EP0CH is a rail shooter released by Uppercut Games. For the uninitiated, rail shooters are where the player's path through a game is strictly defined and players have no control over the forward progression, but instead focus exclusively on shooting and dodging with the progression the level/game occurring once the screen has been cleared of enemies, lasts only until more enemies arrive (at which point it stops to let combat commence), and functions more like a cut scene when it does occur.
I’m a massive classic gaming fan and nerd, and my love of all things video games goes back to the very beginning. My connection to the arcade is so deep I actually worked with my father-in-law for 6 consecutive weekends to construct an arcade cabinet from plans that I then set up with multiple emulators, but the most important of them is absolutely MAME: the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. To give you an idea of the extent of my love, my gaming handle going back almost a decade is MAMEiac. It’s in my blood. I love that classic arcade feel, and I understand the notion of playing a game for its own sake, or getting a high score; I don’t need a compelling story or modern trappings to find joy.
If you ever caught it in the arcades or on the Dreamcast the name Crazy Taxi should hold at least a somewhat special place in your heart. As a game built on adrenaline, a pretty solid and appropriate soundtrack, and an absolutely ridiculous implementation of physics, Crazy Taxi was probably the title I spent the most hours with on my Dreamcast in the day. Its classic arcade sensibilities pitting you against the clock and unpredictable challenges made it easy to get sucked in by, but very difficult to really master in any consistent way.
The Blackwell Legacy is a point and click adventure game that was created by Dave Gilbert who founded Wadget Eye Games, which also created The Shivah. Unsurprisingly, the gameplay is VERY similar between them. So much so, that they are bordering on one almost being a clone of the other. Players assume the role of a young lady named Rosangela Blackwell who writes book reviews for a local paper. With the help of her companion, the story delves into one of the supernatural and mysterious suicides.
I won’t lie, Zombie Driver is a title I’ve had my eye on for quite some time. I’d seen it on Steam when it was released for PC and had always thought it would be great to add to my eventual backlog through a Steam sale or Humble Bundle. I was always a little worried that, as it can be with many games that push ZOMBIES these days, the game just wouldn’t deliver much more than some cheap thrills that would wear out much too quickly. Once I picked up my Shield tablet and saw it dirt cheap on Tegra Zone though, I knew I the time had come and, for the most part, it hasn’t disappointed at all.
Have you ever known someone who loves to have fun and dye their hair, but they lack the commitment or resources to do it well? They may briefly create a façade of being someone else but given a little time it all begins to slowly come apart? That’s probably the most polite thought I have about Table Top Racing Premium Edition, as you’ll find it in the Tegra Zone. While they may claim your investment has bought you an enhanced 1080p experience you can play on your TV plus awesome analog control with your Shield Controller I’m here to tell you that resolution and analog control aren’t going to make a barely gussied up cel phone game look or play any better.
Mines of Mars is a side-scrolling RPG from Crescent Moon games. For those that aren't familiar with them, they also created the FPS called Neon Shadow, RPG RavenSword, and a slew of other games covering all sorts of genres. In my experience with their games, they don't slouch. So to little surprise, this pattern holds with Mines of Mars.
Some background: As a life-long fan of video arcades since their beginnings I’m also a tremendous fan of pinball machines. It has only been in the last few years that video emulation of pinball has gotten close to matching the experience. In terms of commercial pinball video games there are two very different camps: On the one hand you have Pinball Arcade that places an emphasis on making reproductions of actual physical machines, on the other you have Zen Pinball that keeps the broad strokes of physical machines in mind but abuses the fact that there are no limitations to what they can do, making only original tables. While, on the whole, I will admit I’m more inclined to enjoy the best converted Pinball Arcade machines there are several Zen Pinball machines I’ve gotten some quality hours with. Rather than have my reviews for these tables go over the merits of the game engines themselves, we’ll assume that the people reading the reviews are familiar with the base games already and are only really interested in a review of just the table itself.
Though my focus here will be generally pointed at games that fully leverage the stand-out features of the Shield tablet, for now I'm controller-less so I decided to poke around the Tegra Zone in search of a more simply controlled game. Since Badland was the first one I ran into and, hey, it was free, I gave it a quick download and started out knowing absolutely nothing about what I was in for.
Back before it was trendy, bordering on trite, for games to feature a silhouetted foreground with a colorful background, Oscura was a side-scrolling game that featured that design. While the original didn't garner much attention (it's sitting at 50,000+ downloads despite being a worthwhile play that's been around for ~3 years), a sequel has been released called Oscura 2: Second Shadow
Aquaria is a side scrolling whether game by indie developer Bit Blot, that was developed for desktops and later ported over to Android. While this game is no longer available at all that i can find, I played a previously purchased version for Android and thoroughly enjoyed this game. Aquaria's Android version was previously available on Humble Bundle's website. I have reached out to the developer to see if there's an intention to reinstate to Android at some point in the future, but I have yet to hear back. Oddly enough, it's still available for iOS for $4.99, as well as on the developer's website for desktop machine's for $9.99. So whether you have been sitting around on an Android copy (or elect to hold out hope for a possible re-release), or choose to go another route with it, it's a great game no matter what platform you choose to play it on.