IVG App Review Round-up (25/08/12)

In the IVG app round-up this week, we have a good mix of genres, with a free (but not really) football strategy game; a generic yet interesting tower defence title; a movie-based, Indian developed first-person shooter, and a new spin on the brick breaker formula.

Fluid Football
By Sameer Desai

Platforms: iOS; Price: Free

Fluid football is kind of like what goes on in the dressing room when the manager gathers the team around a whiteboard. The game puts you through various scenarios where your job is to pass the ball around and score. You can draw paths for players to trace and make runs, while long pressing on the player in possession allows you to pass the ball either directly to a teammate or into the path of a player already making a run.

The complete freedom that the game affords in moving players and making runs is great, but the fact that you have no control over the power or speed of a pass does take the fun out of it a bit. Also, it does seem at times like the AI-controlled defenders are overpowered, being able to detect and intercept passes you wouldn’t expect them to.

Rather lifelessly recapping the outcome of each scenario are disgraced commentators Andy Gray and Richard Keys, and if you’d like, you can even purchase hints from Gray with real world money. It’s probably the only money he’s making as a football pundit these days.

Fluid Football is a lot of fun and the freedom it affords does lend it considerable replay value, but the Free tag is extremely misleading. You only get a handful of scenarios for free, and you’ll get done with those is about ten minutes. You’ll then have to pay for additional packs, and you’ll have to pay separately to get rid of the annoying ads.

Like so many mobile games before it, Fluid Football is a great idea weighed down by an over-aggressive in-app purchase system.


Draw Breaker
By Amit Goyal

Platforms: iOS, Android; Price: $0.99
Version tested: iOS

Draw Breaker puts an interesting spin on the standard brick-breaker formula. Instead of shifting the bat left and right in order to keep the ball in play and smash bricks, the player has to draw the bat at any position and angle on the screen, with a limitation on the maximum length of the bat that the player can draw.

It may not come across as a very unique idea, but it translates to some interesting and challenging gameplay thanks to some very smart game design choices. To compensate for the fact that you can draw the bat at any point on the screen rather than move it, the blocks shift downwards with time. The blocks which cross a lower threshold then have to be destroyed in limited time, or the player is forced to start the level again. This lends a sense of urgency and pace to the game.

Further, the blocks themselves are interesting and quirky in their design and attributes. From the BlockBot, which takes out the blocks closest to it when destroyed, to the Splitter, which breaks into three blocks when hit, to the ever moving Spider, each of these ‘monsters’ convey a sense of comic menace, which is commendable considering they are just, well, blocks.

Bundled in with four progressively tougher chapters, slick visuals, tiered challenges to increase the score multiplier and a hilariously comedic premise to set up the game, Draw Breaker is a must-have app, especially for those looking for something other than the standard shooters, racers and endless runners that the app stores are bursting at the seams with.


Fantasy Kingdom Defense
By Rishi Alwani

Platforms: iOS, Android; Price: Free
Version tested: Android

For a game whose name seems like a combination of three very generic words, the gameplay is well…equally generic. But that doesn’t make Fantasy Kingdom Defense a bad game. This is your bog standard tower defence game that has you protecting your castle, or in this case, three world’s, each of them having seven castles. You can’t help but wonder if you’re a property dealer instead of a castle owner in this game.

To start you off, you’re limited to three types of units – a mage, an archer and a knight, each with their own unique weapons and ranges of attack. There are three other classes to unlock as the game progresses. These are a warlock, an elf, and a paladin, which are essentially beefed up versions of the first three classes. You can obtain them via the in-game store between missions.

Also available in-store are a variety of cool offensive and defensive power-ups, such as a three-headed dragon and a catapult. All purchases are made with diamonds you earn as you set forth defending your castles.

While it all sounds fairly straightforward, Fantasy Kingdom Defense is fantastically polished, with smooth animations, neat art and an intuitive interface. Though you can make your progress less troublesome with in-app purchases, it never aggravates you enough to force you to do so, making it one of the fairer titles around. Worth a download for fans of the genre.


Total Recall
By Sameer Desai

Platforms: iOS, Android; Price: $0.99/Rs 55
Version tested: iOS

Developed by Jump Games, Total Recall is a first-person shooter based on the new Total Recall movie, which is a remake on the 90s Arnold Schwarzenegger-starrer, which is in turn based on a book.

The game doesn’t bother much with what the movie is about, and instead just places you in one environment after another, where you must shoot different soldiers in the face as you make your way through each level. Hit detection is a bit iffy and at times even though the marker indicates that your shot landed, it doesn’t always do the damage.

This is an on-rails shooter, so you have no control over movement, but there is a cover mechanic; one that doesn’t work well at all. Aside from slaying baddies, you can also shoot at ammo crates and cash pickups strewn around each level. Between levels, you’ll have the opportunity to spend cash earned from achieving objectives to buy new guns and items.

Orange Byte Studios does a commendable job with the game’s electronic score, but the visuals are a bit fuzzy on the new iPad even though this is a universal app.  Even then, there are better looking mobile shooters out there and many of them play better as well, so unless you’re a Total Recall fanatic, you can conveniently skip this one.


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