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No GravatarToday at the Apple press event, Shigeru Miyamoto showed up to announced Super Mario Run. An Endless Runner game for ios. This is the next officially announced Nintendo mobile game after animal crossing, fire emblem and miitomo.

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Jungle Rumble Mofongo Tribe monkey

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An epic quest for freedom, happiness, and bananas. This is just a short sum of Disco Pixel’s first upcoming mobile game Jungle Rumble. Disco Pixel is the creation of Trevor Stricker, a video game industry veteran who decided to use his talent to create fun, one of a kind games. Jungle Rumble is still in development and will be released in October, but I was able to have the chance to play a demo of the game before its official release.

Jungle Rumble

The synopsis of the game is as follow. You are a spirit that helps monkeys in the Mofongo tribe and one day the monkeys find that another tribe has arrived in their jungle. The Mofongo tribe relies on the bananas the jungle provides to survive and the other tribe eats those same bananas. Because their carrying capacity will be reduced due to the threat of this new interspecific competition, the Mofongo tribe engages in war against the newcomers for the sake of survival. Your job is to help them beat the enemy tribe.

I love Jungle Rumble because it’s the first game that’s required me to strategize my next move while maintaining focus on my actions in a long time, making it a very intellectually satisfying game. This comes from how the game is played. Jungle Rumble is a rhythm based game that has you match your screen taps to the beat of the background music to move monkeys from one branch to another and have them throw coconuts at the enemy. Once you reach a certain point in the game, you will be able to move multiple monkeys as one unit and have all of them throw coconuts together to knock out enemy packs or move around the tree knocking out every monkey one by one without having to come back to the specific branch with coconuts to collect more. This ability however presents a challenge, to maintain the pack together you have to maintain the beat of the background music without stopping and time your transitions right so the enemy doesn’t go to your branch and knock out your allies or throw coconuts at an empty branch and lose the unit. As the game progresses the beat become tiny bit by tiny bit faster and the layout of every level presents a new challenge.

Jungle Rumble art

Combine this unique gameplay with the stellar, colorful graphics seen and you’ve got the mobile game serious gamers have been waiting for. I am looking forward to the game’s release and with this preview of what’s to come, I wonder about what the studio will do to improve upon the game and what later stages may look like. All in all, I think Disco Pixel has the next big hit in mobile gaming.

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  The type of game that keeps you entertained for hours. EA’s Tetris Blitz takes an already addictive game and adds a  fun new twist. I played for an hour without even realizing where the time had gone. Swipe controls make it faster and easier for mobile game players to enjoy this 80s classic.

A two minute time frame to snatch as many points as possible. Similar to Bejeweled, you gain points per line that you complete. Power-ups can be bought with coins you receive based on your overall score or they can be purchased. The more power ups you use the higher your score will be. Some cool power ups include a cascade of Tetris blocks, known as minos that drop to fill in gaps or one that swipes all minos to the one side of the screen.

blitz1

By forming lines you fill up a frenzy bar at the bottom of your screen. Once you fill the bar you go into Frenzy mode which is like a bonus round where cascades of blocks form huge combos and lines are worth double the points. This is where you will get the most points for your overall score.

Like most iOS games it often feels like a money grab. You have to pay gold coins every 2 minute game, to buy power-ups and upgrades, to spin a wheel to win random prizes alongside with many ads and prompts to share with your friends on Facebook. With one single game mode that ends so fast, the price for coins even after even being given many during the game doesn’t quite seem fair and you do run out quickly.

If you can soldier through the obvious need to snatch at your wallet you will find that the game is very entertaining and includes great graphics along with new renditions of the original themes. Not  exactly the classic game itself, Tetris Blitz offers a fun, on-the-go, easy to play mini game for anyone who loves a good round of Tetris.

Brandmania landscape

No GravatarBrandmania: Hidden Objects

This game in an interesting tidbit. Imagine playing the old find hidden objects book I Spy except that it doesn’t tell you exactly what you need to find and all the objects are related to famous companies and you’ve got Brandmania. You’re a detective of some form that has to find escaped logos and trademarks that have gone on a riot (I don’t get it either) in cities all over the world. At first it took me forever to figure out where some of these hidden trademarks are, which doesn’t mean the game itself is bad, it just means I fail as an American consumer.

Brandmania landscape

Capitalism. Also the only thing I recognized on sight was the hidden Xbox logo.

With every city you get a scenery full of references to well known companies (like a guy with a book on his face for Facebook) and all you have to do is match something in the scenery to the brand you have to find, if you can’t find it at the moment you can switch to another. The game depends on a battery to smoothly keep on going, and to charge it you have to find hidden objects, switching between brands too many times and using too many hints lowers the battery. Between games you will be taken to a scene filled with regular objects to “recharge” your battery, it’s exactly like playing a regular game of I Spy.

This is not a complete game and to keep playing the other stages have to be bought, whether or not you do after the initial amusement is up to you. I can’t be bothered to buy a game that might as well be free considering it’s basically free advertisement.

4/5

 

Motorcycle Bike Race Fire Chase – Pro Racing Edition

This game is pretty annoying. You’re basically controlling a motorcycle with an invisible driver running away from an invisible fire you can only keep track of with a meter stick of how far away your motorcycle is from said fire the motorcycle keeps getting closer to. And that’s the biggest problem.

The game has multiple hills, to advance every time you go down the hill you’re supposed to tap the screen to speed up the motorcycle, because hitting the gas pedal is a bad idea when you head uphill since the bike gets incredible momentum from the downhill dive. Well if you perform this correctly you should be in midair, and here’s the real challenge: take the nosedive at the correct time, hitting downhill should propel you in midair again, hitting the middle or uphill, which is often unavoidable, results in you slowing down and getting closer to the fire.

That would be completely fine if you could actually get away from the fire, I went past many many hills after several mighty jumps, and I didn’t get a smidge bit farther from where I currently was with the fire. Yet, land in the wrong way and I end up closer after a half second halt. It’s challenging and becomes a quest to become more accurate, but after a while you begin wondering what else you could be doing with your time.

Motorcycle Bike Chase main screen

You know, since on the opening screen the motorcycle is on fire the entire game might just be a metaphor from how you can’t run away from the fire considering you’re fated to stay stuck on the same level. And the fire is symbolism for how bad this game is.

It’s like the game was purposely made to make you buy the motorcycles you can’t unlock until you buy them by making whatever progress the default motorcycle accomplishes insignificant. Throw in annoying repetitions of the messages “BOTTOM OUT!” every time you don’t land and “BIG FAT AIR!” after many good jumps and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

1.5/5

 

PuffOut

This is a very simple game made to pass some time. You move a fish in order to keep him away from three puffer fishes bouncing around the screen. The goal is to keep him from getting popped by avoiding the puffer fishes as long as possible. The challenge is they keep bouncing at ever increasing pace, occasionally slowing down, and they randomly puff up. Items like starfishes and lifesavers pop up and depending on the item give you additional seconds.

PuffOut gameplay

The biggest challenge to me is the screen only gives so much space, and because this is a very simple see how long you can last game there’s less engagement than more complex games that operate on survival like Jungle Run. Other than that the game is a decent way to pass time if you’re on the go, just turn off the volume and listen to some of your music.

3/5

 

Cpt. Backwater

This is a game made to exercise your mind without you noticing. You have to match items in closed chambers with every level revealing new obstacles like wormholes (I believe) and bombs that need to be set off during specific times.

In terms of progress, the game performs splendidly. Every level seems to get subtly harder as you go along and levels eventually need to get unlocked with coins and bananas you earn during gameplay. It is a demanding game, but not unreasonable.

Cpt. Backwater gameplay

For a simple game, it also has decent and graphics that go easy on the eyes. As a pirate themed game it also does a splendid job with sticking to its theme and remind you you’re out for booty! With 100 levels you’ll be able to enjoy the game for a long time. I’d say this is an app everyone needs to have.

5/5

By otakuman5000 On 21 Aug, 2011 At 10:22 PM | Categorized As Featured, Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWell this is kind of cool.  I am doing my first IPhone game review about a company’s first game… ever.  Wonder if this will lead to anything in the future?  Who knows.  Anyway, Baby Monkey, a game for the IPhone and IPad, was released this month by Kihon games.  The game promises buyers a fun game with varying levels, great game play, and catchy music.  Is this beginning company’s first game a home run or is it a is it a flop that should be forgotten?

 

The concept of Baby Monkey is you are a baby monkey riding backwards on a pig, for some unexplained reason, and your job is to bash through walls, eggs, and sandcastles while collecting bananas to rack up points.  Sounds like fun right?  Well…  all this game amounts to is watching a baby monkey ride on a pig continuously. The infinite level is only varied occasionally when you have either the monkey or the pig jump up to avoid an obstacle or a grab banana.  However, your ability to actually accomplish these goals is hindered because Baby Monkey relies on two artificial buttons to cause the pig or monkey to jump.  I do not know what it is but every IPhone game I have played that used artificial buttons ended up being a waste of time due to dodgy detection.  The same is true here, as you will often press the button with ample time to spare only for the little monkey to be flung off the pig in a not too horrendous fashion leaving you to return to the start of the endless level.  This bad detection might just be because Kihon is still figuring out a few issues with coding or something else so it can be forgiven.  However, this dodgy detection and a few other issues does make the game frustrating to play.  For example if you miss a slightly browned banana, just go ahead and quit.  Browned bananas act as a catalyst of sorts, which causes your pig to suddenly gain star power, I am not kidding here, and smash through several obstacles in a row.  If you fail to catch the brown banana, you will be unable to make it through the five or six obstacles without your monkey being flung off the pig like some furry cowboy off a bull.

“But what about this varying level thing,” I hear you asking, “Surely with an ever changing scenery like they promise on the game’s description even just a continuous running game might be fun.”  Well, I am sure a set of different levels with different obstacles would have made the game more interesting.  However in this aspect, Kihon has dropped the ball.  You start off with fences and pumpkins to jump over, which suddenly change to cactus and campfires, which change to beach balls and sandcastles, which change to Easter eggs.  This friends is not varying levels.  This bad attempt at variety just gives the game an atmosphere that some random pig and monkey are trying to escape and just off screen is a prop moving van which is low on gas so some handy men are throwing out props so the driver can make it to the nearest gas station.  Again, this is Kihon’s first game so maybe the budget just was not there to give the game actual variety such as different levels with diverse enemies or obstacles to dodge with varying levels of difficulty.

 

However you can only forgive so much.  The song for Baby Monkey is grating on the mind.  The song was actually made by Parry Gripp, the person behind the infamous Nom Now Song.  I do not know what happened, but between the time of the Now Song and this he must have lost the “Catchy Song” gene.  The Baby Monkey song is, in my opinion, terrible.  It resorts to the Duel Master’s theme trick that if you say something a lot people will start to like it.  “Baby Monkey” takes up about 75 percent of the songs lyrics with the rest being filled in by mostly random phrases.  For example, “The world has gone insane.”  How exactly has the world gone insane?  It is a monkey on a pig!  What does that have to do with anything else? This combined with the fact that while you are playing, this song is on a continuous loop makes the song almost as annoying as “The Song that Never Ends.”

To sum things up, Baby Monkey is not the greatest game.  Its gameplay is boring, repetitive, and frustrating, its variety is false, and its song is maddening.  If you are really curious about what this game is about, look at the promotional video below.  If you like the game then get it.  It is a good game to have on hand to entertain your child or when you have a few seconds to kill.  Plus if you do buy Baby Monkey, you can help Kihon games along so they can start to make some better games.

By otakuman5000 On 25 Jul, 2011 At 09:36 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Conventions, Featured, News | With 1 Comment

No GravatarNo iPad, no problem: now read VIZ Media manga on your computer or your Android-powered phone.

Since October, 2010, VIZ Media has been adding titles to it’s iPad manga app, and in the last few months expanded to the iPod and iPhone. While a great step in legal digital manga, this still left people without an Apple device, well, empty-handed.

Read VIZ manga on your home computer.

Not any more. At the company’s panel at 2011’s San Diego Comic Con, VIZ Media announced the creation of VizManga.com. This website gives manga fans access to the same books from the 40 different series found on the iPad and iPod apps, like Naruto, Bleach and Ouran High School Host Club. The manga is also available at at the same price (generally $4.99 a book). Buying manga on one device also allows you access on all the others, so any manga bought on your computer or Android phone can also be read on the iPad, at no extra charge.

The first chapter of every series is available for preview before purchase. But to celebrate the new website, and to help get you hooked, VIZ Media is also offering every volume 1 manga title at 40% off, making most of them only $2.99 a book through July 31.

Read the press release below for more details.

Newest books on VIZ's online manga site.

VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES VIZMANGA.COM

Extension of VIZ Media’s Digital Platform Expands Manga Audience to All Web Users in U.S. and Canada 

San Francisco and San Diego, CA, July 22, 2011 – VIZ Media, the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in the North America, announced the launch of VIZManga.com at their 25th Anniversary Party last night in San Diego during the annual Comic-Con International convention.  The website joins VIZ Media’s existing digital manga platform and launched with 40 series currently available on the VIZ MANGA App for iOS devices, including the wildly popular titles NARUTO, BLEACH, BLUE EXORCIST, OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB and VAMPIRE KNIGHT. With this expansion of the platform, fans can browse and access their digital manga from VIZManga.com and through the VIZ Manga Apps for the iPad™ and iPhone™/iPod™ touch. With one account, registered users will be able to view their purchases across even more devices than ever.

“Our digital publishing team wants manga to be available to as many fans as possible, no matter what device or digital experience people prefer,” said Brian Piech, Vice President, Digital Publishing.  “Making our extensive library of the best titles direct from Japan available on VIZManga.com is a natural extension of our current VIZ MANGA apps available on all iOS devices. One purchase can now be read across multiple devices.”

VIZ Media’s digital manga platform allows for universal access for fans from their iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or now, VIZManga.com. Pricing for manga titles on the web will be identical to the VIZ MANGA app. The first chapter of all manga titles will be available as a free preview. Through July 31st, all Volume 1 manga titles will be 40% off.

The VIZ Media digital platform now has an online destination for reading manga on desktop/laptop computers and on Android-powered devices with built-in web browsers. The VIZ Manga App continues to be the top app for reading manga on iOS devices and features a rapidly growing library of the most popular manga series in the world, currently offering 40 series and over 300 volumes, with new additions and free Chapter 1 previews added weekly.

For more information, visit http://www.VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

 

By otakuman5000 On 4 May, 2011 At 02:59 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News | With 1 Comment

No GravatarNow you can take Viz Manga titles on the go with new iPhone and iPod Touch applications.

Naruto manga and more on iPhone and iPod Touch.

On May 2, 2011 VIZ Media, LLC released their VIZ Manga App for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Originally only available on the iPad, this free application allows users to purchase from a catalog of 28 series (almost 200 volumes) and read the comics on their Apple device. For those who have already been using the app on their iPad, both applications are compatible, allowing you to read manga you’ve purchased on either device. The application can be downloaded through iTunes.

VIZ Media is also have a special promotion until May 9th, where select volume 1 titles will sell for only $2.99. Other manga volumes will sell at the regular price of $4.99, half the price of a physical copy.

The manga selection on the application has ranged between Shonen Jump titles (Naruto, One Piece) and Shojo Beat titles (Ouran High School Host Club, Otomen) but Publisher’s Weekly also reports that VIZ Media has released two titles from their SigIKKI line, an imprint of manga for older fans: House of Five Leaves and not simple, both by Natsume Ono.

View full page or individual panels.

This is also the fourth version of the app, and gives readers improved functions such as storage and bookmarking, as well as notifications so readers know when the next volume of a series is available.

By otakuman5000 On 13 Nov, 2010 At 05:58 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO | With 0 Comments

No GravatarIt’s simple to say that playing BIT.TRIP BEAT is pretty much like playing Pong mixed with a rhythm game, but don’t let that fool you. Once you start playing BIT.TRIP BEAT it’s hard to stop playing – that is, unless you stop playing out of frustration.

BIT.TRIP BEAT was first released on the Nintendo Wii in 2009 as WiiWare which slowly made it’s way to the iPhone this year as well as popping up on Steam so Mac and PC users can get in on the fun as well.

Gameplay is where the magic begins. You control a paddle (with your accelerometer mouse or WiiMote respectively), which you have to strike back incoming squares. Sounds easy right? Wrong! You have to hit them to the 8-bit rhythm if you want to increase your score. You may want to have a bit of concentration because they come flying at you sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

It’s a simple game that is easy for people of all ages to pick up even if you’re horrible at it. When it comes down to it, you’re still going to need quick reflexes, even on easy mode. The difficulty is ridiculous.  You’ll be batting away a few blocks to almost a full screen of squares that need to be paddled. Don’t get discouraged; you will have fun either way.

BIT.TRIP BEAT is composed of three stages. If you lose somewhere down the line, you will have to start over from the beginning. Each stage has its own boss that you have to beat. They can be a bit tricky at first, but once you figure out their “tune” you’ll do just fine.

While being bombarded by musical squares, the visuals in the background of the game are cute and superb. They may sometimes take your concentration away from the game, which isn’t very good, but it’s inevitable. Besides, you’re going to need all the concentration you can get.

From the WiiWare version, the PC version has been greatly upscaled and looks amazing with crisp visuals.

BIT.TRIP BEAT’s music is very 8-bit chiptune and is co catchy that it will keep you playing over and over.

It’ll be pretty obvious but playing BIT.TRIP BEAT is better on the PC in opposed to the Wii and iPhone version only because of the fact that you have more control when using a mouse. In the iPhone version, you have to use the iPhone’s accelerometer to move the paddle and sometimes it feels like it just doesn’t cut it.

The Steam and iPhone version of the game contain achievements that give the player something to work towards. You’re probably not going to get the achievement for chaining together 500 beats on your first try.

BIT.TRIP BEAT is available on Steam for $9.99, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad for $1.99 while the WiiWare version goes for 600 Nintendo Points.

Oh, and if you’re prone to seizures, you probably don’t want to play this game. There’s a lot of flashing lights.