iPhone Game Review: Toys Unleashed
First things first, this is a free download from the app store at the moment. This is because it is a promotional tie in with a campaign from a certain credit card provider - but it is definitely worth a download.
The really smart thing about Toys Unleashed is its use of so-called ‘augmented reality’ technology. You see your own hand and surroundings on screen thanks to the camera on the iPhone, which adds a fun extra level of immersion.
The characters you take control of are based off those appearing in the current Barclaycard TV advert. They are a monkey, a t-rex and a robot. The 3D animations are fun and quirky, as well as having a well polished feel.
Each of the characters has their own game, and each of the games has a choice of three difficulty levels. Whilst the games are easy at the start (even a young child would likely be able to play straight away) they rapidly progress to borderline sadism.
This is a fun little diversion and well worth grabbing if you are a phone-fiddler.
Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before…
An ancient enemy returns to conquer a peaceful kingdom. The only weapon capable of stopping them has been destroyed. A young apprentice finds himself without a master and propelled into a conflict much larger than he ever anticipated.
I know, I know. This is probably the plot outline of 80% of the adventure games ever released. It is, not surprisingly, the plot outline for Swordigo, a new adventure game for iOS brought to us by the fine folks at Touch Foo. Don’t let the generic story fool you though, Swordigo is not to be overlooked or merely lumped in with its predecessors. It is an absolutely delightful game that will show you just how much potential is being wasted on those silly bird-flinging, paper-tossing iOS games.*
Before we dive into all the reasons you should be rushing to the App Store to buy Swordigo let’s deal with the elephant in the room first. Yes, Swordigo will feel very familiar. You may even catch nay-sayers using the words “copy-cat” or “rip-off”. Swordigo is neither of those, it is merely an “homage” to adventure platformers of yore. The atmosphere borrows heavily from Mario and Zelda while the gameplay honors the best parts of Metroid and Castlevania. If you ever enjoyed any one of the four game franchises I just mentioned you’ll probably enjoy Swordigo. It manages to use its influences, while introducing a few unique concepts, in such a way that the game feels familiar but challenging all at the same time, an excellent combination if there ever was one.
As you progress through the tale of Swordigo you’ll be leveling up three different attributes. Health, Attack, and Magic. The more you put into Health the higher your maximum heart count. The more you put into Attack the higher natural damage output your character has. The more you put into Magic the quicker your “Energy” will recharge and the natural damage of your spells will level up. All in all, it’s a pretty basic system. There are however a few interesting mechanics that will put an interesting twist on how you play. The biggest of which is the “trinket system”. You can find equippable trinkets throughout the world that you can fasten to your gear. Each different type of trinket provides a certain bonus. The first trinket you’ll get, the “Fire Trinket” adds fire damage when equipped to swords and spells. When equipped to armor the Fire Trinket deals damage to an attackers that happen to touch you. Finding the various types of trinkets and deciding the best ways to use them ended up being one of my favorite aspects of the game.
The mechanics behind the game provide a solid and familiar backdrop. The atmosphere of the game is well done, with a fitting soundtrack and a consistent art style. The touchscreen controls emulate the functionality of a controller surprisingly well. The level design remains fresh throughout the course of the game and provides plenty of reward for exploration. All of the pieces of a great adventure game can be found in Swordigo, yet the place the game truly shines is something that’s a bit less quantifiable.
The best way I can describe it is “nostalgia”. Swordigo employs its simplicity in a way that makes you remember why you got into video games in the first place. You find yourself invested in the game’s story despite being able to see how paper thin and contrived it all is. As you progress through the game you realize that it’s been getting more and more difficult but you also notice that you’ve been getting better. The combat is simple but requires patience. You find yourself eagerly anticipating the next boss battle and then cursing it when you realize he’s just a bit tougher than you expected. Once you’ve finally completed the game’s ~10 hours of content you’ll find yourself happy to sit through the credits while you mull over the adventure you just had.
Swordigo is the kind of game you tell your friends about. It’s the kind of game that you can’t get out of your mind when you’re away. It’s the kind of game you sit down to play for just a few minutes and then gawk at the clock as you realize you’ve been playing for an hour. It’s the kind of game you fell in love with as a kid and the best part? It’s all available in the palm of your hand for the price of a candy bar or some very cheap coffee.
If you own a iOS device you owe it to yourself to check out Swordigo. You won’t regret it.
*Let it be known that I am one of the biggest Angry Bird apologists around. Swordigo though provides a whole different level of entertainment.
On the eve of Amelia Earhart’s birthdate we thought it would be fitting to share some of our favourite memories of her. The legendary woman was born in 1897 and became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean as well as setting many aviation records. Her talents did not just stop at flying however as she wrote a number of best-selling books about her experiences as well as being extremely important in the formation of The Ninety-Nines which is an organisation for female pilots. During Amelia’s attempt to fly around the globe in 1937, she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean never to be found again. In the January of 1939 she was declared dead in absentia but the fascination with her life and disappearance still continues to this day.
“The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.” ~ Amelia Earhart
Guild Wars 2 announce release date! http://www.purposegaming.tv/guild-wars-2-release-date-announced/
We need more videos like this in SC2. Tell me this doesn’t get you so excited about eSports.