Friday, December 16, 2011

The Friday Review – Muffin Knight (iPhone, Android)

Do you know the Muffin Knight?
 -review by Mike

When I first saw a brief plug for Muffin Knight (Android game) I thought, “That looks like some light-hearted arcade fun with my kinda humor.” And I was delighted to find that I was absolutely right. Bright color pallet, comedic fantasy characters, platformer game mechanics, and lots of unlockables; mix them all together and you get a killer recipe for awesomeness... mostly.
Here's the breakdown:

The Goods:
  • +5 Visuals of Stunningness - the game has really fun graphics; a color pallet that sings; and a good amount of visual polish; all beautifully executed without totally bogging down my phone's hardware (Galaxy S).
  • +4 Game Mechanics of Cleverness - at its core Muffin Knight is a platformer and, as such, automatically gets a +1 right off the bat in my book. It also happens to be a GOOD platformer with tight controls. The best part was the various character abilities. Every time you gather a prized muffin you randomly switch characters. Each character has a unique attack style, so you have to constantly change your strategy based on what character you happen to be playing.
  • +2 Strategies of Power - the game does a great job of using the interplay of level design and character abilities to create interesting strategies. Each character has a strength - kill lots of guys with the archer; utilize long platforms with the pumkin king; lay a crap load (literally) of traps all over as a safety net with the unicorn, etc. Good stuff.
  • Unlockables of Ultimate Collectability - I love games with unlockables/collectibles. I think it's almost always a good idea to work this mechanic into games when possible. In Muffin Knight, the more you play the more characters you unlock. You also unlock more levels for scoring highly. On top of all of that you can also level up each character multiple times with XP that you earn by playing. The game really maximized the replayability, and it worked.

The Lames:
  • When I downloaded the full version of the game, for some reason it wiped out all the progress I had made in the trial. LAME. I had achieved some serious progress in the trial and it all went down the crapper when I downloaded the full version.
  • On-screen-controllers are never my favorite thing, and in this game, as in many others, it was easy to botch them. Overall it’s not horrible, but there were many times that I missed the button I was going for, or accidentally pushed the wrong one, simply because a screen doesn't work very well as a controller. The player needs tactile feedback to be completely successful with a controller - something that phones just don't provide. That said this game was a lot better than some.
  • The game provided a lot of really good content in the trial version. Too much in my opinion. After I spent the 3 bucks and bought the full version I found myself wondering why. It's true that you can only play on the first 3 levels in the trial mode, but those are my favorite levels anyway. I don't know if there's a cap on the number of characters you can unlock in the trial, but I never ran into it - you can unlock a ton! And the full version advertised "boss battles", which ended up very disappointing. The "boss" in the lava level just hangs out in the background. You never fight him directly! Boo.

I really love this game. Super fun mechanics, good level design, and tons of unlockables that are as tasty as the muffins you collect. I might recommend that people stick with the trial though. Most of what I love about the game can be found there without spending the 3 bucks. Though if you want multiplayer the full version would probably be worth it. I never tried multiplayer though, so I'm not sure if it works well. Peace out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Keflings comes to Android and iOS with OnLive Release!

It's finally happened - you can now play A Kingdom for Keflings on your iPad2, Android tablet or smart phone! The game released on OnLive last Thursday, adding in new, native touch controls. The mobile version was released simultaneously with the new, free OnLive app that will allow you to play OnLive games on Android and iOS devices.

The game is available on OnLive, which means that with one purchase ($9.99 USD) you can now play Keflings on demand, anywhere, on PC, Mac, the OnLive Game System or on your mobile device.

Plus, if you've previously purchased the PC version of A Kingdom for Keflings from we'll give you a free copy of the OnLive version of the game, just for being awesome. All you need to do is send an email to with the subject line "Keflings OnLive" and make sure you include your name and email address you used when purchasing the game. Once we get your email we'll send you a code to unlock the game!

To get the OnLive app on Android, click here:

PS- OnLive is giving away free copies of Lego Batman to anyone who downloads their mobile app!

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Friday Review: Age of Booty (XBLA, PSN, PC)

Age of Booty
review by CJ

Yarrr mateys! If you’re looking for some fun pirate action, or just a good multiplayer game to enjoy with friends, Age of Booty is worthy target. In this real time strategy game you take control of a pirate ship, with the goal of sacking and capturing as many towns as possible to take control of a map. Resource collecting is an important aspect, needed for upgrading your ship and towns defenses and offenses, but such resources are won by sacking villages, sinking merchants and other pirates, or capturing towns. Sinking merchants can also win you fun bonuses such as bombs and whirlpools, which can be used to surprise your enemies in an otherwise losing battle. Play through the entertaining campaign solo, or play with friends online or local. I was excited to find that the game also came with a map editor, a veritable “cherry on top” in my book.


- Great cooperative play. Not enough games allow local play anymore, let alone local with up to 4 players, co-op or versus. This is a great party game, with quick levels and at times hilarious and tense battles.

- Worthy challenge. The single player campaign starts off easy, and increases in difficulty at a great pace. It ends with a bang, as well, the final map being nearly impossible, giving the player a great sense of accomplishment once won.

- Pure entertainment. This is a fun game that doesn’t take itself seriously. Easy to play for just a few minutes or hours.


- Poor story. This isn’t necessarily a con, per se, but if you’re looking for an inspiring story look elsewhere. This game is all about the fun.

- Odd controls. The point and click controls work great for PC, but feel a little awkward on a console.

- Predictable AI. There are a few tactics you can use that will almost always guarantee victory over the AI. This can take away from the difficulty and fun.

SUMMARY: This game is only $5, and easily worth more. If you’re looking for a great game to play with friends and just have fun, check this one out.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Friday Review: Outland (XBLA, PSN)

review by CJ

So I know that last week's game featured the excessive use of the color black, and I realize that this week’s game does as well. But this one also features red and blue. Actually many of Outland's environment backdrops are very colorful, and all of them gorgeous. This game is mainly a puzzle platformer, with some great combat, varied enemies and seriously epic boss battles. The side scrolling maps are set up similar to games like Castlevania and Metroid. There are co-op aspects to the game, which I was unfortunately unable to try, but the game stands up well enough on its single player, which features a captivating story. The games main mechanic revolves around switching between 2 aspects, Light and Dark, allowing you to pass through dangerous puzzles and fight enemies. Outland also gifts players with useful and fun powers as the game progresses, which increases the intensity of both the puzzle solving and the combat. Throw in some hidden treasures and purchasable upgrades, and you have a fantastic title worth a look from anyone.


- Polished. It's rare to find a game so completely finished. The controls work flawlessly, the difficulty curve is just right, and the game works the way you expect it to. I never encountered a single glitch.

- The little things. Background music, interactive environment, sound effects, the lighting; each of these things add up to make a rich experience, pulling you into the world and making you feel a part of it.

- Epic! From a story that puts the fate of the world in your hands, to intense boss battles, Outland makes you feel like each moment is an important step forward on an epic adventure.


- Backtracking. Returning to previous maps to access areas that were previously unreachable without new powers is acceptable if it is for progression in the game, but I am easily annoyed by using such tactics for grabbing collectables. Finding the hidden items in the game is a part I enjoy, but I get upset when finally find one just to discover that I am unable to collect it because I lack the ability necessary to do so.

SUMMARY: I have had a great time with Outland. At times the combat and platforming is so intense and fast paced that you feel a sense of awe at your ability to flow through it so well. Few games have given me such a sense of connection, as if you, the controller, and character onscreen are one. I’d happily suggest anyone give it a try. Download the trial and see if you can resist paying for the full game.