A Fish out of Water

Mobile Week Day 1: Fish Out of Water! Review

It’s that time of year again folks, it is time for Mobile Week 2014, where we take a look at the games available for mobile devices, in an effort to showcase the best of mobile devices. First up: Halfbrick’s A Fish Out of Water!.

Fish Out of Water! is a game that takes the scoring system of judges holding up cards, and applies it to fish just skimming along water. It’s a little bit like being judged on how well you can skim stones across water, but if some stones were balloons and others rocket ships.

The game is fairly simple, like most other Halfbrick games it has a simple control scheme determined by a single action: here, it’s a flick. A simple flick on the touch screen will cause one of the fish to fly off into the distance along the ocean top.

At the end of each run (each using three different fish), the judges give a score based on the number of skips and distance travelled.

A Fish out of Water

I feel that I should mention the fish here. Each fish has a distinctive style, and even has a name.

  • Olympus is a typical fish, and is an all-rounder at both styles.
  • Micro is a whale, and is brilliant and giant jumps that enable him to travel large distances.
  • Rocket is a fish that goes very fast, and is best at lots of skips (but is able to go averagely far)
  • Errol is a puffer fish, and bounces along the surface. He’s also an all-rounder.
  • Finlay is a dolphin, and spends an equal amount of time above and below the surface of the water. He can be used for either distance or skips.
  • Finally, the brothers are fish that split up, and give a huge contribution to the number of skips. However, they never go very far.

Typically, I found myself using Errol, Rocket and finishing with Micro, but I would occasionally change my lineup when the  weather changed.

Yes, this game has a weather system, which affects the surface of the water. This means that every 10 minutes, the weather will change. While some don’t affect the surface much, others – such as a thunderstorm – make the surface very rough and render fish that require the surface to be smooth to go far – such as rocket – useless.

Rocket

Of course, the game isn’t that simple. In addition to this the fish can pick up boost orbs which add to the boost metre, which, when the screen is tapped, increase a fish’s speed. The judges also have a different set of criteria, for example on judge prefers runs with a higher number of skips, while another prefers runs that have a large distance.

The game also has the typical Halfbrick progression scheme, not unlike Jetpack Joyride: there are three missions at any one time, each revolving around doing something (such as travelling above a line, performing 30 skips with Finlay, flying through hoops, etc.), and upon completion, you “level up”, which means that you unlock some crystals. Crystals can be used to craft bonuses, or unlock…costumes. Costumes in this game give a new cosmetic look to character, as well as increasing a particular trait of that character, such as how high they skip or how fast they go.

Now while the game is good fun for a while, after a little while it becomes fairly boring. Unfortunately the changing weather doesn’t alter the game enough to replay too often, and the missions repeat themselves fairly often, but with slightly different numbers.

Positives

- Great Premise

- Great, simplistic gameplay

- Cutesy Graphics

- Unlockables

- Different Characters

- Different ways to play

- Weather changes

Score A Fish Out of Water

Negatives

- Becomes bland after a while

- Missions repeated often with slight changes

Gamesland News

Gamesland Slow News Week: Destiny, Minecraft, Doom, and More

The latest news from the gaming world, in one easy to read format. And this week, it was a slow news week.

News

- Thanks to a bug within the game Destiny, some (un)lucky users were able to see some missions on the map which aren’t currently available, but are going to be released at some point in the future. Also: There’s no evidence to prove that the expansion packs are already on the disc.

- Some talented individual (Iain “Ochre Jelly” Heath) has created a LEGO Doom playset, which is pretty cool. Here’s a picture of the multi-levelled playset:

LEGO Doom

- Some other talented fans are remaking The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 2D, as to match the style of games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. You can play a version and keep watch on the game here.

- Entries are open for Planet Minecraft’s next big competition for the game Minecraft, using Planet Minecraft’s map. The theme is “Industrial Revolution”, so I’m sure some other talented individuals (who aren’t working on amazing LEGO sets or re-imagining classic games) are going to have a great time with this one.

What I’m Playing

Yup, I’m bringing this part back.

Destiny. Having no hype whatsoever for the game, it’s not as bad as everyone says it is. The voice acting isn’t too bad either, but I’ve only played three missions, so I can’t really critique just yet.

- PS Vita stuff. Got a PS Plus subscription as well, so now I’ll always have games to play (and add to my pile of shame).

- Retro stuff. It’s pretty cool what developers could do with hardware limitations back in the day.

Questions? Comments? Anything to Add?

Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

That’s all the news for this week, but come back next Friday (10th) the latest news roundup from the land of gaming.

Gamesland News

Gamesland News: New Nintendo 3DS, Oculus Rift, Steam, and More

The latest news from the gaming world, in one, easy-to-read format.

News

- Oculus VR unveiled their new headset, dubbed “Crescent Bay”. It features improved motion tracking as well as optional built-in headphones.

- Gaming company Nintendo turned 125 the past week, a phenomenal achievement. Before they were in the games industry, the company sold playing cards and other toys.

- Steam received a huge update, bringing with it an upgrade graphical interface, tailored recommendations, as well as the option to follow “curators”, who recommend games to play.

- Nintendo announced that the New Nintendo 3DSes will be releasing only in Australia and New Zealand this year after Japan. There is no word on a European or  American release.

- Nerd Kingdom, developers of TUG, better known as the Yogventures consolation game, had to release half their team once their investor failed to deliver the money.

Questions? 

Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Cannon Brawl logo

A Brilliant Blend of Genres – Cannon Brawl Review

Cannon Brawl takes the brilliance of several genres, puts them in a blender, and leaves everyone questioning what the end result is going to be like. The end result is a brilliant, fun, and slightly addictive game that is great fun to play with friends.

 

Game: Cannon Brawl

Price: $14.99 (currently on sale for $11.24 from the website) / $19.99 for a two-pack

Available On: Steam (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Reviewed On: Windows

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review

Cannon Brawl is, essentially, a game that is a mixture of the strategy and “tank” genres. The story is fairly simple: you play as a princess, whose evil uncle is starting to take over the realm (with his minion and minionette), and your evil uncle has kidnapped just about your entire family. Throughout the story you’ll be able to unlock each family member, but more on that later.

During each level, you move your airship with the arrow keys. This game does not feature a mouse cursor at all. The entirety of the game is played with just the keyboard. The spacebar is the selection button, and the ‘X’ key is cancel. The game does have gamepad support, which I tried briefly, but in the world map, where you fly an airship around to select the level, the airship just constantly scrolled up, making it near impossible to select a level. If you managed to though, it worked fine.

Each level is set up with a HQ at either end of a two dimensional map, which is totally destructible. The level also has several gold (and occasionally diamond) deposits, which harvest gold coins for the economy when a mine is placed on them. Once enough money is earned, weapons can be bought, and this game features a whole lot of them.

Cannon Brawl Warhead

The Terrifying Warhead

The basic weapon is the cannon, which fires a single shell, although in later levels you’ll pick up the: rocket launcher, which fires a single shell that splits into more shells; the laser, which fires a laser that can blast through the environment; the bomb-walker, which fires a shell that transforms into a walking bomb when it lands, which can get past enemy defences; the ice tower, which fires a shell that freezes the enemies weapons and deals damage; the terrifying warhead (pictured above) which deals a ton of damage; the drill, which fires drills that drill through the environment; and a lot of other weapons that are extremely devious in the right hands, and if they’re used right. All weapons can be upgraded a total of three times, which will increase the range and power of each weapon, for example the cannon will be able to hit the enemy’s HQ from any distance and do a lot of damage at the same time.

Cannon Brawl Explosion

Boom!

Once a weapon has been placed, the airship can dock with the weapon and fire it. This is where the game transitions from a real time strategy (RTS) tower defence game to a “tank” game. Once inside the weapon, you aim the weapon, which displays a set of green arrows to let you know the direction of the arc (think Angry Birds). The weapon is then fired, and the shell goes its happy way.

The game also features online and local multiplayer. I didn’t get a chance to try local multiplayer, but the online multiplayer was very good, and adds a lot of replay value to the game. Online multiplayer consists of choosing the airship captain (there are several different ones, all of whom have different abilities), choosing six weapons, and then battling to the death with your opponent. Online is really where the game shows its merits, not choosing to go after that gold deposit, or simply placing a weapon in the wrong spots, or not choosing the right weapon for the right map, can lead to a swift defeat. This is helped by how short the games are, I rarely found that a game would go for longer than ten minutes (even in the single player campaign), and that most online matches went for an average of about five. This meant I was quick to challenge my friend to a rematch, which I would win. Then he would win the next one. Than I would win the next two. This kind of constantly trying to be better than everyone else, especially your friends, make this game that much more fun, especially if you’re very competitive.

Cannon Brawl Gameplay

The mayhem of Cannon Brawl

That isn’t to say the game isn’t without its flaws. The game doesn’t have many, actually, although there is one in particular that might just be a problem on my end, and that is an unreasonable amount of lag and input lag from the game, which has occurred since the last update. I run games through a fairly decent laptop/tablet hybrid (it’s not weak, by any means), but I run them through a portable hard drive, connected to a USB hub, connected to my computer. This has never been a problem running games before. It’s only lagged very badly once before, and that was with the Battlefield Hardline beta, which was a beta and designed for very good computers. To make sure it wasn’t an issue with my setup, I tried two other games, So Many Me and Game Dev Tycoon, and these worked fine, with no input lag or any other sort of lag at all. I even turned the settings down to the ‘Old Graphics Card’ mode, but this did very little. It was perfectly fine before the update, but now it’s just extremely laggy. I’m not going to criticise the game that much for it though, no other reviews have mentioned it, and it has only been mentioned in the steam community a few times (in the earlier models of the game), so I’m going to be fairly lenient on the game for what could possibly just be a problem on my end. With all that being said though, the game has very little other flaws, aside from possibly being slightly addicting that I forgot to take a break once or twice while playing.

Cannon Brawl Gameplay

Fire the cannon!

The length of this game is very good, I’ve played 6 hours, and in that time I’ve finished the normal campaign and played some online multiplayer, but there is a “nightmare” mode of the campaign that is unlocked after the original campaign is finished. I’ve completed about 3 of the nightmare levels, but I don’t have the patience to carefully plan my attacks against a very smart AI while being beaten several times. In addition to this, there are also puzzles scattered throughout the campaign, of which I’ve completed one, and these offer a good challenge to the exceptionally smart people who are brilliant at both puzzles and strategy games. Furthermore, there are a total of three medals to be earned per level, for Actions Per Minute achieved, completing the level within a time limit, and whether you are victorious in the level. This adds more content for completionists. Furthermore, there’s also an armoury where more weapons and pilots can be bought.

Overall, this game is fantastic. Were it not for the lag I’d been experiencing since the recent update, this game would have been a 9. But there was, but it’s still a fantastic game that I’d recommend, if only you could try before you buy with a demo.

Positives

  • Great selection of weapons
  • Lots of fun
  • Great single player campaign
  • Replay value in great online multiplayer mode
  • Local multiplayer

8.5.fw

Negatives

  • Lag in single player campaign, although this may have been an issue only on my end
Gamesland News

Gamesland News: Minecraft, Movies, Rock Band and More

The latest news from the gaming world, in one easy-to-read post.

News

- Microsoft has bought Mojang, the creators of Minecraft, for a total of $2.5 billion dollars. The deal will not affect the ports to the other consoles, including the Vita later this month.

- Next year, a demo of Final Fantasy XV will be available to play.

- The Deadpool movie is official, and coming in 2016. Ryan Reynolds has not been confirmed whether he will star in the movie.

- The Assassin’s Creed movie has been delayed to 2016, due to it ‘not being ready yet’.

- The Rock Band Network, where players of the game could buy and make tracks, is shutting down.

Questions?

Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

That’s all the news for this week, but come back next Friday (26th) for more news from the land of gaming.

A One Year Anniversary Post

It’s been over one year since this site was started, and I’m really happy with how it is today.

I mean, last year, the site was a scary, black with white writing place that had no idea where it was going. Today, it’s a friendly place with a somewhat clear direction.

Last year was great. Even starting late into the year couldn’t stop the start of the yearly awards, most of which still haven’t been reviewed. But this year is going to be bigger and better. Mobile Week 2014 is pretty much set, with 8 different games from several genres being reviewed, from October 20th to the 27th. Furthermore, there’s going to be even more reviews, because there hasn’t really been enough. And although it keeps being said, there’s going to be editorials. Eventually.

But still, if you want to leave some feedback or just talk about games, just leave a comment. The comment section has no teeth and therefore cannot bite.

Here’s to the new year!

Banner.fw

Gamesland News

Gamesland News: Pikachu Assault, Microsoft & Mojang, and More!

First of all, it’s been over a year since this website began! I’ll have some sort of celebratory post tomorrow, but for now, the news:

News

- The Oculus Rift Retail Version will cost between $200 – $400 and have several upgrades over the current development kit, including resolution and refresh rate. At present, there is no release date for the consumer version.

- In Japan, Batman: Arkham Knight has been confirmed to be a PS4 exclusive.

- Microsoft is rumoured to be buying Mojang (creators of Minecraft) for $2 Billion, and after that it is rumoured that the creator of Minecraft,  Markus “Notch” Persson will leave the company.

- Shigeru Miyamoto is making a short film about the game Pikmin, and the movie is titled Pikmin Short Movie. It will be aired at the Tokyo International Film Festival, then at Toho Cinemas Nihonbashi for free, with tickets won in a raffle.

Payday 2 is receiving Hotline Miami DLC.

- Finally, a man wearing a Pokémon hat (specifically, a Pikachu), and holding a Pikachu plush toy jumped the White House fence and ran across the lawn before being apprehended by the Secret Service. President Obama was attending a 9/11 memorial while the event occurred.

That’s all the news for this week, but tune in next Friday (19/09/14) for more news from the land of gaming!