Posts tagged ‘iPad’

Knight Defense HD for iPad

Knight Defense HD for iPad is one of the hardest games I have ever had to review and summarise, but rest assured that it’s for all the right reasons!

It’s just that it’s so unique in the gaming landscape and not like ANYTHING I’ve ever played before.

Knight Defense

It’s got an extremely unique, refreshing and fun feel to the gameplay mechanics, with elements of strategy, action, tower defence and quick thinking tactics. It is very stable and polished to play on touch screen, in fact, I think with a mouse it would be uber-stressful to play!

As you probably know, the game is based on the rules of chess; at least in terms of how your own pieces can move and attack. However, the enemy spawns from fixed spots on the board and move in straight lines towards your King, whom you have to protect through several waves of increasing enemy numbers to complete a level.

Quite honestly, the concept of the game is so pure and comfortable from the off that I’m massively surprised nothing like this has been seen before (at least not by me!). Basing a game on the best real-world game ever devised is pure genius game design really!

The most captivating thing about it is that you can immediately sense there are dozens of ways you can approach your game, from a strategic and tactical point of view.

At the start of a game, you’re allowed to arrange your pieces on the board before activating the enemy waves, so this is your first decision! What arrangement will give you the strongest defence placement and coverage, bearing in mind how pieces can ‘attack’ (for example castles in vertical or horizontal lines, bishops in diagonal lines, pawns 1 square forward and to the side etc).

Secondly, you can use your points to upgrade pieces (8 tiers each, with each upgrade costing incrementally more) but by doing this you take points away from your final score, so you have to balance what strength you think you need versus getting a bigger score for the Gamecentre or OpenFeint integrated leaderboards, if you are so inclined.

Possibly, most intriguingly, your pieces positions are not fixed once the game starts! You can slide pieces around according to the rules of chess and you may have to move other pieces out of the way if you want to get some ‘troops’ forward if their moving path is blocked. This makes for some frantic repositioning mid-game as your defences get broken down.

Some very balanced subtleties come into play such as realising that you can guide the direction of the enemies charges by moving your King around, thus leading groups of enemies into ambushes or even riskier moves such as getting them to go back up the board into the line of fire for a second time (to start with, the human player is at the bottom of the screen, with enemies coming down at you from their spawn points).

Also, when you use some of your points to upgrade a unit, it also replenishes any damage they have taken, so by timing your upgrades when damage has been done you get the added bonus of restoring their health “for free”.

Each unit has a cool-down timer, which regularly unlocks a special ability (each piece having it’s own) which can really swing the situation in your favour if used wisely.

All of this combines to make one of the most interesting, varied, compelling, fresh and skilful strategy games I’ve played. It’s the sort of thing you could get really ‘pro’ at!

Visually, it’s stylish, smooth and colourful, but has a mature feel to it. Sound effects and music complement the action well, rounding off the experience. It is a very stable program with some well implemented features.

I’d love to see how the game progresses with updates. Hopefully it will be successful enough to allow the developer to add some sort of real-time multiplayer mode. This could be the competitive equivalent to StarCraft for the iPad!!

All in all if you like games that require some thought but are easy to learn and to conceptually understand, but with a lot of room for developing your own strategies and ways to play, I can recommend Knight Defense HD very highly indeed!

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City of Secrets (HD for iPad)

City of Secrets (and HD) is an iPhone and iPad classical point and click adventure game presented with beautiful hand drawn art, layered 2D backgrounds and a 3D character cast, fully spoken throughout.

City of Secrets HD

The main characters you control are Rex (a little dog) and Mr Moles. Originally cartoon characters in Polish media, they have been in existence for nearly 100 years, so there’s a big back-story there for those keen enough to research it!

Various other games with the characters have been launhed on various platforms, selling over a million copies in Eastern Europe, but this is their first appearance on the iOS platform!

It’s a charming game, with a personality all of it’s own. The balance between intricacy of puzzles and accessibility is pitched about right, with the puzzles giving up a good challenge, but never getting too frustrating.

There are several methods to point players in the right direction such as a notebook containing a list of completed and ‘to-do’ tasks – and a hint system giving a written clue for the next most important task if you really get stuck!

City of Secrets HDFor more seasoned players there are numerous more subtle clues in the voice-overs and art itself, but it’s easy to miss the relevance of the spoken clues the first time around, and there’s no way to go back and read any spoken dialogue, so you will have to have your best detective head on and pay attention to really grasp it all! A notepad would be handy because it’s pretty obvious when a clue is told, but hard to remember it when it comes to the realisation of how to use it!

Most puzzles involve searching for items, sometimes combining them in the inventory, exploring the scenes and talking to the inhabitants, then using the right items to progress the plot.

The animated story is split into 5 chapters, and follows the adventures of Mr Moles, trying to save Poco Pane (the moles underground world) from being taken over by the sneaky rats!
City of Secrets HDChapters are introduced by a narrator, commenting on the action and giving context to the next scene. In some chapters control is passed to Rex the dog which gives a nice change of pace and feeds off the relationship between the main characters. In ways, it reminded me a lot of Wallace & Gromit or Sam & Max in the way the characters work together in the story, and has a lot of the quirky charm of those games, although the puzzles are more object and action led rather than talking to the right people with the correct responses so City of Secrets still has it’s own feel, with the much better option of smooth and attractive backdrops rather than slightly under-resolution 3D!

The game is crafted to work very well with touch controls, although there is usually only one context for each interaction which simplifies it, rather than in Lucasarts games where you can choose between actions for an object.

The whole game is very atmospheric and highly polished, with the artwork pulling it all together.

City of Secrets HDI understand there are going to be other episodes of the series, but there is an entire cohesive story arc contained within City of Secrets.

The stability of the game is also to be commended – never even thought about crashing. It’s also got a rock-solid load/save system, as well as automatic quick saves each time something significant happens so you won’t ever lose any progress.

I love adventure games on iPad – in my opinion they are the perfect genre for the device… It’s such a chilled way of playing that it feels like an interactive book with a life of its own! You can just pick it up and carry on with your story at your pace, in a very tactile way.


You can see the full details on their website: www.AidemMedia.com
Or download the official Press Release here: Aidem Press Release – City Of Secrets

 

www.AidemMedia.com.

ROBOT 99

I’ve been playing this fun little ‘universal’ iPhone and ipad game by Fu Design for a few days now and have to say it’s one of the most attractive looking game graphics I have seen for a long time! Hand-drawn art is a sorely missed thing in this 3D age, and this has a charm all of it’s own… beautiful!

Just check it out… and try not to fall in love!!!

ROBOT 99

More ROBOTS 99

The game itself is a pretty bizzare and fast paced effort to rescue the falling robots by tapping them to open their parachutes before they hit bottom. If you hit them in the top strip you get a speed bonus clearing the path for more falling metal souls. If they colide they have to be tapped again to keep them safe. You can also slide them left and right on their journy, but it’s hard to tell where the next are going to fall from, so I haven’t really find a good tactic for that yet!

There’s also various powerups (healthpacks and such) that fall from time to time to help you out.

All in all it’s a blast for a quick pick up and play.

It’s such a strong visual that I can see (and REALLY hope to see) other games being branched from these robot characters. It really is a nice style and I would love to see them in other adventures!

ROBOT 99 available now – give it a try!

Pinball HD: Flipping good fun!

Pinball HD is a perfect game for quick 10 minute blasts of gaming. The controls work really well with the touch screen whereby you can tap anywhere on the left for the left paddle and on the right for the right paddle. You slide the pin to launch the ball at various powers and the way you hold the screen in portrait orientation feels just right for a pinball table.

There are three tables to choose from, with their own unique feel, and online highscores to compete against. There are already some shockingly highscores to beat, so there must be some seriously good players out there!

The graphics are really smooth, colourful and sharp – really showing off the vivid colours of the iPad screen beautifully.

Theres scope for in game DLC for extra tables, and judging by the popularity of the game in ‘top grossing apps’ I reckon this won’t be too far away… here’s hoping anyway! It would be amazing if some of the classic real life tables were recreated for the game.

All-in-all this is an essential game to keep on the iPad which really will last for ever because there is inherently no end to the game – you can always try to improve your scores, as unlikely as it is that you will get into the world top ten at least there is something to aim for!

Flight Control HD

It must be a sign of a cracking game when one that you didn’t expect to get absorbed in becomes the main game you end up playing, especially on a brand-new gadget!

In my previous post about games I was going to “probably” buy when my iPad arrived, Flight Control HD was one I thought I’d have seen it all before having played quite a bit in the past on the iPhone… but boy was I wrong! It’s a genuinely addictive SOB of a game is this! Firemint have pulled off a modern classic here I have no doubt. The extra screen space makes a massive difference to gameplay. More room to breathe, to assess the situation and a bit more time to keep on top of things. The difficulty pacing is spot on, urging you to come back and beat your score as soon as you’ve crashed (again). The clone games that have cropped up just don’t have the same feel to this. The original is truly head and shoulders above the pretenders. Slick graphics, animation, sound and the overall atmosphere are nigh-on perfect. There’s just something about the simplicity and satisfying sound effects that make Flight Control really addictive.

There are 3 iPad specific HD maps (and all the original are in too but not worth playing as they are just x2 zoomed) with one of them also in 3D. Tried 3D once with some glasses I had from a Shrek 3D DVD, and it certainly has depth with the planes really floating above the background, but because of the red/blue filters it’s hard to see the colours of the aircraft which makes it a notch too stressful to play properly. You have to recognise the shapes of the various planes and spot the slight brightening of the relevant runway… not easy when it gets busy!

I am really surprised that it feels THIS much nicer to play on the big screen… it bodes well for future iPad games IMO.

I wonder how long it’s going to be until we see the ridiculous world record scores appearing all over again for iPad players!

What’s your top score?

iPad in my hands!!

After one of the most painful gadget waits ever I finally have Apple’s iPad in my greasy mits!

I LOVE IT!!!

This is just a brief “first impressions” post because I will be writing separate posts on various aspects and Mini Reviews of the games.

It’s a beautiful device for web browsing… I haven’t used my desktop for surfing since the iPad arrived. Also typing, which I feared might be awkward, is at least 1000% better than I thought it would be.

I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time in the app store already, spent around £80 on various games and apps! So watch this space for my Mini Reviews on the following games:-

Flight Control HD (Mini Review here)
Sam & Max episode 1
Civilization Revolution HD
Broken Sword HD
Real Racing HD
Pinball HD
Pad Racer

iPad games I’m looking at getting

So I got my iPad ordered for delivery on the 28th May!

Plenty of time to start deciding what games to get for it then 🙂

  1. Civilization Revolution
    Definately has to be done – can’t wait to try out touch controls on a decent screen size!
  2. Flight Control HD
    Not 100% sure about this one – I think I may have had my fix of Flight Control, but it does look rather nice.
  3. Castle Craft
    Looks like quite an interesting MMO City Builder – but not sure I need an ‘epic’ game like that on the Pad!
  4. Red Alert 3
    Didn’t get on with this on the iPhone due to the fiddly controls but it may just work on a 1024 x 768 screen! Need an RTS so this might have to be the one!?
  5. Sam & Max
    Didn’t even think for a second we would get anything like this! Depending on the price per episode of this adventure, I think it would play really nicely! I wonder if Monkey Island will be re-released in high-resolution!?
  6. Real Racing HD
    I had a real thing for Real Racing on iPhone (was 3rd fastest in the world for a good while until I stopped playing online leagues!) so might have to give this a bash as well!
  7. Pinball HD
    Looks awesome!
  8. Mirrors Edge
    Not really my sort of game any more but looks very slick. I just know I would get bored of it so this one can wait until it’s discounted.

Watch out for reviews as and when I get these (maybe) and others (for sure!)…