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Space shooters have a long standing history in video gaming.  Space Invaders (1978), the granddaddy of all space shooters has been cloned, knocked-off, remade, rehashed and otherwise butchered hundreds if not thousands of times in the last 35+ years.  Even the more “golden age” venerable shooters like Galaga (1982) and Gyruss (1983) owe their heritage to the almighty Space Invaders.

The game reviewed below, Kosmik Revenge, also owes a debt to the might alien blaster of old. But being “first” doesn’t mean being “best”.

Space Invaders nearly enslaved a generation of Baby Boomers and GenXers, but time moves on and games evolve. (more…)

The Verdict

8.3Great

The Good: Gorgeous Graphics | Fun, Fast Arcade Action | No IAP/Good pricing | Real Physical Controls | Good Dev Response

The Bad: Collision detection is a bit iffy at times | Has far more potential than is executed | Confusing multiple social network connectivity

With a pretty big initial sticker price of $300, the NVidia Shield handheld entertainment system was pretty much outside the hands of mere mortals. I remember being against the device when it initially came out; citing a small screen, price and other issues as prohibitive factors. However, I did go on record as saying that when the price dropped enough, I’d be interested.

The price dropped. I was interested – and yes, I even purchased. Now that I’ve had the unit long enough to put it through its paces, I’m ready to review it proper for you.

In part 3, we’re going to look at the system’s heralded feature; the ability to stream PC games from either the cloud or your own PC. (more…)

The Verdict

7.9Good

The Good: If you have the hardware already and you don’t mind Steam or a little work? You’re covered.

The Bad: Entry price could get spendy and you seemingly can’t get away from Steam

“Trap is Teleporter. Contents is Full Party Heal.” You stare at the screen, contemplating your next move. Things haven’t gone well up to this point. That skeleton a few fights back got in some lucky hits and did your strongest Fighter in and the chest you came across that was trapped with a Priest Blaster ended up turning your healer into stone. Hit points are low across the party and it’s a long way back to the maze entrance. Oh, and don’t forget: the area you’re currently in is cast in pitch darkness and your Wizard is fresh out of magic points for her mapping and direction spells. That full party heal is looking mighty tempting right about now and you don’t know how else you’re going to make it back so you go ahead and have your Thief try to disarm that teleport trap. He’s usually good at these things, right? Well one unlucky dice roll later and your entire party ends up teleported into a wall of solid rock. Game over. Welcome to the old school, kids. Welcome to Wandroid. (more…)

The Verdict

8.0Great

The Good: Faithful recreation of a classic series|Challenging and rewarding gameplay|Excellent value

The Bad: Sub-par translation makes an already obtuse game even more challenging for newcomers|Important systems not fully explained|Does not lend itself well to on-the-go play

With a pretty big initial sticker price of $300, the NVidia Shield handheld entertainment system was pretty much outside the hands of mere mortals.  I remember being against the device when it initially came out; citing a small screen, price and other issues as  prohibitive factors.  However, I did go on record as saying that when the price dropped enough, I’d be interested.

The price dropped.  I was interested – and yes, I even purchased.  Now that I’ve had the unit long enough to put it through its paces, I’m ready to review it proper for you.

In part 2, we’re going to look at the system software and what does or does not set it apart from other Android type gaming devices.
(more…)

The Verdict

9.7Amazing

The Good: Insane Touch Mapping | Full Google Play and Apps | Near Pure Android KitKat OS | Console Mode flawlessly executed

The Bad: Some Google and NVidia “bloatware” | KitKat makes some waves using MIcroSD Cards

With a pretty big initial sticker price of $300, the NVidia Shield handheld entertainment system was pretty much outside the hands of mere mortals.  I remember being against the device when it initially came out; citing a small screen, price and other issues as  prohibitive factors.  However, I did go on record as saying that when the price dropped enough, I’d be interested.

The price dropped.  I was interested – and yes, I even purchased.  Now that I’ve had the unit long enough to put it through its paces, I’m ready to review it proper for you.

Strap in – this is going to be a wild ride…
(more…)

The Verdict

9.2Amazing

The Good: Amazing hardware | Great controller | Gorgeous Screen

The Bad: Shoulder buttons aren’t super great | D-Pad Diagonals Feel A Little Funny

I’ve talked extensively about emulation in the .EMU emulators article and subsequently even looked at other emulators like reicast, the Dreamcast emulator and C64.EMU, the Commodore 64 emulator.  Thanks to top quality physical controllers like the Nyko Playpad - we are no longer forced to play our classic favorites with horrid touch screen D-Pads.

The great thing about emulation is that it doesn’t matter what retro system you loved or what classic era of gaming you were born into; there are emulators for just about every console, handheld and computer out there (within reason of course).  I was personally around when home console gaming was all about chasing the games at the local arcade.  The  accuracy of the ports made all the difference; in graphics, sound and implementation.  Without a doubt, the game console that was first able to really capture the arcade experience at home was Colecovision. (more…)

The Verdict

9.1Amazing

The Good: Fast | Compatible | Frequent Updates | Full Paid Version Available | Fast Developer Response | Supports Wide Range Of Physical Controllers | Save States | External BIOS Support | Net Play($)

The Bad: UI might not rub everyone right | Initial issues may plague certain users until ironed out | Nags and Reduced Functionality in the Free Version

Sometimes you run across a game that is so simple sounding that you don’t even want to install it.  Easy to dismiss by looking at screenshots, Threes is a game about – well, making threes … and multiples of threes.  Could there really be anything fun about sliding numbered blocks around a screen and making them into pairs of multiples of threes?  Sounds like work … and math.  Who wants to do math when they are gaming?

Fortunately, Threes isn’t a mindless box shuffle but rather a tight, well-designed game that has “greed” (the good kind) written all over it.  And that works for me. (more…)

The Verdict

9.5Amazing

The Good: Insanely addictive | Fantastic score chaser | Simple and clean but polished | Heavy time eater but in small chunks | No Smurfberries or IAP

The Bad: Won’t click with everyone | May appear too simple | Score Attack Puzzler “High” drops off when your friends stop playing it | People will complain that it isn’t free

Let’s start this off by saying I’m not an “endless runner” fan.  I tend to prefer games where I can better control my destiny than with a single button click.  Mediocre’s Smash Hit er .. smashes the mold of endless runners by making it gorgeous, enveloping and occasionally frighteningly difficult.

(more…)

The Verdict

9.6Amazing

The Good: Extremely addictive | Simple, Elegant Graphics | Fantastic polished presentation | Incredibly Fair IAP | Leaderboards & Clever Achievements

The Bad: Difficulty ramps up quickly | Endless running isn’t for everyone | Can’t restart from checkpoints without unlocking

Writing reviews for addictive games is hard.  Mostly because I have to stop playing them long enough to write the review.  There are some games that are instantly addictive in their simplicity while others require you to peel back some layers of the gaming “onion” to really get to what makes the game so great.  Occasionally, you get a game that not only instantly hooks you, but gets more addictive as you figure out the deeper nuances of the game.  The movie WarGames inspired game W.O.P.R. (my review) very much fit that mold and I’m extremely happy to find another gem in the Android gaming arena with Chip Chain.

(more…)

The Verdict

9.5Amazing

The Good: Almost Criminally Addictive | Casual playable but with deep strategy | Fair and balanced IAP | Full Leaderboard and Acheivements | Responsive Developers

The Bad: No cloud profile saving | IAP could be better explained | Purchases could slant advantage in Leaderboard competition

Every now and then a game comes along that pretty much does everything right (Nimble Quest comes to mind – and there are a LOT of similarities to that game to be found here).  Even more rare to find are games that cater to a wide, diverse audience.  For the trifecta, you need to add “spouse and kid friendly” to the mix.

Amazingly enough, Spell Quest manages to achieve the trifecta, takes it a step further – and presents it all wrapped up in a gorgeous gift box with an elegant bow around it.

The RPG + “insert board/slot/pachinko/card/etc  game here” is certainly no new concept.  In fact, it’s almost been done to death (if you’ll pardon the pun).  In fact, this isn’t even the first “RPG + Scrabble” game we’ve seen on the Android platform.  Fortunately, Spell Quest does the genre right while not annoying you with gruesome IAP or smurfberries.

(more…)

The Verdict

8.9Great

The Good: Completely accessible to everyone | Amazingly addictive | Top quality polish and presentation | Low impact IAP

The Bad: Still has IAP | Might be a bit hard to play on small phones