Posts Tagged ‘Apps’

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I’ve always been an avid motorsport fan.  I’d watch anything from rally, to touring cars, to formula one.  No surprises then, that I’d be interested in a game about managing a formula one team.  This particular offering, a mobile game titled MyGPTeam Turbo, comes from Italy-based developer, Interactive Project.  It’s a relative of their existing browser-based social game, MyGPTeam.

As I started up the game, I was immediately greeted with a tutorial.  This is not uncommon for many mobile games to do, and honestly, it’s a good thing.  After all, I’d rather go into it knowing what I’m doing to begin with.  The tutorial took me through the basics of races and navigating the game.  As you would expect, the game functions mostly through the use of touch button controls and these are fairly intuitive.  I didn’t find myself having to relearn any sort of control techniques.

So what is this game all about? Well, it’s a formula one team management game.  The player is tasked with creating the best team they can possibly make and leading them to victory in races.

Photo 17-12-13 12 22 07As a player, this is the screen you will see the most.  It’s basically a 3d menu that depicts the team headquarters.  It has everything from a company office to a garage and driver’s area.  From here, you can carry out all of the actions you need to create a winning team.

First off, you can head over to the garage and check out your car.

Photo 17-12-13 12 22 24Since this is based on formula one, there’s no need to buy or choose from different cars.  Instead, your team starts off with the sponsored car, which you can then perform many upgrades to.  The upgrades are linear, level-based upgrades that can be purchased throughout the course of the game.

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 These are also limited by the level of the garage, itself, which can also be upgraded.  Each aspect of the car produces a set number of statistics, in the form of points.  This makes it relatively easy to see what effect the upgrade will directly have.  However, it is not as clearly explained how exactly those particular points will affect the overall performance of the car during a race.

Photo 17-12-13 12 23 07In addition, the player also has the option to customise the appearance of the car.  There are a selection of different skins.  Some of which, are available as unlocks throughout the course of the game.  Others are available for purchases via micro-transactions.  Each skin also has a selection of different color variations that are available once unlocked.

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The next place to visit is the driver training area.  Here, you can train your existing drivers in order to improve their skills and eventually increase their overall level.  The player also has access to a talent scout that will allow you hire other drivers.  To train a driver, simply open up the training menu and select the skill that you want to upgrade.  You will then be taken to the driver simulator which, for all intents and purposes, is basically a minigame that simulates the particular skill.  For example, if you wish to upgrade your driver’s skills on straights, you’ll take part in a simulated drag race and you will need to hit those perfect launches and gear changes.

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So you’ve prepared your car and you’ve trained your driver, now what?

Well, then it’s time to race.  There are two main types of races.  There’s the quick race mode and multiplayer 1v1.  In both race modes, the player takes on the role of the chief, not the driver.  So, in order to win, it’s more of a strategy game.  The player must tell the driver what to do at particular times.  Should your driver speed up now, or overtake? The choice is yours.

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For anyone who’s played Gran Turismo 5‘s “B-spec” career mode, the style of play should be fairly familiar.  In addition, the player will be given moments where they will need to complete short minigames during the race that will help maintain an edge over your opponents.

Photo 17-12-13 12 20 34And that’s all there is to it.  Overall, this looks like a very well-polished game.  The music and sound effects are pretty decent.  I didn’t notice any glaring quality while playing.  Also, the graphics are pretty impressive for mobile devices.  So, if you’re looking for a good team management game and you’re a fan of motorsport, this is a good title to try out.  It’s available for both Android and iOS.  Check out their main site here!

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Many may say that this is Red Dead Redemption’s bastardised and mentally-deficient cousin.  But, if RDR isn’t coming to mobiles, this may be the closest thing to it.

Six-Guns is a third person, open world western shooter developed by Gameloft and released in 2011 for Android and iOS.  In April this year, it was released for Blackberry 10 as well.

As mentioned above, Six-Guns is a western styled shooter.  You take control of a guy named Buck.  He’s just woken up hungover in the middle of the desert.  He then makes his way to a small homestead where a young (and well-endowed) woman is being harassed by bandits.  Buck quickly makes short work of the bandits and the woman becomes his UI ornament.  Basically, this is how the story begins and it is told in the style of a well-illustrated graphic novel.

Shooting is one the key points of the game and you learn this fairly early on.  It’s a straight up third person shooter with cover mechanics included.  So, those familiar with games such as Gears of War will not find anything particularly new here.  Despite being a wild western game, there are some supernatural elements in the story as well.  Buck not only has to fight off bandits, but vampires and Native American spirits as well.  The overall gunplay is fairly satisfying and there are plenty of guns to choose from.  You have everything from revolvers to lever-action rifles, as well as submachine guns, handcannons and a host of supernatural weapons that would make Van Helsing go green with envy.

Graphically, it’s not bad.  Despite being a mobile game, Gameloft has done an excellent job at balancing the detail just nicely that it looks just pretty enough.  Sure, it might start to look a little poor on a larger screen such as on the iPad, but it looks just fine on the iPhone.

There’s plenty to do in the game so it’s not easy to get bored fast.  You have all the standard gunfighting with bandits if you so choose and everything else from horse racing to target practice missions too.  Oh, and not to mention everybody’s favourite, escort missions are included too.

Controls are all done with virtual buttons (surprise, surprise) and it doesn’t feel as clunky as I would have expected.  The aiming and shooting is fairly easy to do, thanks to the well-placed layout of the buttons on the screen.  There is also auto-aim but it doesn’t make you feel like you are being hand-holded.  You still need to aim at enemies on your own but it just helps you to track moving targets more easily.  Just don’t depend on it to grant you instant headshots.  Incidentally, headshots on enemies behind cover are very satisfying, thanks to the rewards that pour out for every critical kill.

Overall, this is definitely a game that’s worth a try.  If you’re looking for a decent shooting game to entertain you on your next morning commute, this could well be worth it.  I realize that I’ve spoken mostly about the single player only.  There’s a multiplayer option too, but the single player has so much content, it’s hard to imagine even wanting to try multiplayer out until I’m done with it.

Six-Guns is available for iOS, Android and Blackberry, for FREE now.  Try it out for yourself!

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Hi everyone,

I’ve recently been playing a little game called Game Dev Story.  It’s one out of a few titles from a company called Kairosoft, all of the titles in the series are tycoon simulator style games and they all end with “story” in their name.

This particular title was actually released in October 2010, and I know, you’re probably thinking, “That’s ages ago!”.  And you’re probably right.  But, I’ve only started playing it recently and I quite enjoy it.

Basically, the game lets you take charge of a small, developing game developer and build it up into becoming one of the giants in the game industry.

You start off by developing you first game (obviously) and you do that by navigating a series of menus that let you choose everything from your platform to the type and genre of the game.

The platforms, incidentally, are all puns of actual consoles.  They actually do serve as a good insight into the history of gaming, so long as you can decipher the names for yourself.

After you’ve decided on your type of game and platform, then you assign your staff to lead different stages of the development, i.e. Scenario writing, Graphics, etc.

Your staff also can be trained and this will allow you unlock new genres and game types.  This will also improve their overall abilities.  

The actual “game” you develop progresses over time and you can follow its progress with a simple percentage indicator on the screen.  How good your game is is indicated by the use of points being assigned to Fun, Creativity, Graphics and Sound.  These are added throughout the development of the game and are directly related to the skill levels of your staff.

The genre and type combinations you choose matter as well.  It’s all a big experiment, really.  You have to figure out which combinations work well and which don’t.  Some combinations are obvious such as war-based shooters, others aren’t.  And, even the best made “games” (those that gain large amounts of points for Fun, Creativity, Graphics and Sound), may still flop in the market because their genres and types just don’t match.

As you progress through the game, you will be offered chances to upgrade to bigger offices where you can hire more staff.  More staff means more collective ability points and better games.  Sort of like the real thing, no?

New consoles will also periodically enter the market and older ones will leave.  It’s up to you to choose which consoles you want to buy licenses for and make games for.  I believe this part is scripted somewhat as if you were to follow the respective histories of the actual consoles the game intends to replicate, you’d more often find that the consoles you don’t expect to do well, generally don’t last long.  (I’m looking at you, Virtual Boy).

Overall, it’s an enjoyable experience.  The fact that they add imaginary awards and game conventions just add to the overall fun of it.  It doesn’t take itself too seriously and I wouldn’t call it anywhere near realistic.  But, that being said, if you are interested in game development and video games, in general, you’d definitely have a couple of hours worth of fun with this.

Game Dev Story is available for iOS and Android.  Currently, on sale for AU$4.49 in the App Store and AU$2.50 on Google Play.  Don’t worry, there is a demo version available for free called Game Dev Story Lite.  Try it out for yourself!

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Pay2Win is a phrase that’s been floating around since the advent of free-to-play games.  Personally, there’s an oh-so-very fine line between ‘freemium’ (free to download and play but with in-app purchases) and downright pay2win.

We could sit here and debate all day and night about which games are indeed P2W and which ones aren’t.  But what I want to do right now is talking about Boom! Tanks.

This is Codemasters’ new game on mobile platform, following Colin Mcrae Rally.  First off, yes this is a free to download game with in-app purchases.  I’ve been playing this for the last couple of days since its launch and it’s actually not bad.

The IAP will get annoying after a while and the social media tie-in is there too, but what else is new? As you would expect from a free-to-play title, the cosmetic stuff is pretty much all cash only items and there are ways to speed up things such as tank upgrades with real money.

Currently, though, I haven’t found any real need to spend anything on this game.  The upgrades don’t start taking time to deliver until you’ve reached about three levels into each upgrade module (of which there a total of six, with six total levels each) and the first delivery time is a mere five minutes.  I know time is money and all that when you’re talking about mobile apps but five minutes? I don’t mind waiting, it’s actually a really short time.  The next level after that takes fifteen minutes, again, a very short time.  And, presumably the last levels take thirty minutes (haven’t reached there yet but I’ll update if this is wrong).

And then there’s the camouflage paint.  Camo is pretty much cosmetic.  You do get a bit of bonus money at the end of each match but it’s not really much and certainly not worth spending real cash on.

The gameplay isn’t anything to really rave about.  It’s on rails and you don’t control your tank’s movements.  The only thing the player actually needs to do is move the targeting reticule onto the enemy tank to fill up an “aiming bar” that will, in turn, giving you an “aiming bonus” in the form of in-game currency.  After that it’s just a matter of tapping the screen when the time is right in order to hit and damage the opponent.

The tanks have health bars similar to fighting games like Mortal Kombat and the whole timed-shooting mechanic reminds me a lot of FIFA’s penalty kick, minus any form of aiming.

Oh, and before I forget, there are premium tanks to buy too.  The actual selection of “free” tanks isn’t too bad and they do have noticeable differences, especially when you upgrade them.  Premium tanks give you a boost to your in-game currency earnings per match.  That’s about it, actually.  The currency boost isn’t much and the stats for premium tanks are somewhat similar to the rest of the “free” tanks too.

So then, what’s to conclude from this? Well, it’s free.  And it’s mobile.  It’s a little big, so you need WiFi to download it.  But, overall, it’s really not that bad.  Yes, you will have IAPs thrown at you.  Yes, there will be ads.  But, you know what?  There aren’t any IAPs that I can see would give anyone a significant advantage.  There’s no multiplayer yet, but the only difference I can see if there was multiplayer, would be that a person who spent real money on absolutely everything would end up with a tank that’s no different to free player’s (unless he uses a premium tank, in which case, it’s different, not better.).  But I like the whole tapping based controls.  Simply because games that use tilt controls annoy me.  However, good the controls are, they don’t work while sitting on the bus or train.

So, thank you, Codemasters.  You might not have made a great game, but at least it’s good for killing time on the morning commute.