Last night (technically this morning), I played Vacation Mogul HD from 2 am till 5:30 am. It’s that fun. I’ve almost completed it. Only one island left to play. Boohoo.
All the missions are replayable, though. You can go back and replay them any time till you get gold trophies for all of them, which is what I did. =D
Okay, more mini reviews on iPad games today!
Highborn HD (US$2.99 Introductory Price)
I bought this because reviews say that it’s funny. There’s a lot of sarcastic, irreverent, slapstick humour in Highborn (in dialogues and character descriptions) and that’s all I need to convince me to buy a game.
I’ll show you examples in a minute but, first, the gameplay.
Highborn is a mission-based turn-based strategy game where you control a hero and his team of knights, archers and healers, to fight whatever the mission throws at you.
There are no tutorials or instructions, so you’ll be lost for about a minute. But it’s pretty straightforward. You can pick it up quickly with just a bit of initial trial and error.
The main game board is a grid with terrain, buildings and people occupying squares. The people look like human-shaped board game tokens and it’s funny to watch them hop on the squares when you make them move.
If you choose to attack, the game goes into a close-up animation sequence of two small armies fighting, which is rather cute to watch.
Now, here’s a bit of funny dialogue between Archie (the first hero) and Minotaur (the first boss). They say a lot more than this but I can’t publish the entire dialogue here.
SNORT! What is going on? You fools let him get one of our towns! Capture it back! I can’t come out and deal with this right now; it’s “Take Your Kids to Work Day” and little Bobbytaur got his nose stuck in the copier.”
(Later… after you manage to kill him…)
SNORT! No! How could you defeat me? I don’t believe it! You made me look like such a wuss in front of my kids. Jerk!
All right, now you tell me who is behind this evil tyranny or I’m gonna call your wife and let her know you brought your kids on to the battlefield.
(End of example.)
Currently, Highborn only has eight missions listed under Chapter One. There’s a note saying that Chapter Two will be coming soon but I don’t know if that will cost extra. Probably.
There’s also a multiplayer option through OpenFeint – The coolest thing since sliced awesome (their words, not mine).
You can have multiple multiplayer games going on at once. Like Words With Friends, I guess. Haven’t tried it because it seems to be bugged. When I tap on OpenFeint, the box that pops up is supposed to let me sign up, but it’s a blank page, instead.
Okay, enough. My mini reviews are getting too long!
Color Cross HD (US$2.99)
If you like picross puzzles, you’ll love this. Color Cross has multiple colours per puzzle, unlike the usual picross’ monotone. It’s like having multiple puzzles on one puzzle. It’s very fun that way.
Picross is short for picture crossword, if you didn’t know. And if you haven’t tried a picross, you should. I think you can find some free ones online just to understand what it’s about. Google it.
I love the puzzles in Color Cross but I hate the user interface. It certainly needs more work. The graphics is ugly (not the puzzle pictures, but everything else), the sound effects are super annoying and I hate that they don’t allow you to turn off mistakes.
(If you tap a square where there isn’t supposed to be a pixel, the game tells you right away and you get time penalised. Some picross games allow you to turn this off to make the game harder plus minimise accidental tapping.)
Also, the game doesn’t mark the categories where you’ve completed all the puzzles. There are tons of categories organised by theme, so it gets impossible to keep track if you like jumping from theme to theme.
Despite all these annoyances, I’d still recommend this Color Cross… until I find a better one.
Pinball HD (US$0.99 Sale Price – Normal US$2.99)
The graphics is waaaaay amazing and worth the price of admission. It does take some getting used to playing pinball on the iPad but it’s not a huge mountain to climb.
The game offers a few different views, each of which gives you a different experience.
Portrait modes offers a top-down view while landscape mode offers a cool, diagonal angle (picture above).
Zoom out to see the whole table and play it static. Or zoom in to enjoy glorious graphic details in HD as the camera pans around smoothly, following the ball. (Slide both thumbs up or down the screen to toggle.)
There are three different tables (different themes) but they all seem to follow the same template, roughly, so that’s a bit disappointing because then it doesn’t quite feel like three different pinball mahines even though they look different.
Pinball fans will love it but I’m a fussy pinball player. I need more surprises, bonus features, multi-balls, etc. So, I only like this game rahter than love it. Pinball HD has bonus features but not enough. It’s mostly the amazing graphics that does it for me.
Tap Tap Radiation (Free)
Yay. Finally a free game worthy of my time to download and play.
I was never a Tap Tap fan even though it’s a huge hit on the iPhone. Nanny Wen is always calling me lousy for not having Tap Tap on my phone. I just found it too monotonous.
Now, though, I shall once again demonstrate my nauseating iPad fan-gerism by declaring, “iPad makes everything fun!”
On the iPad, the three tap spots are not static at the bottom of the screen, like on the iPhone. They actually move around, so you have to move with them while tapping your beats.
After a while, you’ll look positively spastic as you twist your fingers all over to follow the moving circles without missing a beat. Try not to play this in front of a girl/boy you’re trying to impress until you’ve mastered looking glamorous while getting a perfect score.
Another challenging feature is that, in some songs, you’re getting like a top-down view instead of the diagonal angle you’re used to on the iPhone. This makes it harder to gauge when to tap, especially on hard and extreme modes.
The best thing about Tap Tap Radiation, though, is that it’s free to download and you get 40 songs free from the start. Requires three other separate downloads once you get the game. I’m not sure if these will be available permanently. The base game comes with six songs.
No iPad should be without Tap Tap Radiation! It’s free, anyway, so.
Of course, later on, you’ll be tempted to buy your favourite songs when they’re made available, but that’s your problem. Current lineup includes Lady Gaga and Pink. Very limited choices. My bank account breathes a sigh of relief.
Jigsaw Box (US$2.99)
I didn’t buy this. Yet. I downloaded the lite version. I was in the mood to play jigsaw puzzles and there are a whole freaking load of them in App Store, so I spent quite a bit of time looking through all of them before finally deciding on this.
Jigsaw Box has decent pictures and a decent user interface. I love the sound it makes when two pieces snap to each other. There’s a very gentle “tac” sound and joined pieces because inseparable, which helps you move them around to make space for loose pieces.
Jigsaw Box Lite has three categories: Famous Landmarks, Castles and Kids. (There are many more in the paid version.)
Yes! There are kid puzzles so this is great for young families.
The advantage that iPad jigsaw puzzles have over real ones is that you get to cheat. If you don’t like that word, let’s just say that the iPad takes the work out of jigsaw puzzling, leaving you with only the fun part.
You can choose the game to show only edges first, so you don’t need to pick them out yourself. Join up all the edges first without being distracted by other peices!
(Another jigsaw game I downloaded – Bright Puzzles – allows you to show only pieces from a specific quadrant, which is a bit more cheating. But it’s up to you. You can choose to be a hero and sort through an entire mountain of pieces yourself. But I don’t quite like it cos it makes an annoying sound when you fit pieces together.)
The free version of Jigsaw Box comes with 16 puzzles while the paid version has more than 100. Wow.
Arrow Words (Free)
For crossword puzzle fans. I’m not a huge fan but I like to do them occasionally. I downloaded this because it’s free and because it’s an interesting version of crossword puzzles.
I kinda like it. Since the clues are on the board itself, you don’t have to keep looking left and right and then try to find numbers that correspond to the clues you want to solve. Nice.
Free version comes with nine puzzles in three difficulty modes. More puzzles can be downloaded for cash. Sneaky people, them!
Now, I am going to try very hard not to buy anymore iPad games for the rest of the month, so don’t count on more reviews for some time.
I’ll be travelling from the 17th to 29th of this month anyway, so probably won’t have time to play and review new games during that time.
Well, let’s just see what happens. You never know with the unpredictable Gamer Girl Friday! Cos she doesn’t even know herself.