Third Eye Crime: Act 1 Review

11 hours ago

A game. There’s always a game. On this particular night, rain spattering against the window so hard you’d think the big man upstairs had a score to settle, it wasn’t just any old game, however. This one, she was something special; the kind of game that grips you in a thrall, turning minutes into hours. The kind of game you know might be trouble, but which coyly beckons you to follow it into the wee hours of the morning. The kind of game where you know better, but say “yes” anyway. 

Ahem. 

Third Eye Crime: Act 1

All cinematic asides aside, Third Eye Crime is definitely not your run-of-the-mill mobile title. The self-styled “game noir” offers a refreshing take on top-down stealth mechanics, all while bathed in a gorgeous graphic novel aesthetic and accompanied by a smoky jazz soundtrack that will have you, too, concocting monologues in your head. Be warned, though: sometimes you’ll be tearing your hair from atop it as well. 

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

Apr 23, 2014

Like a girl who can’t help dating bad boys, I’ve had my heart broken by Gameloft super hero titles before. More than once, in fact. So I went into The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fully prepared to be let down again, only to find that it’s really good. With slightly tighter controls, it could even be fantastic. Or amazing, if we want to keep the right adjectives with their respective franchises.

One thing that sets this game apart from its Gameloft brethren is that there’s no genre confusion. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is unabashedly an action-adventure game, thrilling in the freedom that the web-spinner has at swinging through New York and showing off his acrobatic skills at every chance.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Spidey’s objectives in each level are a mix of open world encounters and planned events that drive the narrative. Thanks to a gang war that is engulfing New York, there’s no shortage of random crimes to stop, and the random missions do a good job mixing things up. You’ll find yourself stopping robberies, taking injured police officers to the hospital by webline and simply signing the occasional autograph for starstruck citizens.

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Hitman GO Review

Apr 22, 2014

Agent 47, or Jonathan Hitman as I like to call him, is an assassin with a heart. He may garrote goons with piano wires taken from actual pianos and dump their bodies in children's ball pits, but he usually does so for some contrive good reason. I think the previous games involved clones or …something?

You know what? It doesn't matter. Hitman GO is nothing like the games from which it derives. It's a board game - several board games, according to the main menu. You move the titular hitter of men across prescribed grids like a game piece while other pieces representing civilians and thugs of various orders patrol and/or survey the board to knock him over. The hitman always moves first, and moving into an opposing piece from behind or the sides will knock them over instead.

Hitman GO

That's literally all there is to the game. It's as minimalist as 47's own well-waxed dome, and far more appealing to look at than Timothy Olyphant's.

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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Review

Apr 21, 2014

I've already written about how much I love Hearthstone. I talked about how the game is a ballet of mathematic interactions glazed with Blizzard's trademark visual flair, production values and the World of Warcraft aesthetic. I probably said something about how the free-to-play elements are balanced with in-game currency that accrues at just the right speed to keep you from ever feeling obligated to spend real money.

I've admittedly fallen off my daily quest schedule quite hard in the months since Hearthstone's official release out of beta, but now it's on iPad. Now the game has changed.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Except that it hasn't, really, which is a good thing. It's a fantastic thing, as Hearthstone was already a fantastic game. The transition to a mobile platform hasn't changed that. In fact, it feels rather like the game has come home.

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Fable Age Review

Apr 18, 2014

Match-3/RPG hybrids are cool. Always have been, always will be. Whether we’re talking Puzzle Quest, 10000000 or Puzzle & Dragons, there’s a flavor of puzzle-RPG out there for everyone. Fable Age is a game that plays closest to the latter, but don’t let that fool you – in a world of Puzzle & Dragons clones, Fable Age manages to take those familiar pieces and craft something that can stand on its own two feet.

Fable Age

The debut mobile project from developer Blue Tea Games, it’s no surprise that the team chose to explore the world of myths and fairy tales. It’s a theme that they’re more than familiar with, having developed the popular hidden object series Dark Parables (which never failed to get top marks from our reviewers here at Gamezebo – The Final Cinderella even netted a perfect 5/5).

But while Dark Parables took a rather sinister tone, Fable Age remains playful. Bright colors and cartoony designs rule the day.

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RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile Review

Apr 17, 2014

Digital marketplaces like the App Store and Google Play are governed by a set of unwritten rules. RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile from Atari breaks a biggie by charging players admission for a game packed with the waiting and premium currency purchases typical of a free-to-play title.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile has another problem: It's just not very good. It's not unplayable by any means, but there's little about the game that differentiates it from other mobile games based around developing and running an amusement park. That's kind of a sad thing to have to say about a title that bears the legendary RollerCoaster Tycoon moniker.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile

Nevertheless, build you must. RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile puts you in charge of a patch of land that you need to nurture into a thriving destination of fun and games. If you don't, the mayor will turn the lot into a strip mall. Boo to shopping! Hooray for riding the teacups after eating corn dogs, and other bad decisions made in the name of good times!

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FarmVille 2: Country Escape Review

Apr 17, 2014

Along with death and taxes, the only other certainty in life is that casual gamers love farming. It’s a good thing too, because otherwise Zynga’s FarmVille 2: Country Escape would be showing up unfashionably late to a party the company started itself with FarmVille back in the halcyon days of Facebook gaming. As it is, this fully mobile installment has much improved graphics and a fair bit of charm, but at the expense of the creative freedom that made the original such a monster hit.

FarmVille 2: Country Escape

This is the part where I’d usually go into the setting and object of the game, but this one should require little explanation. You’ve got a family farm to fix up, so you’ve got to get busy growing crops and harvesting resources from plants and animals, most of which can be crafted into more complicated and lucrative products at the appropriate stations: the dairy churns out milk products, the windmill can grind grain into flour, etc.

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Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff Review

Apr 15, 2014

The Simpsons: Tapped Out was released for iOS in the first quarter of spring 2012, and later on Android in 2013. Not only has the Springfield-themed city-building game remained a consistently popular download since its launch dates, but it's also one of the top-monetizing free games on the App Store and Google Play.

So it's not at all surprising that TinyCo looked over in EA's direction and said, "Say - look at what they're doing!" before taking pictures and frantically scribbling on a pad of paper. What is surprising is that it's taken this long for a Simpsons-style mobile game to get wrapped up in a Family Guy skin and slapped on the digital market.

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff

Sadly, the wait hasn't been worth it. With its aggressive panhandling for in-app purchases, long wait times, and (mostly) flat jokes, playing Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is as sad as watching Rupert the teddy bear grow soggy in a torrential rainstorm.

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Evolution: Battle for Utopia Review

Apr 11, 2014

In my time spent sampling the many, many freemium flavors on the App Store I feel like I’ve gotten familiar with just about everything that’s out there. And yet here I find myself somewhat smitten with Evolution: Battle for Utopia - a game that doesn’t so much reinvent the wheel as it tries to be a whole bunch of different wheels all at once. The weird thing is it actually kind of works.

Evolution: Battle for Utopia

While on a mission to colonize the planet Utopia, the Commander and his crew are shot down while landing and their escape pods scatter them across the land. A land filled with all sorts of very large and aggressive animals, nomadic scavengers, and plenty of other nasty hazards. The Commander will have to fight his way through hordes of enemies in order to reunite his crew, begin terraforming the planet, and start restoring order. And that’s all within the first thirty minutes or so.

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The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 - A Crooked Mile Review

Apr 11, 2014

The first two episodes of The Wolf Among Us got me thinking about how interactive media can transcend games. After all, Telltale’s take on the world of Fables plays more like an interactive film than a traditional point-click-adventure.

With episode three, a new thought dawned on me: as much as Telltale’s approach to the medium can reinvent the way we tell stories, The Wolf Among Us is an equally brilliant example of how well suited this new form of storytelling is to mysteries.

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 - A Crooked Mile

Picking up where the cliffhanger in Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors left off, my initial thoughts weren’t of what’s next, but what came before. I found myself piecing together the bits and pieces of information I’d been fed, weighing them against the narrative, and starting to draw my own conclusions. Do I think their suspect is the guilty party? Why or why not? What evidence have I been shown to support it? And if I don’t think they are, what do the clues that have been revealed tell me about who the real killer might be?

It’s the digital equivalent of an Agatha Christie novel.

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