Review: SpeedX on Android

Even though I’ve upgraded my aging Milestone to an Atrix, I still don’t use my phone that often for gaming. Aside from a  few puzzle games, there just seems to be a lack of titles that hold my interest. I’m not the type that likes to play games for long stints – just when I’m waiting for something or need to kill time on the subway.

Usually those games aren’t very graphically-intense, either; this isn’t a bad thing by any means, but I’ve been looking for something that both delights my eyes as well as my synapses. SpeedX happens to do both quite well.   (more…)

Review: Robot Unicorn Attack

The Internet’s given us a great many things, including a boatload of Flash games with which to waste our time. Last year, when there seemed to be a bit of a lull with them in favour of Facebook games like Farmville, one glorious product emerged: Robot Unicorn Attack. This game took the Internet by storm, and introduced a whole new generation of gamers to the wonders of 80’s synthpop and its infinite trippiness.

What started off as a Flash game on Adult Swim’s site migrated to the infinitely more profitable markets of Facebook, iOS and now Android. Robot Unicorn Attack comes in at a cool 99 cents (I’m assuming, as it shows as $0.94 due to Canadian price adjustment) and, from what I can tell, it worth just about that. Just-less-than-a-buck seems to be the magic price for a lot of apps, as its not so much that it provokes a huge decision, but not so little to not make any cash.

The game is essentially simple; it’s got a button to jump and a button to dash. Your job is to get as many points as possible in three lives. Throughout the entirety of the app, you’re treated to “Always” by Erasure: YouTube it. You won’t be disappointed.   (more…)

Review: LiveProfile looks to take BBM’s IM crown

A few weeks ago I reviewed a Blackberry Messenger-a-like called Beluga. Within the review, I noted that because Beluga’s features were too similar to RIM’s own Blackberry Messenger, it was not released in the Blackberry Appworld; applications who do try to pass themselves off as an alternative are usually sniped down, like Toronto-developed app Kik.

BBM is a heavy advertising point for RIM, and a reason why a lot of users haven’t abandoned it; rumours of BBM’s transition to a multi-platform software posed the question of whether people would still buy Blackberry hardware if they were able to get the same experience elsewhere.   (more…)

Review Double Shot: Catch and I Journal

It’s not often I tackle two apps in the same review. However, today’s a bit different: the apps I’m looking at, Catch and I Journal, are meant to be used together. Catch is note-capturing tool similar to Evernote, while I Journal is a journaling tool that uses Catch’s engine and tagging system in order to function.

For those who have never used a cloud-based note system, Catch is definitely a great tool for organizing your thoughts. Using its system, you can store text, voice, photo and notifications to a cloud-enabled account, letting you access it from both your browser and your phone. This is obviously a big help if you’re the creative type that has ideas often and doesn’t have the memory to back it up.

The main appeal of Catch is this cloud functionality; it’s a great way to easily share and store photos as well as quick notes. I have a few concerns about it being able to do any heavy lifting, but I’ll get to that later in the review.   (more…)

Review: Meganoid for Android

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about my new Atrix is the ability to play more games at full blast, so to speak. There’s a distinct difference between my overclocked-to-hell-and-back Milestone and this dual-cored beast, and it really shows when you run some apps. Meganoid, however, is a game that works amazingly well no matter what phone you have. A mix of old-school platforming and new-school mechanics, this OrangePixel offering is quite impressive.

The premise is simple: your character “Hero” must traverse a number of increasingly-difficult levels, collect gems and avoid the numerous one-hit-kill hazards that stand between him and the level’s end. As you play through the levels, medals are given at the end of each based on how many gems you collect and whether you beat the level’s timer or not. It’s very similar to games like Super Meat Boy or VVVVVV; simple mechanics, but a difficulty that ramps up quickly to keep you hooked.   (more…)

Review: ZDBox for Android

Previously, I had a lot of different tools to do what ZDBox does all at once; I’d use 3G Watchdog to keep an eye on bandwidth, Battery Indicator for battery percentage in my notifications bar, Advanced Task Killer if the situation arose, etc etc. While these apps are all great, it’s sometimes good to consolidate, especially if the quality of the replacing app is high enough that it doesn’t bring any problems when it comes to functionality.   (more…)

Color and the death of “Beta”

This past Friday was pretty confusing for app reviewers; while scoping out new releases to examine, I came across a large number of media outlets reporting that Color, released March 23, was going to be the newest thing in social sharing. It touted a number of features that both amazed and confused me, particularly its main function: photos taken in a geographic proximity to each other (such as at a concert, office or party) would be grouped automatically together for viewing and commenting.

Users would take a picture of themselves to furnish a profile, which, in turn, would be viewable to anyone who happened to be in range. Naturally, since it was reported on heavily, users scrambled to download Color en masse; after all, how much bragging rights would they be entitled to if they were among the first to use such an amazing and revolutionary app?

Color is an interesting concept, and provoked a number of questions, like “What if people didn’t want every photo available they take at a party made public?” “What happens when someone wants something deleted?” and “Do people actually take party pictures with the frequency the FAQ image would suggest?”

It would have been great to answer some of these questions, had the application not been a buggy piece of garbage. (more…)

Review: Hextacy on Android

Ah, it seems like it’s been awhile since my last game review. I got knocked on my ass by a pretty serious case of the flu last week, so I apologize that my reviews have been sparse.

This week I bring you Hextacy, an oft-discussed game that’s hit the Android market and making quite a splash. At its core, Hextacy is a very simple tile-matching game; you match hexagons of three or more together in order to eliminate them from the playing field and score points.

Matching is done by dragging your finger along strings of tiles in a row, and the elimination is completed when you release contact. This presents an interesting game mechanic: you can’t go over the same tiles twice. It emphasizes a decision to be made: which tile decision will lead to further combos?

As move options deplete, tiles are replaced until there are literally no moves left; rinse, repeat. It’s puzzling action in a very bite-sized format that I’ve found works best when played in short bursts. Unlike previously-reviewed puzzler Runik, there aren’t many powerups to extend game life; they don’t appear often, and are usually a last resort to get some more tiles to work with.

This forces the player to be strategic, which I enjoy; not only are players rewarded for thinking ahead, that action is needed for their continued survival. I think Runik coddled me a little bit in expecting more ways “out” of bad decisions. With Hextacy, bad choices are just met with a simple “Game over. Try again, sucker.”

I threw together a quick gameplay demo, to those who want to see how the game works.   (more…)