Wednesday, 3 August 2016

PaperToss 2.0: Pokémon Go Training Game?

Is there a way to practise your Pokéball throwing skills?

First released way back in November of 2011, Backflip Studios' App Store classic sequel has recently reappeared on iTunes' Top Free games section. That got me thinking, is this thanks to Niantic and The Pokémon Company?

You guys remember Temple Run, correct? Well, around twelve months after Imangi Studios' launched their pivotal mobile game, another title appeared! Perhaps about the time of its muse's most popular reign?; Temple Run Training Game, by Martin Finch. Now, where this is self explanatory, if you're familiar with Paper Toss --you may be ahead of me here.

Yes, them gameplay mechanics! They are not unlike those of attempting to catch a Pokémon, agreed? So, are people using Paper Toss (2.0 in this case) as practise? It's a curious coincidence, don't you think?

I'm certainly going to re-download and see if it helps develop my Pokéball flinging skills. And, right now, it may just be about the only other game many mobile gamers, including myself might play, since the Pokémon Go takeover.

"Gotta Catch 'Em All!" "Right babe?"

This was my debut News post, for #sleeplessnation

Power Hover: iOS Review

Should you bother, to Hover?
The wonderful thing about nostalgia, so I've learnt first hand, is; it can be triggered by something nonspecific. Nostalgic feelings become more plentiful, the older I get. And, for the most part, they make me smile inside. Ok-ok, that's more than one thing, but hey, like I said; nonspecific.
Video games. Video games have, and continue to be an activator of said emotional state. Many of us revisit our favourite classic titles because of this. However, recently, rather than longing for yesterday, I've found myself embracing the present. And, what a gift that is! When a new, modern video game gives me the exact same feeling, experienced while replaying a title from say, twenty five years ago(?)

Oddrock's Power Hover, I choose you. Or, you chose me? Whatever, the feeling is mutual and everything is glowing! Maybe it's the hoverboard? It might be the soundtrack? Could be that pseudo -low-poly art style? All I know is, one, or all of these things light me up like a Christmas tree --and it's magical!
So, "What is this?", you ask? 
Power Hover is a story, an action game, a rock concert, and a free trip back to the future. It was also the App Store's Free App of the Week last week, which makes it a steal. Alright-alright, I'll tell you! Heck, I will even be more specific . . .

You play our protagonist, a hoverboarding robot, whose village was robbed of electricity. Your task, is to follow the trail left by the thief, and reclaim that power. So, fasten your bootstraps, and enjoy the ride! It's gonna get bumpy, maybe even nauseating at times, but it'll be worth it.

To defy gravity, and control said unnamed hoverboarding robot, it is simple. Tap the left of the screen to hover left, and yeah, you know the drill. That's it. Easy, right? Well, no. For some reason, I for one, kept wanting to, and actually finding myself, holding the screen, so to slide. ( Irrespective of the included tutorial. Hey, you know us men never read the instructions. ) It just felt right. You might understand when you play the game, but I would even go so far to say, I'm kind of surprised there was no alternate control scheme, like an actual slider, or virtual on-screen joystick, perhaps? But then, the precision and subtle moves often required, would have put the kibosh on those. See, sometimes, you just need a little nudge either way. So, I guess I can see why they chose the method they did. It's not all about speed, a bit of focus is frequently needed here. Of course, you can and do need to hold the screen a while longer than a tap at times, but you just need to get accustomed to mixing it up accordingly. They work great by the way, the controls. I hate to say this, as it's such a cliche description these days, especially with mobile games, but they are indeed, "Easy to learn, difficult to master."
Any other moves you do in the game, such as jumps, or tricks, are done automatically. So you can look bodacious, or gnarly without even having to worry about it. Outcomes subject to preparation. It's all in the approach, guys. Oh, and look out for the disorientating, no, hynotising, changes in perspective.

Which is a perfect, unrehearsed segway to the many hazards to avoid and obstacles to overcome. But, don't let those get in the way of the beautiful, yet sometimes deadly, often understated vistas around you. It actually helps to look at the road less travelled, and not just what's right under your nose. So, take a moment. Just, be quick about it! This is a twitch game after all.
Then there are the somewhat unorthodox boss battles. Now, I don't want to spoil them for you. However, I will say this: They are, but one unique feature of Power Hover, which is refreshing. And it's something else, when a game that contains so many nods to the past it would not look out of place on a dashboard, at the same time, actually holds its own.
Another thing to be aware of on your travels, as you hunt down who, or what ever stole your energy is; you should be on the lookout for batteries! These, you need to collect, in order to power up your village again. Though, you can progress so far without them, eventually you could find yourself in short supply. Luckily, it is possible to replay levels, so land that 180 *insert move here*, and head back to gather some more power! Actually, you could also pay real money to unlock levels, if you become stuck, but where's the fun in that? I've yet to find this a grind, pun intended, and I'm sort of hoping the developers come up with a new way to spend cash and support them. One that will not detract anything from the purity of the game.  Look, I picked this game up when it was free, my bad.
Challenges. In addition to playing the game and unfolding a story, which is told through the odd simple, yet moody cut scene, there are separate challenge levels in which to compete in, and ultimately complete. Each stage is different enough, seems to, while not surprisingly, get progressively more difficult, and has a select amout of batteries to gather. Catch 'em all, complete the level and unlock the next stage. Collecting batteries, also gifts you bolts. Those, you can use to unlock more robots with varying abilities, whom may, or may not aide in your success rate.

What exactly is that great about this game, I felt a need to share? Well, I've always wanted to try snowboarding. I know it's hoverboarding! No, seriously, for me, it's the total package. And thus far, Oddrok's debut still feels so new as if it was yet to be unwrapped from all its hypothetical cellophane. 
Ted ( Retry ) Striker's soundtrack calls for your headphones. Mesmerising visuals, hold your attention. And the gameplay, plays well, too merges just the right amount of challenge and fun that has you coming back for more. If that's not enough to wet your appetite, then there's the extra helpings of replay value. Want some meaning to your actions? There's even an interactive story to unfold here, folks! It's familiar, it's brand new --it's Power Hover! 
Also, you know what? I can honestly see this title sitting comfortably, even being a hit, on current gen consoles, and PC. But it is not, at least not yet. It's on mobile. And what, with all the negativity this platform endures, that in itself, is great. Happy trails! I'll race you to the Finnish!

This was my first Review write-up @sleeplessgg 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Cally's Caves 3 IAPs Explained

Have Cally's Caves 3 in-app purchases got you confused? They had me too! So, I contacted its developer for more information. Here's what he had to say:

"The ng+ and survival ones are $3.00 each (USD).  The only way to play them is to buy them.  My recommendation is to buy the daily deal one, it gives you both of them for $5.00.
 The other Iap is a "cheat" Iap that gives you all the guns and coins for 3 bucks so I'd just ignore that if you want the true experience."

New Game+ =$3.00
Survival =$3.00
"Get iAP 1 and 2 as a cheaper bundle" =$5.00

Gotcha.  I know which I'll be buying.

"Shut up and take my money!"

While I was typing, it crossed my mind to ask Jordan about Cally's mysterious disappearance from the App Store.

"We did pull down the first callys caves but just while we fix up some problems that arose with it, like invisible platforms."

She'll be back guys!  Many thanks Mr. Pearson for the heads up.  Thank you for reading and if this has helped, please, feel free to share.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Blendimals Now Has A Playable Teaser, It Is Coming To Android And I Caught Up With Part Of An Exploding Cow!

An interview with Creative Director, Dennis Nielsen.

( Not a bit bovine. )

Wow.  It must have been over a year since we last 'spoke'.  What has been happening at Exploding Cow?  If my memory ( and resources ) serve me correctly, Blendimals was due to release last year.  Why the delay?

We are currently starting-up at Exploding Cow with our first commercial release, Blendimals.  Learning how the mobile game market works and basically trying to figure out how to make a living, making the games we want to make.  There's a ton of possibilities, so we are taking our time to consider different business models, funding and so forth.
    It is true that we originally planned to launch Blendimals worldwide in 2014.  We had soft-launched the game in Scandinavia during the fall of 2013.  That version was somewhat rushed, and even though it was greatly received by its users, also suffered from bland graphics, a few bad design decisions, too not-so-great controls.  
    Back then, the game used virtual buttons and some levels were just insanely hard.  We wanted to make Blendimals a better experience, to make it reach its true potential.

Blendimals PT
Exploding Cow
"It's a blast!"

What really triggered Blendimal's big delay, was our decision of making gesture based controls, instead.  This influenced many aspects of our core level design.  We were forced to rethink and build all levels from the ground up, while enhancing graphics, also tweaking a million other little things.
    That took us another 18 months of work, but was well worth it.  The new version is a much prettier and more fun experience compared to its predecessor.  This also conveys through our user feedback and analytics data.

I downloaded a copy of Blendimals Playable Teaser.  'Lite' versions and free demos used to be commonplace on the App Store, not so much now.  Trials are good ideas in my opinion as they give gamers some chance to play before paying.  When was that decision made?

Actually, 'Blendimals Lite' has existed since our soft-launch.  We pulled it from the App Store during Blendimal's world launch for a number of reasons.
   The term 'Lite', also 'Free' was just confusing to us.  Users can't tell if it's a gratis demo or free version with ads, and it is not permitted to call your game, said 'demo' on Apple's App Store.  
    However, it was definitely also a strategic move to see how the premium version would fare on its own.

Then, shortly after our world launch, a new game on Apple's App Store was seen by us, using "Playable Teaser" in their title.  We thought 'PT' kind of said it all ( despite its roots in the famous Silent Hills P.T. ) so went with it.
    It's somewhat tricky making a free demo.  Especially with an 'advanced' casual game like Blendimals that requires some thinking and tutorial-patience, but ultimately it is just one great, honest way of saying,
"We have this great paid game."
"Here's a free sample!'  

This little bird tells me there is a side project you are working on?

That's right.  I did this little project with some other guys making a conceptual prototype for one mobile game called 'Schoolyard Ninja'.  
    We combined the best aspects of old school fighting games such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, then stuffed them into a quirky cut-out-style school-yard setting with kids fighting each other.  
    Schoolyard Ninja was great fun to make.  Its future is uncertain, but it might hit the App Store some day. 

What can we expect next from Exploding Cow?

The Android version of Blendimals is next on our list, while simultaneously working on a huge update with lots of new levels, one brand new theme and new secret animal to blend.

The National Film School of Denmark
"Majorly epic all-round!"

It would be absent minded of me to let you go without asking for an update on that Plantman sequel?

Exploding Cow have loads of ideas in store for the next Plantman, but since we're still this young company, we need to figure out exactly how, also when a production so big as Plantman needs to be. 
    It's one great, epic story to tell and the game needs to reflect that, both in terms of gameplay, also production value.
    I can't say much just yet, other than we really want to explore the Plantman universe further. Andy, S.A.M.M. and Clora will definitely return some day. 

Many thanks to Dennis Nielsen for his time.  Promising news guys!  Please, do check out the download and review links if you have not picked these games up already.  

Saturday, 11 July 2015

"The Spikes are back!!" A SpikeDislike3, for iOS Review.

Well, it's been one bumpy ride, what with Apple's faux pas roadblocks outside their App Store and a crew of pirates (almost) burning bridges to Android.  But, hopefully this long-awaited sequel will be worth the journey so far for its developer.  Pot holes notwithstanding, he has certainly had fun making it and describes SpikeDislike3 as,

    "All in all, IMO, this is the absolute pinnacle of SpikeDislike. This is as "nice" as it gets, and everything feels like it oughta." 

-James Gamble, developer.

After playing through all of the initial 150 levels and currently going back to 'star' failed challenges, too battling my way up high score ladders, I somewhat agree.  Here is why:
    For those unfamiliar with Jayenkai's (J.N.K's) first two versions, the basic premise of SpikeDislike is simple; Bounce an orb over or under a series of spikes.  
    A ball bounces up and down automatically on one spot.  Your job is to move it forward by tapping, sometimes holding the screen.  
    Of course, mastering this spike avoidance game is not always so easy as it sounds, and timing's of the essence when bouncing your way past spikes safely, but so fast as you can.
Sometimes our protagonist takes the form of another character (Invisible Munky from Invisible Munky 2 fame, cameos,) as do enemy Spikes, but its concept remains the same.  At press, there are fifteen different themes to refresh your eyeballs, one every ten stages.

"Are you mocking us, Mr. Gamble?"

Roots revisited, SpikeDislike3 is a new improved version of its predecessors. Challenge mode has been reintroduced and incorporated into the core gameplay, sitting nicely alongside classic Infinite levels.
    While new challenges, enhanced visuals and one tweaked physics engine change things up a bit, perhaps the most noticeable differences for me are those missing three lives!  I'm still unsure whether the irony of being greeted by that big red heart upon launch was intentional, or not.  Are you mocking us, Mr. Gamble?

So, I briefly mentioned earlier how this extremely accessible game can on the contrary be rather difficult, mastering.  Such a cliché, though please let me elaborate;
    In addition to said subtraction of extra lives, Spike Dislike's combo-meter has also been 'shortened'.  Meaning with this edition, you now have even less time for passing spikes and chaining your combo.  All aforementioned noted, makes challenges more, say, 'challenging' while adding a sense of urgency to high-score-chasing infinite levels.
    See, unless you're planning on playing all day, you will not likely achieve a high score making haste here.  There are many risk-versus-reward calculating, adrenalin pumping, also humbling moments in SpikeDislike3.  And, it contains enough of the familiar, too unseen, unplayed to attract both old and new players alike.

There are nine freshly coded mission types thus far which will have you going that extra mile, such as collecting presents, or hitting switches.  More examples of stages range from casually accessible "Pass 10 Spikes", to seasoned hardcore "Sheep Race" challenges.  Panic sets in when the pressure with racing a lamb while navigating through deadly spikes hits ewe you whilst going-all-ram('-bo')!  "Score" levels be puzzling everybody?

SpikeDislike3's gameplay is the smoothest yet.  It has never looked, or sounded so good.  And is meaner and deadlier than ever.  My new 'fave' SpikeDislike game, though I've since gone off mutton.
It's probably the best 79p, or equivalent you'll spend this week.

James is currently readying the first of potentially many updates for submission, adding even more content and tweaks.  He is open to suggestions for future themes and menu options, also very contactable on twitter. I wonder if an option has already been added so we can loop that superb (all-new-to-SpikeDislike) soundtrack?  Jayenkai once told me he doesn't like loops. Fingers crossed he's caved.

Also available on Windows, OUYA, in your favourite browser by way of  HTML5 (via and Google Play -so you can play it anywhere, with just one thumb, even on the toilet!

James Gamble
"Meaner and deadlier than ever!"

More Like Dis-Spikes!

Apple still won't let you rate or review games on the App Store received by promotional codes!  They also seem to think I have not downloaded it.    
    Anyway, thought I'd post a mock-up of what would have been submitted here instead.  How do you like them  . . .  Apples?


★★★★★ Jamie84303 - 23 Jun 2015This game makes me wonder why I am not better at it.  Good old fashioned, almost primal fun!  

SpikeDislike3 landed a couple of hours before Sonic The Hedgehog and I's birthdays.  @Jayenkai kindly gifted me one copy.  After much gaming, two days later my opinion was, it's only right to nominate it for GoTW.  @GAMESouthport were not aware of its release date, so @Jayenkai and I enlightened them.  Thanks for the Retweets, Faves and #banter @GAMESouthport!  (Whom may or may not sell this certain variety of fruity gift card with which you might be able to purchase a particular spiky game with.)

"Be The Ball." - Words of wisdom from Otakupunk! 

Everybody Likes SpikeDislike><3, including Jane Jones!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Blendimals [iOS] Review


Having played and loved Plantman [Free] ,also Shadow of Kharon [Free], I had an incline     Blendimals was going to be something special.  New Danish indie developer Exploding Cow blast off onto the App Store with a superb launch title.  Like their Creative Director, they evidently share his talent, perhaps modesty as well.

What makes this strategic platform puzzler stand out, is an amalgamation of familiar features I have come to associate with Dennis's work.  High standard production, controls which feel second nature, addictive sometimes challenging gaming and good old fashioned fun  . . .  all amid a thought-provoking story.

Blendimals' tale of teamwork realising a mutual dream is quirky and elevating.  These zany animals who muse about reaching The Moon must work together in their attempts.  Its premise is straightforward enough, players choose which cartoon animals they add to this giant blender, then use the hybrid/s to reach The Rocket Chair found at each levels' end.

Your cow-chicken-rhino, or bouncy bunny-dirt mole-floaty blowfish maybe, is piped onto the levels' start.  From here you guide it through an environment full of hazardous obstacles.  Each animal has a unique skill useful to traversing and solving different barriers, also puzzles.
    Whether it's swiping up your freshly made bunny cross to jump over gaps, or tapping an egg-laying chicken mix for holding a door switch for instance.  Spikes which need avoiding and tunnels that require digging are prime examples of what may lie ahead.

The user interface is sharp, colourful and simple to navigate.  There's even a survival guide handy for reference.

I found things begin to get tricky around level 10.  More method in your madness is needed from here on out and you should more so think about which concoction would mash together the most competent combo for each particular task faced.
    This said process seldom gets frustrating though, just practise some reconnaissance before putting your recipe together and you'll soon be blending with the best of them.  Some levels require more than one Blendimal so planning's recommended, yet the trail and error involved is a joy to be had.

The scoring system is easy to understand.  You earn either a bronze, silver or gold medal upon reaching each goal.  This depends on how many Blendimals are created per course. Less is more, but infinite resources means finishing's achievable no matter how many it takes.   There are over 30 individual levels, including a secret cow episode and bonus stages, the latter of which in my experience I presume are unlocked with gold medals.

Wonderfully animated shorts scattered throughout help tell this fable and echo the love that went into creating and redesigning Blendimals.  The fact that its creators are a bunch of old school nineties gamers is also nostalgically apparent.

It should come as no surprise, what with this being a title starring animals, that at least one bug would cameo.  There is definitely something fishy going on within level 12, where upon failure your Blendimal reappears at the checkpoint then falls to its death in one continuous loop.  The irony of level twelve's title says it all, "That's a pickle!"
    Hold your horses!  I'm sure Exploding Cow will be all over this like a team of fire ants and squish it no time.

 I enjoyed flying through the game, so much I'm sad having to take some time-out for writing this review, but now I'm going back for one hundred percent completion!  Game Center high scores, a dozen achievements too are also available.  These add replay value, even if it is comical just experimenting time and again.
    Really would like to see the mobile market flourish with more of these lower-tier premium games.   Accessible for all the family, they could be tomorrow's classics.

Exploding Cow


"It's a blast!"