Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Move the Walls - 3.5 Stars

What is it?
Move the Walls is an endless play game to make your character to move as far as possible through the middle of the screen by swiping walls out of the way that are in it's path. The game is simple to play once you get the direction of swipe correct. The further you travel the quicker the game gets that took my eyes a little while to adjust too, but that could be more to do with the the frown of concentration i displayed throughout playing the game. 

Throughout the game there are gold coins that can be collected by swiping them into your path, rather than the walls that are moved out of the way. I have no clue what the coins are used for!

I was in a very rare and strange place with this game as I was instantly quite good, for me, at playing it! After a few plays I explored the game further and there are various different backgrounds and themes available to play on such as in space and on a river with logs. It was a nice touch to the game that gave me options. Strangely I was better on other themes than the original. 

The GameCentre is enabled on the game but as a collective, there aren't leader boards for the different themes available.

The game ends when you hit a wall, which is easily done. Whatever you do if you miss a coin don't re-swipe it as 9 times out of 10 you will move the next wall in the wrong direction and end the game. At the end of the game you are given the option to continue, if you watch an ad. The adverts vary in length the from 14 - 24 seconds from what I have observed they get longer each time. 

The icon used for the game does do the content justice as it is very simple, dull colours and really doesn't jump off the screen or scream play me. This game is not made with the retro pixel look and it was a welcomed change. Bright colours and smooth lines are used and it was inviting to play. 

Now for some ratings.....

Ease of use 5
The premise of the game is a simple play, but it does take a while to get used to what direction to swipe to move the walls. If you miss a coin be careful as any swipe on the screen will move the next wall and then bang your dead!

Price - 5
This is a free game, but you can pay to remove the adverts.

Adverts - 3
There are adverts in the game but they are not too intrusive. As mentioned above you can extend your play by watching an advert that did come in handy.

Keep, jury is out or delete - Jury is out

Overall Score - 3.5 
I gave this a 3.5 as the game is nice to play but I know it won't hold my interest for very long. If you like endless play and are good at swiping then this could be for you. 

Where to find it:
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/hu/app/move-the-walls/id989656030?mt=8

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Jumpy Junior - 3.5 stars

What is it?
Jumpy Jumper is an endless play platform game. The aim of the game is to jump between platforms without hitting walls or falling between gaps. I would describe this game as Flappy Bird meets Ninja Jump. To play the game you simply tap the screen to make the running man character jump, and the more you tap the more mid air jumps you make. This element reminds me of Flappy Bird but instead of keeping the character off the platforms, you actually only score points for landing on them. As you increase the distance travel the game increases in speed, I like this feature and I found it easier than at the slower start.  After several plays though I quickly realised that you can take advantage of the sluggish start by jumping on the longer platforms twice to build up the score quicker. 

On trend the developer has used the pixel design with minimal colours or alterations between game play. Unlike Ninja Jump the characters legs don't move, so it appearance reminds me a little of the static picture of Mario from the retro games.

The game is on the GameCentre which is a big plus for me. After seeing the highest score on the GameCentre today I knew with a bit of dedicated play I could get to the top of the Leader Board, which I did, in less than 10 minutes. There  does however seem to be a design fault with the GameCentre settings applied to the game and only one of the two Leader Boards actually works, which is a shame, but I am holding onto my victory with both hands!

This is a basic game, and similar to many others on the store at the moment, but it does what it says on the tin. If you like Flappy Bird but want to earn points for those unfortunate contact with the platform then Jumpy Junior could be for you.

Now for some ratings.....

Ease of use - 5
The game gives the basic instruction of 'Tap to Jump' at the start of each game, but that is all that is needed really. If you are part of the Flappy Generation, yes I may have just made up a new label here but hey ho, then you will take to this game like a duck to water. The only difference as I mentioned above is that you get the points for landing on the platforms, so if you jump completely over one then you have missed valuable points. 
Price - 5
This is a free game with no in app purchases.

Adverts - 5
There are footer adverts on the app, but to be fair I hardly noticed them and they didn't interrupt my game play at all. 

Keep, jury is out or delete - Jury is out
I have had the app less than a day so I am not sure how long I will keep it just yet. It is a pleasant game that was easy to just pick up and play, but it is very similar to other games out there at the moment. With that said I personally preferred it to Ketchapps Triple Jump which I still haven't managed to master. The app has could be enhanced by earning points to unlock new characters or even options to change the background that I have seen appearing here and there across the App Store in the past few weeks. 

Overall Score - 3.5 
I have selected this score by comparing it to the other apps I have been playing in the past few weeks. This is not a negative rating by any stretch of the imagination, but the concept has flooded the store and it is just missing the special difference that would make it higher. With more user options this game would keep the user engaged for longer, but download it and see what you think (link is below).

Where to find it:
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jumpy-junior/id950560531?mt=8

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Threes! Free - 3 Stars

What is it?
This a continuous number game with the aim to avoid filling up the board of 12 and to get the highest score. The game is firstly played by creating the number three by sliding tiles with one and two together, once you have the number three you then match it with another number three to make six. From six the game moves to 12, 24, 48 and so on. Basically if you have played 2048, its the same method of play with the twist of using 3's instead of 2's. Another difference is that when you slide the screen the numbers only move one at a time across or up, rather than all across to the corresponding wall.

The presentation of the game is very colourful and clean and it looks an inviting game to play. The developers have put effort into the design and execution of the game and it looks very professional. There are sound effects in the game, which I turned off as I don't like to play with the sound, but they consisted of dings and dongs. The game was featured by Apple over the weekend, hence why I downloaded it. As with all featured apps, I am not sure why it was but it was free so I had a look. Upon further investigation I also discovered that it won Apple Design of the year 2014, its good but not that good in my opinion.

When I started the game I found it a lot slower than 2048 and I wasn't immediately eager to continue playing. After some sleep I gave it another go and started to enjoy the game. The title of the game should have given me a clue though, this is a free version, and once your turns the replay option get down to zero you can't play anymore. If you watch an ad then you get a free go or you have to download the free version. However, when I tried to watch the ad to play again there wasn't one available and I was refused a play. Furthermore, when I attempted to re-watch the tutorial for the review of the app, it directed me back to the watch an ad screen, so I couldn't even see that.

I get that developers need to make money so running out of free turns doesn't bother me too much in principle, but the game is already monetised through full screen and some timed apps. Due to this I will not be downloading the paid version of the app.

The game is on the GameCentre, which as you know, is something I like on gaming apps so that I can check my progress and give me a competitive reason to continue to play.

To write this review I have looked back on my experience of playing the app and realised that the only reason I continued playing it was the purpose of the blog, I was bored waiting to go out and that I had run out of lives on Pyramid and Farm Hero Saga. I may be feeling a little resentful at not being able to play anymore but I don't feel it is a great loss to my phone if I delete it once the review is published.

In conclusion if you liked 2048 then you may very well like this, but personally I prefer 2048 and won't be keeping this app.

Now for some ratings.....
Ease of use 3
If you have played 2048 then the game is easy to play as it is very like the iconic game. The game comes with a nice tutorial, but once you have run out of turns you can't revisit it. If you can swipe, calculate the number three and make pairs then you can play this game. 

Price - 3
The app is free but with massive constraints. You are limited to the number of times you are allowed to play the game, forced to watch adverts to get a free go and if there aren't any available then game over. The full version is £2.99! No way would I pay that for this app!

Adverts - 2
Adverts are full screen every three plays of the game. Some of the screen invasions are timed and the cross changes per ad to kill it, so be careful not to end up in the App Store. If you want to play the game further you must watch full adverts to get a free go.

Overall Rating - 3
I started to like this app but it was very short lived. I have scored the game 3 stars, and that is mainly for its design, but I was thinking 2.5 stars. It reminded me of 2048 and the app reignited my passion for that game if nothing else. I was really put off by being forced to watch ads or purchase the game. This might sound defeatist and slightly childish, but that is my mood with this one. Sorry but its being deleted.

Keep, jury is out or delete - Delete
Where to find it: https://itunes.apple.com/app/threes!-free/id976851174?mt=8

Thursday, 30 April 2015

aa - 4.5 Stars

What is it?
Aa is a game of skill and timing. During game play you are presented with a large circle in the centre of the screen with the level number in the middle. At the bottom of the screen are smaller circles that you tap to release. The aim is land the dot on the central circle (attached by a line) without hitting another dot, which happens because the circle rotates so that it looks like a big Ferris wheel. Sounds easy right? Wrong! The levels start easy and then get more complex and introduce different challenges. The speed increases and decreases between and then within levels. A timer is added to some that makes you panic and make silly mistakes. The direction of the rotation changes and this can also happen in levels. The worst thing I have experienced are the dots that expand and contract because you think you’ve landed it brilliantly and then boom, it expands into another dot. Another killer is the timed appearance of additional dots by the game, and if one appears where you have already landed a dot you lose.
The game design in extremely basic and simple, using off white background and black circles. I am currently on level 181 and have stopped playing in a child-like tantrum as I have now been stuck for about three hours. This game is highly addictive and I really like it.
The main annoyance with the game is the adverts. They appear every five times you play as full screen invasions. I did discover that video adverts are displayed if you are on wifi and not 4G, hence I have switched my wifi off. You can pay for the adverts to be removed but I have resisted this so far. 
The game is on the GameCentre and some users have exceeded 700 levels, which is a little depressing  but when I start to play I struggled to get past 50, but the more you play the better you get.

I like this game and I can’t see me deleting it any time soon. As there are levels to the game it grasps my interest more than the tap t play games. The developer has released  a lot of games each with two letter names. I have also downloaded ‘ff’ where you have to land the circles on the rotating lines, but it hasn’t captured my attention as much as ‘aa’. 
If you like tap skill games and have a lot of patience I recommend this.
Now for some ratings.....

Ease of use - 5
The game is pretty basic to play, tap to release the dot. The game does require skill and patience and is addictively frustrating!

Price - 5
The app is free. You can pay to remove the adverts but I haven't done this...yet!

Adverts 1
The adverts are very annoying and as mentioned in the review if you are on wifi they get extremely frustrating. Don't be surprised when you download that you get to watch lots of videos and full screen invasions. 

Overall Rating - 4.5
I like this game and I can’t see me deleting it any time soon. As there are levels to the game it grasps my interest more than the tap t play games. The developer has released  a lot of games each with two letter names. I have also downloaded ‘ff’ where you have to land the circles on the rotating lines, but it hasn’t captured my attention as much as ‘aa’. 

Keep, jury is out or delete - Keep

Where to find it: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/aa/id905852173?mt=8 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Trivia from Mad Men - Free Edition - 1 Star

What is it?
Simply put, this game is a quiz to test your knowledge on Mad Men, the brilliant 60’s based drama about ad men in the 60s/70s. You begin the game by pressing the ‘play’ option, and then you are plunged straight into answering questions. You start on Level 1, and you level up based on your success with the questions posed. You are given the question with a choice of four possible answers below it. Get the question right and you are awarded with points in the form of dollars, get the question wrong and you lose points. The annoying part of the points feature is that you don’t actually know your score until you complete all of the questions. If you have detail OCD, you will hate the frequent spelling mistakes and the wrong surnames or forenames. Some of the questions repeat which is disappointing as, over the seven series’ of the show, there are plenty of questions that could be created!
There are a set number of questions and there hasn’t been an update to increase the questions.
Arguably the most frustrating thing about this game is the ads. The game is incessant with them, for instance when you press ‘Play’ to begin the game, the first thing that comes up is an ad, which did make me feel VERY frustrated. Whatever you do don’t get a question wrong as you get a series of screen invading adverts and pop ups, with the highest number I counted being five in a row. 
If you haven’t watched Mad Men then do not download, you won’t get a single question right and the in app features alone will annoy you! If you hate adverts, then also avoid this app
Now for some ratings.....

Ease of use 3
The game is pretty basic to play, tap the answer that you think is right. What makes the game difficult is the inaccuracies in the questions and the adverts that you have to dodge to actual play it.

Price - 5
The app is free. 

Adverts 1
Adverts are terrible, undoubtedly some of the worst I have seen within an app and completely destroys what could be an excellent app for Mad Men fans.

Overall Rating 1
This app is literally about to be deleted as I publish the review, and I can’t wait to press that button. I have completed the game and felt no sense of achievement in doing so. The developers had a great topic and concept but ruined with sloppiness and awful adverts. Such a shame!

Keep, jury is out or delete - Delete

Where to find it: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/trivia-from-mad-men-free-edition/id670849980?mt=8

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Skwirl Please - 1.5 Stars

What is it?
Impossible and frustrating! This game involves navigating a squirrel on a bike under falling tree trunks dropping from the top of the screen at various speeds. The squirrel automatically starts travelling but you can speed it forward by tapping and holding the right of the screen and reverse it by tapping and holding the left side of the screen. The screen moves with the game so can push you into the falling tree trunks and you must be ninja style quick to get under some of the logs. 

The graphics are very bright, not pixilated, but very basic. The main character is a moving picture and is not animated to cycle the bike the developer has chosen to place it on. When the character is crushed by a falling tree truck it simply turns grey and you can reattempt the game. 

This game is very difficult and quickly lost my attention. My partner, who loves to beat me at any game, was a bit better but also got very frustrated and refused to play it again. This is the type of game that could, if taken too seriously, result in a broken iPhone in fit of frustration.

There is an impossible level which I didn't even attempt based on the fact the normal ones were beyond my capabilities. 

This game is one of those games that you must have ninja reactions to play, which sadly I do not possess! I didn't take to the game but I wish the developers luck and hopefully some quick reaction players will enjoy it!

Now for some ratings.....

Ease of use - 2
The instructions are provided in the opening screen and in theory are easy to use. The actual ease of play isn't great, the obstacles move far too quickly and don't give the user enough time to adapt to the game play before they introduce seemingly impossible sequences. Maybe I am just too slow but I didn't find this an easy game to take to. 

Price - 5
The app is free.

Adverts - 4
There are header adverts in the app, which aren't invasive and don't interrupt game play. I didn't experience full screen or video ads but they could be hidden away after a certain number of obstacles which I was never going to achieve.

Overall Rating - 1.5
I did not like this app, it was immediately too difficult to play and after several attempts I just wanted it off my phone. The developer should consider making the first few obstacles easier for the user to get familiar with and how the game is played. Looking at the GameCentre scores, I wasn't the only person struggling to get past a couple before giving up!

Keep, jury is out or delete - Delete
This is a delete for me, its already been removed from my phone upon publishing the review!

Where to find it:
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/skwirl-please/id962048531?mt=8

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Kitten - 4 Stars

What is it?
The Kitten is a platform game with a cute kitten as the main character. The aim of the game is to get as far as you can without killing the kitten. The kitten bounds across the screen under your control by power of the tap. As the kitten runs, there are items to collect to increase your score whilst avoiding road obstacles, swooping birds of prey and gaps in the road. There are special features that can be collected that slow down and speed up play making you concentrate more on keeping the kitten alive. One special feature makes the kitten roll into a ball and zoom through game play, which is challenging as its easier to fall through the road gaps.

Like an old school arcade game you are given three lives that allow you two collisions, but don't worry there are tokens to top this up as you play. In addition, when you are on fast mode you don't lose lives but will die if you fall through any gaps. 

Something the app doesn't tell you, and I learnt in a panic to avoid a gap, is that you can double tap the cat to make it jump higher, which is great to avoid silly falls!

I instantly liked this app, and not just because I like cats! This is a well designed and animated game, and you can tell the developers have spent time on creating and producing it. The game is a refreshing change from the current pixel games flooding the market.

One frustration with this game is that it isn't on the GameCentre so I can't see how well I am doing against other users. There is a High Score section but mine doesn't work and just stays on the loading screen which is a shame. 

I have let a few people have a go on this app while I was reviewing it, and it was an instant hit with the younger player. Interestingly they asked if they could change the appearance of the cat, as you are given a black cat as the sole character. I couldn't find this feature but maybe something to consider for the next version ;)

Now for some ratings.....

Ease of use - 5
This is a simple tap game and very easy to play. I think this app is good for kids too, it's playful theme and easy functionality makes it very appealing!

Price - 5
This is a free app with no in app purchases. 

Adverts 3.5
I had to go back into the app to check for adverts as I didn't remember any! There are header and footer adverts in the screen but they aren't invasive. Unfortunately in doing this I came across an advert that has a swear word in it, which is such a shame :( I am tweeting this to the developers as this could really put parents off allowing children to the use the app. This does, however, go to show that letting ads on your app isn't only frustrating to the user but can also tarnish a developers hard work!

Overall Rating 4
I really like this app, it is a fun quick game to play and is good for all ages, especially if you like platform games. As the high score function doesn't work and considering the issue with the advert, I, with regret, have dropped this rating to a 4. 

Keep, jury is out or delete - Keep

Where to find it:
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-kitten/id907630296 
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.gameever.thekitten&hl