronger weapons. There really isn't anything special about this game to really recommend it. It is well polished, but nothing else.

KMGR of Bioshock (part 1)

BioShock box artImage via Wikipedia
Bioshock gets adapted to mobile, and for the most part, the game's spirit is preserved, though it feels quite a bit simpler, and shorter. Also, using the environment is minimized, and there is no watching the two sides fight and you pick off the survivors. It is also short, as it ends right where Atlas found the sub destroyed by Ryan. There supposedly will be a part 2 and probably part 3, so we shall see.

Bioshock mobile is essentially a 2D shooter with two "types" of weapons... plasmids, and physical weapons. you are Jack, whose plane have crashed in the middle of the Atlantic, and you found a small island with a lighthouse. You found a bathysphere inside, and you take it to descend into the depths... and found an underwater city called Rapture. Atlas talk to you via intercome and apparently wants to keep you alive. You also find bits and pieces of "diary" that tells you the backstory of the place. The whole place is nuts... different splicers are fighting each other, and "Big Brothers / Little Sisters" roam the place, sucking up ADAM from all living (or ex-living) creatures, including the splicers. Atlas wants you to help him get to his family at the sub pens.

KMGR of Voltron

VoltronImage via Wikipedia
It's 25th anniversary of Voltron, and now we get a Voltron mobile game. It's basically controlling the lions one by one, then every few stages you do the "boss fight" as you fight the robobeasts with Voltron. It's not that bad, but it's not that GOOD either.

The game is basically two games in one: an isometric "shooter" where you control the lion, and a 2D fighting game where you take Voltron up against robobeasts.

In the lion part of the game, you got 10 shots of your special weapon, shoot missiles out of your mouth, claw enemies up close, or stomp itty-bitty enemies close by. In your way are ultra-droid laser, ultra-droid rocket, doom tank, super doom tank, turret, and doomship, and sometimes, artillery. You can jump from ridge to ridge, even hide underwater for a bit. On the other hand, there's bazillion of them, and just one of you. You do have shields, and occasional recharges, but they don't last very long. You can beat throw the enemy missiles back at them. The lion can't really be killed, but you the "driver" can, if you got hurt too much. However, if you can avoid getting hit, your lion will automatically heal you (you CAN move in the meanwhile). The special attacks aren't that special, and I never really need to use it much.

More previews! January Previews!

Screenshot of gameplay in Scorched Earth.Image via Wikipedia

Upcoming reviews of mobile games include:

Voltron -- yes, the lions are back in a mobile game

Bioshock -- yes, that became a mobile game as well

iShoot -- Scorched Earth on a phone, basically

The Wolfman -- is this movie tie-in going to be any good?


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KMGR of Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming

Harvest Moon: Frantic FarmingImage via Wikipedia

HMFH is basically a puzzle, despite the word "frantic" in the title. It's cute, and it can be quite hard as you need to learn how the game thinks.

The plot is simple: you need to help a "harvest fairy" harvest as much as possible. You can move some tiles around. As the fairy harvests, the adjacent squares gets "irrigated" (i.e. watered). A square needs to be irrigated up to 3 times to be harvestable. The idea is to move a few tiles so the fairy can harvest as many tiles as possible before you run out of time.

The problem is the fairy can only harvest "fully grown" stuff and it takes up to 3 irrigations to make it fully grown. The fairy will turn 90 degrees and look for adjacent "fully grown" stuff. If the fairy didn't find any, then he'll yell for help (from you the player), and timer counts down really fast... So you have to line up the adjacent squares with the stuff that needs irrigiation along the path. You also need to create chains, which is multiple of same item in a row/column so the fairy can harvest them quickly. The longer the chain, the more the fairy will irrigate (usually it's just adjacent, but if you do a chain of 3 or 4, he can irrigate radius of 3 or 4 as well).

KMGR of Sherlock Holmes

Statue of Sherlock Holmes in EdinburghImage via Wikipedia
This movie tie-in game is not bad, and somehow makes more sense than the similar Avatar movie game. You get a 2D game that's semi-isometric and is a combination fighting/shooting game (depending on if you're playing Holmes or Watson). Then every once in a while you do this "coach driving" where you need to dodge Blackwood's henchmen, environmental hazards, and basically get through the stage. There is even a "stealth" level, and of course, MMA level where you beat up the big boxer. Overall, this game seems to fit the movie better, though it seems a lot of stuff was actually cut out and not implemented.

The game has essentially two modes: the 2D isometric fighting/shooting/sneaking mode, and the top-down carriage move/combat mode. In the 2D isometric mode, you play either Holmes or Watson, as you move about London, in and out of houses, and beat up thugs (as Holmes) or shoot thugs (as Watson). If Holmes run across a cabinet, he may be able to get stuff from it. When there seems to be no clue, Holmes can engage "genius vision" to spot special clues. In the top-down stagecoach mode, move left/right/up/down to dodge hazards, run over thugs, and shake off any thugs that decided to jump on your coach.

The hand-to-hand combat is simple enough... hit W to attack. Hit it multiple times to get combos, such as double punch, spin kick, backkick, and so on. Break open some barrels to get medicine, which comes in 20%, 50%, and 80% varieties. There are occasional keys and other objects you will run into to do certain things later. Against normal thugs rapid presses of W is enough to defeat them. However, against the "boss", a champion boxer, his bull rush is very dangerous, so you will have to dodge.

KMGR of Field Runners

FieldrunnersImage via Wikipedia
Field Runners is tower defense for the mobile phone. With 3 maps, 3 difficulty levels, and 100 levels each of different enemies, this game is fun, though not quite as polished as the other tower defense games. Nor is it as campy as "kill all bugs". Thus, it is not quite as good as it can be.

The game gives you three maps: grasslands, which is your normal one-way-in one-way-out map, crossroads which is a two way in two way out map where it crosses in the middle, and drylands, which is a THREE way in (2 from the left and one from the top) and three way out. It can get exciting on those maps when enemies come from all sides.

The towers, as you'd expect, operate by themselves, and there are only four kinds: gun, stun, missile, and electric. Each can be upgraded up to level 3. You upgrade with the money earned from killing the enemy units. However, in the extended and endless modes, you get 2 more types of turrets to play with (flame, and mini-nuke), for a total of SIX kinds.

KMGR of Avatar (the mobile game)

Avatar (2009 film)Image via Wikipedia
Gameloft turned Avatar game into a mobile game. Unfortunately, what this really is is Super Mario with a few bits of 1942 thrown in. It's really not that interesting, and the gimmicks isn't that involving. All in all, it's not that good.

In Avatar (mobile), you play the game two ways: a regular 2D side-on platformer (i.e. Super Mario) where you control JakeSulley, the Na'vi avatar, and in a few levels, you control a banshee and the game turns into a top-down 1942-like game where you dodge islands and enemy fire as you shoot back against enemy gunships.

In the platformer, you jump, run, slide, climb, and so on among the various levels. Instead of collecting coins, you collect "wood sprites", which you can later trade for additional levels which will give you special attacks or skills in any of the six areas, such as staff, bow, life, and so on. Every 100 points you collect is worth one level in one of the skills. You need to dodge natural enemies such as panthers, sticky-tongue beasts (like the barnacle in Half-Life!) and jump properly and don't fall to your death. You have limited in the number of "continues". Later, you get the bow, which allows you to shoot enemies from longer distances.

KMGR of Doom 2 RPG

The corporate logo of the UAC.Image via Wikipedia
Doom 2 RPG is both MOTS (more of the same), and yet it is a lot more. You get to play through this game now with THREE viewpoints: major, scientist, or sarge. While they go through the same levels, the tactics will be slightly different. There are more cinematic "cutscenes", presenting more of a story. There are now sentry drones, which you can control to fight or explore. There is also a bit about UAC's evil experiments, and how they have unleashed the "hell" onto Earth by actually trying to harness the forces they have unleashed on Mars. All in all, it is a masterpiece of mobile gaming.

When I say "more of the same", I mean this is the same mechanics. The rooms are actually square grids, and you can face in only 4 directions. The game plays with that illusion by adding a bit of up/down looking and a bit of 2D displacement to add ladders, ramps, and so on to give an illusion of 3D. Combat is actually turn-based. You choose among the various weapons you have, and shoot at enemies, and they shoot at you, of course. You can use your turn to use medic pack, or eat some snack. You can use "nano drinks" (Doom-speak for "potions", which gives you special bonuses), and you find them as loot, or buy them from vending machines. Different enemies are more vulnerable or even immune from certain attacks.

January Previews!

The cover artwork for Doom II: Hell on Earth, ...Image via Wikipedia

More previews of upcoming reviews...

Doom 2 RPG: Is second time even better than the first time?

Avatar the mobile game: the movie is a definite WOW. But how about the game?

Field Runners: another defense tower game... how well does this run?

Sherlock Holmes the mobile game: is this movie tie-in passable, or just lousy?

Harvest Moon Frantic Farming: can this cute puzzler make you like farming?

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