Category Archives: Mobile Game Reviews

Cube Escape: The Mill to Paradox

Cube Escape series

As we step into the second half of the Cube Escape series, the Rusty Lake world expands in depth now. A lot of the questions before are slowly falling into place with these next few games as The Woman, Dale Vandermeer and how Rusty Lake and its mysterious Mr. Owl and Mr. Crow all come together to create this time travel, fate changing sort of deal.

Cube Escape: The Mill

Cube Escape: The Mill

The sixth game of Cube Escape is set in The Mill which is starts off as one of the more complex games of the series. The Mill has multiple levels which open up through the main level where it all starts. It has the normal puzzles of point and click adventure with picking up items initially but also give little additional games like its memory game as well as some other formats. The Mill itself overlaps a section of the story that was shared before and this time is reflected also as the other side of the story, which gives it such a clever play at this point. At the same time, The Mill is the center of the link between Rusty Lake and how it works and something of the operation between Mr. Owl and Mr. Crow and how they use their victims and their memories and such, giving a deeper glimpse of this own Rusty Lake world.

Cube Escape: The Mill is a nice addition in terms of story as it gives a much clearer look at how water is processed through the mill into Rusty Lake and how this lady that we’ve seen and investigated the death of up to this point called The Woman (from the beginning few games) plays into the story. However, the games itself sometimes take a stretch of imagination and also the memory game is a bit hard (for those with limited memory like myself) which turned out to be slightly tedious and frustrating. However, all the elements are well laid out and just takes a little connecting the dots and perseverance to put it all together. What’s a game without a little challenge, right?

Score: 4.5/5

Cube Escape: Birthday

Cube Escape: Birthday

What we could only assume is that the elevator that take Dale Vandermeer in Case 23 is what leads to these various memory points where he goes back to change the course of events. The first stop is at Birthday which is his 9th birthday (if I remember correctly) and things go way bad and he gets the opportunity to rewind it and change the outcome. Birthday is a solid entry with a pretty decent twist. The puzzles itself are a little crazy at times but its all about noticing the details and knowing where to find the pieces back when they are needed (something that I’m not too good at). Birthday also marks a little more interaction with actual other characters who do direct the clues and what needs to be solved to unlock another part of the escape.

Score: 4/5

Cube Escape: Theatre

Cube Escape: Theatre

Cube Escape: Theatre keeps on with the whole down memory lane as it changes to another year in the life of Dale Vandermeer. Theatre has a lot of depth as it takes place at a bar with a stage for the whole program. There are puzzles around the entire room but the big piece of the puzzle is in finding the pieces to complete the entire program of the performing show with a lot of the familiar faces played by the actor. It has a lot of little fun bits from connecting pipes to make certain things happen to balancing out different items to the same weight or even mixing drinks to get more clues. There is a lot of detail and yet so much intrigue bits. Its actually much more grounded in the last few games as the NPCs are interactable and give a direction to what needs to be done next. It might feel a bit like hand-holding for some but with the depth and complexity of some of these puzzles and where to even find the objects to combine together, it sometimes feels rather necessary.  Cube Escape: Theatre is a very complete experience of point and click and room escape meshed together and adds some depth to the whole Rusty Lake world as a lot of past elements are thrown in here.

Score: 5/5

Cube Escape: The Cave

Cube Escape: The Cave

Cube Escape: The Cave is definitely one of the longer games in the entire series. It has two different parts in the whole game. It starts off in the cave where we solve a series of puzzles in a multi-layer 4 part (ish). There are multiple components that link to the story of the premium game, Rusty Lake Roots a little. After this area, it goes deeper into the cave to this underground mechanical room of sorts where there is a multi-layer puzzle which is about 4 parts or so to solve through. There are some tedious puzzles and others where its a point and click style similar to the previous games. The Cave is a fairly complete experience and one of the more fleshed out ones but does take a little stretch of imagination at times to link the clues together. There’s a great effort to link the pieces of the story of both the characters of Rusty Lake story so far (especially since we finally know the name of The Woman) as well as the premium games.

Score: 4.5/5

Cube Escape: Paradox

Cube Escape: Paradox

And we are at the last game (unless more get released) of Cube Escape series, although it does feel like a somewhat wrapped up version. Cube Escape: Paradox is separated in 2 chapters. The first is available for free and the second is a DLC purchase (or in-game purchase if you are on mobile). A little side info that I had backed the Kickstarter project so I got the game that way. On top of the two games, there is also a short film paired with it that you can watch HERE.

Paradox is a much more complex and deeper version than any of its previous games. It links to a lot of the elements that had been seen in the previous games and brings the characters together. One of the main reasons is that there are other premium games that help add to the story with Rusty Lake Hotel, Rusty Lake Roots and Rusty Lake Paradise all happening during these last 5 games which add a lot of depth to the world and link everything together. Its not necessary to play them but it does help to perhaps piece it better together. Review for those will be coming up.

With that said, Paradox at times is a bit far-fetched and a little too complex. Some puzzles once figured out are also a tad repetitive. Its a very odd feeling that there is a lot of mystery wrapped up both Chapter 1 and 2. The first being much more fleshed out as the story leads us to why Chapter 2 is a very similar room escape scenario but with some modifications to further sink the character that is trying to escape, Detective Dale Vandermeer further into confusion. While the puzzles here is more on the complicated side, the story does put itself together really well. There’s a lot to appreciate in something more fleshed out. In comparison to the games, the movie is an absolute treat that reenacts the game and gives it some more live action depth.

Score: 3.5/5

That’s it for the Cube Escape games (unless more gets released)!
Have you played any of the Cube Escape games? If so, share your thoughts on it in the comments below!

As I keep going through the rest of the Rusty Lake games, more reviews coming up!

Cube Escape: Seasons – Case 23

Rusty Lake games is a monster mission of game reviews that I’ve been trying to get done for a long time. After some long thought its better to do them in a batch. In this mountain of games, we will work through the games both Cube Escape as well as the premium games. The story all works together as one universe so its a nice one to take a look at and see how its gone in terms of changing it up as well as how the story progresses.

Starting it off, its the first 5 games of the Cube Escape series: Seasons; The Lake; Arles; Harvey’s Box & Case 23, which are all fully free gaming experiences on mobile devices.

Cube Escape: Seasons

cube escape seasons

Cube Escape: Seasons kicks off this series which has many games to look at. For a free game, this one is very fleshed out. We play as The Woman who travels through the four seasons to change things in the past that will affect the future.

It has decent point and click elements as well as puzzle elements as well as a dark and mysterious backstory. This one adds in elements of time travel between the seasons. There’s a lot to love here from finding pieces to puzzles and connecting the different elements together from every season to further the story from the past to the future. Its intricate but never too far-fetched.

Score: 5/5

Cube Escape: The Lake

cube escape the lake

Taking place in a cabin next to a lake, Cube Escape: The Lake is a straightforward little game which if everything goes smooth probably takes about 20 minutes or so to solve. The Lake also plays as The Woman. There’s only one ending puzzle which is a tad more difficult to figure out. Its fairly creepy as well as it has some weird spirits and such. Its a weird series yet has quite a lot of charm from one game to the next. This is a revisit, mostly because its been always something to review on the list but never long enough for its own review. Free through and through, Cube Escape: The Lake is one of the lighter ones in the series and yet still shows the lake is probably more than it seems. There’s an alternate ending if you unlock another safe with a code found in Cube Escape: Seasons, just a little bonus to ponder on.

Score: 4.5/5

Cube Escape: Arles

Cube Escape: Arles

Cube Escape: Arles is another point and click puzzle/room escape sort of deal. As the painting clues towards, the player plays as Vincent van Gogh. The only time that this character is played.

It takes place in a room where there are lots of details to discover between opening locked doors to solving puzzles and a lot of it relies on noticing the little details. Its a nice little one that takes some effort to connect the dots. Its a decent 40 minutes or so to solve everything (probably faster if you link things faster than I did). However, everything in this one is all about finding the right clues and items and piecing them together so that it all makes sense. There’s even a segment similar to Paint By Numbers and that’s a fun addition.

Score: 5/5

Cube Escape: Harvey’s Box

Cube Escape: Harvey's Box

While all the previous Cube Escape games have been in a room looking for clues to go out, Harvey’s Box is set, as the title implicates, in a box. Harvey is the parrot that has appeared a few times over the previous games as well. He’s gone through quite a bit and in the first game with the Seasons, we help him narrowly escape a deadly fate.

In this one, we play as the bird Harvey which is stuck in a box. How it does all that is a mystery. Nothing in Rusty Lake universe has to make a ton of sense as its suspense and intrigue is in the weird things that happen and the rather paranormal things that occur. It has a lot of elements and genres that mix together and miraculously work to build this world. Harvey’s Box is somewhat weird and has some logic puzzles but things are fairly straightforward, making this one very polished.

Score: 4.5/5

Cube Escape: Case 23

Cube Escape: Case 23

Case 23 is structured a lot like the first game where it also has 4 chapters. It is the first game that we play as Dale Vandermeer, a detective investigating the mystery of a murdered woman in the first chapter. There are 4 chapters in Case 23 and each one is a different location on the map with some harder puzzles to piece together, ending with the last one which is the first time its a race against the clock. It follows the footsteps of the detective as he goes from one location to the next following the clues that he finds starting with the Murder Scene, Police Station, Chapel and finally the Cabin. Its an intricate one and rightfully so as this character is a key part to how the Rusty Lake series unravels.

Score: 5/5

Overall, the first 5 games of Cube Escape takes its players through a progression of the story although the timeline does jump around quite a bit for those noticing the details of the dated events and such. It introduces the key characters involved as well as finally having the detective discover what is underneath as with all the opening screens for the game after loading is a boat sinking into a red lake which of course is Rusty Lake itself.

Have you played the Cube Escape series?

Mobile Games Roundup – September 2019

mobile game roundup (48)

As we get back on track with mobile games roundup, this past month has been a whole new strategy to look for games to discover.

Here’s a few games with various genres that I’ve played this past month.

Project: Muse (Rinzz Co. Ltd.)

Project Muse

Project: Muse is a music rhythm game. It features different types of music featured through different characters. The playlist is extensive and the majority is unlocked through completing challenges or tasks while some can be unlocked using in-game currency collected by playing each of the levels and the “Gold Time” at the ending of each level to amass as many coins as possible. There are a few VIP levels that require in-game purchases however it isn’t in the majority.

Project:Muse is structured quite well as there are not only different levels and different speeds to play the difficulties, which is a common mechanic, however the levels itself a quite unique as it opens one to four lines of music to follow throughout which increases the challenge and the music is responsive to each touch of the screen to match with the music which makes it more immersive. Plus, the range of contact and responsiveness is balanced quite well also.

Score: 4/5

WTF Detective (Absolutist Ltd)

Screenshot_20190928-085804_WTF Detective.jpg

Looking a lot like another mobile game called Criminal Case, WTF Detective, full name Wunder Task Force Detective actually packs in a little more depth. It doesn’t only have the heavy focus on hidden objects detective game where its about collecting stars and energy refills. The story also has quite a lot of details and dialogue in the investigation of mysteries. At the same time, aside from hidden objects, there are also other types of mini games that help increase energy in forms of what it calls tests which include word games and match-3 puzzles (similar to 2 Dots).

There is some real-time elements included for the analysis, which can be sped up. The in-game currency is in stars which help unlock the parts of the case. Its a game that can be ultimately played completely for free (but can also be sped up through app purchases). Its nothing too deep but its little additions gives it a nice breath of fresh air. The only thing that might be a little more concern is that there was a bit of lag or just lack of responsiveness for touch controls for some of the smaller objects (without zooming in the image) and the image in turn is more sensitive with shifting the frame instead. Minor little issues.

Score: 3.5/5

Traffic Run (Geisha Tokyo Inc)

traffic run

Traffic Run is a simple mobile game consisting of pressing and holding to move forward a car into traffic and stopping in the various roads to the finish line. There’s traffic to avoid and coins to collect which becomes in-game currency  to unlock new cars and colors. In reality, Traffic Run fits into the mobile games model quite well: short levels, in-game currency and easy to learn model. There is two things that go against it: the frequency of ads because its a free game and the more important of the two, its repetitiveness of the levels. Traffic Run is for short bursts and even then, its easy to be a little bored with the whole concept. The difficulty increases very slowly and its never really that hard but rather just reacting fast enough to stop and anticipating that stop time before going. Perhaps it might get harder further into the game but looking at the first 50 levels or so was already enough.

Score: 2.5/5

Cookie Run: OvenBreak (Devsisters Corporation)

cookie run ovenbreak

Cookie Run has history. It first launched when tablets were becoming pretty popular years ago back in 2013. Seeing how its changed from then to the current mobile phone versions definitely is a dose of “nostalgia”. Cookie Run has a lot of new elements now from level quests to breaking high scores and then different types of runs and a kinds of events going on with their own level designs and then a multitude of gingerbread people to collect to use and their little sidekicks that float around them. There are all kinds of different gummies to collect also. If anything, its a bit of an overload of what to discover.

Cookie Run has a lot to discover but at the same time, it does sometimes feel like a grind as the life meter extends as you level up the gingerbread character and then it goes further in the level slightly. In the farming stages, despite the different levels in events and such, its still a fairly repetitive experience. The graphics and colors and design all work but the overall experience is for a short few runs and then stopping and not meant to be more than that.

Score: 3/5

Bendy in Nightmare Run (Joey Drew Studios)

Bendy in Nightmare Run

Using the character of Bendy from Bendy and the Ink Machine, Joey Drew Studios takes Bendy for a Nightmare Run as the game is called Bendy in Nightmare Run where its structured like a little story with multiple acts (which are different levels in an overall chapter). The end of one chapter unlocks the next one which will open up a new world.

The game mechanics function where Bendy is running towards the screen. He can collect bacon soup and objects like bricks, anvils and axes (at least in the first chapter) to throw at the boss running after him. There are minions in the middle to throw off the guard. The level isn’t always flat. It functions on evading the attacks while collecting bacon soup and the main goal is to decrease the boss’s life. Bendy can move left, right, jump, double jump as well as throw a weapon with a swipe of a finger on the screen.

While everything is fairly simple and its rather challenging as it gets later on in the chapter and acts, the issue with the game is always with mobile games in the sensitivity of motion. The reaction time leaves a little to be desired (maybe its a hardware issue because some scenes do lag and I’m running it on a Samsung Galaxy 8). At the same time, the swiping motions sometimes don’t work quite as intended making it rather frustrating at times as well. These are all issues with mobile gaming that commonly occur. It could be a combination of how sensitive the game reacts and senses these motions or hardware problems. Its a decent game concept but a little polish on the controls would do it some good.

Score: 3.5/5

That’s it for the September mobile game round-up!
Have you played any of these games? 
What mobile games have got your attention lately?

If you have any suggestions, feel free to also share them in the comments.

Mobile Games Roundup – May to August 2019

Its been a while since the last Mobile Games Roundup! If you’d like to see where I was at, you can check out my blog Tranquil Dreams where most of the action was going on there as well as the post on Montreal Comiccon Indie Games Recap HERE.

With that said, we should be back in action and since I’ve been on the go, mobile games have been my main gaming source so as a heartfelt apology for the hiatus, I’ve doubled up this roundup with 10 games that I’ve played in the last few months or so.

Toy Story  Drop (Big Fish Games)

Toy Story Drop

Playing much like a lot of Match-3 games already out, Toy Story Drop gives it a more of a Toy Story-esque idea with toys being the focus. Woody is there to take you on the journey while You’re Got A Friend In Me’s tune plays in the background on repeat. Its interesting however how the toys concept is implemented as the games specials like the bouncy balls to repel an area of pieces off or the claw from the claw game can swap two pieces or that the little aliens can zap up a piece off the board and then possibly the most satisfying is seeing bubble wrap used as the overlay on the board to get rid of while having the popping bubbles sound as it is cleared. Toy Story Drop might not be a new concept and plays it safe but it does take whats known in the movie franchise elements and implements it fairly well to the concept. You get to also unlock bonus levels as there are appearances from a lot of the beloved characters from the franchise as well.

Score: 3.5/5

Faraway: Tropic Escape (Snapbreak)

Faraway: Tropic Escape

Faraway series is seriously putting these out at lightning speed. It almost feels like every few months has a new game in a new area. This time, its set in the Tropical setting. While Faraway is pretty good visually and tries to piece together notes to create the story which is only a side objective, the game is heavily about solving the puzzles to move from one area level to the next and take up the next challenge. The game is still structured as half free and the second half is a in game purchase to unlock and finish. Putting that element aside, Faraway: Tropic Escape is another improvement in terms of puzzles for the series. Its nice to see that the learning curve is still there but the puzzles try to have more layers and depth as well. There are some that are fairly simple but it does have different bits to put together before it solves one puzzle in a level to move to the next one. Faraway franchise has done itself a good job in terms of creating these games. Its fairly immersive and has the story element for completionists and also gives a decent visuals in terms of mobile, but its really the in game pay structure of paying to finish the game that still bothers me (which is a whole other topic of discussion on mobile games).

Score: 4/5

Bonza Jigsaw (MiniMega)

Bonza Jigsaw

Currently in beta (as of August 14, 2019), Bonza Jigsaw is a mobile jigsaw puzzle game. Using the world as the canvas, it takes pictures from different places around the world to create the images that need to be reassembled. As a screen is limited in space, it gives a few pieces to begin and adds more as the picture is put together more and more. There are 6 different games modes as well hundreds of puzzles ranging from really simple to the rather complex ones. As polished as the game is, there is something about physical jigsaw puzzles that can’t seem to be replaced.

Score: 3/5

Two Dots (PlayDots)

Two Dots

Adding a twist to the Match-3 concept, Two Dots can clear colors with only 2 dots as per the name but also has a lot of super powers per se like building squares can eliminate all the same colors on the board and that the matches can’t be slanted. It adds difficulty to the game especially as there are increasing objectives to fulfill and the board being structured in different ways where creating those special combos is what will make it work best. There are also an assortment of power-ups which also are given for free as daily login bonuses. It is visually minimalist and looks very simple and yet adds in a rather good balance of challenge.

Score: 4/5

Pokemon Rumble Rush (The Pokemon Company)

Pokemon Rumble Rush

Nothing like another Pokemon game to add to the collection for the mobile, right? After Pokemon Go and Magikarp Jump (and with Pokemon Sleep in the works for next year’s mobile release), Pokemon Rumble Rush is a bit more of a one button combat and exploration game. Most Pokemon games are fairly oriented for a younger audience compatibility so while its nothing deep or complex even if this one does have more ways to play like exploring different areas of the map and then fighting different pokemons and collecting them and upgrading them (as you would in most Pokemon games), its still a fairly easy concept. Plus, Pokemon in general is cute and adorable and it manages to have that as well.

Score: 3.5/5

Calculator 2 (Simple Machine)

Calculator 2: The Game

If you all recall, Calculator was showcased as probably one of the kickoff games for the mobile games roundup segment so suffice to say, it was great to see it have a sequel. Calculator 2: The Game not only adds different elements to the math puzzle problems here but also gives a story behind why solving all these puzzles will eventually lead to. It has some humor to the narrative which works for the most part and the puzzles itself have a decent learning curve. There are the basics as usual and also gives an easier puzzle when introducing a new button type, plus has the element of one puzzle having two different answers to reach, giving the puzzles a lot more flexible thinking behind it.

Score: 4.5/5

here (Techyonic)

here game

Nothing comes as minimalist as a black and white puzzles centered around compiling the word “here” in different structures and ways. These simple ideas sometimes do work the best, especially for mobile games. Because of the touch screen on smart phones, it gives this game a lot of flexibility and interaction and gives it a lot of variety. The game has 50 levels in total to challenge all kinds of possibilities with putting together one word as the final goal. Its easy to master and a lot of times requires more and more thinking out of the box as the levels gets further.

Score: 3.5/5

Lifty (Major Frank)

Lifty

Lifty is an elevator game where the goal is to deliver the determined amount of Lifties to their proper level in a limited amount of time before they blow up. As the levels progress, time becomes tighter while the puzzles have more floors and other obstacles that could be hazardous to the lifties. Its about mutlitasking and logically figuring out how to complete the levels in the most efficient way to keep going. This relies heavily on the controls functioning well and with on-screen control pads with only up and down arrows which generally had a decent sensitivity to them that worked fairly good.

Score: 4/5

Mindsweeper: Puzzle Adventure (Snapbreak)

Mindsweeper

Mindsweeper is a 3D puzzle adventure escape game which has a narrative story. The first 2 chapters are available for free as a trial before diving in to purchase the rest of the game as an in-game purchase. This game feels more oriented towards kids as the puzzles are fairly simple to go through as its just picking up items and then fitting the item to what needs to be done there, which is more point and click than puzzle at times. The visuals are fairly colorful however, the motions of the character moving around does feel a bit rigid at times.

Score: 2.5/5

Dr. Mario World (Nintendo)

Dr. Mario World

As a lot of the Nintendo franchises move onto mobile devices, it was only a matter of time before Dr. Mario would come out. Being a big fan of Tetris, Dr. Mario was always a favorite so just like some of the classic games (for example, Lemmings), this one also got a modern facelift as it had a very pretty look to it and very cute visuals and sounds to match it while still giving it a good challenge element to it. It starts simple and the learning curve builds up. Nostalgia and the modern twist and cute element definitely give Dr. Mario World an extra boost to a pretty nice retake on this game.

Score: 4/5

That’s it for this doubled Mobile Games Round-up!

Which games appeals to you most? Have you tried any of these?
What games have you been playing on the go?

Mobile Games Roundup – April 2019

Another month has passed by. Before we jump into what games we’ve played in April, in the mobile games front, there has been some fun news. First, Tarsier Studios announced their upcoming launch of the mobile version of Little Nightmares while secondly, Bethesda also released the early access of Elder Scrolls: Blades. Both very exciting news to say the very least and something to look forward to in the future.

Let’s take a look at what 5 games we checked out in April!

Tower Fall (Ice Storm)

Tower Fall

Tower Fall is an arcade game where you need to remove the pieces under the hexagon and balance it to not fall off the tower for as long as possible. Along the way, there aren’t only weird shapes but also different square pieces from those that turn into marbles to others with missile rockets or others that create a shake and turns the surrounding pieces into fragile shards. There is some strategy to how to approach what to take away but at the same time, it’s a straightforward game suitable for mobile games as it usually doesn’t last too long. It’s simple and direct with a puzzle sort of challenge.

Faraway 4: Ancient Escape (Pine Studio)

faraway 4

Four Faraway games down the line now and so far, it’s been the same structure with a different setting. The game is still partially free with am in-game purchase to play the second half of it. The puzzles are gradually more complex in the sense that there are more layers to it but mostly not too much harder in concept. The environment this time did have some different design especially with the Ancient Escape taking place in temples and such which still works overall. If you have been enjoying the Faraway puzzle escape games, this one still delivers well.

If you haven’t played any of the Faraway games, check out the review of the first one HERE.

Take Flight! (Waffle Games)

take flight

Using a traditional 1930s animation style like Cuphead, Take Flight is a casual one button game where you control a character in a plane to go up and down to collect coins, pick up power-ups like guns and magnets and evade the enemies attacks. Its colorful and stylish but remains a very simple concept for the most casual of gamers to just kill some time. There are a lot of customisable options which you can do in exchange for the in-game coins collected. It’s nice to see the rise of this visual style of game on the rise in all formats. This game is for the most casual of gamers and it can get slightly repetitive as the levels don’t have a lot of change in terms of enemies. Its for quick little cute doses of simple gaming.

Good Knight Story (Turbo Chili)

good knight story

Good Knight Story takes a puzzle and turn-based RPG style and blends it together. It follows the main character who gets drunk at a tavern and ends up locked in a dungeon with no recollection of what is going on. As he fights his way out, the night starts piecing back together. There is a dialogue in between that gives dialogue choices which also shapes the story a different way as well. There are some enemies encountered that also pay tribute to pop and gaming culture. For a game that takes not only a mix genre root, it has a lot of thought and charm added in. Some of the bosses here can also be quite challenging and takes some strategy as well.

Smash Hit (Mediocre)

smash hit

Smash Hit is Mediocre’s debut mobile game which goes on a first person perspective moving forward on a changing hallway. In the process, the player needs to hit crystals to gain 3 extra balls each time. There are icons to gain different power-ups like multiple ball shots or time manipulation. The levels change with colors and different obstacles and sometimes, even the speed. It isn’t a hard game to grasp but as the levels move further, it also gets a bit more reliant on patience, focus and accuracy. Being an arcade game in nature, there are a lot strengths to it and everything responds well in terms of mechanics. The only thing to keep in mind is that the game does have checkpoints but they are not accessible if the game is not fully bought.

If you like this style, you can take a look at our review of Mediocre’s second game, a virtual pinball game called PinOut HERE.

Mobile Games Roundup – March 2019

Mobile Game Roundup

March is now behind us and the first quarter of 2019 is behind us. Check out March’s mobile game roundup!

Finn & Ancient Mystery (Fenech Games)

finn and ancient mystery

Finn & Ancient Mystery is a 2D platform adventure where you play as a fox cub called Finn who is on a quest to find crystals. Along the way, he encounters different obstacles and enemies and can fight them using his sword and magic. There are metroidvania elements. Playing platform games with on-screen controls is always a tough aspect to deal with. For one, the responsiveness becomes a problem and its easy to not press the controls in the right spot which will yield no reaction. While it might not be the fault of the game itself, the on-screen controls definitely hinder the experience a little as a mobile game experience. However, there is a lot of heart here. While it’s not a particularly challenging game, it does require a lot of focus in the level to explore. The story itself and game mechanics lack a little finesse.

Score: 3/5

Liar! Uncover the Truth (Voltage Inc.)

liar! uncover the truth

Liar! Uncover the Truth is an investigative romance visual novel. However, the investigation isn’t about an actual mystery but rather for our protagonist to investigate and accuse the 9 of the 10 guys to reveal their lies. While it gives a lot of dialogue choices, this one still has a whole lot of reading and feels like the story itself is on rails. The investigation angle is fairly simple also because of how it sets up each of the scenes and gives us the amount of evidence needed to proceed. The puzzles itself lack depth to say the least. A good point for Liar is that it does craft some funny and some ridiculously absurd ones as well which adds a humorous angle to it giving it a little boost in creativity. Visual novels are really for a select group. You either like to read this style or enjoy a little casual gaming.

Score: 3.5/5

The Birdcage 2 : Magical Creatures (Keycube/MobiGrow)

the birdcage 2

Following the award-winning game The Birdcage, The Birdcage 2: Magical Creatures is a puzzle game in which you have to solve all the puzzles on a birdcage to set free the bird inside the cage. In this sequel, there aren’t just birds although the first two packs are free and feature an owl and a crow. Just like the first game, further packs all are in-game purchases. The Birdcage 2 is pretty similar to the first game in terms of game mechanics. It’s still about puzzles and asks to collect three gems. The difference is that the game starts off the free pack’s first few levels as a tutorial however as the game progresses the difficulty curve increases. There are some complex puzzles here and if not, they are a lot more steps before releasing the creature. It also adds in a story element with each cage and the crystals collected open up a scroll.

Score: 4/5

Merged! (Gram Games Limited)

merged

If you were to combine 2048 and Match-3 concept of games together, you would get something like Merged! Merged is about matching up dice blocks and domino pieces for as long as you can. The dice blocks match up from 1 to 6 and then transforms into an M block where three of those will create a little explosion on the board to rid the pieces around it. Other than its slick design and minimalist look, Merged is a game that is easy to learn but hard to master. It doesn’t have time limits and also can restart over again if needed. It might look like a lot of the same but it does have the addictive nature of a mobile game to try to beat the challenge. Its one decent logic and brain training exercise.

Score: 4/5

Hit the Light (Happymagenta UAB)

hit the light

Hit the Light is similar to many other arcade mobile games out there. We have also mentioned quite a few with this same style in past mobile games roundups. The difference lies in the visuals and the angle it takes. Hit The Light takes it from showing us a lit up neon display and with a limited amount of balls and other items, the goal is to dim the whole display either by hitting the lights directly (hence the name of the game) or by some specials strewn across certain levels. These games mainly play themselves because some shots are launched and they go on for a while. It’s easy to pick up and requires a little physics and luck. There isn’t a lot of depth. For a mobile pick and put down game, it does fit the mobile game angle for people on the go looking for something casual and quick. Everything works as it should and the neon designs are pretty nice although they do start cycling after a while.

Score: 3.5/ 5

Mobile Games Roundup – February 2019

February 2019 has come to an end. As the gaming world in general wakes up from winter hibernation, mobile games are still aplenty. Here are the 5 games that we played this past month.

The Birdcage (Pine Studio/MobiGrow)

The Birdcage

The Birdcage brings together multiple layers of puzzles as we go through various levels in each different pack to help a bird escape from its birdcage. It is reminiscent of the game franchise The Room. The puzzles are quite varied as well. It starts with simple lock mechanics all the way to codes to more complex multistep ones. Along with that, there is an added quest to collect 3 jewels from each level. The game is free for two packs, equivalent of ten levels and any additional packs are in- games purchases. Each pack uses a different bird as their theme. Trying out the free portion, it gives a good idea of the potential depth the game can achieve. The cage itself has a fairly decent amount of space so it can give lots of room for different mechanisms and concepts to be added in. As a mobile game experience, its never too challenging as everything is grounded in common sense and yet, there is a good element of quick puzzle fun to enjoy.

Score: 3.5/5

Candies ‘n Curses(Crescent Moon Games)

Candies n Curses

Candies ‘n Curses is a cute game and has the basic controls of swiping up and down for the character to defeat the monsters. There are multiple worlds and a variation of monsters. After each world defeat, there are upgrades and perks for our character. Each level has its number of monsters to defeat and a limited health bar. It can get hectic and strategic or simply quick reflexes to maneuver the character up and down to avoid or get rid of the enemies.

The game itself has its challenges especially past the first realm. However, it colorful world and very cute little creatures and villains and even main character gives it a lot of charm and personality. The levels are also quite unforgiving and you can only revive the character once for free before restarting a level completely.

Score: 4/5

Mad For Dance (ZPlay Games)

Mad For Dance

Clicker games are for the most casual players especially those designed for simulation. Mad For Dance transports you to start at a 1930s Jazz Club and while upgrading cocktails and DJ to acquire beats which is the money here to get more clubbers and build the club. Just like normal clickers, the game acquires beats per second and also when you click (usually hectically) to build the club. With a set of clubbers achieved or the ultimate goal to fill the club, you can unlock the next decade of music and its own genre which gives two clubs to manage and collect beats. It also acquires beats while away from the game and has both daily missions and long term achievements. Final aspect is stars to unlock skills that include auto tap, energy boost for clubbers and beat boost. The game gives customizable music, if the in game repetitive music does end up being slightly annoying and you wish to change. Clickers aren’t for everyone and it works out to mostly feel like an addictive waste of time and yet, we still keep clicking away because it requires so little effort to keep going and stopping in everyone once in a while when we have a moment.

Score: 3.5/5

Bungo Stray Dogs: Tales of the Lost (Crunchyroll Games)

Bungo Stray Dogs

For those familiar with anime, Crunchyroll isn’t foreign to them. Based on the anime series Bungo Stray Dogs, Crunchyroll Games brings an interesting turn-based RPG sort of game that spans from the series in story which is structured something like a bubble shooter concept where for each turn, you launch a marble to break as many colorful circles as possible to create more damage. They can add up for your characters to throw some heavy blows and group powers for maximum damage. There is a choice to add in other players whether friends or strangers to boost up the team. This game does have a bit of a blurry sort of concept as its a lot of trial and error and trying the best to strategize how to move along. The story mode is unlocked with achieving different goals, not only within the story but also within the multiple events and battles. Its an interesting game to say the least and for anime fans, this one has some nice design and character design as well.

Score: 3.5/5

Tiny Bubbles (Pine Street Codeworks)

Tiny Bubbles

Tiny Bubbles uses the concept of soap bubbles to create each of their puzzles. Packed with different tools and colorful bubbles, it is a match-3 sort of puzzle to pop all the bubbles while different abilities unlock so that they can do something to the edges to mix colors or change the structure the puzzle. There is a good level of strategy to figure out. Plus, there is over 170 free levels in the game to start. There are various game modes: puzzle, arcade and infinity. Packed with ambient music to create a relaxing puzzle experience and some cute aquatic creatures as the game goes along, Tiny Bubbles is an innovative game that packs some mind-boggling puzzles with outstanding game physics. Not only that but they also add in a color-blind mode to make it even more accessible.

Score: 4/5

That’s it for this mobile games roundup!
What have you been playing on the go?
Share it in the comments below

Mobile Games Roundup – January 2019

Its a new year and another new batch of games to discover. Some are new concepts and some have cool twists on the genre and there’s another retro game reboot/port to mobile. Lots to discover on the go!

Here’s the January 2019 Mobile Game Roundup!

Stranger Cases (Snapbreak)

Strange Cases

Stranger Cases is a fun little puzzle escape room game. It has some point and click features and delivers a pretty nice narrative as the detective goes through the different sections to reach the final room at the top. Every room he gets into is a series of puzzles to unlock to the next area. There is a lot of clever use of environment here. There is this quirky and colorful backdrop which makes this game very fun.  Not to mention the art style is also unique and nice. What makes it less fun is that half the game is free so it is free but to finish the game requires you to purchase it. A popular strategy from a lot of mobile developers, it would seem in recent gaming experiences. At least one other game in this mobile game roundup has that. It puts a sour taste because the game would otherwise be great and one that anyone would gladly pay a few dollars to purchase from the start.

Score: 3.5/5

Lyrica (Han Chuang Culture and Art)

Lyrica

Lyrica is a Taiwanese rhythm game. It uses the Chinese poems to unlock different stories and also uses primarily Chinese music  with a few Japanese songs as well. Other than engaging music and well suited storyline, it reveals a look at the Chinese culture, an effort that is important as video games are a great outlet to share different cultures as many games are doing nowadays. Lyrica also works very well in terms of its rhythm nature. There are some tough parts especially as the levels get more difficult and definitely is more suitable to play with the mobile device on a flat surface. There is a beautiful artwork which shares the story and the stories each are written well. However, this one also suffers from the trick of offering a few parts free and then to unlock the rest of the game is a purchase.

Score: 4/5

Don’t Trip (Noodlecake Studios)

Don't Trip

Don’t Trip is a simple game and uniquely designed for the mobile experience because any other screen would be too big or not work as well. How the game works is that you press with your thumbs to mimic the shoes and then to move, you rotate the screen. It is a pretty innovative way to game and as it gets further, there are more things to avoid. For that, it can be entertaining for the casual gamer of almost all ages because it is so simple to learn.

Score: 4/5

Blood Runs Cold (Bigpoint)

Blood Runs Cold

Investigation, mystery and hidden objects is what Blood Runs Cold is. It is primarily a hidden objects game and after each mission it unlocks the story further. The story itself is decent as well. This one has an energy bar which limits the gaming duration however also gives side missions that both advance a working relationship with whoever the character is helping while progressing the storyline and gaining in-game currency to proceed. This execution works. However, Blood Runs Cold is pretty much on rails. Every moment is calculated so even the obligated side missions are all part of the story itself.

Score: 3/5

Lemmings (Sad Puppy Limited)

LemmingsLemmings is a classic game that works so well since its first release and holds a dear place in a lot of gamers. Its cute and cruel and full of puzzles that increase in difficulty at a gradual pace. Porting it to mobile devices added in 3D design for the Lemmings but also an advance of bring alive different worlds while going through different puzzles. The execution of how to use the Lemmings becomes pretty easy to grasp as many things can be anticipated in advance which truly helps. At the same time, there is a fast forward motion and the levels move through different environments. The translation to mobile is a successful one in comparison to the original. The only thing that might turn some people from the game is the energy bar that now exists which limits the gaming in bulk. Its some things to consider but overall, this is a very competent and enjoyable remake of Lemmings suitable for the mobile device.

Score: 4/5

This wraps up the mobile game roundup for January 2019! Have you tried any of these games? What games have you been playing on the go or would recommend to us?

December 2018 Mobile Games Round-up

2018 has come to an end. The last month has brought forward a lot of awards from the big The Game Awards to the lesser one, the Google Play Awards. With those selected games winning in the latter one, we managed to try out a few of them. Without further ado, here is the December 2018 Mobile Games Round-Up!

Candy Crush Friends Saga (King)

candy crush friends saga

It has been a good decade (if not more) since Candy Crush made its appearance and swept through a new wave of love and adoration. Since then, it has had a few twists on the concept and new games from this gaming company, King. The latest one is Candy Crush Saga Friends which essentially uses the same Match-3 puzzle concept but adds in other characters to go through their different quests in different levels and each have their own power-up that aids in accomplishing the puzzle goal within the limited amount of moves. Candy Crush always brought colorful joy with its sweet ideas (pun intended) and its quirky characters and this one delivers even more on that level. The characters get to unlock more skins which has their own bonuses. The game has  lot of little treasures and bonuses to have and daily goals. It doesn’t feel too different from other Match-3 games but somehow this Candy Crush world never seems to get old. Its this colorful and happy world perhaps that seems to always have this addictive quality to it.

Score: 4/5

Orbia: Tap and Relax (Jox Development LLC)

orbia

Orbia is a casual arcade game where you play as a little orb which you tap to move from one spot to the next as you time to avoid the enemy pieces obstructing the path. It is about focus and timing. There is currently 700 levels to its Mountains section, 500 levels in its Pyramids Section and a new section is in development while another one is unlocked as a reward for connecting to Facebook. This type of game is ripe for on the go mobile gamers because its a one touch control but also has a little more depth as certain quests achieved (which usually consists of making it to a certain level will unlock new skins which will give a different bonus or boost. It is also very cute to see in a Badlands sort of way which is a plus in its visual aspects.

Score: 4.5/5

Faraway 3: Arctic Escape (Pine Studio/Snapbreak)

faraway 3 arctic escape

While we have looked at Faraway and Faraway 2: Jungle Escape in full reviews, Faraway 3: Arctic Escape is generally the same concept. It takes it to an Arctic snow zone setting. The goal of the game is maneuver and solve puzzles to unlock the door in each level in over to be transported to the next level. There are a few twists in the puzzles we usually see in this third instalment. The story still has notes scattered about which are more or less not too coherent. For fans of the games, it is still a clever addition to the Faraway series. Half the game is available for free and the second half has to be paid to unlocked just like its previous installments.

Score: 3.5/5

Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment/Square Enix)

Life is Strange

Life is Strange has been around for a few years and has landed on all platforms. While we’ve previously reviewed Life is Strange on consoles, this year’s Google Play Awards gave it recognition for innovative on how the game transfers smoothly to mobile devices. With that said, it was inevitable to give this game that the Game Warp team loves a go. The first episode is available for free and it is also the episode that was played for this review.

What works here is the flexibility for movement, you have a choice at the beginning on whether to tap to move or use an on screen joystick. Having those options are great. The graphics also transfer very well. The game did crash out once in the first loading screens however the game in general still feels very much as immersive as on console with the choices also being easy to navigate. The only thing here that became quite a hassle was moving around during time travel moments which took some getting used to. Other than that, Life is Strange for mobile devices does translate well enough plus it always great to have more ways to let others experience the fantastic world of Arcadia Bay and its characters.

Score: 4/5

Murder in the Alps (Nordcurrent)

murder in the alps

Graphic novel narrative, voice over for its characters, hidden objects and puzzles with mini games gameplay: Murder in the Alps creates a great balance. The only catch is that it work on accumulated energy. While it doesn’t show how much energy is used for each movement, it does feel like everything costs some level of energy. However, there are collectibles and achievements which also earn energy as well as walking away and giving it time will build up the energy meter again. Aside from that which prevents from sitting down and playing through the game in one sitting (unless you want to pay), the game itself has a lot of polished aspects, be it the graphic novel art style and conversational narrative or voice over for everything. Plus it has the perks of not being solely hidden objects game but has other puzzles and mini games which also gives it some depth and variety in  gameplay.

Score: 4.5/5

This wraps up the December mobile games roundup. What have you been playing on the go? Share it in the comments below.

November Mobile Games Round-up

2018 is almost coming to the end. Before we step into the holiday season month, here are some quick thoughts on the mobile games we played in November 2018.

Solitaire: Cooking Tower – Sticky Hands Inc.

solitaire: cooking tower

Solitaire is a game that most people who owned a computer from decades ago would be familiar with more or less. Of course, before it was a thing for PC, it also is one played with actual real cards and a game suitable for those to play solo. Solitaire: Cooking Tower takes the solitaire formula and adds in some effects of the wins which accumulate coins that unlock different menus in our restaurant. There are little almanacs and decks to unlock. The game itself is fairly easy with the one card dealing solitaire and different decks have some added benefits. The game itself is colorful and has some joyful music. While the cooking tower portion feels more like an afterthought to give this game an illusion of more than a popular card game, it still ticks the boxes for a quick and relaxing match on the go.

Score: 3/5

Piffle – Hipster Whale

Piffle

Similar to games we looked at before like Shark Pool , Piffle is an arcade game that revolves around shooting piffle balls into different blocks to clear the dropping board. Set as a cute game with our main character dressed in a cat costume and the piffle balls are little round cats that makes meowing sounds when it diminishes blocks with customizable elements, this game also focuses on increasing the difficulty by not only having a numeric value increase in the blocks but also introduces different types of blocks, different elements on the board to pick up as a boost and also power ups for the piffle balls or character to help throughout. Well thought out and a nice twist on a familiar games style and design makes this one stand out. Its addictive, challenging and cute. What more could you ask for?

Score: 4.5/5

Scriptum – Adver2Play

Scriptum

With the more frequent appearance of games using augmentative reality in mobile games and the increasing hit of real escape rooms, Scriptum attempts to transform your own room into an escape room via the screen of your mobile device. The idea is absolutely a great one. However, in its execution, at times it still leaves a bit to be desired and that lies simply in polishing out the buggy bits particularly in the room transformation and the fall back to reality to rescan and the timed session not stopping. There still some issues with interacting with some clues as well. However, the puzzles themselves aren’t too far-fetched and have a satisfying level of challenge. In time, when these bugs are polished with a few more bugs (maybe they have as I played an earlier version in October), this could be a fun 15 minute session to enjoy. Just remember to clear out a “3×3 diaphaneous area” as specified in their game description and the setup is fairly simple and hassle-free (when it all works). There is only one room escape puzzle so its a 15 minute sessions which feels like a nice way to test the waters and polish up this AR room escape concept.

Score: 3.5/5

Bunnymare: Circus Escape – Hybrid Humans

bunnymare

At first look, Bunnymare is a cute puzzle game. It uses a bunny trapped at the circus that needs to navigate through the ever changing stage to get each of the candies scattered in the order specified and then get to the ending hat. There are various bunnies to use. There are dangers to avoid. You can put up walls to avoid obstacles and there are also moving platforms. While the setting itself and in turn, the puzzles designed are the heart of the game, it is this cute style that makes this one so charming to play. The puzzles itself aren’t especially complicated but the difficulty does get more complex as the stage gets further. The first few levels are set to reveal new elements one by one. It requires both reflexes and fast thinking to put certain plans into action and a decent level of pre-planning or simply trial and error to find the solution.

Score: 3.5/5

Tomb of the Mask – Playgendary

tomb of the mask

Tomb of the Mask is an infinite procedurally generated vertical labyrinth arcade game. Packed simple levels full of traps and enemies as well as power-ups, it gives this game some interesting twists. The procedurally generated elements gives this game a freshness as the level of difficulties has not specific flow. However, the labyrinth outlines and the collecting coins and power-ups in a certain trajectory to navigate cleverly through is all part of moving from one stage to the next in this game. It is simple concept but with enough twists to keep it interesting. Plus, the levels also generate chests which can offer in-game currency of coins collected which can in turn be used to unlock power-ups as well. In-game currency is always a good option especially for those getting free games and not wanting to spend more on in-game purchases to move forward.

Score: 4/5

This wraps up November’s Mobile Game Round-up. These fives games each have their differences and dive into a different genre and experience.

What have you been playing on the go? Share it in the comments below.