Tagged: iOS

RPGolf is the RPG + Golf combo I didn’t know I wanted

RPGolf is the RPG + Golf combo I didn't know I wanted

For the name alone, “RPGolf” has earned a mention from me. It’s a mobile game for Android and iOS coming this Summer (in Japan anyways) that is exactly the amalgamation the name implies: a fantasy RPG game that happens to be set on the fairway of a cursed golf course. You play as the heroine, out to cleanse the land of evil while working on your backstroke, by adventuring around the landscape between shots.

It reminds me of classic Y’s combat where you walk up to enemies and swing your club wildly but there’s some added depth here with the use of potions, magic attacks, and equippable gear. You’ll also level up as you defeat monsters and are free to explore the courses on foot or on a golfcart to find hidden treasures and dungeons. The dungeon in the video below looks to be optional but on ‘Hole 2’ the ball lands on a small island with a cave entrance. I imagine you’ll have to battle through a maze-like cave to get to to the island (and back out again) to finish the round.

It’s a neat concept that appeals to my strange, years-long addiction to Mario Golf: Advance Tour, but seeing the on-screen D-pad is such a bummer. Even with my new phone it’s still the last place I want to play a game these days. But who knows, maybe it’ll suck me in; the first of 9 Holes will be free with a paid unlock opening up the full game. Oh! On closer inspection, the Indiegogo campaign also mentions a PC/Mac version so maybe I’ll play that… whenever it’s out.

Marvel Games Retrospective 3: X-Men by Konami

This is the third in my series of reminiscing on Marvel games of the past and present (although almost three years late!), and we’re going to revisit the mighty mutants of Marvel, the Uncanny X-Men, in their first arcade game! [Read Part 1 and Part 2 here]

X-Men was a unique title in that it had three cabinets available for play: there was a two player cabinet, a four player cabinet, and a massive six player, two screen behemoth. While multiple screen arcade games weren’t new, as Darius and The Ninja Warriors had multiple screens, X-Men’s six player count was definitely something that hadn’t quite been tried before and wasn’t quite duplicated afterwards. The game was released in 1992 and was an instant hit in the arcades, a time in which arcades in the US had been revitalized thanks to the success of Street Fighter II.

Wolverine is pretty sure this place is gonna get real crowded real soon.

Panorama!!!

The source of the arcade game was inspired by the 1989 animated pilot titled “Pryde of the X-Men,” wherein Kitty Pryde is introduced to the team in quite a hit-the-ground-running kind of fashion. It featured Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Dazzler, and of course, Wolverine, against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants led by Magneto, taking the fight all the way to Asteroid M. Now, retrospectively, “Pryde of the X-Men” isn’t very good. There’s a lot wrong with it. And for some bizarre reason, Wolverine is given an Australian accent, which may or may not have foretold the future where Hugh Jackman was to faithfully take the claws for about 17 years. But if you’re a Marvel loving kid waking up in the wee hours of the morning in 1989 to watch the Marvel Action Universe, a syndicated block of cartoons featuring reruns of old Spider-Man (And sometimes His Amazing Friends) episodes and, for some reason, Robocop, seeing that was a very pleasant and very welcome surprise.

A couple years before that whole Adamantium snafu....

Wolverine against Magneto??? That’s crazy talk!!!

The art style in the game is very much influenced by that pilot, although with a slight anime touch, and it looked great as a result. Time has worn that away a little, but it still looks pretty good even if a bit sparse. The screen fills with enemies, explosions, and fire and it still keeps up with all the action. It was a step up from the 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game in every way.

The gameplay is simple. Like TMNT, you fight in a wide plane in all eight directions. You get three buttons: attack, jump, and mutant power. You can combine attack and jump, but the mutant power is a little tricky. You get a limited number of them, which only refill by one at the end of a stage, and on top of that, using one will drain your health by four points. And that’s the kicker: this game is hard, designed to do nothing but suck down your quarters like nobody’s business, and unless you’re bringing a full posse, you are inevitably going to spend a few dollars on this game. Forget about going it alone, too. Shawn and I did beat it in the arcade once, with a random third player, and I’m pretty sure by the end of it we were all tapped out of money. The Japanese version is a little more forgiving, with the insertion of health packs and bonus items, but not by much.

Kitty's going to be fine. It's the Master Mold who should be worried!

The game even features some characters not featured in “Pryde of the X-Men,” like Mystique, the Wendigo, the Master Mold, and Bonebreaker of the Reavers.

Of all the characters, Wolverine was of course the best melee character and Colossus had the best mutant power, so people went to play those two first. Cyclops and Nightcrawler were average, and Storm was fine in a pinch, but why does she have to fight with a staff? Nobody wanted to be Dazzler though. Dazzler was lame, they said. Why play as Dazzler? Well, I’m going to shock everyone here and say that Dazzler is an OK character. Sure, she started out as a rollerskating disco queen, and sure, she was basically thrown away after the 1991 X-Men comic reboot, but there is nothing wrong with Dazzler. In fact, in the game, she even has a neat flip throw that gets her out of some situations and her mutant power is not bad when used efficiently. Would the world have preferred Jean Grey, Rogue, or Psylocke? Sure, but they weren’t in “Pryde of the X-Men.” Dazzler is fine.

Alison Blaire is blowing up the charts, her new single is fire

Dazzler’s power is to turn sound into hard light. She can handle herself.

Another thing that I should mention is the sound. Not just the music, which was really good arcade style music, but the voice samples throughout the game are pretty much legendary. The game starts off with a short narration and then after Charles Xavier asks you to “Go and SAVE the CITY!” we are off! Now, it is highly doubtful that any of the voice talent from the “Pryde of the X-Men” were available for the game in the same way that some of the X-Men animated series cast was used for Capcom’s later X-Men: Children of the Atom arcade game, but the voices are pretty great. One of the more fun things to do in the game is to interrupt the level boss as they make their introductory speech. Memories of “Pyro will—ugh!” and “Nothing moves the—” are pretty fresh in my mind and always fun to replicate. Of course, everyone remembers Magneto’s “Welcome to die!” and it always gives us reason to laugh while we punch him in his face. Or, better yet, use Colossus’ mutant power and get him to yell a very satisfying roar. This game was very loud, and since arcade operators were not shy to turn the volume up on the cabinet, all the explosions and yells drove home how epic this game felt.

"Welcome to die?" How about I welcome my fist to your nose, buddy?!

“Welcome to die?” How about I welcome my fist to your nose, buddy?!

X-Men was released at the height of the battle between the Genesis and the SNES and everyone at the time wondered why it never came to consoles. Turtles In Time made a very nice SNES game, so you could imagine that a little work on Konami’s part might make for a decent translation, right? While that could have been possible, the problem came down to the same situation that has mucked up a lot of Marvel’s properties throughout the years: licensing. The X-Men were already licensed for home consoles by Acclaim through its LJN—yes, the same LJN that produced the execrable Marvel’s X-Men on the NES—and Flying Edge labels, and they had just released a terrible game called Spider-Man and the X-Men In Arcade’s Revenge; the next year would see the really good Genesis X-Men game by Sega, and in 1994, Capcom’s X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse would appear on the SNES, leaving no room for Konami to port their title.

As time went on, people took it as a given that the only way to play Konami’s X-Men was to emulate it through MAME, but in the unlikely year of 2010, it finally reached home consoles via the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. It even saw a release on the iOS and Android! Ported by Backbone Entertainment, the game featured internet multiplayer (only four players though!), the usual graphical options for emulation, and the inclusion of the Japanese version just in case you wanted to experience some of those power-ups they took out of the American version. It was pretty good, but by 2010, gamers who had decided action fighters were long past their sell-by date wrote it off (and many of these same people wax nostalgic about the Simpsons arcade game, also made by Konami, which is something I don’t understand at all). At some point, between Konami’s retreat from the gaming sphere and Marvel’s insane licensing situations, it was delisted from all services, and as of 2017 it leaves MAME, once again, as the only place to play it.

You left Jean Grey for who???

Ten years after this game, these two would hook up.

Is Konami’s X-Men dated? Yes, of course. But is it still fun? Yes, there’s lots of fun you can have with it. Bring some friends together; it’s not actually a terribly long game and you’ll be immensely satisfied once you beat the stuffing out of Magneto. Or better yet, find a young kid who’s just getting into superheroes and have them experience it. They’ll love it.

And stop hating on Dazzler.

Shawn’s Note: Sure enough, it still pleased the nephews back at Christmas. It’s colorful and kinetic enough that even without knowing who the X-Men are they were having fun. At one point they unexpectedly got into a fight over who could put in the most credits though. Explaining arcade games might be the hardest part about playing it with them.

Of 2015: The Mobile Games

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Bad as my eyes are these days I did play some actual mobile games in 2015. Most of them were free, only a couple were on my phone and some were barely games at all. In the course of dilly-dallying on this post I also came up with these crude ASCII symbols for each handheld so enjoy those as well.

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Early in the year I finally hopped on the crazy hype wagon for Crossy Road. Sure enough, it was a fun Frogger-like with voxel graphics and a bunch of goofy skins. Quick and fun and sometimes infuriating, I poked at it for a few months. Much, much later I happened upon Horizon Chase thanks to digging up news for OSV. It excels as an update and homage to classics like Top Gear and they even pulled in Barry Leitch, the original composer, to revisit the music. It’s fabulous looking, fast and fun to play but I think I’m going to hold out for the upcoming PS4 release to really dive in.

Honorable mentions go to Tori Watch and Neko Atsume!. Both are similarly peculiar Japanese phone “games” that simulate sitting outdoors and waiting for birds and cats, respectively, to wander into your yard. There isn’t much that you really do but they were both cute and free and very, very Japanese-y.

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Thanks to PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Mobile, the Vita continued to get frequent use through the first part of the year. OlliOlli 2 brought more 2D twitch skateboarding but even though it’s vastly improved from the original it didn’t grab me as strongly. The same month, Flame Over debuted exclusively on the Vita and I spent a few weeks throwing myself against its challenging mashup of firefighting and roguelikes. I’ve since picked it up on Steam where I enjoy it much more but I was happy to support the game early on.

Finally was Oh Deer! Alpha which has the distinction of only being available to buy for a few short weeks. It was one of the last releases to Sony’s Android-powered PlayStation Mobile marketplace which was home to all kinds of cheap, knock-off, and illicit apps and games over the years. As an alpha, Oh Deer! is a basic game, one that apes the art and gameplay of OutRun but replaces the Ferrari with a station wagon and traffic with deer. Lots and lots of deer waiting to be mowed down or avoided. It’s up to you and the game’s music — marking a return to the scene for Motohiro Kawashima — changes in intensity depending on how you play. I’m still hoping it becomes a full game some day.

 

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Serving as experiments in Free-to-Start design, and to tide people over until a proper sequel, Nintendo went nuts with free Pokemon games in 2015. I skipped Pokemon Picross because I will never understand picross in a way that makes me feel good playing it. Instead I kept up with Pokemon Shuffle and Pokemon Rumble World for a while.

Pokemon Shuffle is an oddball matching puzzle game with almost no rules and a lot of grinding if you want to catch and train all the ‘mon. On the game board you can move pieces just about any which way to make matches while daily energy limits introduce the “challenge”. Without paying real money there are few Pokemon you can catch so I just poked at its fun and colorful fringes before bed for a while.

Pokemon Rumble World is a Free-to-Start iteration of Nintendo’s long running but mostly overlooked Pokemon action series. It’s a little like Dynasty Warriors in that the fun comes from demolishing hordes of simple-minded fodder on the way to slightly tougher boss battles. I was hoping this would be the Rumble game I finally got into but I ditched it even before grinding up against its microtransaction wall.

Finally is Nintendo Badge Arcade which I’ve somehow spent the most time with. It’s simply a nefarious arcade claw game that desperately wants you to pump real money into it for a chance to grab Nintendo branded trinkets. You then stick these badges on your 3DS Home screen… to look at. That’s it. I have more to say in my Dailies of 2015 post but I’ll sum it up again here: it’s so well designed that it makes you feel great even when you’re scamming it for free plays every day.

Beat Bop brings Interactive Music and Management to the Clicker Genre

I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of “clicker” games, the growing genre where you tirelessly click on things to slowly, but exponentially, increase your income until numbers in the millions are flying out of everything on screen. They’re usually too mundane for me but set one up about music with a soundtrack that changes based on your clicking speed and suddenly I’m interested. That’s the concept behind Beat Bop, a new clicker game coming to Android and iOS in August from the Australian studio, Fliptus.

In the free-to-play game you start out as a lonely, hopeful street musician plucking away on a street corner with big dreams of superstardom. As you click to collect coins you’ll soon be able to pick up new band members, buy out promotions, start selling merch, and deal with broken instruments and media scandals. Of course, there’s a huge array of costumes and gear to buy as well to customize each member of your band. All this tapping action is set to unique music that changes with each venue which evolves as you add members (and instruments) to your band.

There isn’t a lot to hear from the game just yet but the above gameplay trailer gives you a glimpse at how it will sound and play when it’s released later this month. With an interesting hook I might actually give this one a shot and at least report back on the interactive music portion.

A new videOST for CounterSpy is out today!

There’s something in CounterSpy’s visual style and soundtrack that more than compensate for its gameplay flaws. It’s a terribly inconsistent game when it comes to being spotted which makes the experience more frustrating than it should be. Still, I really liked it and after the first several hours with the game I couldn’t stop humming its cool 60’s spy flick music.

I went looking for an official soundtrack but only found a few songs on Soundcloud and one copy on vinyl… that comes direct from the developers??! So I did the thing I usually do and recorded it myself! It was a fun process and really got me thinking about the audio design and how it’s all linked to go along with the randomly generated levels. Then I thought about things even more and edited all the musical cues and interludes into a new videOST series. Watch, listen, enjoy and then go play the game yourself. It’s pretty fun, only a little flawed and it’s on every PlayStation platform as well as iOS and Android.