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Review: Leo's Fortune

Sep 16 // Darren Nakamura
Leo's Fortune (Android, iOS, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Windows Phone, Xbox One)Developer: 1337 & SenriPublisher: Tilting PointRelease: April 23, 2014 (mobile), September 8, 2015 (Mac, PC, PS4), September 11, 2015 (Xbox One)MSRP: $4.99 (mobile), $6.99 (non-mobile) Originally released on mobile last year, Leo's Fortune is now playable with a controller elsewhere. It's equal parts precision platformer, speed platformer, and puzzle platformer, alternating between the three to keep the experience fresh throughout. Leopold is a slippery guy, which aids in the speed sections. Certain areas have ramps and curves built in, giving Leo a playground to jump, inflate, and dive toward the exit quickly. Of the three styles of platforming present, this is the most exciting. The other two styles slow Leo down considerably. With his inflate ability, he can not only jump and launch off walls, but he can also slow his descent, giving himself greater control in spiky sections. Here, Leopold's slipperiness can get him into trouble; he will sometimes maintain momentum from a speed section straight into a trap. It can be difficult to make the small adjustments necessary for the precision segments, because pressing in one direction for more than a split second will send him careening in that direction. The puzzles are a welcome change of pace, though they never really tax the brain. For the most part, they are the same kinds of physics-based puzzles we've seen elsewhere. They're certainly not bad, but they're never mindblowing either. [embed]310626:60351:0[/embed] All of this is tied together by an after school special-esque story. Though the specifics of the big twist aren't exactly predictable, it's clear throughout that Leopold is barking up the wrong trees and stands to learn a life lesson. It's almost like one of Aesop's fables; it comes with the moral of appreciating people over possessions, which is a great message to teach children, but feels trite to those who have heard it before. In that way, the story mirrors the puzzle sections. It's totally serviceable, but I'm not particularly impressed by it. Where Leo's Fortune excels is in the presentation. Leopold's fuzz and a lot of the environmental effects are fantastically animated. Leo slides as he moves, meaning he doesn't have any walking or rolling animation, but despite that he exudes personality, particularly through facial expressions. I love the look he gives when he inflates. So what we have in all is a beautiful platformer with ups and downs (literally and figuratively), a mundane narrative with a good message, and some real difficulty toward the end. The whole game probably only takes about an hour or two to finish (with full game speedruns clocking in at about 45 minutes. It's not a must-buy, not even for platformer fans, but it's a cute little game that most people can find some fun with. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Leo's Fortune review photo
Favors the bold
Coins. Plenty of games have them scattered around to collect, but few explain why they're there in the first place. If they're so valuable, why did somebody just leave them there? Leo's Fortune gives a reason. The titular mus...

Sonic on Piggy Island photo
Sonic on Piggy Island

Sonic's next adventure takes him to Piggy Island

NOT some messed up erotic fan-fic
Sep 02
// Steven Hansen
Something has happened to Sonic. It's been happening for years. Sonic is a weird porn figure, the subject of countless adolescent Deviantart drawings and erotic fan-fics by kids still figuring themselves out. Also, us, when w...

Review: Lara Croft GO

Aug 27 // Zack Furniss
Lara Croft GO (iOS [reviewed on iPad Air], Android, Windows Phones)Developer: Square Enix MontréalPublisher: Square EnixRelease Date: August 27, 2015MSRP: $4.99 Lara Croft GO immediately establishes itself as a contemplative foray into a forgotten world. Meditative music gently ebbs and flows as Lara slowly walks up to a well-preserved ruin in one of the game's few brief cutscenes. The environments are vibrantly rendered in a simplistic yet gorgeous manner while gentle camerawork plays with the foreground, asserting a sense of depth. Lara's expedition takes you deeper into this ancient land, and before long a gargantuan serpent begins pursuing this new trespasser.  Similar to Hitman GO, you can only move along pre-carved lines on the ground and scalable walls, darting from spot to spot. Here, however, Ms. Croft is fluidly animated, doing somersaults and even her famous hand-stand ledge climb on occasion. It's initially jarring to see her do stilted little jumps between spots (there's no way to hold down a run button, as that would quickly end in death), but I stopped noticing it just a few levels in. Enemies and obstacles can only move whenever you do, so movement needs to be precise and measured. Unlike early Tomb Raider games, you'll never die due to stepping a tad too far or misjudging a jump.  Puzzles start as simplistic fare involving levers and floor panels that can only be safely crossed one time, but add elements every few levels (of which there are 40) to stave off repetition. Snakes, lizards, and giant spiders will do their best to prevent you from reaching your desired MacGuffin and each provide their own set of challenges. You'll eventually find single-use tools to combat them, such as a javelin and a torch. Then there are boulders, sawblades, and other traps that will make you doubt every step you take. Since the checkpoints are very forgiving and most levels will only take you a few minutes to complete, dying isn't discouraging. Death, more than anything, is your most reliable tool when it comes to deciphering the machinations of the deathtraps hindering your progress. You'll step on plenty of floor panels only to launch arrows into your soon-to-be lifeless body, but it's never a frustrating affair. While this is appreciated, the one and only quibble I have with Lara Croft GO is that it never quite feels like it fully ramps up to a satisfying difficulty. Despite a couple of "A-ha!" moments, the slow addition of complications and intensifying music build to a climax that doesn't deliver. It's always appreciated when a mobile game can be played in short sessions, but I wouldn't have balked at being stumped a few times. Perhaps it's my love towards past installments and the enjoyment of being utterly stonewalled by a puzzle, having to think about it even when I'm not playing. On the off-chance that you every get completely stuck, you can use microtransactions for hints (this feature was not online when I was playing for review). If you miss the older games in the series, you'll find cute references that aren't cloyingly nostalgic. The main menu is radial like it was in the olden days of yore, and that satisfyingly reverbed BRRINNGG sound effect denoting the discovery of a hidden treasure has returned. Find enough of those treasures and you'll even find costumes from the old games, like the wetsuit from Tomb Raider II. This affords Lara Croft GO some replayability (since you'll be able to finish it in around three hours depending on your skill level), but they aren't exactly well-hidden until the back half of the adventure. Though other games featuring Lara Croft have elicited a gamut of reactions such as horror and anxiety, I never expected to find spelunking so calming. The dreamlike soundscapes bring to mind a massage parlor and slowly slipping into sleep as someone caresses your tired feet. This is an easy game to fall asleep to, and I'm almost positive you'll have good dreams. I don't think Square Enix is claiming that one solely because of the lawsuits that will occur when players start rolling over and crushing their iPads. Lara Croft GO is clearly the product of a love for what the Tomb Raider series used to mean. Your pistols are more of a tool than a weapon, and you certainly won't be killing an island's worth of men. A lovely visual style and a zen-inspiring score provide backdrops to my favorite Croft adventure in some time. I'm now grateful for the delineation between the action-filled Tomb Raider and puzzle-focused Lara Croft games. Even though I enjoyed 2013's hectic reboot, sometimes you just want to stop and breathe it all in, tomb dust and all.
Lara Croft GO photo
Spa Raider
Last year, Square Enix Montréal surprised us by distilling the Hitman series into a minimalistic mobile game with a tabletop aesthetic. It was a risky move, but Hitman GO ended up a critical success that show...

Disney Magic Kingdoms photo
Disney Magic Kingdoms

Disney Magic Kingdoms lets you build your ideal theme park

Zack-land isn't far away
Aug 16
// Zack Furniss
Have you ever walked around Disneyland and thought, "Nope, this ride is in the wrong place, they should sell churros at every booth, and there are definitely not enough restrooms in TomorrowLand"? If you share my incredibly s...

Snake photo

Does Snake need a modern-day sequel?

I'm gonna go with 'no'
May 06
// Jordan Devore
The guy who brought Snake to Nokia phones in the late '90s, Taneli Armanto, has been working on a free-to-play reboot of the classic game called Snake Rewind. It's releasing next Thursday for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone....
Halo: Spartan Strike photo
Halo: Spartan Strike

That new Halo game is out today on PC and mobile

Top-down shooter Halo: Spartan Strike now available for $6
Apr 16
// Kyle MacGregor
There's a shiny new Halo game out today on Windows 8 devices, iOS, and Steam. Well, sort of. Halo: Spartan Strike is another top-down shooter in the vein of Halo: Spartan Assault, which probably isn't what you think abou...
Lara Croft: Relic Run photo
Lara Croft: Relic Run

Lara Croft's in a new mobile runner »\_(ツ)_/»

The Lara you used to know and love
Apr 13
// Brett Makedonski
Crystal Dynamics has announced a new mobile runner titled Lara Croft: Relic Run. The name's fittingly nebulous. Is Lara running after relics? Or, is the old-school Lara the running relic, a classic character hearkening back t...

Review: Jump'N'Shoot Attack

Mar 26 // Tony Ponce
Jump'N'Shoot Attack (Android, iOS [reviewed], Windows Phone)Developer: FreakZone GamesPublisher: ScrewAttack GamesReleased: March 26, 2015 (Android, iOS) / TBA (Windows Phone)MSRP: $2.59 You are Louise Lightfoot. The President has been captured by mutants. In order to save him, you must follow these specific instructions: Jump. Shoot. Every so often, jump and shoot at the same time. So... Mega Man? Yeah, kinda! Only the commands are more explicit here, since the only two actions at your disposal are jumping and shooting. Jump'N'Shoot Attack is an auto-runner, only less Canabalt and more Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run. There are four worlds split into four stages apiece, and Louise will hoof through each without a care. To jump, tap anywhere on the left half of the screen; to shoot, tap anywhere on the right half. Simple and responsive! [embed]289538:57919:0[/embed] Your gun can be upgraded twice by collecting power-ups -- the first upgrade grants a double shot, while the second bestows the mighty spread shot. Raising the stakes even further is a jetpack item found in certain stages which transforms the action into a deadlier version of Jetpack Joyride. The 16 stages are rather short, so to compensate, they've been packed with enough enemies and obstacles to give your thumbs a proper workout. Between adjusting the height of your jumps to cross narrow platforms and hammering the trigger because your gun is not rapid-fire, you'll be feeling the burn before long! One small mercy is that Louise stops running if she hits a wall, so use the break to regain composure before hopping over and storming onward. For completionists, three gems can be found in each level. As expected, collecting these gems often requires you to skirt closer to death than you'd prefer. Case in point, you may reach a fork in the path, with one branch leading to a gem and the other to a power-up that would make the rest of the level less stressful. As concentrated as the challenge is, however, the overall length is still on the tragically low end -- on my first run, collecting the gems in all but two levels, I finished in just over an hour. There's even an achievement for clearing the game in under 10 minutes! Unless you are a serious achievement or high-score hunter, it's unlikely that you'll return to Jump'N'Shoot Attack once the credits roll. There's a solid foundation that I hope FreakZone will expand upon. Rayman Jungle Run got a free update that added more levels, so perhaps that's a possibility here as well. Could we maybe get some boss battles too? It's a shame to have a game that so clearly draws inspiration from Mega Man and Contra but skimps out on the meaty encounters that highlight those series. So will Jump'N'Shoot Attack spark a mobile renaissance and win over the hardcore masses? Probably not. Is it a solid runner that delivers a tough but responsive platforming experience as promised? Absolutely. Gold star for effort.
Jump'N'Shoot Attack photo
Something, something, Egoraptor reference
Four Christmases ago, I joined the smartphone brigade when I found an iPhone 4S nestled under the tree. Oh boy! I thought. Now I can grab all those iOS games that people can't shut up about! And for a couple of years, I was a...

Project J photo
Project J

Project J looks like a trippy little game I could waste some time with

'Darkness cannot drive out darkness'
Oct 20
// Darren Nakamura
Sometimes I just want to zone out with some synth music, bright colors, and pure gameplay. Super Hexagon works well for that, but it is always nice to try something new. Project J has an interesting hook to it, where the lig...
Halo Spartan Strike photo
Halo Spartan Strike

More top-down Halo coming to Windows Phone, PC

Spartan shooter drops in December
Oct 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Halo: Spartan Strike is a new top-down shooter coming to Windows 8 devices and PC on December 12.  Microsoft says the title features a "compelling" story (seriously?) as well as improved touch controls and updated graphics in contrast with its predecessor, Spartan Assault. The package contains a total of 30 missions in exchange for Microsoft's $5.99 asking price.
Age of Empires photo
Age of Empires

Age of Empires: Castle Siege just sounds like a mobile game

Not like I was expecting any different
Aug 25
// Jordan Devore
The next entry in the long-running Age of Empire series is Castle Siege, a touch-based game built for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 by Smoking Gun Interactive. Players will gather resources and build up civilizations such as...
Try saying "mobile MOBA" five times fast
In a somewhat surprising move, CD Projekt Red announced yesterday that they would be releasing a free-to-play MOBA for mobile devices featuring characters from The Witcher series. This is slated for release sometime this winter and hey, who knows, it might be really awesome.

The Witcher photo
The Witcher

Uh, okay: CD Projekt is doing a free-to-play Witcher MOBA for mobile

Coming Q4 2014
Jul 01
// Jordan Devore
CD Projekt RED has announced The Witcher Battle Arena, a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena based on The Witcher universe for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows tablets. Sounds like a whole lot of things we we...
Xbox Originals photo
Xbox Originals

Xbox Originals will hit Windows 8 products, revenue model still being worked on

Plus a preview of some of the original programming
Apr 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Xbox Originals is going to produce shows based on Microsoft IPs such as State of Decay, Halo, and more, along with producing all sorts of other original content. I have some very early impressions on a lot of the content in d...
Xbox Originals photo
Xbox Originals

Live-action adaptations of State of Decay, Gears of War, more in the works

Plus Fable, Forza, and Age of Empires as well
Apr 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Microsoft showed off its plans for the Xbox Originals programming to Destructoid and one of the major takeaways from the meeting we had was that the company is currently looking at creating live-action content based on Halo, ...
Age of Empires photo
Age of Empires

The next Age of Empires is for mobile

I'll pass
Apr 14
// Jordan Devore
A free-to-play, touch-based Age of Empires is exactly what none of us wanted but Microsoft is the latest in a long line of companies that can't resist chasing after the lucrative mobile market. This KLab-developed strategy title will hit iOS, Android, and Windows Phone in the summer. It's called Age of Empires: World Domination. Commit that name to memory, and stay away.
Dead End photo
Dead End

Crush zombies in endurance racer Dead End

Now released for mobile devices
Apr 02
// Conrad Zimmerman
Released today for iOS, Android and Windows Phones, Dead End is an endurance racing game in which players strike zombies to earn cash while avoiding road hazards. Earned money can then be spent on upgrades to the car, a...
Tentacles photo

There's a game called Tentacles: Enter the Mind

In development at Press Play for Windows 8 and RT devices
Apr 02
// Jordan Devore
"Tentacles: Enter the Mind is a completely new take on the Tentacles universe and mechanic from the award winning Tentacles: Enter the Dolphin." Never before have I felt so utterly out of the loop. Who came up with that nam...
Windows 8.1 Phone  photo
Windows 8.1 Phone

Meet Cortana, Windows 8.1 Phone's personal assistant

She probably won't fall in love with you, so that's a plus
Apr 02
// Brittany Vincent
Today's Build Developer Conference saw Microsoft showing off Windows Phone 8.1, complete with its own personal assistant, the aptly-named Cortana. It's official! Signs of rampancy are likely still dormant, so at least that's...
Angry Birds Epic photo
Angry Birds Epic

See Angry Birds get their Final Fantasy on in this new trailer

Angry Birds Epic
Mar 17
// Chris Carter
Angry Birds Epic is coming, and it's going to be a turn-based RPG. Wait what? It has crafting, turn-based battles, magic, and of course, microtransactions. It also stands to reason that given the mass appeal of Angry Birds, ...
Angry Birds Epic photo
Angry Birds Epic

Angry Bards: The next Angry Birds is a turn-based RPG

Angry Birds Epic
Mar 12
// Steven Hansen
If Angry Birds Stella was Rovio playing it safe (make the same game but the bird is pink, that way girls will know it's for them even though girls and everyone else already play Angry Birds), the newly announced Angry Birds E...
Xbox Live Xpansion photo
Xbox Live Xpansion

Microsoft wants Xbox Live to live on Android/iOS

Do you need achievements in your Android games?
Mar 04
// Steven Hansen
Microsoft is building a platform that would bring Xbox Live to iOS and Android, The Verge reports. This was hinted at with a job posting for engineers to help build it, which read, "We will create a modern framework that is o...
Windows Phone photo
Windows Phone

Cortana is Microsoft's answer to Apple's Siri

I wonder if she's as sassy
Mar 03
// Steven Hansen
Windows phones are getting a personal assistant in the Windows Phone 8.1 update that will replace the built-in Bing search. Cortana is a little blue ring, not a full 3D blue woman, and it is Microsoft's answer to Apple's Siri...

Seadelphica has a dolphin with machine guns, uses Tumblr

Peace to everybody.
Feb 24
// Dale North
A black dolphin lives in every one of us. The dolphin represents our soul as a comic creature, and Seadelphica explores how closely our souls and high technology are connected. It also looks like a mindf*ck. Seriously -- you ...
Halo photo

Halo: Spartan Assault storms to Xbox 360 today

Why not? It's already everywhere else
Jan 31
// Brett Makedonski
One thing that can be said for Halo: Spartan Assault is that it's certainly the most accessible of the Halo games. Hell, it's landed on about every Microsoft platform in recent memory. Today, Xbox 360 gets added to ...
GTA:SA mobile photo
GTA:SA mobile

You can have Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in your pocket

Now on iOS; coming to Windows Phone and Android next week
Dec 13
// Steven Hansen
A gussied up, remastered version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas hit the Apple Store yesterday. It's playable on the following devices: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPod Touch 5th gen, iPad 2, 3rd and 4th gen,...
Microsoft's Threshold photo
Microsoft's Threshold

Rumor: 'Threshold' update will unify Xbox One and Windows

All the worst parts combined
Dec 03
// Joshua Derocher
ZDNet claims that Microsoft is working on an update to unify the Xbox One, Windows 8, and Windows Phone. This update, code-named Threshold, could be coming out in Spring 2015, and it will offer a common app store for all thre...

Xbox One SmartGlass app now out on iOS, Android

Windows phones too
Nov 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Microsoft's SmartGlass companion app for the Xbox One is now out for iOS and Android devices. SmartGlass will let you navigate through your Xbox One, watch clips, interact with friends, and more. Plus, the app will be a second screen device for various games such as Dead Rising 3. You can get SmartGlass for iPhone and iPad, Android, and of course Windows phones as well.
Star Wars photo
Star Wars

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star is out now for mobile

I love how Emperor Palpatine looks like a pufferfish
Nov 07
// Jordan Devore
Seeing familiar Star Wars characters in this cutesy pixelated style from NimbleBit is enough to cut down any cynicism I might've had going into Star Wars: Tiny Death Star. We've enjoyed the studio's sim games for a while now...
Microsoft photo

Microsoft reportedly testing its own cloud streaming

Halo on your PC?
Sep 27
// Jordan Devore
From the sound of it, there will soon be no escape streaming games. Sony will use Gaikai to stream PlayStation 3 games to PS4, there's also the PS Vita TV, and similar functionality is planned for Steam users who purchase or ...

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