Super Mega Mini Party, by Red Games Co., is a fun mix of 8 mini games meant to be played with others online or locally via bluetooth. However, the biggest issue is finding someone to play against. Read on to learn more.
Before I get to the issue mentioned above, I'll start with the games. The games themselves are very fun and several are very original. They consist of pirate ship battles, motorcross racing, chopping down trees with martial arts moves, jumping over arctic animals as a penguin to stay on a sheet of ice, and more. The most original games out of the eight (in my opinion) are Penguin Plop, Spruce Lee, Lava Leap, and Miner Threat.
I think my favorite game of the list is Penguin Plop. In Penguin Plop your are a penguin jumping over fish, walruses, polar bears and more. The goal is to be the last penguin standing on a sheet of ice. It is easy to play with just one button to click and a lot of fun.
Speaking of being easy to play, all of the controls are very simple to understand. Some of the games only have one button while others might have two or a directional pad. For the most part all of the games are easy, except for Lunatic Lander.
Lunatic Lander is a classic type of game. Navigate your ship to save an astronaut while avoiding asteroids. Once you have the astronaut bring him/her back to the landing pad. The problem is it is very difficult and no way to stop once started. I played several games where no one could rescue the astronaut. After several minutes my opponents had quit and I was suck myself. Eventually I quit because there is no time limit on the game itself. Someone has to win. Also, if you quit one game in the competition you forfeit them all and return to the menu and have to start over. There is no way to forfeit that game and still stay in the main competition.
When you play against one or more players the games are chosen at random and you compete in a total of five games. There is a single player training mode that lets you play the game of your choice by yourself. This is a good way to get a feel for each game, or a good way to play when you can't find anyone to play with. You can also choose your character from the main screen and there are a bunch to choose from.
Here is some gameplay in training mode of each game:
This brings up my other issue, and my issue mentioned above. Games like this rely on other players to play against. Not many people will have someone locally to play and the developers have realized this making an online multiplayer option. However, I had trouble finding people online to play against too. When I have found someone to play against it is only one person. I have never played a full game with three other players (four total). Hopefully, this is due to being a new game in the Arcade and others will be joining soon, because this is a really fun game.
I did notice the game is developed by the same company as LEGO Brawls. I have had the same issue of finding players in LEGO Brawls and I have with this game. Coincidence or a server issue? I don't know but just a thought.
The issue of finding others to play online makes this is a hard game to rate. It truly is a lot of fun. The games are original or twists on a classic. If I could easily find someone to play it would be an easy 4.5 out of five. However, I think I'll have to go with a 3.5 for now.
Arcade Review Ratings 3.5 out of 5
One of my most anticipate games for Apple Arcade was a new Pac-Man. I had no idea what it was going to be, but I was really looking forward to it after seeing a tease in an Apple Arcade trailer. When it was finally released a Pac-Man Party Royale by Bandai Namco I immediately downloaded it. Unfortunately, I am sorry to say, I was disappointed in the game I played. Read on to find out why.
Pac-Man Party Royale is not your typical Pac-Man. Instead of trying to clear the board and avoid ghosts and eat fruit, you are trying to avoid just one ghost while eating more pellets than three other Pac-People. While doing that you are trying to eat what I would best describe as a moving power pellet which enables you to eat the other players and the ghost. Your goal is to be the last one standing.
Now, these game scenarios could be fun, and it is at first. However, it gets old fast.
One of the biggest issues before even playing the game is figuring out how to play a one player game. There is no guidance on how to do this when you open the app. Upon opening the app you are given the option of hosting a game or joining a game. The games have to be local, meaning not over the internet, but via Bluetooth with people around you. If you don't have anyone to play with it appears as if you are out of luck.
However, there is another option and that is to play by yourself again three Pac-Bots. The problem is finding this, which I did accidentally. You have to start a game and keep clicking through until you are given the option to play Pac-Bots. You start the game and are playing solo. As I said, there is NO indication of this at all. Most people probably see that can't play a solo game and delete the app. The beginning of the video below will walk you through the steps.
This is not the only issue with the game. As you play you pick up speed by eating more pellets. However, the starting speed is too slow. It is insanely slow. It is almost to the point where you don't want to play because it is so slow. Then there is the game itself. As I said earlier, it is fun at first, but it gets old and boring fast. I found winning against the bots to be fairly easy.
Controls are also not the best. Swiping on the iPad or iPhone is not very responsive and difficult. I used a controller, and it was much better, but not the greatest. It seems as if all Pac-Man iOS apps suffer from this issue. I would have hoped they would have figured it out by now.
Finally, what this game really needs is true online play where you can jump in and play people around the world. The description in Arcade says more modes are coming soon, and hopefully this is one of them. Of course, this will require other people playing it and hopefully enough people are still playing the game when and if it is added. If this is a mode coming soon it should have been in the initial release and the local player games should have been saved. After all how many people actually have a house full fo people ready and willing to play a battle game of Pac-Man?
I will hold out hope that things improve in an update, but for now I can't recommend this game.
Arcade Reviews Rating 2 out of 5
Download the game here.
I enjoy playing baseball video games. However, I don't enjoy games where I have to manage the team and keep track of injured player and then there are different button combinations to push to certain hits and pitches and you have to memorize an entire manual to play the game. If you feel the same way, then Ballistic Baseball is the baseball game for you.
Ballistic Baseball, by Gameloft, brings baseball back to the basics. You play the pitcher on defense and the batter on offense. When you pitch you can easily choose the pitch you want to throw and where you want to throw it. There is an accuracy slider for when to through the ball similar to many golf video games. That is about it for pitching. The game takes care of fielding for you. The only other pitching option is changing pitchers when your pitcher gets too tired. I did find that pitchers tend to get tired very fast. In a one inning game I went through about a pitcher for every two batters.
When you hit you can move the batter away from the plate, or closer, and you swing the bat. Nothing more. The game chooses when you run and how far to run.
I don't think it can get too much simpler than that. In fact, it might be a little too simple for my taste. While I enjoy the game, I do wish there was the option to bunt and steal bases. If I had to choose between the two it would have to be bunting. I think a baseball game needs the option to bunt.
When you play there are three modes of play. Online, play with a friend locally and vs. an AI opponent. Online gives you a three inning game (which I like) and offline gives the option of choosing 1 to 9 innings and the stadium you want to play on. The stadium is chosen when you play online. The stadiums are a nice variety of scenes. One even has a pirate ship in the background.
I do appreciate the offline option here. I tried playing online once and there was no one else for me to play. I have played several games without an offline mode and when there is no one to play you eventually stop trying and delete the game. I did not try the local player option.
I played the game with and without a controller. I personally found hitting and getting the perfect pitch to be easier with the button on the controller. Your experience may vary.
My only other minor problem with the game, and it more of a patience thing on my part, is I would appreciate the ability to click through the cut scenes between innings. I know it is small, but those get boring and repetitive after a while.
Overall, Ballistic Baseball is a nice baseball game for iOS and AppleTV. It is fun and great for those, like me, who want a game you can just pick up and play.
Arcade Reviews Rating 4.5 out of 5
Download from Apple Arcade here.
When I started Things That Go Bump by Tinybop Inc. I had no idea what to expect. What I got was a nonstop fun game that was like Battlebots with household items!
In the game you start as a spirit or a colored light and you choose a house of the room to play in. There are several options and each has items specific to that room. Once in the room you have to find an item to be your body (this might be a spool of yarn or a cheese grater) and then find weapons to connect to the body (a kitchen knife for example). You need a weapon to battle other living creations that have come to life in the room.
There are two modes to play. One is online against other players and is basically a last person standing type of game. The other is single player and you just keep battling other utensil monsters until you are defeated.
Gameplay is fun and very easy to learn. You find items and press one icon on the right of the screen to control it or add it to your body. Another icon lets you jump and a third lets you fight. The left side of the screen has a joystick type of controller for moving around. I played on an iPad and iPhone. I found it easier on my iPad, but very playable on the phone. No controller is needed for this game.
That's basically the game in a nutshell. Did I mention how much fun it is? I really enjoyed it. The fun nature of the graphics and the speed of play make it more enjoyable.
My only complaint is that I wish there were more rooms or perhaps more houses to advance to once you beat one house. Maybe that can be considered for a future update. For now, this game is staying on my devices.
Arcade Reviews Rating 4.5 out of 5
For some reason this is not made obvious in the game. What you have to do is start a multiplayer game and keep clicking through. It looks like you need to add friends by giving out the code, but keep clicking through. Eventually, you arrive at a screen where you can choose AI players. Select that and you can now play a one player game.
In my first impressions tweet of ShockRods, by Stainless Games, I said it reminded me of the Playstation game Twisted Metal. I don't have much experience with Twisted Metal, except playing at my friend's place many years ago. However, I remember it being fun and crazy. You drove around in a crazy Hot Wheels type of car and it was basically last car standing. After playing Shock Rods for a little while longer, it still reminds me of Twisted Metal. I wouldn't say it is not a Twisted Metal clone at all, but a new addition to the genre.
In Shock Rods, you are a car, or Shockrod, driving through different environments trying to survive by not be destroyed by the other Shockrods. You do this by not getting hit by their weapons, and destroying the other rods with weapons you collect. That is the basic goal of the game.
When you start a game you choose between online play with other people or offline where you play against bots. While I did seem to have a couple of long waits when connecting to an online game, I aways found a match. This is more than I can say for another online game in Arcade.
There are several different game scenarios that you can get dropped into. These include deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, shock ball, and golden ram. I have randomly played all except for shock ball. The gameplay video below is from the golden ram scenario. (As you can see I'm not the greatest player yet, but I think it will improve over time).
In addition to the various modes, there are various locations. You can play in a lava pit or in the mountains or several other locations. You can also customize your vehicle in various options to make it your own style.
Overall, gameplay is fun. However, I did find controlling my vehicle to be a bit tricky, even with a controller. It was definitely easier with a controller, but still not easy. Gameplay is also fast and furious. You can't blink or you might be destroyed. I would not recommend playing this on an iPhone. The screen is too small and in my opinion the game is too hard to follow on the small screen.
One big complaint is the lack of a map while you are playing. It would be nice to have a map of the playing area that also showed where the enemy and friendly vehicles were. Without the map I was just driving around blindly trying to find my targets. Once I did find a target it was hard to tell if it was friendly or an enemy. I just ended up shooting at whatever crossed my path.
My other complaint is that you get dropped into the areas without any directions on how to play that particular game scenario. The name of the match is displayed, but a summary of the goal would be a little helpful.
With those complaints aside, ShockRods is still a fun game. Fans of Twisted Metal will definitely find it enjoyable and so will other fans of games of this genre. Is it perfect? I would say no, but it is worth downloading and trying out. I feel like it is one of those games that you need to constantly play and get used to thoroughly enjoy.
AArcade Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5
sIf you are a fain of the original Super Mario Bros. series by Nintendo, you will probably enjoy Way of the Turtle by Illusion Labs. In way of the turtle you play a turtle (actually two different turtles at different stages of the game). The turtles are trying to reunite with the each other, and you do this by traveling through various parts of an island in a Mario type style game.
There are coins to collect, little creatures to avoid and jump on, and obstacles to get through. Sound familiar? However, in this game the coins actually help you. You can sell them at a store for objects like a map and other items. There are also gems to collect which you trade in at the store as well. Once you have the map you can jump to various parts of the island you have already been too.
You are also collecting different turtle shells along the way which offer different powers needed at different points of the game. One shell has the turtle stop and go into the shell, another shell gives the turtle the power to dash over gaps and other spaces and the third give a spinning battle action.
My biggest problem with the game is changing the shells. At different parts of the game you have to switch shells and are prompted to do so. However, you can only switch shells at the prompt, not before or after it. When prompted the first time you don't even know what shell you need, or if you already have the right one. I have found myself time and time again going ahead in the game and losing a life because I have the incorrect shell on because I switched to the wrong one or didn't switch at all. It would be great if you can switch anywhere on the fly.
The power to stop the turtle comes in very important since the game is a constant scroller. You can change direction by swiping, but the turtle is constantly on the move unless you stop or hit an obstacle like a wall. The scrolling nature of the game does change from pure side view to more angled and straight away at different parts of the game. It adds an element of variety and makes it more challenging.
Speaking of challenging, the controls do take getting used to and you have to learn how to switch direction on a dime for some of the harder obstacles like floating platforms. The game does work with a controller, and it is much better with a controller. Moving the turtle, activating powers, and even switching shells is a lot easier with a controller.
One nice feature is that saved games sync between phones, iPad, and AppleTV via iCloud. One twitter user told me that there were issues with AppleTV saves, however I have not found this to be the case. Your mileage may vary here. There are also frequent checkpoints throughout the game levels so you can continue from "fair" points in the game instead of having to go back and repeat something over and over again.
Overall, Way of the Turtle is a lot of fun and worth the download. I know I will be keeping it on my iPad and trying the get to the end of the game.
Arcade Reviews Ratin: 4 out of 5
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