Thursday
Sep152016

Rooms of Doom

 

Rooms of Doom an iOS game from Yodo Games that puts you in the role of genetic experiments that are forced to survive room after room for a mad scientist looking for the perfect minion to help with his mission of taking over the world.

The rooms you will face all have a unique aspect to them that will cause you to utilize the tap mechanism in different ways. In some rooms tapping is needed to jump, in others it is needed to swim, and in others still it is used to close your parachute to dodge fireballs. Each time you successfully survive 3 rooms you will see an increase in the speed and difficulty, have no fear though, you will also get a bonus room that if you get through you will have access to lots of coins.

You see, you were not meant to immediately beat the labyrinth set in front of you. Your mission will be to collect coins and points to unlock further content. With the coins you will be able to create new minions as well as new versions of the minions you already have. With the points you will be able to unlock new rooms, or upgrade those rooms to allow you get to better coins, and add new wrinkles to that section.

It does take a while to get used to the game, but there is something about the game that definitely keeps you coming back. There are challenges that if you complete will give you extra coins, sometimes these challenges are relatively easy, other times you are really going to have to work for them. If a minion is defeated there is a timer that starts and when it ends the minion is revived, so you're never going to truly lose any of them. There are those with special abilities that if used correctly will help you get through some of the rooms even if you make a mistake.

If you are looking for a fun game that presents a challenge, and rewards success, this is definitely a game that you need to put on your iOS device. There is one more thing about this game, it is FREE, so go get it today. This game gets a 9.1 out of 10.

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Monday
Sep122016

Reigns

 

Reigns is a choose your own adventure game where you simply swipe left or right to make important decisions about your kingdom:

Resulting in a conversation with the good doctor...

There are 4 factions at the top - Church, the people, your army, and money.  Let one of the 4 factions get out of hand from your choices (notice the little bubble at the top where I'm swiping indicating that faction will be affected by my choice)...

And you are suddenly on your way to a short reign...

For $3, Reign is a solid, fun purchase that I definitely recommend.  Balancing your choices to make sure none of the 4 factions bottom out is a fun challenge.  Though you will start to see the same cards during multiple playthroughs, your choices will alter which cards come up next and there is randomization in cards so it's not too repetitive.  You also unlock more cards as you go down different decision trees.  Oh, and you can talk dogs.

Here at Altered Confusion, we tend to be fans of quality games requiring an initial purchase to play that don't nag you for constant in app purchases or DLCs; Reigns fits in quite well here!

Reigns is available on multiple platforms, including iOS (the version I played), Steam, and Google Play.

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Tuesday
Aug162016

Gleam Review

 

The humans have destroyed the world, and have subsequently died off, all that is left is debris and destruction. Actually, that's not completely the case, you see there seems to be some plant life that has actually survived and it is with your help that these plants might have the chance to survive, if only they can get enough light. 

In Gleam, by Hiker Games, you get the chance to help plant life come back to earth. You will use swiping motions on the screen to cut the crystals down to size so that the light can be reflected down to nurture the plants. Now before you worry too much you will be able to see how the light will refract by keeping your finger down on the screen so you can do fine tuning of your cut. Even with this fine tuning, there's no way of promising you're going to get that "best solution" on the first try, this is definitely a game in which you are going to have to keep coming back to the levels to see if you can get that better score.

Speaking of scores this game is on a 1 to 3 stars system. You receive at least 1 star if you are able to complete the level, if you find a way to do it within a minimal amount of moves you get 3 stars. My experience is that as long as you have some understanding of the game you're probably going to find yourself with mainly 2 stars. There is a very important element to the game that will have you replaying levels, even if you really don't want to and that is the unlocking of the next areas. Some games get this mechanic wrong by asking too much from the user, but I feel that this game actually gets it almost perfect. Can I get through many of the areas, and have to play a couple of levels over again to challenge my way of approaching certain issues but not make it feel like I'm unfairly being forced to do something? That's exactly how this feels in the game.

Now there is something that I do have to point out about this game and that it is free for both the iOS (what we reviewed it on) and Android. That point did not go into my review of the game, the reason is that no matter the price point it still has to be able to stand on its own, and I believe that this game does just that.

I like the fact that not only are there challenges to each level, and some extra mechanics thrown in such as the button to own doors, or the red light having to be cleansed through a white crystal before it hits the plant, but each level doesn't feel like its being repeated just for the sake of having more levels. Each level presents a different challenge, and sure there are some levels that are easier than others, and I did find that there isn't a constant increase in difficulty, but there was definitely a couple of levels that I easy defeated and then right afterwards would face one that took me a while to figure out.

This game is something that as a puzzle solver you're going to want to have it in your collection. There's something about this game that definitely makes you want to keep going back to the levels to get those 3 stars. There is that sense of accomplishment and NOT the sense of relief because the game is too damn frustrating. This is a solid game, get it now, thank me later, and it gets an 8.9 out of 10.

 

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Monday
Aug082016

George: Scared of the Dark Review

George is just a lonely ghost who doesn't really know who he is, but there's something that might answer his question if only he can get to the lighthouse, and find out who lives in the small cottage. In this platformer/runner game, George: Scared of the Dark, you will be taking on the part of George, you will have to dodge enemies, collect skulls, and survive each of the 10 levels to get the whole story.

Graphically I found that the game looked great. You don't need flashy graphics in this game, and the color scheme and look just seemed to fit. I enjoyed the look of the enemies as well, although after retrying a level over and over again, you start to REALLY hate that specific type of enemy.

This game is procedurally generated, what that means is that you'll never play the same level twice, even if you are retrying the level. Now in most part there isn't an issue with this method in the game, however, when you get further in the game this method starts to backfire. Now understand that this is meant to be a difficult game, and so there's definitely going to be many retries per level, but the thing is that some of the retries are based solely on no-win situations. The reason I say this is that there are certain times where you're not going to be able to dodge the enemy or projectile and so you're going to be forced to be okay with the outcome.

Now I mentioned enemies in the game, and there are quite a few of them, some MUCH more dangerous than others. You will quickly be introduced to the Yellow Blobs, and they are going to make life interesting for you because they are either going to jump in place, charge at you, or do a combo of both. Then there are the rolling eyeballs, by far the most mundane of the group, all you have to do is time the drop of the eyeball and be ready to jump over it. There's also zombie hands, that actually are about on par with the eyeballs, and as long as you time it right, they're not even going to beat you. The bats, on the other hand, are going to take some skill as not all of them will awaken, and when they do, they are going to try to come right after you, so timing is beyond key, but if your timing is a little bit off you're going to find yourself restarting the level. Finally, we have the knives, and this is probably the most menacing enemy/projectile in the game because the chance of no win scenarios is higher with these. There are two different knives, a rotating cleaver and a flying steak knife. I believe they are trying to aim for your current location, but with the runner factor of the game there are times where you have no choice but to either get cut in half or fall to your death.

I mentioned that this is a runner game and that means that you are constantly running from left to right, which means that you'll have to always be aware of what is ahead of you be it enemies, skulls, or jumps. This means that you're going to have to lean on the controls of the game. As this game was played on the iOS that means that you're going to be relying on touchscreen controls. You will tap to jump you can swipe forward to speed forward, and you can swipe back to back flip and sometimes go backwards a bit. Here's the issue, the jump mechanics are the only thing you can count on in the game. There are times where the swipes don't actually register or register in a way that causes more harm than good.

An example of this is in the flying knife level where you're going to have to backflip a lot if you're going to find any way of potentially navigating past those knives, however you're going to find that sometimes the flip takes you back, sometimes it's ignored, and sometimes you go flying back on the flip. Actually, this applies to the speeding forward mechanism as well, sometimes you don't really leave the ground when you speed forward, sometimes you speed backwards, and sometimes, I'm guessing because the swipe wasn't EXACTLY left to right, it does nothing.

I stated that there are 10 levels to this game, and to be honest, I feel like that is too few. You have so many features/ideas/monsters/etc. that appear in this game, and most of them are quickly used and then forgotten. If that's the way it was to be developed why have all the different enemies and such in the first place. It feels like the developer thought, "hmm, this could be cool," and then immediately forgot about it on the very next level design.

At the end of each level that is a skull that will tell you a story, or at least attempt to, I'm not really sure what it's talking about, and if I want to read what was said again I've got to run and successfully beat the level in its entirety to get a second chance. There's also the fact that there are sometimes where the text on the screen seems to appear for too long and other times where it's a little bit short. I can only assume that the developer decided to have a constant amount of time no matter the character count, and there's also no way to advance the text pass when the game wants it to change.

Now here's something that I'm going to have to say I'm just nitpicking at, and hell, maybe people think I've already been pretty nitpicky with what I've said so far, but this is how I see games. Unless something has changed this game actually doesn't meet the required criteria for being a game on a mobile device. When the device receives a call the game is to pause and upon returning from the call the game should present you with a pause screen so that the user is prepared to continue. This game does indeed pause when a phone call comes in but when the call ends, it goes right back into the game, and since it's a runner game 99 out of 100 times you're going to be restarting the level, even if this is the furthest you've gotten through that specific level.

Alright, so let's get down to it, is this game worth a spot on your iOS device... It could be, there's something to this game that is entertaining, but there is a lot of frustration that is caused as well. I'm going to say it's a 50/50 type of recommendation to you, the reader. I'm going to give this game a 5.7 out of 10.

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Thursday
Jul282016

The Hunt for Red Panda Review

Someone has defaced famous paintings from all over the world and it is up to you to find this menace and bring justice down upon them. The criminal goes by the name of The Red Panda, and it will take every ounce of skill that you have to piece together the clues to their identity. In The Hunt for Red Panda a Hidden Object game for the iOS device you will not only have to find what doesn't belong in the famous paintings around the world, but you will have to find them fast. Are you up for the challenge? You better be because you're going to need it.

This game intrigued me right off the bat because it gives an international sleuth story and combines it with puzzle solving. Now of course, most of the puzzles revolve around hidden objects, but for me this was exciting simply because the items were never going to be the same in the picture. There are a lot of pictures that you'll take on and as you go you will unlock new tools that you will have to use to get rid of the added pieces. 

You will have an eyedropper that is used to identify the added piece of the painting. You will have an eraser to erase some of the items, a paint brush to paint over some of the items, a paint scrapper to remove the items, and a needle and thread in case you accidentally rip the painting. The interesting thing about the tools is that if you do use the incorrect tool you will have to take on additional steps to clear up the issues with the paintings. If you erase when you're not supposed to, you'll have to paint over the area that you erased. If you paint where you are not supposed to, you will have to scrap off the excess paint. If you scrap where you're not supposed to, well you're going to use the needle and thread. 

The entire finding of the hidden object mechanic centers around the eyedropper, and herein lies the first of many issues with this game. For some reason the eyedropper isn't selected by default, in fact NO equipment is selected by default, which makes things difficult if you have to take on a painting again (I'll explain that in more detail a little bit later). This to me seems a bit odd and creates an additional step that the user has to do EVERY TIME they attempt a level. 

Now let's talk about attempting levels, for some reason the developer decided to go with the once 100% completed the level is locked and you can never try to find hidden objects again. Now that's not to say that if you are trying to find 25 objects and you only find 15 of them that you can't replay the level. Here's the thing though, if you were to go back into the level because you're not at 100% completion, you will be searching for 10 objects that have been randomized since your last attempt. You are then given less time to find them since you are trying to find only 20% of the total number needed to fully complete the level. This sounds good in theory until you only have 1 object left. Remember how I pointed out you have to select the eyedropper EVERY TIME. Well, you have roughly 6 seconds to tap the eyedropper, then locate the item, then switch to the correct remover. This is VERY difficult. 

In my honest opinion, there should be two options when trying to retry a level. The user should have the choice to either start over at 0 items found, or try to find the rest of the items with a time penalty. Speaking of starting over, WHY oh WHY is there no way, short of removing the application off your device and reinstalling it, to play this game again or any aspect of the game again once you've completed it. Sure, you catch the bad guy, and sure the paintings have been restored, but since there is a randomized hidden object feature that SCREAMS replayability and yet the developer takes that away.

Now there are a couple of other mini-games within the game, each if completed successfully, will give you an additional hint for trying to find objects in the paintings. The thing is that your number of hints is always restored back to a set number, so it's not like you're going to run out of hints if you use all of them in a previous level. This basically means that these mini-games are basically not needed at all, and to be honest, most of them really have no relevance to the game.

Here's the thing, this game is fun, it is challenging, and I did feel rewarded when I finish it, but I am so depressed and frustrated over the fact that there is NO easy way to replay anything in this game. Speaking of replaying levels, there are certain levels scattered throughout the game where you have to find the hidden objects and swat flies. I still have no idea why this random feature was added, and on top of that, no matter the outcome of the level, the level is locked and you can't play it again. So basically I wasn't able to get 100% completion because I wasn't able to try again when it came to those weird fly levels.

I want to like this game, I really do, but this game ends up being more frustrating, and feeling unfinished, and not completely put together. So I have to say that it might be fun for a one time playthrough, but the potential of this game was so extremely squandered that it might be worth looking for something else. This game gets a 5.8 out of 10.

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Monday
Jul252016

Auto Warriors Review

 

Create your post-apocalyptic vehicle of destruction and mayhem as you will have to take on all challengers in arena matches to the death. As you progress through the game, Auto Warriors, you will gain new parts, new vehicles, upgrades, and more. If you play your cards right, you'll have a vehicle that no one will be able to take down. 

Now I've got to be honest when I heard that this was going to be a turn-based game I had my doubts. Here's a game that screams fast paced action, but you take turns? Well, this game sure proved me wrong. Sure, this game is turn based, however you try to create the move that will net you the best result and click on the go button. You can do as many moves as you'd like, however there's an overall time clock that is counting down, and if you don't take out your opponents you fail. I like to equate it to a game of speed chess, but with machine guns and rocket launchers. 

Graphically, this game looks great on the iPhone, the game is responsive to zooming in and out as well as rotating the area so that you can get the best looks at all the right angles. There are different looking levels that not only appear unique, but have different obstacles, ramps, buildings, etc. so you'll have to have several strategies to this game if you're going to win. 

In the levels you'll see that there are boxes scattered around the level, those boxes contain salvage which can be used towards upgrades. This adds an additional strategic element into the game, if you know you can destroy your opponent, perhaps you can take some time to collect boxes, or maybe if you're headed in that direction what would it matter if you take a couple of extra seconds before turning the car. 

This is actually a pretty solid game once you understand the mechanics, and sure there are some frustrating moments where the enemy just won't line up with where your guns are firing, but that's all part of the game. Speaking of guns, you can potentially have quite a lot of firepower to protect your front, your rear, and a certain area around your entire car, the catch is that only one gun can be active at a time, so you have to choose wisely. Oh, and there's this thing called limited ammo, so you may want to save your rockets for a clear shot and not one that has you dashing between buildings, I learned that one the hard way. 

There are quite a few different modes that you can take on in this game. You have the single player campaign mode that sits at 50 levels. You have the PvP mode, which, if I understand correctly pits your "PvP" vehicle against someone else's, so you're not fighting live, you're fighting their car with the AI behind the wheel. You also have the Deal and Mechanic Challenges that can net you some good bounty if you're able to pull it off, and then you have the Fleet PvP, think of a Fleet as a Guild. 

The one confusing thing about this game is the amount of the different currencies you have to keep an eye on. You have the tokens that are used for any type of combat, it's basically your cost of admittance. You also have the golden gear, which I believe is used to upgrade your car to the next level. You then have cash, which is used to pay for upgrades. Finally, you have gold bars which are the currency to help wrap up upgrades faster. So as you can see, you have several different currencies, all with different functionalities. 

Now you might have noticed the tokens piece, that's right, you can't just play until you want to stop, you have a limited amount of times you can play before you're going to have to wait for a refresh. You can do micro-transactions in this game, however, they are for cash and gold. You can then use the gold to buy a VIP membership that can allow you a couple more tokens, but there is no way to directly buy more tokens.

In summation there's definitely something about this game that will have you coming back to it simply for the strategy portion of the game as well as the build your own car, however you have to take damage to the car and weight into account but most of the time you can make a pretty nasty car. The thing is that the restriction on how much you can play, even when you pay is very odd to me and I feel like this might become a nuisance to the point that only the diehards who are willing to wait around often will stick around. This game gets an 8.0 out of 10.

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Thursday
Jul212016

Combo Quest 2 Review

Combo Quest 2 is a clicker game in which you are going to need to have more than just the fastest clicks, you're going to have to have the best of accuracy. You see in this game, it is indeed about the clicking, but you have to do so only when designated. 

In this game there will be a slider that will move back and forth at the bottom of the screen, and as it moves it will go over different colored blocks if you tap the screen when it is over, those blocks you start building your combo bar, if you miss the combo bar resets and you take damage. If you let one of the enemy colored blocks reach the other side of the slider, you will take damage. Basically, this game has a lot of room for you to do damage to yourself and if you are accurate a chance to do damage to the enemy. 

You will be faced with a certain number of enemies that you'll have to accurately tap through to get to the boss who will definitely put up a fight. After each battle you will be given the choice of upgrading a random attribute such as:

  • Character Max Health
  • Character Max Damage
  • Character Full Heal
  • Character Critical Hit Chance
  • Character Combo Damage (I still have no freaking clue how this works if it works)
  • Companion Damage

Have no fear, though, at the end of each encounter you will already receive some bonuses to each stat so there's not really a chance for complete neglect on one of your stats. 

Here's the thing though, if you lose in one of your quests your character gets knocked out and you have to either wait a certain amount of time, hopefully have enough gold to heal them, or use a micro-transaction to buy X amount of gold so that you can turn around and heal your character. The scary thing is that it is very easy to lose your first character and be forced to wait or actually pay to keep playing very early on in the game. 

One of the reasons I think this happens is that there is a lot, I mean A LOT, of randomness to this game. Now don't get me wrong, I like to have some randomness in my games, it keeps me on my toes, but when you are starting your characters over at their base stats after every encounter, and the only way that you get to buff your stats is a choice of a random selection of stats? It makes it difficult to keep playing for too long if you are just on an unlucky roll of stat selections. There's also the fact that you get penalized in two ways when you miss a block. First off you take damage from your enemy, usually the amount of damage that is under their health bar (for bosses that could potentially wipe you out fast), the other part is that your slider slows down so if there is an enemy block that you are trying to tap before it gets to your side, but you mistime it you get hit with the enemy damage and then hit with the enemy block going all the way across, which potentially could spell death. 

Personally, I would have liked to see on missed taps that you get the slider slow down penalty. Since there is a double penalty I found myself frantically tapping the screen, hoping that there were blocks there so that I could speed up enough to catch the enemy block. Ah, I should have mentioned that the more success you have at tapping the blocks correctly, the faster the slider goes, which could be great to catch an enemy block, or disastrous because you're going too fast trying to stop all the enemy blocks and you miss and you have damaged yourself, lost your combo, and slowed the slider down so all the enemy blocks will kill you.

At the end of each of these areas you will be given a reward, usually in the form of a treasure chest for the first time through, and then gold for the rest of the times. In these chests you can get a variety of things, new characters, a character you already have which will unlock something new about the character (there are three levels, and to be honest, I haven't really seen that great of a difference from level 1 to level 3), new companions, a companion you already have (levels up again), a new item, an item you already have (levels up), and then there are gem/gold chests which give you one or the other in some amount. 

Now before anyone says, but wait there is leveling up to improve your starting stats for all characters through a stat level up feature, all you need to have is gold to apply to the skill tree, I do know that, and I have to say that I still feel like this really isn't doing anything for the player. This game is difficult off the bat, and penalizes a player in almost every way. If you are very good at timing your tapping you should excel at this game even through the hard parts, but for someone that doesn't always tap at the right time, this game is merciless. Oh, there's also one other thing about the tapping, so as I stated previously for all the good taps in a row, you start building up a combo bar, once you've filled it up to capacity you can unleash a special attack by swiping. Here's the deal though, I can't tell you how many times I've filled the bar and DON'T want to use the special attack, and so I don't swipe, but apparently my tap gets interpreted as a swipe, this game is hard enough without it giving away my real chance to get through some of the battles because it thinks I swiped.

This game is really hard to recommend because it is so frustrating, and out of the people that I have seen playing it, many people have dropped out playing this game long before where I've reached in the game, and that's saying something. This game just isn't fun, it's a test to see how much you can take before you want to crush something. This game gets a 4.8 out of 10.

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