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Comprehensive Reviews

Random Selections: The “Quirky But Fun” Edition

Rating 4.00 out of 5

As is usually the case with this topic, these two games don’t fundamentally have anything in common.  However, I would classify them both as “quirky and fun”.  Soccer Stealers is made by the folks that brought us Watermelon, so you should already figure that one to be wild.  The other game comes from a developer / publisher named BulkyPix, and is actually out of the norm for their overall collection of games.  The title is Pix’N Love Rush, and I don’t know how to describe it other than to speculate that it’s what would happen if Super Mario Bros. had bizarre fuzzy dreams.  Either way these games have been enjoyable for me, and I think you might get a kick out of them as well.

Soccer Stealers

When the developers behind Watermelon tackle soccer, you can bet you’re not going to get your average soccer game, and Soccer Stealers is anything but.  In fact, it’s really a “dodge ‘em all” style game that uses soccer as a backdrop.  You play as one of three characters – the third must be unlocked – and your goal is to keep the soccer game disrupted by hanging on to the ball as long as you can.

Your main tactic is simply to keep away from the players, but you do have a couple of tricks up your sleeve.  The shoe power up gives you a temporary burst of speed.  The beer makes you a bit tipsy, but your resulting whirlwind pattern knocks over the other players.  The watermelon splits apart when you hit it, and the players can slide on the rinds if they run over them.  Keep in mind that you are not impervious to sliding, however, so this power up is a double edged sword.  The best part, though, is that you can actually score goals, which net you extra points (sorry for the pun).

Fly Boys!

Fly Boys!

Controlling the game is a simple matter of dragging where you want the character to go.  For the most part it works well, though it’s actually fairly easy to block the action as you’re moving your hand around the screen.  I would love to see an option to use a virtual d-pad, as I think this is a game where that kind of control would work really well.  The other thing I’d like to see are more power ups.  The ones that are available are cool, but a wider variety would be nice.  Oh, and I’d love to be able to play as the alien in the title screen – I’m not sure where it comes into the game yet, or even if it does.

The graphics are nicely done.  The characters look pretty cool, and I love watching your guy twirl around with the beer power up or the other players slipping on the watermelon rinds.  Your guy will even go to the corner of the playing field and wave the fans on when you score a goal.  The sound effects are decent enough.  I like the grunts and groans when players slip on the watermelon, and the immature nature trapped inside of me chuckles every time your character burps when picking up the beer power up.  The music is okay, but only plays until each game actually starts, which is kind of odd.

This is clearly not a traditional soccer game, which might be why I actually like it.  I’ll admit that I’m still a bigger fan of Watermelon, but it’s clear that the developers have a handle on making simple, wacky games that are fun to play and make you smile.  Even if you’re over World Cup mania, I highly suggest giving this game a try.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link

Pix’N Love Rush

I’m not even really sure how to describe this game.  Some would say it’s inspired by Super Mario Bros, and I don’t doubt that, but to say it’s a clone is very unfair to Love Rush.  You play this character that’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and you’re trying to score big so that you can get cake.  You rush through a bunch of levels collecting plus signs to increase your score and avoiding minus signs, which will obviously decrease your score.  Purple bats are bad as well, but you can shoot them by basically doing what appears to be spitting on them.  There are also yellow flying creatures that you must protect.  Believe me when I say I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

The levels come in all varieties, and you’re only on a given level for a few seconds.  A level might be one screen or it might be scrolling horizontally or vertically.  Some levels have crumbling platforms that you have to watch for.  One level might be predominantly plus signs, while the next one will have a healthy dose of all things evil.  The truth is that you never know what you’re going to get.

What I do know, however, is that I don’t like the controls.  Jump and shoot actually work okay, though half the time you can’t see them because they blend into the level graphics.  The left and right buttons are actually even pretty responsive. I’m not sure what the problem is – maybe the left and right buttons are too close together.  It just seems like there are too many times where I’m going in the opposite direction of what I thought I hit.  I really think Love Rush would be a great candidate for tilt control where movement is concerned.

It's-A Gameboy Mario!

It's-A Gameboy Mario!

The highlight of Pix’N Love Rush is definitely the graphics.  Not only is there a lot of 8 bit lovin’ going on in these visuals, but one of the benefits of building up your score is that when you get to certain thresholds the visual style actually changes.  It starts out with a “modern” look, but by the time you get to the last change you feel like you’re playing a black and white Gameboy game.  This is where you’ll notice the Super Mario Bros. influence.  I also find it amusing watching the main character spit for some reason.  Call me weird I guess.

The sound effects are okay.  When the main character spits the sound adds to the overall amusement of the process.  I also think the sound it makes when it gets hit works well.  Everything else is just kind of ordinary.  The music, however, is just as brilliant as the graphics.  Each level has its own theme, and the music is just as retro as the visuals.

There have been some pretty good platform games showing up on the iPhone platform recently, but none has quite the quirky charm of Pix’N Love Rush.  It’s clear the developer has a love of old console games, and I could just as easily seen this game show up on a NES emulator as the iPhone.  It’s amazing how old school feel can still have such modern appeal.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link

That wraps up another edition of Random Selections.  Don’t hold me to this, but I think the next installment will cover the latest releases from Kuyi Mobile.  Until next time…

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