Infinity Blade: Mobile Review

Infinity Blade

Here’s the thing about Infinity Blade: it looks gorgeous, and when things look gorgeous, we tend to forgive some deeper flaws. For example, everyone wants to talk to that leggy woman sitting at the bar on a Saturday night, but when you finally get the courage, you realize all she wants to talk about is her cat named Fitzgerald who weighs more than most infants. Suddenly, it dawns on you why no one was around this lady in the first place, but by that point Apple has already debited your credit card and you’re stuck with the cat lady. Makes sense?

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Dragon Quest IX: Where My Dragons At?

Dragon Quest

Editor’s note: sorry for the delay in new postings. I was on vacation, and since I’m the site’s administrator (as well as its number 1 fan) nothing new was posted. Expect new content—and from now on, I’ll let you know when I’m gone. Because, you know, I like ya.

Reviews are obviously very subjective. There is no golden standard for the perfect videogame: people might call Half Life the best ever, but what about people who love platforming games? It all depends on who is reviewing the game. Luckily for Dragon Quest IX, I happen to A) love RPGs, especially traditional JRPGs, and B) I was on a long trip, so my Nintendo DS was great for extended periods of sitting. I’m also not a hardcore Dragon Quest purist. I’ve only played a few other games in the series. All the cards were stacked in Dragon Quest’s favor. So how do I feel about it?

First of all, this game isn’t for you if you don’t like the time-honored Japanese tradition of level grinding. However, for me, and I would argue for a lot of people okay with that system, I kept wanting to see what skills/abilities I would unlock next in my character’s progression. Second of all, this game is not story intensive, but certainly has a story. Dragon Quest IX is the equivalent of a short story collection. Each quest has its own narrative arc, and the whole game is structured around your character trying to collect all of these mystical fyggs. (Why fyggs? And why the misspelling? Personally I would have rather hunted down some ypples and bynanas, but hey, Dragon Quest is a JRPG after all. It doesn’t always have to make sense.) Some of the quests are endearing, while others have the emotional depth of a Bon Jovi song.

Dragon Quest Fygg

Behold, a fig. Not to be confused with a fygg

So the story is a mixed bag, and the level grinding will only appeal to some. What else does the game have to offer? Multiplayer is a huge feature this time around; however, thanks to Nintendo’s insistence of treating everyone like they are five years old—and admittedly, most of Nintendo’s install base is five years old (ZING!)—I wasn’t able to connect to other people because of security concerns. Not that many people I know own a DS, and since this isn’t Japan, even fewer of those people own Dragon Quest. This isn’t some sob story; I’m just saying, Nintendad, we’re ready to get rid of the child locks. Let me play with anyone, anywhere over Wi-Fi, not just people who I have some arbitrary friend code. I can’t make friends with people online unless I have their friend code, so really, Nintendo, you’re hampering my social skills.

Imagine, for a second, if you had to have a friend code to meet anyone. Actually don’t, because I would hate to give some psychotic American senator any ideas.

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Zenonia 2: Old School on the Go

RPGs have come a long way. The first RPG I ever played was the original Final Fantasy for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Compare that experience to the latest iteration of Final Fantasy (13 for those who are keeping score), and they are hardly recognizable. Zenonia 2 for the iPhone and iPod Touch harkens back to the old school of RPG design, and while there are certainly some rough spots I’d like to see worked out, it is a fun, play-and-go experience.

The story opens up with a  short cutscene explaining something about a demonic power trying to break loose, and everyone losing their memory, something something something, and then bam! You’re in the game. Thankfully this game keeps things simple: move the character with the digital D-pad, attack by pressing a large button. Occasionally I had problems with the d-pad, and my character would move in directions I wasn’t intending, but for the most part, this game controls fairly well on the iPhone (better than Grand Theft Auto in my opinion). These controls can be adjusted in size and moved about the screen (thankfully). In fact, almost everything can be adjusted to fit your needs: on top of the d-pad and the attack button, you can position your hot slots (where you can assign items and abilities) wherever you like.

Speaking of abilities, the game does a pretty good job keeping things varied. I tried all the characters, but my favorite was the magician. His range attacks do fairly good damage, but his spells are fairly powerful. I did run into a few instances where it appears my spells should have done damage but nothing was registered on the enemies. Another issue I had with the spells is that the amount of SP (stamina points, which diminish from using abilities) required to use an ability actually increases the more ability points you put into a skill. While the damage increases as well, it seems to me that the damage should increase and the SP-consumption should decrease as your character becomes more proficient.

Combat moves quickly, which I appreciate in a mobile game. Enemies respawn fairly quickly, so if you want to grind on the go, this is certainly possible. And you are certainly going to do a lot of grinding, because when I say this game is old school, I mean it. For example, when I got far enough to fight the first boss, I was level 17 and he was level 23. Suffice to say, I lasted all but 15 minutes on my first try. As the naïve little adventurer that I was, I thought that I got owned merely because of my bad battle tactics (apparently it’s not smart to charge at an ice dragon, flailing a magic wand about). I tried hit-and-run tactics, but the boss just regenerated. That was when I realized that this was the not-so-subtle way of the game telling me that I was too low of a level. I got to level 21, and I beat that dragon down.

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Mobile Review: Zenonia 2

If the app store is lacking anything clearly it would be Legend of Zelda. That’s obviously not going to change, and so enters Zenonia 2. At first glance, fans of Super Nintendo era RPG fans will instantly be drawn to the visuals of Zenonia. They are definitely styled as an homage to the 16-bit era.

Zenonia also stays true to the “Zelda” form by being an action rpg. For the most part you attack by tapping like a mad man. You learn more attacks and spells as you progress but essentially you just strategically tap the attack button. However, all the comparisons to Zelda can stop there.

Zenonia is a full-on RPG experience disguised as a mobile game. You start the game by choosing from one of four character classes. I chose paladin, but there is also the shooter, magician and warrior each with their set of moves and abilities to be learned along the way. This game uses the ability tree mechanic as you level up and it’s a pretty huge tree which means tons of skills to learn. I can’t imagine anyone being able to reach all the skill and abilities in the tree in one play through. Just doesn’t seem possible and that’s a good thing; more reason to keep coming back.

Even though there are four classes, early on it’s essentially a choice between primary melee attacks or primary long-range attacks. Depending on your choice that can change and sort of even out later on, if you choose to level up that way.

The music in the game is pretty impressive. It’s all very sweeping and grand and very reminiscent of Final Fantasy from the 16-bit era. It’s pretty refreshing to hear such an emphasis on music on a platform where most music is just a throw away.

Read on to find out about the story, the controls and the multiplayer.

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Mobile Review: Baseball Superstars 2010

Baseball season is upon us once again and that means one thing, I need to pretend I like it for a while by finding the nearest baseball game.  But my search for said baseball game is always a rigorous one.  This game needs to be fairly simple, well because I’m a simpleton.  The game must also have a home run derby because chicks dig the long ball and by chicks I mean me and by long ball I mean long ball.  And really who cares about anything else in baseball besides home runs.  Baseball Superstars 2010 was my answer. It’s on the iPhone so I can hit home runs on the go.  Alright so mission accomplished there but is the game any good or did I waste that cash on a tired tradition that I pretend to enjoy.

Short answer, yes it’s good.  Long answer, it’s really good. This game is so feature packed you’ll think you just bought MLB 2k10.  There’s quick exhibition play, perfect for people like me who just want a quick baseball fix.  There’s also season mode and a create-a-player mode dubbed “my league.”  And if you want to get really crazy you just hit home runs or play missions.  Also, don’t forget the included wi-fi match play.  Yup, that’s a lot of ways to play one slightly boring past time.

My league mode is where this game really shines.  You can create a batter or pitcher and build them up from rookie to all-star increasing their stats along the way, essentially a baseball rpg.  Yeah, I said it.  This rpg character building is everywhere nowadays.  Anyway, you can create up to 4 batters and 2 pitchers all of which can then be assembled into a team and used in the season mode.  The great thing about playing in my league mode is that as a batter, that’s all you do.  The games are simulated until you’re up to bat.  Gotta love that.  All the satisfaction of hitting without all the bullcrap of playing baseball.

Read on to find out about the controls, the visuals and to see the game-play in action.

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Mobile Review: Bit Pilot

Chalk it up to nostalgia, but Bit Pilot has everything I want in a mobile game.  A quick experience, addicting gameplay, great music and 8-bit graphics.  Bit Pilot is an intense bullet dodging game set in space for the iPhone.  You use the intuitive touch screen controls to control your ship and try to survive the never-ending meteor shower.  There is a real “one more game” throwback here.  You keep hitting restart and suddenly you’ve played for an hr trying to beat your high score. It’s those damn online leaderboards using OpenFeint.  Try and beat me!

While playing I could have sworn I was transported to an arcade in the 80s, then I realized I was in bed and it was 3 AM…….. truth.  There is even an original 8-bit soundtrack written by Sabrepulse.  Using your overall combined score you can unlock new tracks and wallpapers.  Seriously, there is a lot in this package for such a simple game.  And the best part, it’s only .99 cents! Check out the trailer below or visit their website and experience the awesome.

Written by Cool-C

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Mobile Review: Plants vs Zombies

Plants vs. Zombies is an action strategy game for the iPhone where you use plants to protect your house from the zombie invasion.  This is also a new take on “tower defense” game genre.  There are a lot of those type of games that exist on the iPhone and with good reason because touch controls are a perfect for that style.  Plants vs. Zombies is a big departure from what you know about the genre and that’s a great thing.  This game feels fresh because of the humor injected by the developers.  There are a number of moments that you will actually laugh out loud.  With nearly 50 unlockable plants to fight and nearly two dozen kinds of zombies, your zombie slaying skills will constantly be tested.

Through out the game you will blow up, freeze and even burn through zombies with the wide variety of weapons such as the cherry bomb.  When a horde rushes you, it’s hard not to get frazzled. You rush to place your plants and collect your sunlight as if nothing else matters. As you progress in the game, you unlock mini games and a survival mode that extend the playability.  Each level features a different layout and approach paths for the zombie jerks to attack you and your house. Continue reading