Archive for October, 2009
I think my complaints about not being able to feel the road surface may have been a little off. Certainly, when it’s raining and I turn a corner and see the smooth tarmac change to rough dirt the panic I feel must come from somewhere.
This is a very, very good game, overall. I’m playing the Professional difficulty now and it’s a good step up over Amateur without being too difficult. Perfect runs aren’t required, but you do need to do well and get through without any major crashes or scrapes.
The framerate does seem a little iffy at times, but I’ve not yet found it to be a problem. If I’d paid twenty quid for it we might be having words, but the £3.99 price tag helps to highlight the good and downplay the bad. I’m not making any allowances for it being on a phone -by now, the iPhone deserves to be treated as a proper portable games console – but I will make allowances for the price.
Rattled through a few more levels last night. I’m now on about level 79, I think. It’s a bit tricky, but I’m sure I’ll work it out next time I play it. Might be a good game for the train today, actually. (I’m going up to London to see a recording of Harry Hill’s TV Burp television show at BBC Television Centre. All very exciting.)
For a while last night I was so tired that playing anything that required pressing the screen seemed like too much effort, so I started up Mr. Hand, where you only have to tilt the device left and right to move. Nice and simple and good for tired brains.
I don’t know if this is still free, but it was when I got it. A lot of free games – and a few I’ve paid for – get deleted from my iPhone after a day or two, but this seems to be standing the test of time pretty well.
Words With Friends wouldn’t let me have ORGASMING last night.
Oooh, it’s got “3D” in the name! It must be good! Well, yes, actually, it is. There was some price-related controversy when this was released earlier in the week. The US price was lower than you’d expect, given the European pricing, and the Internet (well, some moaning buggers on Touch Arcade – of which I was one, yes) started complaining about the unfairness of it all. The developer explained that the price difference was because they thought the US price should be lower as they’re not traditionally fans of rally games, but then lowered the European price to match the US price, anyway. As one of the moaners, I pretty much had to buy the game when the price came down, so as not to be any more of an appalling hypocrite than I normally am.
So, last night the game showed up as £3.99 and I downloaded it. Luckily, yes, it’s really rather good. A lot of people haven’t got on with the default controls, but I’ve found no need to change them as yet. I’m quite happy to throw my car around corners by tilting the device and I don’t have any issues. As the difficulty steps up I might feel the need to try out different control schemes to try to shave half a second off my time here and there, but we’ll see.
Anyway, it plays well. It reminds me of the PSP version of Sega Rally in that, with sound turned off, there’s an odd disconnect between your car and the road surface. When you’ve got sound on, the noise of your tyres really helps sell the feeling that you’re on the road, when playing in silence it almost feels like you’re driving a Wipeout-style hover ship at times. As I say, that’s not unusual for games of this time on handhelds it doesn’t particularly hurt my enjoyment of the game.
Everything else is spot on. The graphics are good, with pop up limited to objects a fair way off in the distance, the sense of speed when using the bonnet-cam is great, the short tracks work for a mobile game and there’s a decent, if simple, damage system. Rather than having zones that can be damaged, such as your engine or tyres, you have an overall damage level that affects your top speed. After every other stage you can play simple little mini games to repair the damage – or just let your mechanics do all the work if you’d prefer to avoid them.
Overall, it’s a simple, fun mobile rally game and certainly up there with the best racing games on the system. Just a little hint of 4×4 Jam’s feeling of a real connection with the ground beneath your wheels wouldn’t go amiss. A sequel that did that and featured proper location-based damage would be a glorious thing indeed, but given the developer’s (understandable) reaction to the pricing controversy and piracy rates I won’t be holding my breath.
Yes, I’ve moved on to the full game. I’m going through the game on easy mode right now, to get used to the new towers and levels. It’s not been at all tricky so far, but that’s to be expected. I like easy modes that actually are easy. They’re doing it right.
Anyway, this is fast becoming my favourite tower defense game on the iPhone. It seems to be tuned just right in all areas, not just the difficulty level. The speed seems spot on, the controls are perfect and it doesn’t drag on too long. It’s a very good example of game design, I reckon.
Incidentally, I was a little bit surprised to see a splash ad on the main menu screen when I started it up.
Er, yeah, you probably need to go and download this as soon as you possibly can, I reckon.
Played for a little under an hour last night. Enough time to track down some voice recorders for a scientist and to fight some battles in the arena. I also found an excellent new sniper rifle, so sold my old one, then noticed the new sniper rifle’s level requirement is way above where I am right now. Bother. Never mind, though, my repeater pistol has a bigger zoom than any sniper rifle I’ve ever seen and can set people on fire, to boot. The recoil’s pretty horrible, though.
Anyway, Borderlands. It’s an FPS structured like an MMORPG, it looks absolutely amazing, has bags of character, enough statistics and upgrades to play with without being overwhelming and is generally all kinds of awesome. I don’t usually get big, full price console games these days, but I’m very glad I traded some stuff in to get this. In fact, the last three big games I got at or near launch – Borderlands, Fuel and Arkham Asylum have all been excellent.
Was awake a while before my alarm went off this morning. After checking what had happened online overnight – aren’t iPhones just great? – I played a few rounds of Star Defense Prelude on Medium difficulty. As I said yesterday, I wasn’t going to start playing the full game until I’d managed to complete that task.
And, just after my alarm went off, I did it. I didn’t have many lives left, but I did it. A glorious moment, indeed. After making a terrible first impression, this is fast becoming one of my favourite tower defense games.
So, now that’s done, I can play the full game. Except, except there’s still one commendation (i.e. achievement) I’ve not got… which is finishing the level on Hard. That may well be completely out of my league, but I’ve got to try, right?
The daddy of iPhone twin-stick shooters is back down to 59p, so I thought I’d see how it stacks up these days. It’s not to shabby, as it happens.
There’s a distinct lack of documentation, just a brief help screen with no mention of the different game modes or why I’d want to collect the omen things that drop now and again or anything like that.
Still, the core shooting action is fun – especially in Rush mode, which is a lot faster than Survival mode, which can drag on a bit, but which seems like it might be the only mode that lets you collect those omen things. They seem to help you rank up, but why I’d want to do that, I don’t know. I should probably look for a guide online, but this sort of stuff should really be in the game.
I like the different weapons, I like the controls, I like the perk system – every now and again you get to select a new power from a random list – and like the main character’s hat. No, it’s not as good as Minigore, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of – Minigore is special.