I was excited to see that Let's Golf 2 just appeared in the App Store! I am not a golfer in real life, but I enjoy a good golf game every once in a while. Let's jump right in and see what this new version has to offer.
Let's Golf 2 is not meant as a real golf simulation like a Tiger Woods Golf. Instead, you are greeted with cute, often funny characters in outlandish environments that are beautiful and colorful. This does not mean that the levels are easy, in fact they become quite challenging later in the game (how can that be a par 4, impossible!)
Can Gameloft deliver with their sequel to Hero of Sparta? I think the answer is a resounding yes. Though not perfect, Hero of Sparta II (HOS2) delivers pure action and colorful graphics on Apple's noble iPhone and iPod Touch.
HOS2 is an action game spun in the Greek mythological era of the Gods and Goddesses. You play the warrior Argos. I won't get into his story here, but in this game you are sent on a path of redemption. You return to Earth after spending some buddy time with Hades and immediately the action starts. The controls are different than its predecessor. The main diffidence is that Argos can now jump. This adds a much needed play mechanic to HOS2. In the weapon department, you start off with the basic shield and sword. After every level or so, you start to collect a variety of different and useful weapons including: wings that can be used to glide and attack, a helmet that give Argos the ability hurls fireballs, and my favorite the claws which give you God of War like attacks against your enemies.
The levels are mostly linear, but on occasion you can find a hidden area that has extra gems. You can collect red balls that can be used to increase the attack and magical attack of each weapon. Blue gems to replenish magic and green gems to gain back health. You can also collect additional gems that can be added to your weapon of choice to gain attack/magic bonuses like a +2 to attack, for example.
Pulling off attacks is fun. You have an attack button that when pressed successively, gives you a combo attack on your enemy. However, you can add a modifier to your attack by swiping up, down, left and right. If you use the down motion it will typically cause a "shield break" maneuver with your selected weapon to destroy a shield or some other object. Using the up swipe will launch your enemy in the air for you to unless even more combos.
I am very pleased with the variety of levels in HOS2. You have a lot of different interactive events from running acorss a crumbling bridge to swinging with the claw weapon like a vine to climbing towers. The enemies in HOS2 are not as great. I found that I was constantly fighting the same 3-4 enemies every time with an occasional 5th monster added just for variety. A new enemy feature which is enjoyable is "taking control" of the enemy. For example, the Minator can be controlled by following a series of button presses on screen. You can then control the Minator and attack the baddies. Regretfully, there is not much of a boss battle. There is a boss at the end of every level in HOS2, but you rarely actually attack them. Instead, you typically dodge their attacks or dodge environmental variables. This is somewhat disappointing, but there is plenty of action when fighting during the levels.
The graphics have really be stepped up in this release. There is an insane amount of detail close up with a wide variety of color and textures; make no doubt, HOS2 is very pretty and impressive. However, all of this comes at a controversial cost in this reviewers opinion; framerate. HOS2 moves nicely if you are in a relatively enclosed area with a couple of enemies, but this is rarely the case. You are typically fighting 5 or more bad guys at once in an open area and this is where the framrate begins to suffer. I estimate this game runs at an average of 15-20 frames per second. This can become frustrating when trying to string combos together,etc. I can only hope that Gameloft will update this app soon. Gameloft did an awesome update to GT Motoracing Academy to the pleasure of many fans and I hope that they do the same here.
Overall, HOS2 is a must buy for any action fan. If you are looking for the silky smooth framerate of say, N.O.V.A, look elsewhere. If you want a solid, fun action game that pays homage to God of War, then this is the game for you.
Plunderland is Apple's App of the Week this week. Does it deserve it? Yes and no. Developer JohnnyTwoShoes has made a solid effort to bring pillaging across the sea in the hands of eager gamers.
The premise of Plunderland is you are a ghost with pirates that sail across the sea to attack and sink enemy ships, pillage tribes people and take money from their monuments then make it to the next port. Sounds fun? Well, get used to it because that is what you do over, and over, and over again with little variety. Call me a stinker, but I don't see the allure with this game.
Sure, the water physics are nice. You tilt the iPhone left or right to make your boat move in that direction. When there is a storm, etc, the water behaves in a more erratic manor, making maneuvering more difficult. Once you are on the high seas, you come across your enemy; the British warships. You have a couple ways to take them out. First is to use your ships cannon. You have a nifty way of angling the cannon to shoot your targets, just move your finger along the bottom and you will get a reticule via a line that helps your aiming. Release your finger and you fire your cannonballs. Second, you can use the enemies cannonballs against themselves. Before the enemy launches an attack, the cannon will puff smoke, that is your cue to ready your finger and deflect the cannonball back upon the enemy ship and with luck, split it in two!
I know, I make it sound exhilarating, and it is the first two or three times you do it. Sadly, Plunderland does little to keep your attention. Future attacks add blimps and more, but the fun is gone by that point. The attacking villagers is a simple "tap, tap. tap" on the totems to get money and fling some villagers around in an effort to extract some more dough. Again... zzzz...
There is nice upgrade system though, you can upgrade your ship, cannons and bowsprits by earning said money above. The game has excellent promise. The controls, physics and graphical style all lend them selves to a success. However, the bland I really, really wanted to like this game, being highlighted on Apple's App Store, but alas, mateys, I just can't bring myself to recommend this lack-luster treasure.
UPDATE: I had a delightful Twitter chat with the developers. I explained that I had played 50% thorough the game and became unchallenged with the levels and objectives. They understood and are looking at a way to unlock the more exciting and complex levels earlier for more "hardcore" gamers. I also said that when I find the time to complete the game 100%, I would update this review to include my findings. I am hopeful that by the time I do this, they will have some new content available. You can follow the developer on Twitter here.
My latest favorite iPhone game is Fruit Ninja. The premise of Fruit Ninja is simple; slice fruit, don't miss any and don't slice a bomb by mistake. Sound easy? Think again grasshopper! After beginning a game, fruit flies up from the bottom of the screen. You use your finger (or fingers) to slice the fruit. If a fruit falls back off the screen without being sliced, you receive an X. Three X's and it's game over. To make things interesting, bombs are thrown into the mix as well. So, not only are you trying to slice a lot of fruit coming at you and not missing any, you have bombs that shoot up as well. The challenge is, if you slice the bomb, it's instant game-over.
When it comes to difficulty with this game, it is a nice and smooth curve. The issue is that once you get good at it, it would be nice to start at a higher difficulty. However, Fruit Ninja always starts you back at the beginning. Your efforts are not at a loss though, the game has plenty of achievements via Open Feint and unlockables. Different colored swords and backgrounds can be unlocked if you have the dedication and skill of a true ninja.
Fruit Ninja also has two different play modes. First is Classic. This is the primary play mode I have described above. Score points by slicing fruit while avoiding the bombs. Zen mode is fun and fast. There are no bombs, but you have a time limit to slice as many fruits as you can. This is not hard, what is hard to is to slice with combos to rack up more points. Check out the Open Feint leaderboards and you will see what I am talking about.
I can't say enough about this game. It has great art direction, animation and fun. When you lose, it even gives you facts about fruit. This is a near-perfect game, I love it!
Ngmoco has just brought out the ultimate game/tech-demo (to show your friends) for the iPhone 4 -- Eliminate GunRange. It's a virtual gun range game where you use real weapons to shoot targets. The concept is not entirely engrossing as there are plenty of other top-notch shooting games out there (ngmoco's own Eliminate comes to mind). What makes this game fun and special is that it is the first game to take full use of the new iPhone 4 gyroscope. How does it work? Continue reading to find out!
Survival horror thriller Zombie Infection for iPhone has to be Gameloft's highest production game to date. The graphics and voice acting are top notch and the cinematic style is engrossing.
Zombie Invasion starts off with you landing in a small town, that -- wait for it -- has been overrun by zombies! The first level is basically a tutorial showing you the moves for your character. You can shoot and stomp on crates to find goodies such as ammunition and medical supplies. You can move while aiming (albeit very slowly) and you can dismember the zombies by shooting their legs, arms and heads; what more can you ask for?
As you progress through the 12 levels in the game you unlock them to replay at any time. This is great since Zombie Infection has a trophy achievement system. You can go back though levels and practice/earn achievements. There are some fun ones too, for example if you shoot off both legs of a zombie, you get an achievement for that. It is this type of mechanic that makes me come back for more.
To add a little variety to the game, you can also play as one of two characters; Ex-soldier Damien Sharpe and reporter Alex Rayne. The names are cheesy, yes, but the gameplay and fun factor is not. I love this game and I am thankful that Gameloft is bringing these types of games to iPhone; it makes one really compelling alternative to other platforms for mobile gaming. Check the video and pictures after the break!
Today the App Store was introduced to the latest RPG from Square Enix, Chaos Rings. [iTunes Link - $12.99] If you appreciate RPG titles with RTS turn-based battles than Chaos Rings could be for you -- if you can get over the hefty admission fee.
Amazingly smooth 3D graphics
Gorgeous sound that takes full advantage of the iPhone and iPod touch’s powerful hardware
A deep story with unique twists for every pair and multiple endings
Traditional game and battle systems polished to perfection
Hours upon hours of gameplay, complete with hidden bosses, secret weapons, and more
Are you going to give it a try? What do you think of a $12.99 price-point for an iPhone game? If you decide to give this a try let us know what you think in the comments below!
We are pretty sure by now most of you have heard of a little game called Plants vs. Zombies from the developer Popcap. TiPb would now like to introduce you to Plants vs. Zombies HD. [iTunes Link - $9.99] Right away I know what many of you may be thinking, why spend another $9.99 on a app I always paid for on my iPhone or iPod touch? I am here to tell you that if you love the game on any platform - buy it for iPad as you will not regret it. Plants vs. Zombies HD on iPad is the best way to experience this game.
The iPad version is identical to it's iPhone counterpart in the gameplay aspect but is much more graphically pleasing to the eye on iPad. You defend your home from invading zombies with an arsenal of 49 zombie destroying plants. The plants (a.k.a. weapons) available to you include peashooters, wall-nuts, cherry bombs and more to dismember the 26 different types of zombies. Along with all of this zombie action you get five game modes:
Adventure: 50 levels — Play through day, night and fog, in a swimming pool and on the rooftop.
Whether you are a fan of the Castle Defender genre or Zombies, you are sure to love the soon to be released ZombieSmash! for iPhone and iPod touch.
In similar fashion to the very popular Plants vs Zombies, ZombieSmash! adds a few new tricks to Castle Defender games with the addition of some fancy ragdoll physics and excessive amounts of cartoon gore. Look for ZombieSmash! to drop in the App Store sometime this month for $1.99.
They are finally here RPG fans, Final Fantasy [$8.99 - iTunes link] and Final Fantasy II [$8.99 - iTunes link] were released earlier today in the App Store for your iPhone or iPod touch. Each game will cost you $8.99 but that seems to be a small price to pay for such classics as these.
Final Fantasy features the bonus dungeons added to later editions of the game - the Soul of Chaos and the Labyrinth of Time. Part 2 also contains the bonus dungeons added to later editions from the Soul of Rebirth and the Arcane Labyrinth.