Hugely different from the 2010 version, this. It’s still a hunting game, so you’re shooting cuddly animals in the face, which may be an issue for some. Frankly, it’s a bit of an issue for me… but I think that’s why I play hunting games. To be provoked and challenged by a game is a good feeling. It’s not often a game makes me feel uncomfortable, but hunting games often do.
(I really should play Modern Warfare 2 at some point so I can take a look at the No Russian mission and see what all the fuss is about.)
Anyway, if you’ve played both Hunting Unlimited titles then you’ll immediately see a huge difference in graphics. Gone are the rubbish 2D sprites and side-on view! Now we have relatively snazzy 3D graphics and the ability to pan around our hunting tower for a whole 360 degrees. You can look up and down, too. Will wonders never cease?
Sarcasm aside, it’s a huge graphical improvement. The gameplay has changed, too. Obviously you’ve got new controls to go with the new view. It’s fairly simple stuff, with swipes moving your view (you can invert the y-axis, praise be to the developers) and on-screen buttons for shooting, zooming, reloading, etc.
There’s also a new element of danger. On some levels bears charge your tower and you have to kill them before the tower collapses and you get your face eaten off.
It’s all a bit odd, though, seemingly unsure of whether it’s a proper hunting game or a shooting gallery in animal skins. For example, I spent a long time shooting deer through the heart so I didn’t damage their pretty faces, but it turns out that you get extra points (and a whizzy Matrix-style view of your bullet) for shooting them in the head. Huh.
Still, once you get used to the game rules it’s fun enough, but from what I’ve played so far it’s not a match for Deer Hunter 3D. It’s early days, though. I’ll give it some more time. (I’ve also got the African safari version of Deer Hunter 3D on my phone ready to go, so I’ll try to play that soon to compare.)
This is starting to get a little bit annoying now. Not game-breakingly so, but I’m definitely starting to huff and puff a bit.
Take a look at the screenshot below.
The stars are on timers, so you have to collect them quickly before they disappear. This involves moving the little blue circles along their tracks and cutting the ropes attached to them. The trouble is, they’re so close to together that my great big fingers keep hitting the circles when I want to hit the ropes and vice versa. It really felt like I got lucky when I finally completed the level, which is a bit of a problem.
This isn’t an isolated level, either. Plenty of levels now require you to move things around with little time to spare, so it’s really becoming a bit of an issue.
There are many reasons why I shouldn’t play a whole game of Carcassonne between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning. The score is the least of them.
Or, more to the point, cut the ropes. Also, blow the air. And burst the bubbles. And avoid the spikes. And collect the stars. And don’t let the spiders get you!
The game’s rather more involved than it might seem to be at first.
There’s an odd-looking, frog-like little chap on each level and you need to feed him a piece of candy. The candy’s tied up, so you have to cut the ropes so it ends up in his mouth. (Also: burst bubbles, blow air, etc. as I just mentioned.) Along the way you can pick up stars and finishing the level after getting all three of them is the only real mark of success.
A bit like Angry Birds, then, where getting past levels is easy, but really, truly completing them takes a lot more effort. Cut the Rope, though, doesn’t really on nearly as much luck, replacing it with quick swiping (sometimes with multiple fingers at once). Your fingers and thumbs need to become a blur as you use everything in the level at precisely the right time to send the candy through the stars on its way to being eaten.
In Angry Birds you need a plan, good aim and some luck. In Cut the Rope you need a plan and then the dexterity to execute it with ruthless efficiency. (In practice it doesn’t seem that different, mind, because some of the timing is so tight that it feels exactly like luck, anyway.)
Cut the Rope is a very tiring game, then. Once a level starts there’s no time to pause. The rush you get when you get all three stars on a level, though, gives you a big enough push to make you start the next one. My sleep was delayed by about twenty minutes last night due to having to do “just one more level”.
I can’t imagine I’ll continue going for all three stars on every level before moving on. It’s already getting tricky and I’m only half-way through the second set of levels (of four). I’m pretty sure, though, that any stars I do miss I’ll return to later, assuming the necessary timing doesn’t get too ridiculous.
Another freebie recommended by PodGamer, albeit after a bit of a rant.
It’s from Donut Games, whose output is admired by many. I’ve never really, properly got on with any of their games, though. I’m not sure what it is, I really don’t, but they never quite gel for me. They don’t lack polish, they don’t lack content, the controls always work well, I have nothing against their graphical house style… I just always seem to be a little underwhelmed. I play the games for a while, decide I can’t be bothered getting three stars on every level and wander off.
At this point I do have to point out that they’re very generous in giving away many of their older games for free and I have played through them without spending a single, solitary penny. Complaining about them, therefore, means that I’m a bit of a dick.
It’s just that I can’t quite see why other people rave about them. Maybe it’s just that in this world of broken control systems, bugs and shovelware, that a reliable set of games that don’t have any actual problems are to be cherished.
Anyway, Rat On A Scooter XL. It’s not actually a series of levels you can get three stars on, after all that, but a set of four similar, randomly-generated, single-touch, endlessly-scrolling platform games. A bit like, well, all those other games like that. It’s basically the family version of Canabalt, replacing speed, tension and greyscale art with gentle acceleration and a happy little rat.
It’s all right, you know. It starts off slowly and gradually gets faster, the different modes are all worthwhile and it does seem to save my high scores.
I’d just rather play Canabalt, because I’m all about the pumping adrenaline and giant robots. Except, you know, Canabalt’s frame rate has been broken for months now and the developers don’t seem to be doing anything about it. Updates have come and gone, but on my 3GS Canabalt’s run like crap ever since the 4.0 upgrade and it’s not been any better on 4.1.
So Rat On A Scooter XL, then. It’s pretty good and it works, so I’m keeping it.
Planet Protector got a very favourable review over at PodGamer and it was free, so I decided to give it a go.
It’s a shooty little blighter, where you roam around a planet trying to shoot aliens before they damage your home world. (At least, I assume it’s your home world, it’s a lot of effort to go to to defend an outlying colony. Maybe it has strategic importance or it’s rich in naturally-formed tacos or something.)
The control system, on paper, makes a huge amount of sense. You tap where you want to aim and your little ship spins around the planet to that point. To fire, you simply hold your finger down on the screen. In practice, I found it hard to get used to and having to hold my big, fat finger over enemies made things a bit of a trial.
Worst of all, though, is that the game only randomly seemed to save high scores. Sometimes I’d leave the app and come back and my high score would have been saved, sometimes it wouldn’t. (Maybe it doesn’t deal properly with being dumped out of memory? A pure guess.) That was annoying enough for me to delete the game, but if I see an update come down from on high with a fix, I’ll give it another go.
So, I thought I better try out PES before I deleted FIFA, to check that it would still satisfying all my portable footie-related cravings.
At first I was all over the shop. I couldn’t even remember how to do through balls. The speed of the game (much faster than FIFA) and the passing system also threw me off for a while.
After the first half of my first game, though, I was back in business and very much enjoying myself. It’s just… it’s just that it’s not FIFA. The more I play of FIFA, the more special I think it is. I should go and delete it now, before I get too attached, and have a rethink when it gets updated.
I should definitely do that.
“Just go and delete it already! This is getting tiresome!” <- Reader's Voice
You know how when you build something in Minecraft you can’t see it and then you jump down and turn around and look at your creation and it is either:
b) a bit disappointing?
Today I built an angel.
He’s a b.
Last night Aston Villa won the FA Cup.
It’s a shame, then, that the commentators thought the final was a semi-final. No, Clive and Andy, I won’t be looking forward to the final, I just won the bloody thing.
FIFA 11, you see, is brilliant, but buggy. Goalkeepers drop balls and then refuse to kick them. The commentators refer to cup matches as friendlies and think Wembley Stadium is Villa’s home ground. That sort of thing. It’s never really anything very serious, but there are some terribly rough edges. (Especially on the iPhone 4, it seems, where slow-down is a real problem. I’ve had the odd stutter on my 3GS, but it’s generally been absolutely fine.)
It’s a game engine that has huge potential, but as well as being buggy it’s lacking in a lot of features you’d expect a flagship game to have. Multiplayer, for example. Or Manager mode.
Look past all that, though, and just play the game and it’s brilliant. It’s hard at first, but once you get into the rhythm of it and work out the timing it eases up and I wasn’t troubled in my last few matches on Beginner difficulty. If I was keeping the game on my phone I’d definitely up the difficulty for my next cup run.
Unfortunately, as I said yesterday, it’s just too big to keep around. I’m down to 150MB of free space on my iPhone and it’s just not enough. FIFA has to go. It must. I just can’t bring myself to actually delete it yet. It’s too good.
Oh, the humanity!
Peggle. Peggle, Peggle, Peggle. What is there to say that hasn’t been said? It’s a piece of bouncetastic genius that’s given me countless hours of pleasure across multiple platforms.
I hadn’t played it in quite a while, though, until yesterday. There’s only so many times you can play the same levels. (About six thousand, possibly?) Luckily, PopCap came to my rescue yesterday and released Peggle Nights as DLC for the original Peggle app. The original price of the Nights level pack was a cheap £1.79, but before I got round to buying it the price dropped to an incredible 59p. 59p! For Peggle Nights! Amazing!
That shit so got bought.
Now, I’ve played through Peggle Nights before, but I’ve not spent as much time with it as the original Peggle, so all the levels seem really rather fresh.
I’m working my way through Adventure mode and having a brilliant time. It’s good to be back.
Peggle, I love you.