Uncharted Goes Mobile

If you’re a console gamer you’re likely aware that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was just released as the latest addition to the Uncharted series. Published by Sony, it’s exclusively available for the PS4, though it’s still being regarded as one of the biggest game releases we’ve seen yet in 2016. Reviews will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, but in the meantime I wanted to take a look at a smaller release that came out as a sort of companion to A Thief’s End: the UNCHARTED: Fortune Hunter app by Playstation Mobile, which was uploaded to app stores earlier this month.

While some might envision a console-like app game the likes of which we’ve begun to see related to some other titles, what Fortune Hunter provides is actually more akin to some other spinoff games we’ve seen of late. The clearest example might be Lara Croft GO, which accompanied the release of Rise Of The Tomb Raider on consoles. It basically took the setting and image of the larger console game but twisted into a puzzle solver/obstacle course game built for mobile. A similar spinoff was designed in the form of Hitman GO (to accompany the recent console game, Hitman), and both of these titles were developed by Square Enix.

Regarding the Uncharted series, there have actually even been some similar arcade and mobile games that almost seem like indirect adaptations of the main series. Perhaps the most intriguing is Betfair Casino’s Daring Dave & The Eye Of Ra, a slot machine game that closely resembles Uncharted in image and character. “Daring Dave” has a similar Indiana Jones vibe to Nathan Drake (indeed, the game even says it allows you to channel your inner Indiana Jones), and the idea is to spin a slot reel into a treasure hunting adventure.

Others might imagine a mobile spin on the Uncharted series and think of games like Imangi Studios’ Temple Run series. That particular series has been around for some time now and has gone through different themed versions, but the original game does evoke the same general sense of adventurous treasure hunting.

However, while all of these games certainly seem similar to the Uncharted series in their own respective ways, UNCHARTED: Fortune Hunter is the true mobile accompaniment in the spirit of Lara Croft GO or Hitman GO. In this game, your only task is to guide Nathan Drake along different puzzle grids (basically from a bird’s eye view), avoiding obstacles and “switches” as you work your way toward a prize on a pedestal. That’s about it as far as what the game entails, though there are plenty of little features built in to keep it more engaging than the average mobile puzzle experience.

To begin with, there’s at least some action involved in the form of little animations of Drake taking on obstacles, and that sets the game head and shoulders above Hitman GO, at least. You’re also tracking down famous treasures from history (as you do to some extent in the larger console games) and interacting with Sully, another key character, along the way. Naturally the puzzles grow progressively more difficult, and the prizes more significant – but unlike in some similar games there’s actually value to the greater prizes. You can essentially use them to unlock new puzzles, get new character outfits, or even link to your PlayStation Network account to earn rewards in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

UnchartediOS_1Ultimately, it may not be the most intricate or mind-bending puzzle game you’ll be able to find on a mobile device, but it may still be the most satisfying game of its type. Both as a mobile version of an Uncharted game and as a specific side game to A Thief’s End, it’s quite a lot of fun.

Review: GreeGear Legend G9021 Mobile Gaming Wireless Bluetooth Controller

Getting a controller right tends to be a pretty difficult job, especially when it comes to the low end price point. This device looks great, but the question is does it perform?

Well, I’m happy to say that it works pretty well, especially considering the price. It feels comfortable in the hand, and for anyone who has used an Xbox controller, you’ll feel right at home with this.

Pairing up with my Android was a breeze, and playing games worked great. There was very little set up required, and the controller was working pretty much straight out of the box.

The phone grip is adjustable, and seems to have a pretty flexible range. When it comes to phones I can’t see there being many devices on the market that won’t fit this, including the larger phablets. The grip also feels sturdy, with two rubber pads to hold the phone in place, ensuring it won’t slip out during gaming sessions.

The controller is charged via Micro USB, a cable is kindly supplied with the device. This is pretty handy considering it means you won’t need to carry around multiple cables.

So you might be wondering why the controller lost a star. Well, it feels extremely light weight and the build quality isn’t quite where I’d like it to be. For the most part all the buttons worked well, but the right trigger felt a little loose, pressing in far too easily, especially compared to the left.

Apart from those small niggles regarding the build quality, this is a pretty great controller. You won’t find much better for the price, and for anyone who wants to game on their phone or tablet, this is a great accessory.

News: Google Cardboard gets an update

The Google I/O has been taking place today and one thing that got announced was an update to Google Cardboard. Now, as a fan of VR, this is something that I find quite fun and intriguing, and after taking the first Google Cardboard out for a spin I was surprised by how well it works.

So what’s new with the latest build? Well, for starters it supports devices with screen sizes up to 6″ which will come in handy considering how mobile phones seem to be continually getting larger. Google have now shrunk the steps to build the device from twelve to only three, meaning once you unpack your new D.I.Y VR kit it will only take a couple of minutes to get up and running.

Perhaps the biggest update is that Google Cardboard will now support iOS, meaning that all of you iPhone users out there will get to have fun with some makeshift VR.

For anyone out there who wants to experience virtual reality without handing over a huge sum of money then this is probably worth taking a look at. Google can now boast to having over 1 million Cardboard users and over 500 apps available for the VR market. Not bad eh?

My Top 5 Productivity Apps for the iPad

Introduction

So I decided to throw together a quick list of my top 5 productivity tools and apps for the iPad. These are apps that I use myself and find extremely handy, in fact I couldn't do without them! My iPad has come pretty close to replacing my Macbook and without some of these trusty little apps it wouldn't even come close to achieving that.

So take a peak and see if any of them might help you out.

Pages

Pages is Apples take on Microsoft Word and I'm a big fan. Out of every application I have for my iPad, this is top of my list. The entire user interface is very touch friendly and there are plenty of tools to make your documents look absolutely fantastic. This isn't just some cheap word processor like some you would normally find on a tablet, it's a full blown piece of kit that allows real work to be completed.

Another great feature is that all of your documents will automatically sync with your iCloud information, allowing you to access them anywhere that has an internet connection. If you have an iPhone or Mac then it gets even better, with documents automatically syncing across all of your devices, allowing you to start something on one device then resume it on another.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a mobile and tablet friendly spreadsheet application. It works in the cloud, allowing you to edit on the go through any browser, simply by logging in with your Google information.

The application works great and is pretty touch friendly. Although you probably won't find yourself throwing together huge spreadsheets using this, the app is more than capable and easy to use. As mentioned above, due to it being cloud based you can do some more serious work on a browser and then complete or use the spreadsheets on your iPad. This comes in great if you're using any form of trackers on the go!

Keynote

Keynote is a powerful presentation creation tool. It allows the user to throw together great looking presentations using nothing but their iPad and it's designed from the ground up to work with touch screens. Although sometimes the lack of mouse input and the smaller screen can make things fiddly, the overall experience is pretty good using the app. The app really helps the user by helping to align images and text boxes, helping you to avoid those little mistakes.

When combined with an iPhone the app becomes even more powerful. Not only do you have the same iCloud sync options like you have in Pages, but you also have a host of presentation tools. You can add notes for each of your slides and use your iPhone to view these while also using your iPhone as a remote for your presentation. This comes in really handy when you give the iPad to someone to view and you can guide them through your presentation with nothing in your hands but your iPhone.

Garage Band

Now this might not really be a super productive app, but if you like to create music then this is a very nifty little app. For anyone who has used the app on a Mac then you will immediately feel at home, with a whole host of tools to help you record real instruments or software instruments. It's powerful and I've never had any issues with input lag etc, recording a range of guitars, vocals and bass using this tool to create tracks.

There is a huge range of virtual/software instruments and rum kits to help really flesh your track out and experiment. Editing your tracks couldn't be easier as the app has been designed to work with just touch input. Throw in the fact that like other Apple apps it syncs across iCloud, this makes the app a really valuable tool for those who want to record music on the go!

Dropbox

For all your online storage needs Dropbox is the perfect companion. It is easy to use with a range of mobile apps and desktop apps, synchronizing with a large range of productivity tools. A large range of my desktop applications allow me to save directly to Dropbox and that's the same within my iPad. Although you'll probably already be using iCloud, Dropbox offers better compatibility with other operating systems.

Dropbox also offers a good range of picture and folder back up for your iPad and mobile devices. You can enable auto backup of your photos and built into the tool you can share any files saved, helping you to work collaboratively with others.

iPad Pro/Plus

With rumors of Apples next iPad’s coming up there is one that has really caught my attention, the larger screened iPad. I had it in my head that Apple would align their naming with their Mac and Macbook range, running with a mini, air and pro, but after the announcement of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus it looks like maybe Pro won’t be appearing anytime soon. Regardless of the name it comes with, if it does come I’m very excited for it!

Some people think I’m a little mad wanting a larger iPad than my Air that I have already, but the only thing that really lets my iPad Air down right now is the screen size. The device itself is very close to being able to replace my Macbook, but the screen is just a little too small. Rumors suggest that the iPad Pro/Plus will come with a 13 inch display which is perfect. Combined with a keyboard dock then it will offer a near perfect solution for portable productivity.

I do a lot of writing on the go and my iPad Air, keyboard dock and Pages app really make work easy to accomplish. I’ve even gone a little crazy at times and completed Keynote presentations and spreadsheets on my iPad, but due to the screen size things get fiddly.

The 13 inch screen size would help to make things a lot easier to complete, removing the fiddly process of constantly zooming in and out of certain areas on the screen. Even with the added weight and potentially added discomfort of holding something so big, that can be easily cancelled out by using a keyboard dock which normally act as a stand as well.

The only issue I have with the idea of a 13 inch iPad is that iOS doesn’t support mouse input unless you jailbreak. Now if I’m going to go keyboard dock, larger display, and potentially replace my Macbook, then I’d love to see Apple implement this into the software. Considering their refusal to do this in the past, insisting that the touchscreen is the only input needed, this could be unlikely. However there are a lot of things happening over at Apple that they always insisted would never happen, so maybe mouse input will show up?

Only time will tell what new devices are coming. We don’t have long to wait, with Apple usually announcing new iPad’s within October. I’ll be keeping a close eye out and really hope Apple come out with something bigger and if they do, maybe I’ll finally give up my Macbook.

Battle Camp Review

Introduction

So I’ve taken one of the more popular Pokemon clones for mobile devices for a spin. Normally these games are pretty poor, trying to emulate Pokemon in almost every way and failing deliver on what Pokemon achieved early in it’s day. Battle Camp promises us something different than the other clones that are available and I have to admit that this monster collection and battle game does bring something new to the table.

Gameplay

The one thing that this does differently is the combat. You have a team of 5 monsters ranging in abilities and elemental types. Now in order to attack or heal you have to match up different elemental stones, in a very similar way to Candy Crush! Match the rocks in order to power up your rock attacks, the leaves to power up your grass attacks, hearts to heal etc. So a Pokemon and Candy Crush mashup! Sounds interesting right?

Well you know what, it is a pretty good combination. The gameplay is addictive and the interesting combat makes up for the lack of exploration offered within the game. There are different areas to adventure to, offering PVP play and trading.

As you battle monsters you capture/collect them. The rarer monsters you collect puzzle parts of, eventually putting them together and hatching them. You can feed your spare monsters to your team, giving them experience and levelling them up. Once they get to the required level you can also evolve them.

Now here’s where the whole game falls down. In app purchases and social networking. You have 5 energy, every time you battle one energy disappears. Your energy recharges over a period of time. The problem is you cannot get your energy past 5 at any time, leaving you constantly waiting for it to recharge, unless of course, you pay for some. It’s a massive pain, to enjoy this game more regularly than every hour or so for more than 5 minutes you need to pay, and every time, not just a one off.

To top it all off, pretty much every time you do something the game pushes you to post it to Facebook, to invite all of your friends to see the new monster you’ve caught. No matter how many times you tell the game no, it still pushes you to do so.

Conclusion

This is a great mobile game, with quite a lot of potential. If the developers threw in some exploration then this could really shape up to be an addictive mobile game that’s also a lot of fun. However they would really need to do something about the energy issue and the in app purchases. I’d be more than happy to pay an upfront cost, or a one time in app purchase in order to give me longer play time.

As it stands this is a game worth checking out, but if you’re looking for something to play on a regular basis it’s not going to deliver. Unless, of course, you’re willing to continually keep paying for more energy and bug your friends on Facebook.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



A Thousand Hearts available in print

Afternoon everyone!

For all of you who were waiting to pick up a copy of A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth, in print format, I’d just like to let you know it is available! You can pick up a copy from Amazon today 😀

I just got my copy today and I’m very pleased with it. Hope you all enjoy it.

Warhammer Quest Review

Introduction

I’ve sunk a fair amount of time into Warhammer Quest and must admit I’ve found it to be a pretty good game. It looks fantastic andworks extremely well with touch input. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into making this game.

GameplayImage

Warhammer Quest is a top down dungeon crawler. You take control of four warriors who move from town to town, collecting quests and searching dungeons. There are a number of classes to control and lots of loot to discover.

Combat and movement follows the conventional rules of Games Workshop, giving your warriors a set number of move and combat points per turn. This slows the combat down and forces the player to take a little more time planning their strategy which works fantastically well on the iPad.

One thing that is a little disappointing is that Warhammer Quest is all about searching through dungeons and nothing more. It’s fun for a while but I’ve found myself wishing the game was a little more deep, allowing me more freedom to explore other landscapes or even just the towns I visit.

However for the cost I can’t really complain. They pretty much nailed the gameplay.

Graphics

This isn’t the kind of game that’s going to blow your socks off when it comes to graphics but it still looks good. I loved the art style of the dungeons and the animations of the warriors worked very nicely.

Image

Conclusion

For anyone looking for a casual RPG dungeon crawler this is the game for you. There’s enough content to hold your interest for hours and it’s well worth the price. It’s a great game for killing time and it’s new and original, taking advantage of touch input and making great use of the controls.

Download – iPhone Download – iPad

Dungeon Hunter 4

Slashy slashy time!
Slashy slashy time!

So I decided to delve into another one of Gameloft’s clones. They make some pretty good mobile games and Dungeon Hunter 4 is no different. It’s a great little game, packed filled with some brilliant RPG elements, fantastic graphics and great controls. The gameplay is fun, button mashing mayhem. I’ve sunk hours into hacking and slashing my way through hordes of enemies and upgrading my loot. For a mobile game this is pretty great fun.

This is something you will see a lot during the game
This is something you will see a lot during the game

Where the fun stops however is Gamelofts insistence on in app purchases. Simple things like using potions more often than every couple of hours will end up costing you gems, and gems will cost you real world cash. In order to progress in the game you need better equipment and the quickest way to get your hands on this is to spend some gems on it. In fact pop up sales will appear in-between loading screens, enticing you to spend spend spend. Now, you can earn all the loot for free and upgrade gathered loot with in gold that you find in game. However this is a long process. I’ve already repeated one level about 20 times in order to grind my way to the higher level equipment.

At the end of the day this game is free to play and you’re not being forced to spend any money. However in app purchases pop up around every corner, leaving me wishing I could just pay for the app up front and have a better in game experience without being pestered every other minute.

I’d recommend giving this app a go if you fancy playing a premium RPG on your mobile device. It others some good old fashioned button mashing fun and is worth giving a chance. Just make sure you avoid the temptation to blow your real world cash on this game, it could turn into a real money pit.

DownloadiPhone    DownloadiPad