I didn’t game much this week because I was busy working on my comic story project, which is also the reason GGF is out only today, because I was scheduled to publish that story on Friday.
And yet, amazingly, I have six games on review plus two more on honourable mention this week.
Is that amazing or what, truly?
Yes, I am amazing.
Gamer Girl Friday is the amazing gaming addict who games too much even when she’s supposedly busy with work.
What’s the Difference (iPad edition) (Free – Limited Time)
Ever hung out at the arcade with your pals, four of you crowded in front of one screen, competing to spot the most differences before the time runs out on all of you?
This iPad rendition reminds me a lot of the arcade version. It’s very well done and you don’t need to feel like an idiot when strangers see you get offed in two minutes because you suck.
To keep things interesting, you can choose from three game modes.
Survival – The timer on each photo decreases as you progress.
Challenge – You get a fixed amount of time to play till game over. Clearing a photo fast earns you extra time.
Practice – For wimps only.
Like in the arcade version, tapping a wrong spot will zap away precious seconds.
It’s good. The library has 200 quality photos, enough to last you a while. I hope they release more in the future. Maybe that’s when we’ll have to pay.
Grab it while it’s still free.
Great Adventures (US$2.99 Limited Time)
It felt like I was playing a kid’s game because of the childish graphics and the way the game tells you what needs to be done every step of the way (although it doesn’t tell you how to do it). But I don’t think it’s really a kid’s game.
It’s quite challenging, especially in the second half. And I enjoyed it so much I completed the game in one sitting. It took about three hours.
Great Adventures is unique from other adventure games I’ve seen on the iPad. Or anywhere, in fact. It’s a puzzle adventure game where you pick up objects and combine them and use them on other objects while you solve a mystery.
What makes this game different are little elements from other game genres.
You need to feed, rest and entertain your characters to keep their mood meters up or they’ll refuse to perform tasks. Like in The Sims.
This was at first cute, then annoying, because of the distance I had to travel to get them fed/rested/entertained, then it was bearable after I picked up unlimited-charge mobile mood-uppers. These have a recast timer but they do the job.
Certain objects in the environment offer up puzzles to solve in order to progress. The puzzles are fun, some challenging. Some both.
Dog bones are scattered all over the world for you to pick up. These are your currency for hints for when you’re stuck in the game.
And then there are collection items (butterflies, logs, etc) to earn you Crystal achievements.
The truly unique feature in this adventure game, I think, is your control of two characters, each with a different skillset. You need to choose the right person to perform the right task.
I like how that raises the richness and difficulty of the game a little, but it does get annoying having to toggle between two characters all the time, especially when you have to travel big distances. That inconvenience is minimised with the iPad’s touchscreen capability, but it’s still somewhat tedious.
By the way, you can drag and drop characters to move them quickly from point A to point B. That’s really useful. But travelling around in the game is still quite a pain because the map is big and the game makes you travel up and down and back and forth by scrolling with your finger.
Barring minor annoyances, though, I think Great Adventures is a must-try if you like adventure games.
Tip: Make a note of all objects that you come across that you can’t activate or interact with yet because you’re lacking something (the game will tell you). You’ll find what you need later in the game and if you’ve forgotten all about it, you’ll be stuck.
Slice It! (US$0.99)
The game developers claim that “Once you Slice, you can’t stop Slicing!”
They’re actually right.
I first saw it when Minou played it on her iPad. Initially, I didn’t think much of it. And then there was a moment when everyone was sitting around the table trying to solve certain levels together and the game started to look more interesting to me.
So I actually bought my own copy, too.
There are currently 60 levels of increasing difficulty (more are coming after the devs deem the game popular enough) and it’s immensely satisfying when you manage to solve a tough one.
Your task is to slice a given shape into X number of equal-size slices using X number of cuts. Of course, it’s retardedly easy in the beginning but it gets to where it just looks impossible.
Slice It! is such a simple program with simple graphics that it kinda takes you by surprise when the game grabs you and won’t let you go.
Tip: Taking advantage of the iPad’s multi-touch capability, instead of slicing across with one finger like the game suggests, try putting two fingers on the screen at once to form a line and then adjusting the line for greater accuracy. It might help you get that perfect score.
Lamp of Aladdin (US$1.99 Sale | Usual US$4.99)
I am getting mighty sick of buying games at full price and then finding them on sale a few days later.
I wish I had waited to buy this game because it’s not really worth US$4.99 but then who’s ever going to know when the devs will knock the price off on a whim?
Lamp of Aladdin is a combination of hidden objects and Bejeweled.
The hidden objects is minimal, maybe 10-20% of the game. Most of it is Bejeweled but with a different twist. You match gems to clear paths for Aladdin rather than to make humongous combos for points. It’s pretty easy. I think kids can play this.
I’m not a gem-matching fan. I don’t have the patience to strategise at making combos and all that, so the challenge level of this game suits me just fine. And, yet, because I’m not a gem-matching fan, I tire of the game pretty quickly.
The hidden objects parts are nice. You collect parts to form objects instead of whole objects themselves. After forming objects, you use them on the environment to open up hidden compartments where more parts hide. But there are too few of these scenes.
I guess the biggest redeeming quality of this game is the way the gems explode (very visually pleasing) and the way Aladdin walks through the puzzle grids, picking up objects along the way to help him clear tricky paths. Those are fun to watch.
I’m not sure what kind of people would fully enjoy Lamp of Aladdin. Kids, maybe. Young teenagers, maybe. I enjoyed it for 20 minutes and then it got old.
Pebble Jump HD (Free – Limited Time)
The Goonfather made me download this game. He was, like, “You must download this game!” And then he kept making sure that he was just ahead of me in levels.
I guess you know what this game is about just by looking at the screenshots. You need to clear the board of pebbles by jumping them over others. You don’t need to jump them in any sequence. Just jump any pebble until the last one ends up in the star.
The pebbles look like egg yolks, which makes me hungry.
There are over 100 stages, split into Easy, Medium and Hard categories. But it starts getting challenging even in easy, so I can’t imagine the hard ones.
Anyway, it’s a good, entertaining game to keep Alzheimer’s at bay. Get it quick while it’s still free.
Speedy Pigs – HIGH SPEED WARNING! (Free – Limited Time)
You are a pig running towards… nowhere in particular, really. To steer, tilt your iPad left and right. Along the way, pick up power-ups and hit things to score points.
When you accumulate enough points from playing, you can unlock different piggy characters and get different skills.
I downloaded this to try since it’s free for a limited time and because the drawings look cute! It’s a very simple, fast game, good for moments when you have, say, one minute to kill. Like waiting for the lift or something.
I suppose, if you’re very good at it, the game can last you several lift rides combined, I can’t really boast that myself. I tire of action games rather quickly.
But if you’re the sort who likes to tilt your iPad all over the place to kingdom come, I guess you’ll love this game.
My one gripe with Speedy Pigs is that the instruction screen only appears once, when you first play the game. After that, you can never find it again. (I wanted to see it again to see if there were things I could do to get better scores.)
Oh, and the game gets fast. I mean your piggy gets fast and the environment starts blurring, which makes your vision go nuts. I’m not sure if that’s something that will bother people. It bothers me just a little bit. Strains the eyes.
But I keep getting drawn back to the game because I want to unlock Betty the Pretty Single Office Lady, dammit.
Hotel Mogul HD (US$6.99)
I thought I should just mention that I bought this game after enjoying Vacation Mogul, although it should have been the other way round because Hotel Mogul came first.
That’s all I’m going to say about it because it’s much of the same thing as Vacation Mogul, which I have already reviewed. It’s basically the same mechanics with different elements.
Okay, I will add that I’m enjoying this game as much as I enjoyed its successor, although the successor is supposed to be improved. Hotel Mogul is harder for two reasons. 1) You’re not earning money from a hotel when it’s upgrading. 2) You’re not given time to plan a strategy. The timer starts the moment you’re shown the whole map and the tasks.
I guess people must have complained about those features so you don’t see them in Vacation Mogul.
I bought Hotel Mogul at US$3.99 when it was on sale, so I guess that slightly makes up for the times when I got ripped off.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD (US$9.99)
My HardwareZone.com writer friend Aloysius alerted me last week to the fact that this game was out on the iPad.
But I didn’t get it until a week later because it costs US$9.99 and because I knew I wouldn’t have the time to play it.
I reviewed Chinatown Wars for the DS last year so I know it’s good. The iPad version is the same game but in full glorious HD!!
Well, after a week of resisting, I finally bought it, US$9.99 be damned.
Look, compare the iPad graphics with the DS ones:
It may seem a little excessive to you, but I bought the game because of that. I just want the satisfaction of feeling that I invested rightly in an iPad.
The controls are a little tough though, especially driving. Four buttons control your vehicle, basically the four directions a car can steer. Walking or shooting a gun involves a simulated joystick on the screen, which is actually just a circle you press on and move around with your finger.
I set Uncle Kenny’s car on fire just a minute after trying to shake off cops. By crashing it way too often.
Either I need more practice or I’m just not cut out to be a crook.
Okay, I’m technically in Sandakan (East Malaysia) now, but I wrote all these reviews beforehand when I was still in Singapore.
Okay, not really.
Anyway, take your time checking out the games. I probably won’t have time to get more games to review for next week.
But, as usual, we’ll see. =P