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Comprehensive Reviews

Random Selections: The Random Edition

Rating 4.00 out of 5
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This edition of Random Selections gets back to the heart of the concept: two entirely different games from different developers.  The one thing they do have in common is that they come from developers whose previous releases have entertained me.  With these choices, however, it’s clear in at least one case that you’ll never like everything a developer turns out (unless they only make one game and you like it).  Little Hero pits you as a karate wielding kid fending off waves of menacing toys, while Graves Robber sees you taking on the undead to recover some loot that just happens to belong to someone besides you.

Little Hero

I’m a fan if Klik Games because they do a pretty good job of making simple games that are also quite entertaining.  Their latest offering, Little Hero, is no exception to the rule.  The only issue I have with it is the control scheme, which unfortunately makes me struggle to outright recommend the game.

In Little Hero you play a little boy who for no apparent reason starts getting bombarded with a bunch of toys, intermittently mixed with some not so friendly objects like bats and bowling balls.  You have to kick and punch away all the toys while dodging the more painful objects.  You have three lives to dispatch as many objects as you can, and each time you get hit you lose a life.  I don’t believe there is any way to gain a life, because if there is I haven’t run across it yet.  The game is OpenFeint enabled with 10 achievements to earn, and it also supports PlayHaven.

Splitz-n-kick

Splitz-n-kick

Controlling Little Hero is rather interesting.  The movements are all swipe based and consist of up, down, left, right and the four diagonals.  Up and down swipes are easy to execute and cause you to attack in both directions, which is fine even if there’s only an object coming from one direction.  The problem arises when trying to execute any of the other moves.  The diagonals are the most difficult to pull off, the sometimes what I thought was a left or right swipe somehow becomes a diagonal swipe.  I’d almost prefer to have on screen controls, even if it were just an option.  Opaque ones would be nice, so that you don’t have to block the nice imagery, but I just don’t care for the swipe controls.

The graphics are definitely the highlight of this game.  The character is adorable with his big blue eyes and “two sizes too big” karate robe that reveals larger than life appendages when he attacks.  The background is nicely detailed as well.  The best part of the whole thing, however, is wonderfully animated background elements that pay homage to the other Klik Games products, Birdie In Trouble and the Fastball series.  I think this is one of the most original variants of cross game advertising I’ve seen yet on the iPhone.  The sound effects are okay, but more of a variety in the objects he’s punching would be nice.  There’s only one musical track, so it can get a bit repetitive over time, but it’s actually a fairly well written song, so it’s nice to listen to for the most part.

The concept is fun, the graphics are great, and the music is pretty good too.  It seems like Little Hero should be an easy hit.  Unfortunately, the controls get in the way of that being a reality.  They aren’t bad, but they make the game more challenging than it needs to be.  The challenge should come from timing your hits against the objects hurtling towards you, not from accidentally swiping up and to the left instead of just left.  I’m this close to recommending the game, but…

Final Verdict: On The Fence
App Store Link

Graves Robber

While I liked both of the games in the Pigs Vs. Wolves series, I’m glad developer iPho Game Dev decided to branch out.  Unfortunately, Graves Robber wasn’t a good start for their expansion.  There’s no real story (at least not illustrated in the game), the controls are sloppy, and the one level I’ve seen is just not very interesting design wise.  That’s really a same, because under the mess I think there’s a good game waiting to get out.

You play a girl with a big gun slaying zombies.  That’s all you can really discern without going to the web site for more information, but even that is pretty sparse.  You start out with a gun, some ammunition and a little bit of money that you can use to buy more ammunition, and then you get thrust onto an island where you can pick up more ammunition, money and vials of health.  There are also lots of zombies to slay, and eventually you get to portal that unleashes one big skeleton / zombie thing that kills me every time.  After a few tries at this I have up, because there was no real interest to beat that boss.

Is That A Pepa-mint?

Is That A Pepa-mint?

To move forward and back you have two arrows at the bottom left of the screen.  To shoot you have gun and missile buttons at the bottom right.  Supposedly you start out with some missiles, but nothing really seemed to happen when I hit that button.  To rotate your view you tilt the device, which is slow and clumsy.  To adjust your height for shooting you swipe down to point up and vice versa.  This might work a bit better if you pointed the gun in the direction you swiped, but even at that the movement is still slow and clunky, and you’re most likely going to get killed while adjusting your shot.  The end result is I spend most of my time running backwards to line up the “perfect” shot.

The graphics are okay.  The heroine looks decent and some of the landscaping is cool, but overall the engine feels like a first generation Playstation 1 effort.  The zombies don’t look very good from the onset, and once the start flaming they look like a pixilated mess.  The sound effects serve their purpose of keeping everything from being silent.  The one standout element of the aesthetics is the music.  Not only is it good, but it conveys an intense, adrenaline filled feeling that you should be receiving from this type of game but don’t.

Absent storyline and mediocre level design aside, I might actually be able to get into this game if it weren’t for the awkward controls.  Some redesign and tweaking might make this game a second string contender, but right now it’s just a forgettable experience.

Final Verdict: Not Recommended
[This game currently not available on the U.S. App Store]

And there it is – another addition of Random Selections all wrapped up.  I already have two more in the works, one about Nazi related shooters and the other focusing on puzzle games, so we’ll see which comes first.  Until then…

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