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Framed 2 Review: Noir Than Enough

As might be expected with a second installment of a game, Framed 2 is earning a lot of its praise or criticism based on its relationship to the original. However, I’m glad to be bringing a fresh perspective, never having played Framed. While I might be like that person who loved a movie because they never read the book on which it was based, my enchantment with Framed 2 actually inspired me to download the original as well.

Framed 2 is the type of mobile game experience I can’t get enough of: a shrewd combination of a unique-but-intuitive mechanic, satisfying problem-solving, and genuine world-building artistry; then add a comic book noir aesthetic and some jazzy riffs and I’m all in.

We enter the world of Framed 2 in medias res, joining our suit-wearing hero (or anti-hero?) with a very important suitcase that must clearly be delivered to a very important person. Unbeknownst to our protagonist, he is also being followed by a tireless and resourceful woman who does whatever it takes to keep up with him. We shift between their perspectives slowly learning about their motivations and goals simply by their actions; there is no text in the game.

Framed 2 Review

The game progresses through a series of puzzles and cutscenes. Puzzle scenes are presented as comic-style panels through which one of our characters must advance. Depending on the order of the panels, they may encounter a game-stopping obstacle, or, if negotiated properly, they may avoid that obstacle entirely. To solve a scene, you must change the order or position of the panels by dragging or rotating. In particularly challenging scenes, you might even need to reuse a panel or two.

Framed 2 Review

I would be remiss not to call out the distinct art style. The high contrast silhouettes are striking against the bright, saturated backgrounds, with each frame engaging enough to stand on its own. The environments, consistently urban, are surprising in their beauty.  A variety of perspectives (head on, bird’s eye, three quarter, etc.) are employed to keep scenes and their respective puzzles feeling new each time. Additionally, the nimble animation is noteworthy; consider that each panel can result in a different point of entry or exit, or that different obstacles may have different results. This requires animation sequences for a variety possible outcomes and they all work together seamlessly. It’s impressive to watch.

Framed 2 Review

There is one point of frustration that if improved upon, could make this an exceptional experience. As it stands now, every time I move around my panels I have to wait through the entire animation sequence for each one. This is particularly irksome if there are a lot of panels and I have to work out the unique mechanics of each, such as entry and exit points. In some areas, I could progressively determine what needed to happen, but those last panels might still be a surprise; and waiting through each sequence is horribly tedious. If I could tap on a panel and have the animation start there instead, I could move faster with far less annoyance.

Framed 2 is a brilliant study in hybrid genres. It has the feeling of an action game, with bad guys and cops and gun pulling and attack dogs. But it also has the cerebral engagement of interactive narrative and puzzle-based problem solving. The smooth, detailed animation evokes character without dialogue, while also maintaining a distinct graphic novel feel. The ability to play in short sessions or for the long haul will also appeal to a variety of players. The dark, beautiful world of Framed 2 has much to offer, and it’s an offer you shouldn’t refuse.

Rogue Wizards Review: Classy Exploration

Previously a hit on the PC, Rogue Wizards is quite the delight. It’s a roguelike of sorts, backed up by a love of collecting gear that the likes of Diablo III has taught us all about. Substantial in length, it’s a bit of a bargain too, given you don’t actually need to spend a single cent.

Following a similar structure to mostly all roguelikes, Rogue Wizards is an appealing one. It looks pretty cute and stylish, with a choice of characters to get you started, and an immediately classy premium kind of quality to it. The game eases you in gently before demonstrating the various parts of the world you can explore. While you’ll be spending a lot of time traversing dungeons, a key part of Rogue Wizards is also going to various shops and buying relevant stuff. Rogue Wizards eases you into this without feeling like it’s holding your hand too much.

Of course, the dungeons are the fun part. A tap here or there takes you around the grid based layout and you can always see what’s nearby. Spot something on the ground and you can go pick it up. See an enemy ahead and, well, you get the idea. An inventory means you can use more than just your trusty sword. You can soon learn magic spells or find a bow to cause some long range damage. Potions are also available to restore your health and help you along your way. It’s simple yet effective stuff.

There’s also the benefit of finding companions on each floor, keen to help you in some way. You can enjoy a brief chat with them before they follow you around, hopefully providing you with some much needed backup. Like the rest of the visuals, the companions are well animated and far superior to a lot of games within this genre. It might not be essential to your enjoyment but it helps.

Rogue Wizards isn’t just all looks and no substance though. You can spend tens of hours exploring the randomly generated dungeons. There’s a lot to do here. You can also spend a long time juggling your equipment. Much like a lighter form of Diablo, there’s always some new gear for you to equip. You can craft your own stuff too, giving you a real sense of satisfaction. You can create reagents too, as well as work on improving your magic skills. Essentially, you’re creating the hero you want to control rather than following any cookie cutter layout. In all cases, you always feel as if there’s something new to aim for.

For many games, this would be backed up by some kind of hefty freemium component that would slow you down — but Rogue Wizards is pretty generous. You can watch videos if you choose to and gain gems, but you can simply enjoy the experience too. A gem multiplier is available for $5, giving you an advantage, but it’s one that merely helps rather than feels essential. It’s all pitched well, ensuring nothing is made unfair by a payment scheme.

Feeling like a premium experience at a free-to-play price, Rogue Wizards is an excellent conversion of a PC based roguelike. Ideal for dipping into, it’ll scratch that itch on the commute while also fulfilling your needs when you want a longer session in the evening.

Angry Birds Evolution Review: A Fun But Strange Flock

Even after a tip of the cap to Rovio for making the original Angry Birds gameplay as durable and long-lived as it has been, it’s understandable that the company would want the franchise to spread its wings in order to keep going — and no, that’s probably not the only bad avian pun in this review. Angry Birds Evolution definitely succeeds in pushing the brand forward, but with mixed results as it combines gameplay you didn’t know you wanted with a story you probably don’t.

The set-up for Angry Birds Evolution is about as classic as it gets, assuming that word applies for a franchise that is less than 10 years old. Pigs are threatening eggs, so the grown-up birds need to do something about it and fight back. There’s a lot more to the narrative behind your adventure as well, with the gist of the plot being that you need to convince a legendary team of bird heroes to come back into the fold and help you defeat the Pigs’ leader, who’s obviously been watching some iconic movies as motivation.

But the details of the story don’t grab you as much as the sense that for the most part, these aren’t any Angry Birds you’ve encountered before in other games, animation or even the movie. They look like the characters from the film, but the game designers worked overtime to come up with a whole bunch of new birds when the familiar ones probably would have sufficed. On top of that, they’re more scary than cute, despite being beautifully rendered and animated.

Angry Birds Evolution

If you can accept a whole new flock into your life, you might be impressed with the way Rovio created a turn-based RPG and still managed to preserve the one thing that screams Angry Birds to anyone. That is, when your characters attack, you pull them back, find the right angle to let them go and watch as they bounce off enemies, blow stuff up and generally wreak havoc until they come to a rest. Power-ups and special attacks add to the strategy as you pick your targets and try to eliminate them before they have a chance to do harm to your squad. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Angry Birds Action in terms of the perspective from behind your birds, but otherwise it’s all its own thing.

There’s also a PvP mode where these same mechanics are combined with the simple goal of shoving as many birds onto your opponent’s side of the playing field for as long as possible. It’s nice that the game doesn’t ask you to learn a whole new way of doing things for multiplayer, and the matches usually tend to be fast and frantic.

Angry Birds Evolution

In-between battles, there are plenty of very standard mobile game things to do to create a more powerful team of birds. Lower rarity birds can be used to power up the ones you plan on using regularly, and several different currencies give you a chance to hatch new characters in the time-tested gacha style. The different colors of birds all have different types of special attacks and can form sets that unlock extra abilities, so there’s definitely a hunt and collect element to the whole thing. Extra birds can also be sent on resource-gathering missions if you so desire. Clans provide a social hook, as they often do.

One aspect of Angry Birds Evolution you might not expect is that it’s not geared toward kids, or at least there’s a conscious effort to make this one more “adult.” One of the old heroes you’re trying to recruit is named Major Pecker, which gives you an idea of the type of humor involved. That’s not to say the game is objectionable as a lot of what’s going on will fly right over the head of younger players, and it does make one wonder exactly who the intended audience is supposed to be.

Angry Birds Evolution

Then again, maybe O.G. Angry Birds players are mostly grown up now, or at least on their way. Evolution was probably inevitable, and it plants the Birds’ flag in a genre that works well on mobile in a unique manner, but it also jettisons a lot of what many would probably expect, right down to the birds themselves. If you simply adore turn-based RPGs or are down to glide with this IP all the way until the end, you need to try it, but otherwise, it feels like more of a curiosity than an essential.

Asphalt: Street Storm Tips, Cheats and Strategies

Asphalt: Street Storm is Gameloft’s bite at the CSR cherry. It’s a game about driving in straight lines as quickly as possible, and changing gears while you’re doing it. It looks lovely, it’s a decent amount of fun, and it’s surprisingly deep once you get into the bones of the experience.

Don’t worry too much about the depth though, because that’s what we’re here to help with. In this guide we’re going to make sure you’re clued up on all the comings and goings in Street Storm before you jump in. In other words, if you want to get across the finish line first, you’ve definitely come to the right place.

As well as covering the basics and some more advanced tactics, we’re going to lay some tips and hints we’ve discovered during our time with the game. So if you want to make sure you’re burning rubber in the most effective way possible, read on. Just make sure you’ve put your seatbelt on, because things are about to get fast and furious.

The Basics

Asphalt: Street Storm Tips, Cheats and Strategies

  • At the start line – There are a number of places you can win and lose the race. The first of these, as you might expect, is the start line. It’s not just about getting off when the clock hits zero, it’s about getting off before it hits zero.
  • Launch – You can launch your car before the counter runs out, so long as you’re not past the white glowing line in front of your cars before the big zero hits. You’ll also get more cash and followers if you get a perfect start.
  • Perfect shifting – The next important part of the race is the gear shifts. You’re aiming to tap to change gear when the rev counter is in the green portion. This is going to get smaller as you move up through the gears.
  • Why it matters – Similar to a perfect start, you’ll get more cash for more perfect shifts. Perhaps more important than that though, perfect shifts will see you finishing the course faster, and that’s the real aim of the game.

Advanced Tactics

Asphalt: Street Storm Tips, Cheats and Strategies

  • Use your nitro – You should think of your nitro not as a potential boost, but as a massively important part of your racing arsenal. Without using it it’s unlikely you’re going to get very far in the game.
  • When to use it – A well timed Nitro boost can push you into the lead, and keep you there. It’s usually best to pull the nitro after the first or second shift. It depends on how good a start you got, and how well you managed to hit your first gear change.
  • Be well ahead – You want to be at least ten points ahead of your opponent in single player. It’s fine to back out of a challenge to spend some cash on upgrades to make sure you’re going to have the best chance of winning.
  • Don’t cross the line – It’s okay to cross the start line early in single player, you’ll just need to start the challenge again. In multiplayer though you’ll forfeit the race before you’ve even started, and any bets you’ve made will be lost.

Hints and Tips

Asphalt: Street Storm Tips, Cheats and Strategies

  • Move in steps – You’ll want to upgrade all of your car to level 1 before upgrading any bits further. That way you’ll be balancing out the upgrades rather than focusing on just one thing. A fast car is good, but not if it’s going to have trouble gripping the track.
  • Hit the videos – As usual with free to play games, watching the videos the game offers up is a good idea. It’ll mean you’re going to earn extra currency, and you’re only losing a few seconds of your time for it.
  • Upgrade at the end – Save your upgrades for the end of your play session if you can. That way you can essentially bypass the wait-timers and you’ll have new kit waiting for you the next time you load up the game.

Vacation Adventures: Park Ranger 6 Review – Take a Hike

Who’s up for a trip to a National Park? You are, you are! Vacation Adventures: Park Ranger 6 is another entry in the combination hidden object mini-game collection that celebrates the great outdoors. More specifically, the U.S. National Park’s outdoors. You’ll head through a few dozen crowded woodland areas as you search for incredibly well-hidden objects and check out your co-workers as they do their thing, all while picking up trash along the way.

As was the case with Park Ranger 5, the sixth game in the series features a pretty straightforward set-up that’s suitable for kids as well as the most casual of adults. Park Ranger 6 only gives you the barest of storylines, enough of an excuse to send your chosen character out across the National Parks system to visit new locations. You’ll find a series of hidden object scenes with a dozen objects listed a group at a time at the bottom of the screen. Find and click those items, wait for more to reload, then repeat until you’re good to go. On occasion you’ll need to interact with parts of the environment to find certain objects. Where would a drain worker be hiding? Click the drain, see who pops out!

After every hidden object scene you’ll take part in a short mini-game. These are loosely tied to the story progression, but it can be kind of hard to make jigsaw puzzles and tile turners plot relevant sometimes, you know? The mini-games are brief, simple, and extremely straightforward. Don’t expect any surprises, just tried and true casual puzzles with a hearty National Parks theme.

One of the perennial favorite features in the Park Ranger series is the dual hint system. If you’re stuck, and you’re likely to get stuck often since the objects are painfully well-hidden, you can click the hint button to show you one random item. If one just isn’t enough, click the mega hint. That awe-inspiring power will highlight a whole group of items, allowing you to speed click your way to victory. It’s a lot of fun, and kind of like a mini-game unto itself.

Just like previous installments in the Vacation Adventures series, you’ll earn points for completing levels and mini-games, allowing you to purchase some nice souvenirs in the gift shop. It’s a lot like a real National Parks gift shop, filled with fun oddities and knick-knacks. Nothing that will change the way the game plays, but just the right addition to help you scratch that completionist itch.

Park Ranger 6 is a very basic game. It delivers the core hidden object experience with a few light mini-game diversions, and not much else. It’s practically a carbon copy of the previous games in the series with the items and scenes shifted around. That can feel like something of a disappointment, but really the game isn’t designed to be all fireworks and innovation gimmicks. It’s a simple game to play to unwind on those days you can’t make it to a real National Park. Quick puzzles and lovely scenery awaits you!

10 New Mobile Games You Should Know About This Week

In the words of Will Smith, summer, summer, summertime, time to sit back and unwind. He failed to add that you could always unwind with a new mobile game, but that’s because those did not exist in … 1991? Man, we’re getting old.

But hey, at least we’ve been around long enough to remember the Sega games that the company is bringing to mobile. You’ll find them on our list of new stuff that’s caught our eye for this week, but we’re saving them for the end for reasons that you’ll learn when you get there.

Plenty of other interesting stuff until then, so let’s not wait any longer.

Panthera Frontier

Blasting off to adventure in space with a main character who kinda, sorta looks like some other video game characters you may already know? We can dig it. Panthera Frontier promises all kinds of aliens you can meet and train as crew members, a wide variety of ships that can be customized with weapons and other spaceship stuff, a huge universe to explore and much more. We’re not super keen on the IAPs on top of a paid download, but we’ll reserve judgment until we’ve had some time to spend with the game. Then perhaps we’ll complain later. Can’t rule it out.

The House of Da Vinci

If you’ve got a hankering for mixing history with your gaming, this might be your jam. The product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, The House of Da Vinci asks you to find out what happened to the actual Leonardo Da Vinci, other than providing the inspiration for the name of a certain Ninja Turtle. Travel back in time, solve puzzles, interact with Da Vinci’s workshop and even see through things. Now we call that x-ray vision, but who knows what it was called back then?

Hopeless 3: Dark Hollow Earth

Hopeless 3 implies that there were two previous games in the same series, and that is indeed the case. Cute little Blobs are in trouble thanks to some really terrifying looking monsters, and only you can save them by taking a tiny cart with a pistol and upgrading both your means of transportation and your weapons. Look, we’ll be honest: we’re not sure conventional weapons would really stop some of these things. Those teeth! But it does look like it will be fun trying.

Hey Wingman

Considering that the term “wingman” has two semi-related but different meanings, you might reasonably expect that this game has something to do with flying air or space missions and assisting a colleague in fighting off enemies. You’d be wrong, though, because it’s actually about helping out in the romance department and making sure your friend doesn’t end up marrying someone he shouldn’t. Or that’s what it looks like to us. Because what are friends for, right?

Tentacles: Enter the Mind

Not too many mobile games began their lives as Windows Phone exclusives (well, Windows exclusives, and back then there were still Windows Phones, so …) like this one did. It eventually made its way to iOS, and now its life cycle is complete as it finally arrives on Android too. You play as some kind of tentacled monster and actually roam the inside of a doctor’s psyche, destroying stuff that shouldn’t be there. So as amazing as it might be, the title actually tells you exactly what to expect.

SEGA — we need to talk about SEGA

We promised we’d get back to SEGA and what it’s up to at the moment. Earlier this week, SEGA announced SEGA Forever, featuring completely free, ad-supported versions of classic games of yesteryear. An app serving you cool Genesis games for free? That sounds like a dream come true.

Alas, once you get into the fine print, SEGA Forever may not be quite as thrilling as gamers who have been around since the 8-bit era might assume. It’s not just one app but a series of standalone games that will be flooding onto the app stores at a rate of five every two weeks. Also, as other outlets have pointed out, these games aren’t even necessarily new to mobile, as you can see in the first batch that is live now.

Still, there’s no real downside to seeing these old games exposed to new audiences, and we’re hyped for Phantasy Star II if nothing else. Altered Beast … not so much, frankly.

Altered Beast

Comix Zone

Kid Chameleon

Sonic the Hedgehog

Phantasy Star II

Beat the Rush by Signing up for the Shot Online Golf: World Championship Mobile Beta

Virtual golf is what real golf would have been if games consoles existed in the 13th century. The idea of trying to get a tiny ball into a tiny distant hole is great in principle, but nobody would lug a set of golf clubs around a field if there was a better way.

Thankfully, there is, and virtual golf doesn’t get much better than hit Korean MMORPG Shot Online, which lets players compete against human opponents in real time on a range of real and fictional courses.

Till now, Shot Online has been PC-only, but developer Webzen is bringing it to mobile in the form of Shot Online Golf: World Championship, so for the first time you’ll be able to level up, unlock skills, and tear up the fairway against real players on your iOS or Android device.

Shot Online Golf promises to be crammed with content and things to do. We’re particularly intrigued by the Betting Challenge, which will let you bet on yourself in a match against a human opponent. If you win you’ll get a bonanza payday of double your stake.

Then there’s the Academy, which will give you various quests to complete in order to upgrade your clubs and costumes, in turn enabling you to make increasingly more difficult shots as you work towards your Pro title.

And there are several events to take part in where you can earn rewards for pulling off feats like getting the ball closest to the pin, hitting the longest drive, or sinking the most putts. You’ll also get rewards for playing 30, 50, and 100 holes, or even just logging in every day.

Shot Online Golf isn’t available just yet, but if you sign up now you could get into the closed beta, where you’ll not only be able to play the game before it comes out but also amass rewards to give yourself an early advantage.

You’ll have to hurry though, as the beta closes at 20:00 (UTC) on June 28th. Head to the Shot Online Golf website and enter your details to sign up.

This article is sponsored and is supplied by the Push Your App network.

Flipping Legend Review: Flipping Fantastic

Flipping Legend is an absolute delight of a game. A kind of Endless Runner, you’d be forgiven for thinking it might be derivative and dull — but that’s far from the truth. It taps into that ‘just one more go’ sentiment in a way that means you’ll keep coming back for more and more and, well, you get the idea. Its friendly approach to in-app purchases will endear you to it even more.

The idea is simple – you play a hero who needs to leap through the upcoming arena. A tap to the left has you jump diagonally to the left, while a tap to the right sends you to the right. It’s simple stuff because this is all about speed and pattern recognition. You see, your health is draining each step of the way and the only way to refresh it is to knock down some enemies along the way. The best run has you jumping so you’re consistently taking out enemies each step of the way or at least collecting coins instead.

By doing so, you get into a rhythm but you also need to watch out for spikes, lava, and stones flung your way. Your hero is vulnerable and not able to take any damage, meaning game over can hit you pretty fast. Practice is crucial here as you slowly get into the pattern of things and start building on your previous high scores.

Everything about Flipping Legend is geared towards making you want to play more. Coins are earned at a steady pace, allowing you to purchase upgrades or new characters. Experience is gained too, unlocking new skills that help you along the way. Daily challenges further entice you into joining in more.

Each new character is loosely similar but also come with their own set of skills. Typically, one skill has you able to briefly backtrack while another is a more offensive skill, enabling you to take out plenty of enemies at once. It’s fun and simple stuff but highly effective too.

Upgrades work via a skill tree. At first, it seems fairly minimal in terms of the bonuses it provides, but they soon accumulate. You can end up being immune to certain negative effects, or enjoy faster health regeneration. Different characters enjoy different upgrade paths too, such as the ninja being able to shoot strikers while the werewolf is able to jump forward. It’s fun to mess around and try out different characters.

You earn chests at regular points, also. Each gives you the chance to earn a new skin for your character, gold, or an experience boost allowing you to level up faster. It’s all a great way of trickle feeding content with only pop-up ads getting in the way relatively infrequently.

The real fun, of course, is simply bouncing around. Sessions are action packed but relatively swift. You’ll always enjoy yourself as you build up to a great high score or collect a significant number of coins. While you can choose to start at the beginning every time if you want, you can also unlock a portal that means you can skip ahead to different areas for a small coin based price. It keeps things flowing nicely and suitably varied.

It’s all fairly lightweight stuff, but that’s what works so well for Flipping Legend. It’s ideal for frantic but brief gaming sessions, and is sure to stick around on your phone for a while to come.

Interconnected Levels and Slicker Animations in the Latest Castle Breakout Update

What with all the drawbridges, moats, arrow loops, and battlements it seems obvious that most of the stuff in a castle is designed to keep people out, rather than to lock them in.

Mobile puzzler Castle Breakout turns this notion on its head by casting you as an escapee. Taking on the role of a castle security expert, you have to outwit the dastardly Guild of Justice and escape from a series of ten beautiful, photorealistic rooms in order to identify failings in the castle’s security arrangements.

You do this by solving ingenious environmental puzzles involving swords, spears, potions, pots, crowns, and other medieval bric-a-brac.

Castle Breakout is a quirky, supremely polished puzzler that’s packed with interactive elements and eye-catching detail, such as the animated animals that respond to your touch and even play a part in solving some of the puzzles. Castle Breakout is looking to be a new chapter in the escape games genre.

If you manage to unlock all ten doors and escape the castle, thereby proving your mettle as a castle security expert, you’re rewarded with a ride around the castle grounds on the back of a dragon. That’s much better than a boring old ‘congratulations!’ message.

Castle Breakout has been available for a while, but developer Cloudburst has just radically updated the game based on fan feedback.

Now, the various rooms in the castle are interconnected rather than entirely self-contained, so that you’ll have to pick-up certain items in one room and use them in another. As you can imagine, this adds a whole new dimension to the puzzles, since there are so many more ways to use the things that you find.

The animations have also been enhanced, so you’ll have even more fun playing with the animals and seeing how they respond.

Castle Breakout is available for free right now on Google Play [download] and the App Store [download], and you can also grab it on Apple TV [download] and Mac [download].

This article is sponsored and is supplied by the Push Your App network.

Skyjacker Review: Crash Landing

With hundreds of mobile games released each month, when a game arrives on the App Store with a totally unique concept as Skyjacker – We Own the Skies has done, it’s something you really hope you’ll like. Marrying airplane tracking, simulation and augmented reality, there  truly is nothing out there like Skyjacker. However, a great concept doesn’t always lead to a great game and unless you’re an avid plane-spotter this seems to be the case here.

Skyjacker Radar Screen

Hopefully, Skyjacker will be able to make serious inroads into the plane spotting community because it’ll likely thrive in this niche. When it comes to attracting and retaining a larger or more mainstream audience, unfortunately that’ll likely be an uphill battle.

Admittedly, the idea of inviting players to take the role of a skyjacker involves a delicate balance. The long history of criminal skyjacking that reached its pinnacle in the 1950s and 1960s has been all but forgotten in the public imagination as a result of the rise of politically-motivated (terrorist) hijackings. Especially with the augmented-reality component of the game, the developers had to be careful not to alienate potential players by putting them mentally in the mental space of someone roundly seen as a terrorist scooping planes out of the sky at their local airport – planes that could very well contain family, friends and colleagues.

Skyjacker Keep Your Cool

The result of this balancing act is an incredibly tame simulation experience. It’s just too bad that the same thing that makes the concept widely palatable robs the game of the level of engagement needed to retain interest.

Gameplay itself is very straightforward. If playing on iPad or iPhone, you turn the device sideways to switch into binocular mode. Then move the device around to locate plans using the radar. Alternatively, if using your device in portrait mode (applies for the iPod touch) you pick planes near you off the radar screen. To jack, regardless of whether in binoculars or radar mode just touch a ‘scheduled’ (green) plane. From there you choose whether to keep the plane on course to its scheduled destination or divert it to another airport (including some air force bases) within the fuel range.

Skyjacker Diversion Choices

Honestly, its in diverting flights where most of the fun of this game lies, particularly for the more sadistic among us. Sending flock after flock of innocent fictional people to Timmins (Canada) or Buffalo (United States) with no clear way home is cruel yet cheekily enjoyable. If you rent teammates using diamonds, it’s possible to jack more than one flight simultaneously. If you’re looking to take control of the leaderboard as well as the skies this is essential.

As the execution of the game’s concept, the gameplay simply doesn’t do enough to hold attention. There’s no challenge to seizing or diverting aircraft. There are no failed jacking attempts. There is no competition with other players over the crafts.

Skyjackers and Assistants Activity Screen

Diamonds are very rarely acquired in-game and quickly spent on limited-use assistants, which after your initial burst means the pace of the game (if you’re playing well) becomes excruciatingly slow as you wait out the long-haul flight you’ve taken over. The longer the flight, the bigger the reward, but the less time you get to spend with the game. and the harder it is to motivate yourself to come back. Indeed, without notifications it’s all to easy to forget to come back to collect your rewards and take control of your next flight.

Alongside the gameplay, there are a couple of other issues that are likely making it harder for Skyjacker to capture and retain a large audience. There seems to be a bug with iPad and, potentially iPhone, where planes can’t be jacked from radar mode (no issue with binoculars mode). Touching the screen just zooms in, over and over, rather than selecting the plane.

Skyjacker Zoom

There’s also the matter of, with Skyjacker being a location-based game, the extent to which you can engage is determined by how close you live to an airport or flight path. If you’re in or near a major city – great! There will be lots of options, including long-haul flights. Conversely, if you live outside of key flight paths or away from the airport, your options will likely be limited and often unappealing.

Even still, for all of its flaws all hope is not lost with Skyjacker. There are ways that it could be made more engaging. Future updates will be the key to this. The radar bug can be fixed easily enough. Gameplay could be made more engaging by allowing players to cash in some of that reward money to operate out of another city for a little while and seize crafts from other skyjackers in some way.

Skyjacker Binocular View

Most importantly, if the goal is to build and retain an audience, there needs to be a fairer diamond rewards system. As much as the in-app purchase revenue generation model as opposed to an ad-based one will be warmly welcomed by a few players, with diamonds being so essential to engagement (more folks on your team means more planes you can take, therefore more time in-game), for engagement’s sake the current model needs a little rejigging.

Currently it costs $13.99 to hire one 20-day and one 7-day freelance skyjacker. It’s hard to stay engaged with less than five or six planes in the air at the same time (a few long-haul, two short-haul for quick points and visits). Thus, realistically you’re looking at about $40 a month to keep the game interesting. Any way you slice it, that’s too steep to retain any sizeable audience.

Skyjacker Leaderboard

Increasing the in-game diamond rewards for successful long-haul flights, the size of the reward for playing consecutive days (from one diamond per day to ten), allowing players to buy diamonds with coins, obtain diamonds for watching ads and/or the number of diamonds in the value packs could all make a huge difference here. If the game could get to the point where players are able to realistically have ten planes in the air at a time, it might be able to hold attention well enough to grow the player base. A larger player base leads to a more enjoyable game for players and a more successful game for the development team.