If you're like me, you're playing Zuma on your computer while you're supposed to be working. I'm one of those people that get sucked into and addicted to games like this. Zuma is on its way to the iOS, but if you need your mobile ball-blasting action now, Zuma's Revenge! is available on the Nintendo DS. How does it hold up on a handheld? Pretty damn good.
The story of Zuma's Revenge is that some force has taken the ball-shooting frog to a new island world of Zuma ruled by six tiki bosses. That's pretty much it. The story isn't why you play a game of Zuma, though.
On the Nintendo DS, Zuma's Revenge is played entirely through the touch screen. You need to shoot a colored sphere at a parade of colored spheres traveling down a winding path towards a destination that causes you to lose if they reach it. Get a group of three like-colored spheres and it clears them from the path. There's also power-ups to get, like a laser sight, a shotgun blast that clears all spheres in its way, and an explosion sphere that destroys all spheres in its vicinity.
Aiming and shooting is done with the touch screen and stylus — simply tap where you want the sphere to shoot. Other levels will have you sliding along a bar, which you can control by simply tapping where you want to be on that bar; hopping to another lily pad on the map to set up a better shot, again by tapping on that pad; and swapping the color of the sphere you're shooting, which you can do by tapping the frog or by pressing the L or R button.
As you can see, the controls are very straight forward. If you're used to playing on the computer with a mouse, don't wory, as the touch controls allow you to lead shots with as much accuracy. Not once did I ever find myself missing the mouse.
At the main menu, you'll be presented with all of your game playing options. In Adventure mode, which is kind of the main bulk of the game, you travel through six island zones, each one containing 10 levels and a battles against one of the tiki bosses at the end. Bosses take gradual damage, which you can see by the hearts below them. While boss battles are differ from regular maps, all of the bosses require the same strategy. It usually involves using the bomb power-up to remove a shield around the boss, and then shooting the tiki, or you shoot other objects moving around, then shooting the tiki. They can get a little difficult, as the tiki boss shoots ink and other vision/movement/shooting-impairing projectiles at you.
What's great about the Adventure mode is that it gradually increases in difficulty. It's not like all of the levels are really easy and then out of nowhere there's an impossible level. You will gradually be tested more and more.
Challenge mode has 70 levels where you need to achieve a certain score on in a set amount of time in order to pass. You can further your time in this mode by trying to get an Ace for each level, which you can do by getting your score higher than the Ace score. Daily Dungeon gives you a random level, challenge, and ace score, then you try to complete three tasks: Astro has you survive 10 waves of balls snaking through space; Blitz has you score a target number of points in one minute; and Boss has you beat a random tiki boss (which is unlocked by completing Adventure mode).
VS allows two players to go head-to-head in either a battle where you add balls to your opponent's chain, a score attack mode like blitz mode, and a survival mode to see which player lasts longest.
Iron Frog is the last mode, which is unlocked by beating Adventure mode, challenges you with getting through 10 tough levels on one life. As a matter of fact, beating Adventure mode unlocks more power-ups and levels for all of the other modes. You can also track all of your in-depth stats through the Tiki Temple.
My complaints about the game come from the visuals and sound. I don't want to sound like a graphics wh*re, but the visuals are lacking. It doesn't affect the fun of the game, but some cleaner, crisper visuals would make the game much easier on the eyes. With bonuses popping up and balls moving fast, sometimes it's tough on the eyes to keep up with all of the action. The sound is severely lacking. It sounds so lo-fi and very raspy. I didn't think tribal beats could ever sound this bad. By far, the sound is the most disappointing aspect of the game.
Overall, you get exactly what you expect to get from Zuma's Revenge!. It's a very fun and addicting game that can be played in short bursts or over a long period of time. There's enough to strive for in this game that makes it worth your while. If you can get over the dull visuals and poor sound quality, you'll have a blast with Zuma's Revenge!.
[Reviewed on Nintendo DS]
You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ
By Lance Liebl
Rockstar Games has been doing a pretty good job when it comes to bringing its classics to the App Store. A few months back, it brought the multi-million selling Grand Theft Auto III to both newer iPhone and iPad devices, and while the controls weren’t the greatest, every ounce of Liberty City madness that the console versions were known for made it intact through those devices. The same could practically be said about Max Payne, a game that originally thrived on Xbox and PC, and can now be bought for Apple’s devices for a meager $3. It’s a decent purchase, but you should probably know what you’re getting into before you invest.
In case you aren’t familiar with the story of Max Payne, it’s a bit of a heartbreaker. He’s a tough-as-nails cop who’s pushed to the edge following a personal loss — one that you’ll follow with him in the early parts of the game. From there, he goes all out when it comes to taking down opponents, kicking back painkillers like they’re candy and packing his guns with enough ammunition to bring down a small army. And considering the drug lunatics he’s hunting, he needs it.
Like the original, Max Payne for iOS thrives on its features. You’ll be investing heavily in the game’s bullet time, where everything slows down to the point that you can accurately take out enemies, whether you’re charging into a room or performing a heroic slow-mo dive like the ones you see in most buddy cop films, where they don’t have a care in the world where they land as long as they hit what they’re shooting at on the way down. It’s a tactic that still works well today, though there are some hurdles to get over.
Those hurdles come in the form of the touchscreen gameplay. Rockstar did provide the option of configuring button layout however you please, and it’s a smart move, but that doesn’t mean the control functions accurately by any means. The clumsy mechanics really do factor into the game here, as sometimes you’ll slow-mo dive right into a table, or worse, miss your target entirely. As a result, frustration sets in, way more often than we’d like to see.
Also, trust us when we say you should keep the auto-aim feature on. Turning it off is sort of a death wish, as you’ll rarely hit the targets in your sights. At least with auto-aim on, you stand a better chance, even if it’s by sheer, dumb luck.
Rockstar did add some interesting extra features, including Social Club support, which lets you keep track of your progress. It’s hardly worth writing home about, but for a port, it’s nice to see added into the game.
Other than the problematic controls, the port fares fine. The graphics, despite being somewhat of a decade old, are great with the new retina-scan supported visuals, and the character models, though hardly perfect, aren’t bad at all. The level design is exquisite too, between alternating indoor and outdoor settings that really involve you in Max’s plight. The audio backs up most of the action, particularly with the gritty dialogue (though there are bits of humor) and effective sound effects.
For three bucks, Max Payne isn’t too much of a gamble for those who grew up with previous versions of the game. However, the controls aren’t as great as they could’ve been, despite the option to move them around however you please. Try it first if you can. Otherwise, take a couple of Flinstones chewable vitamins and enjoy.
I'm not entirely sure whether Doodle Jump started the platform hopping craze on the iPhone, or whether it was just another take Icy Tower, but there is no denying it's incredibly addicting nature. Sega opted to test this theory out as well, by placing their famous blue hedgehog in a similar situation, except with all the tropes you'd come to expect from a Sonic game. So does this marriage of platform hopping with Sega's iconic mascot work in Sonic Jump's favor?
The gameplay isn't incredibly original by any means, as you simply have to tilt your device left and right in order to move Sonic around, with the goal of landing on platforms and climbing higher until you reach the end of each level. That's right, unlike Doodle Jump, the levels here aren't infinite. Instead, they're split up into various Zones (all iconic) that you'll have to make Sonic jump through.
You'll not only have to dodge familiar hazards like spikes, you'll also have various enemies to take out. In true Sonic fashion, you can only damage enemies if you're in ball form, which means they can only be damaged when you're propelled up. As soon as you start losing momentum and start falling toward the next platform, Sonic straightens himself out and is prone to damage and losing all his Rings. Luckily though, Sonic has a double jump which gives him an extra boost in height, but also allows him to do an extra attack.
Of course, the Sonic influence doesn't stop with the level design and Sonic himself. You'll have various power-ups such as the shield to block enemies, or the magnetic field to draw in rings. Springs that propell Sonic high in the air also make an appearance here.
At the end of each Zone is a boss battle where you have to take down Dr. Robotnik or Eggman, whichever you prefer, in one of his crazy machines. You'll have to dodge his attacks all the while making sure you don't fall to your doom, and then hit him where it hurts once he's vulnerable.
Each level also has three Star coins to collect. The initial levels don't try too hard to keep them out of reach, but as you progress, you'll have to definitely pull off some trick jumps in order to get them. The game also borrows the mission mechanic from Jetpack Joyride in which you're always tasked with new things to do, such as collect a certain amount of rings, destroy 40 enemies, finish a level under 40 seconds, etc. These will undoubtedly keep you glued to the game in hopes of getting them all.
There are various unlockables as well as helpful items to acquire during the game. As each mission is accomplished, you're awarded with Sonic emblems that will level you up. Once you reach a certain level, you can unlock the ability to purchase items such as a net that will save you from falling and failing a level, or even characters to play with such as Tails and Knuckles.
To round it off, the game looks absolutely gorgeous, with its vibrant colors and cel-shaded look. The game more closely resembles the Sonic Rush games on the DS and 3DS, albeit at a much higher resolution.
I honestly don't have a single negative thing to say about Sonic Jump. It's fun, addicting, gorgeous to look at and only $1.99 in the App Store, so unless you have some sort of aversion to blue, speedy hedgehogs, you should be downloading this right now.
Gamezone Review Rating
Despite how much the game industry has grown, many people still believe there’s always room for a little retro gaming. Someone who’s avidly into the Call of Duty series can easily break away and play Tempest for an hour or so and still feel the same “twitch shooting” rush that Activision’s series delivers. There’s just something about the “retro” style of gaming that never gets old. And somehow, MumboJumbo has been able to channel this into its long-running Luxor series, thus creating Luxor Evolved HD. And how Evolved it is.
The game continues to carry the same style of gameplay that has made Luxor work so well over the years — guide an on-screen cursor along the bottom of the screen and shoot marbles at a constantly moving field to eliminate three or more in chain attacks before they reach a “home” point. But the graphics and music have changed completely, fitting in with a style that’s very similar to the classic Geometry Wars games. Modeled balls and backdrops have been replaced by old-school vector effects, including neat little explosions that occur when you destroy balls; it creates 80’s style firework displays that will have you reeling back to the old days of Asteroids. You know, a simpler time.
The effect is quite mesmerizing, especially when you get into a heated stage where you have to shoot at multiple strings of marbles at once to eliminate them, and you successfully create a multi-combo chain that bumps up your score and causes everything to fizzle out beautifully. What’s more, the retro-style font in the menus and level introductions is also quite cool.
To match the crazy on-screen visuals, MumboJumbo has also made fine use of the soundtrack, with great 16-bit style beats (SNES processor, not Genesis) that keeps up with the action. The “pew” style explosions are excellent, and the other little effects will have you thinking old-school Missile Command style of set-up. It really is quite something.
The only downside is that your iPad/iPhone device needs to be running the new iOS 5 or better in order to keep the game from crashing. There were very mild performance issues with older devices, but do yourself a favor and make sure you update before you plunk down the cash for the game.
Luxor Evolved HD offers hours worth of gameplay, between the traditional levels and the new ones you can unlock, both bonus and secret. The more you play, the better your score gets, and the more power-ups you unlock, including powerful lightning bolts and fireballs that light up the screen. What’s more, you can also earn Achievements and compete with others through online leaderboards.
Normally selling for $6.99, Luxor Evolved HD is available for a bargain basement price of $.99. A buck! That’s well worth the price of admission for a game that’s so fittingly old-school, you’ll be looking for a coin slot on the side of your device. MumboJumbo has done something very cool here, and we can only hope it continues through downloadable add-ons and a possible sequel. Keep things Evolved, baby!
After playing multiple versions of Angry Birds for years, we finally get to hear the pigs side of the story in Bad Piggies. This game is nothing like Angry Birds, the game developer Rovio is known for. This isn’t Rovio’s first new game since Angry Birds (Amazing Alex) but it is the first new game based in the Angry Birds universe.
Bad Piggies is a puzzle/ vehicle building game in which you construct and assemble various parts into a vehicle in order to get pieces of a map. Building your vehicle is as simple as dragging and dropping parts on a grid. Simply slide the part where you want it and the pieces instantly snap together and form the vehicle you imagined. It’s very simple to do and makes designing vehicles fun.
The actual game play, besides creation, is from adding different things like motors and fans to your ride. To activate these, just tap or hold the on-screen button depending on the add-on and your vehicle will move. The vehicles in Bad Piggies do take a long time to start, which is frustrating in the beginning of the game.
Unfortunately customization is often limited by the level design, as your creations are sometimes too big to fit into certain areas and too slow in others. This changes approximately halfway through the game, where there are more unique options for your vehicle creations. It seems like the choices you make are what the developers wanted, and creative freedom is something not often seen here.
Priced at .99 cents, Bad Piggies is a great value however. The game features 72 different levels, each with 3 stars to collect (just like Angry Birds.) The levels are fairly different and offer varying challenges in each one. It will take a good amount of time for perfectionists to 3-star every level and there is more content after the main game is beaten.
That additional content, or Sandbox mode, gives you wide-open spaces and a large grid filled with different vehicle parts. Honestly, I almost wish this mode played like the game's main mode, since you have the freedom to create anything your heart desires and collect stars. Hopefully we will see more levels added to Sandbox mode, since it currently only contains five.
Bad Piggies offers a unique look into the Angry Bird’s universe while offering a completely new spin on game play. This is a dollar well spent and should be owned by everyone with an iOS or Android compatible device. Bad Piggies is certainly not as addictive as Angry Birds but is worth your time and money.
What did you think about Bad Piggies? Did you buy the game? Let us know in the comments below
Do you like video games, sports, and fun? Follow me on Twitter at @AlexEqualsWin and Gamezone at @Gamezoneonline
By Alex Rhoades
I want to start off by saying that this game is addicting as hell.Kingdom Rush is a game that you can lose yourself in. I can atest to that, as hours have passed and I find myself playing it at three in the morning. It's a great example of what a tower denense game should be.
Like most tower defense games, Kingdom Rush has you building four towers — soldier, archer, mage, artillery — at various points around a multi-path map. These towers are there to prevent enemies from getting to your base, which will take away from your health pool. With gold you earn from killing enemies, you can upgrade each tower into two different advanced towers. Also at your disposal are two abilites which are on cooldown. One is a meteor shower that deals damage to multiple enemies, and the other is the ability to have legionnaires fight for you for a short period of time.
What makes Kingdom Rush different from other tower defense games is the use of heroes. Depending on how well you do on a map, you get assigned a star rating of one to three stars. With these stars, you can unlock the use of heroes. You control them by tapping the screen and moving them around the map, where they will then fight enemies. They can be really handy in a pinch when you need help in a certain area.
The stars you get can also provide permanent upgrades to your towers and abilities in the upgrade section. Want your soldiers to have more health? That'll cost one star. Want archers to have a chance to deal double damage? Three stars please. Legionnaires can attack flying units? Fork over a few stars. The great thing is that there's no cost to reset how you distribute your stars if your not happy with what you did.
By no means is Kingdom Rush an easy game. Yes, the first few levels are quite easy, but it'll ramp up considerably in difficulty around the eighth mission. With so many different types of enemies, each with a different resistance to a tower, it'll take some time to come up with a strategy to defend the paths you have. You might even suffer a few defeats before you come up with a tower layout and upgrade tree that works for you on that map.
Kingdom Rush on the iPhone looks and sounds just as good as its iPad counterpart. My only gripe is that since it's on a smaller screen, precise tapping is more difficult. There's only a minor pinch-to-zoom feature, so moving your hero around or clicking a tower to upgrade can be finnicky. But it never gets to the point where it's a problem. The controls are, overall, pretty damn great.
Simply put, Kingdom Rush is a great, fun tower defense game. And it's only 99 cents. You'd be a fool to not buy this game.
You can follow Movies and Culture Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ
By Lance Liebl
The recent handling of the Mega Man franchise has been baffling to many a fan, with many wondering if Capcom is somehow upset with their unofficial mascot. In just two years the legendary publisher has not only cancelled two major titles starring the blue bomber (Mega Man Universe and Mega Man Legends 3), though also chose to drop this fan-favorite from the Marvel vs. Capcom roster, considered by many to be a cardinal sin. And though Mega Man did manage to sneak his way into the PS Vita version of Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken, this overweight "original box-art" version of the character was more a mockery than a faithful rendition.
Regardless of their intentions, Capcom has managed to piss off plenty of longtime Mega Man fans, and with series creator Keiji Inafune now gone from the company, one has to wonder who will help to restore the beloved character's legacy? This is why Mega Man X for the iPhone is a bit of a relief, a lovingly re-made version of the SNES classic. Though it suffers from many of the same control stumbles we've come to expect of any iPhone game with more than a single button, it's definitely encouraging to see a real video game on our mobile device, and to know that Capcom hasn't given up on Mega Man completely.
The core Mega Man series has always been a bit hit or miss, with the franchise having perfected itself on its second outing (Mega Man 2) before quickly becoming saddled with a series of awkward design choices as it continued onward. Thankfully, Mega Man X helped set the fledgling series back on track, both adding some grit to the series to appease the grunge-loving children of the 90s, as well as evolving the core mechanics by adding the dash and wall-jump abilities (and removing that ridiculous slide). Though X definitely hasn't aged as well as some SNES classics, it's still an enjoyable experience, and the iOS version does a fairly decent job of replicating the original.
The first thing that Mega Man fans will notice of this remake is that all of the original sprite graphics have been replaced with redrawn visuals which cater to the iPhone's high-resolution retina display. This means the game no longer maintains the original 4:3 dimensions, the game rescaled to make full use of the iPhone's screen dimensions. The result is a noticeably zoomed-in version of the original, and with much of the top and bottom of the screen missing, Mega Man X can feel a bit claustrophobic at times. Still, it's a fine enough tradeoff for full screen gaming, and seeing (almost) all the game's original graphics redone is a fine novelty onto itself.
As mentioned, the game's largest flaw is not entirely its own fault. Apple has still yet to endorse any official gamepad accessory for their beloved mobile device, forcing developers of traditionally-controlled games to jam a ridiculous mess of virtual buttons onto the already crowded screen. To be fair, Mega Man X does an excellent job of keeping your fingers largely out of the play area, though there are moments where enemies will be conveniently hidden behind a thumb, resulting in some rather cheap hits.
Action is controlled by a virtual d-pad in the bottom left of the screen, and the fire and jump buttons to the bottom right. It works fairly well, up until the point where any tricky maneuvering is required, at which point some frustration begins to build. Dashing proves to be the most trick menuver to maser, requiring players to awkwardly press down on the d-pad, something tough to time with a directional press or a jump. Being that the game often requires use of dashing to make it over pits of lava or avoid a boss attack, these mistimed dashes can sometimes lead to a rather disappointing game over.
Thankfully, despite the sometimes frustrating controls, the game is largely accurate to the original. Stage and enemy layouts all stay true to the SNES game, meaning that players who remember where each e-tank and armor upgrade are hidden won't need to resort to purchasing them as DLC. Not everything remains faithful however, and longtime Mega Man fans will definitely notice a few things missing. Gone is the iconic airship that once dropped Vile onto the ruined highway stage, and the original game's environment changing mechanic has been abandoned (so destroying Chill Penguin no longer frosts over Flame Mammoths stage, and so on). Additionally, since forcing the player to hold down the shot button would only add to the "oh god I can't see the screen" problem, Mega Man's gun is now set to charge up automatically, a fine solution (though it's a bit annoying that there's no way to turn off the damned "gun charging" SFX that now plays throughout the entire game).
Despite this, none of the changes are particularly gamebreaking, and the additions more than make up for it. Along with new graphics, the sound all seems to have been redone (possibly plucked from the PSP remake, though this is unconfirmed). This replication of the original soundtrack is definitely appreciated and stands out as one of the most polished aspects of the package, though true VGM fans will want to consider the arranged soundtrack available in the DLC shop. Also new to the game is a ranking mode, letting players compete on the GameCenter leaderboards in a Score Attack and Time Trial mode, adding lots of replay value to this already enjoyable platformer.
Again, the only struggle players will experience will be with the controls, and Capcom can hardly be faulted for making do with the limited touch-screen space available to them. Still, though the game is fun it isn't mind-blowing in any respect, and though dedicated fans of the Blue Bomber will likely enjoy his first true iOS outing (not counting the lazy Mega Man 2 port), the best version of the game is still Mega Man Maverick Hunter X for the PSP.
In summary, more real video games on the iPhone is a good thing. Though an original game would've been preferable, this solid tribute to a classic entry is definitely a step in the right direction. Though if you were looking for a reason to forgive Capcom for canceling Mega Man Legends 3, this definitely isn't it.
After last year's critically acclaimed Rayman Origins shook the video gaming world as we know it (yes, it was that good, and if you didn't buy it for its recently dropped $20 price, something's wrong with you), Ubisoft was trying to figure out a way to make the game work on the iOS front. Sure, they probably could've ported the whole damn thing, but it would've taken up a lot of room, and not everyone's crazy about touch-screen controls. So they came up with a more viable solution, revolving around a simplified control method and a mad hunt for Lums. And what do you know, it worked.
Rayman Jungle Run has a similar appearance to Origins when it comes to art design (it uses the same Ubi Art hand-drawn engine), as well as some of the tunes we remember from that game. However, it plays entirely different. Rayman, instead of being controlled directly by your actions, runs like crazy and continues to move forward. Even when he's swinging on a vine, he'll sway all the way to the right, as if he's hopped up on caffeine.
Anyway, your job is determined by which stages you're going through. You can tap a button in the early stages to make him jump, and even rebound off walls by successively hitting the screen multiple times, keeping him moving. Other abilities open up as you get to newer levels, including the ability to punch enemies and wall run without losing any spring in your step.
The goal of the game is split two-fold. The first half requires you to collect as many Lums as possible on each stage, up to a hundred. These usually involve free-flowing Lums and coins that are worth 20 Lums a pop. The other goal is to complete each stage as quickly as possible, as there's an online leaderboard for each one that keeps track of your quickest completions. Now, the online portion of the game isn't as competitive as you might think, as there's no real way to make Rayman go faster, but regardless, it's a fun feature that's worth trying out if you know friends that are picking this game up.
The first few levels of Rayman Jungle Run are easy, but get progressively harder with the introduction of more threats and enemies later on. The controls remain the same, easy to get into and yet hard to master, as sometimes you'll need to be absolutely precise in spots. Fortunately, you can quickly restart a stage with a tap on the upper-left of the screen.
Though the game's design isn't as varied as Origins was, the artwork looks stunning on the newer iPad devices (it works on the older ones as well), with great hand-drawn animations and gorgeous backgrounds. Likewise, the music is a fun collection in itself, especially when you start hearing Lums sing along to fast-paced Hawaiian luau tunes. No, we're not kidding.
The only problem with Rayman Jungle Run is the lack of replay value. Sure, the online leaderboards play a part, but once you beat a stage, that's pretty much it, save for unlocking a tooth for your dead buddy, who can open up a new world for you. You could shoot for quicker times, I suppose.
We can't recommend Rayman Jungle Run over Rayman Origins, because, honestly, the sheer fun of slapping friends in multiplayer can't be beat. However, if you're looking for a quick platforming/skill fix on your iPad device or want to take Rayman on the go in a different guise, this is a wonderful alternative that will certainly keep you busy for a little while.
A lot of people might not recognize the importance of gaming glasses. After all, they're not prescription models, and some may even think they're along the lines of what a hunter might wear out in the wilderness when he's hunting elk or something along those lines. But the truth is, our eyes do get worn down upon staring at a computer monitor for hours at a time. (And I can definitely back up this statement, as I spend hours a day covering video games and feel the effects.)
But Gunnar is trying to help folks out. Their line of Gunnar Optiks are made to make looking at a computer monitor or TV for prolonged game sessions a bit easier than just doing it with the naked eye. And you can throw that notion of looking ridiculous behind you, because the company's latest model, Vinyl, is nothing short of bad-ass.
Selling for around $100, the Vinyl glasses are made of quality parts. The lenses are tinted yellow, but don't have any sort distortion issues when looking at the game screen. In fact, it almost looks like details are cleared up just a little bit more, despite the mild change in tone. And the lenses are pretty durable, though you'll probably want to put these in the included slip case when they're not in use – just in case.
As for the other parts, you've got aluminum-magnesium forged build, so that the color won't fade off even after hours of use. The thermoplastic rubber sockets and spring hinges also go a long way into making sure the side pieces hold onto the main frame, without slipping off. If there's one thing I hate, it's a loose pair of glasses that can go flying off of your face during a heated Kinect session. And you can also adjust the nose pads for better comfort, in case you think they're pinching a little too closely.
We road tested the Gunnars with three different games, just to see how they would perform with particular genres. The first was a survival horror game – in this case, Dead Space 2 on the PS3 – and honestly, we didn't run into an issue once, not even with the darkness, at seeing anything on-screen.
The second test was a little trickier, as we went for something a bit more colorful – Angry Birds Trilogy on the Xbox 360. Though some of the brighter colors are diminished with the tinted lenses, that's a good thing, and we could still see the birds and play fields with very few problems.
Finally, we went all out with a game that pro gamers who wear Gunnars are quite familiar with – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. And it's pretty cool how the glasses help modify your view of some of these battlefields, though darker levels didn't really change that much. No biggie.
Though they're a bit costly, you get what you pay for out of the Gunnar Optiks Vinyl Gamer Glasses. They'll help out your eyes so they don't feel so itchy and watery, while at the same time make you look like, hey, a gamer that gives a crap. The best of both worlds, right?
When I think of Tony Montana and Scarface, I think of a self-made man, king of society’s underbelly, born in blood. The console release was a surprisingly fantastic action game that made a few allowances with the story to deliver a great experience in the vein of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It wasn’t exactly universally praised, but it earned some respect from the community, and I personally enjoyed it quite a bit.
When I realized that Scarface for iOS was little more than a re-skinned tablet version of FarmVille, you can imagine that I was a little bit disappointed. The graphics are dated, the gameplay is exactly like it’s Facebook progenitor, and everything about it that could make it in any way unique falls totally flat. Really all the game is is a checklist of things to click on, Scarface movie sound effects, and broken online components.
The point of the game is to build up your personal empire by spending money and building structures which in turn make you more money. There’s also a few very similar looking sections of Miami where you can go to do jobs, which basically means just clicking around with your fingers and listening to the same five Al Pacino quotes over and over until you make enough money to build the next thing or run out of effort points, which enable you to do the jobs. When you run out of effort points, you can either buy more with real money, which the game tries really hard to get you to do at all times, or you can wait, a la FarmVille. As far as having actual skill-based gameplay, this game falls way short. I refused to spend any of my own money, and so really, most of my experience with this game consisted of me waiting around until I could touch stuff for five minutes again. I understand that this game is for a casual crowd who maybe just wants to check in on their little crime empire every time they use the bathroom, but there’s plenty of more engaging alternatives out there, even some that much more skillfully deliver the brutal but stylish action that I expected from a game called Scarface, not just a generic Facebook game that I can take on the bus.
The graphics and audio are also severely lacking. The models for the streets and buildings are fairly detailed, but the horrible interface, the chunky menus, and the absolutely lackluster sprites make the overall aesthetic feel much more like 2002 than 2012. They also re-use the same six or seven building and people models over and over, and it gets real old real fast. The soundtrack is a bizarre collection of off-putting and far too funky electronic ambience that sounds more like the intro music to a Double-Dragon knockoff than anything you’d find in Havana-flavored Miami Beach, especially in the early eighties, and I know I’ve mentioned it twice already, but other than the logo, the only really Scarface-y thing about the game is that it plays one of a very small selection of movie quotes whenever you “achieve” something, but they’re way too loud, almost to the point of being distorted, and there’s so few that they can never quite be as precisely appropriate to the specific thing you’re doing as you’d like.
Finally, the multiplayer aspect of the game allows you to steal from and attack other players, and harm or add to their prospective empires, but one, since it’s just touching the screen and waiting to see what happens, it never really feels any different than doing anything else in the game, and two, it works maybe one in five times where you are actually able to successfully connect, interact with, and successfully challenge someone else without either the attempt failing or the game crashing.
Bottom line, did the developer achieve what they set out to with this game? Yeah, probably. It’s really just a badass makeover for the classic Zynga-esque social gaming model with a few technical hiccups, but if you’re one of those people who loves Scarface or really anything at all about any stylized crime movie there’s ever been and you’re expecting anything similar to that experience at all, look elsewhere. This one’s a real stinker.
By Alex Faciane