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Downwell tips and tricks to get down the well well

Oct 20 // Steven Hansen
Advanced - Killing enemies without touching the ground builds combo. Use your Gunboots to control your descent and stomp on enemies (except bright red ones) whenever possible to refill ammunition. - Time voids. There are magic bubbles built into the walls of the well. Stop in them to grab chunks of 100 gems, hearts, and battery for your Gunboots (more ammo). As long as you crash land in the bubble, and not outside of it, it doesn't end your combo. - Stop & shop. The merchant's shop also has a time void. Buy batteries, health, and expand your health. Any heart you get when maxed out fills a little four-block white bar below your HP meter and filling that will also expand your max health. - Junk that isn't blocks or platforms can be stomped on for a brief pause in downward momentum, ammo refill, and a couple gems. All the detritus in the first area, the candles in the second area, and so on. - Turtles won't die to bullets, so you can empty your clip into them to really slow things down, then bop them for a refill if you need a reprieve or to take stock of what's below you. - End your combo at 25. All this talk of maintaining combos. This is because at 8 you get a 100 gem bonus, then a battery bonus, and finally, at 25, a heart bonus. Hearts are the most precious commodity, so forget the style points, just keep killing your combos at 25 and stock up on hearts. - The Knife and Fork upgrade (eat dead bodies for health sometimes) is great and so is the one that creates a blast whenever you stomp on enemies. Anything that shoots bullets upwards can be extra helpful starting in world 3 or so. - The Laser and Shotgun kind of suck at first with limited ammo, but they are powerful and, thus, probably the best late-game for controlling your fall. - Levitate Style for life. Playing the game unlocks new styles, like the 6HP, tubby Boulder style, but Levitate offers the easiest body control (comboooos), though you might reach a point where the fast-falling boulder helps shave seconds off your best time -- worry about getting to the end once, first. - There's a wall jump! It requires pretty perfect timing and can help in a pinch. Or at least for snuffing out candles in wall well rooms, picking up a couple gems like searching the couch for pennies.
Downwell guide photo
Tips, tricks, highlights, scores & stats
Downwell is one of the best games of the year and it's only $3. If the stellar reviews and word of mouth are enough to convince you that this game is excellent, you're in luck. And while it's pretty great to just learn how the game works through repeated, vicious deaths, here are some tips to get good quick. The Basics - Go down the well

Review: Downwell

Oct 20 // Steven Hansen
Downwell (PC [reviewed], Android, iOS)Developer: MoppinPublisher: Devolver DigitalReleased: October 15, 2015MSRP: $2.99 Downwell asks you to learn with it, explaining nothing outside of the control scheme (move with directional pad or analog, jump and shoot with one button) and the upgrades between levels. Initial expeditions down the well are clumsy. Your Gunboots start with limited charge (think: ammo) and you have to refill them by touching solid ground. Or -- wait, they refill when you stomp on an enemies' head, too? -- and, oh no, don't try and stomp on an enemy that is an angry bright red. These are the kind of things you learn as you delve deeper and deeper into Downwell's four worlds (three levels each) and they are presented intelligently. For example, the first spat of blood red enemies that you shouldn't be jumping on all have spikes, video game shorthand for danger. Later ones won't warn you so nicely. And of course there's trial and error, too, like touching a hot stove, for those who don't get it. Level randomization requires you stay engaged. Different power up offerings between levels will change how you play. Dimension-shattering time voids are occasionally cut into the well walls and host a treasure trove of gems or different ammunition. The latter is where the Super Crate Box comparison is obvious. [embed]316411:60790:0[/embed] Changing ammo isn't a strict necessity, but it practically is, given that picking up a new ammo types will often come with a heart or some battery charge for the Gunboots (more ammunition between reloads), but different ammo types function in drastically different ways. Shooting is actually more useful in fighting gravity and keeping yourself from falling too quickly into unseen trouble than it is for killing enemies; they should typically be bopped. Especially since bopping enemies fills your Gunboots and stringing together kills without touching down gives you rewards. It's best to stomp out enemies, using your ammo stores to occasionally slow your descent or send you across the screen to stomp something else. Aside from the constantly changing levels, ammo types, and upgrades, new "styles" are unlocked over time, like the "Boulder style," which features a much fatter boy who starts with six HP instead of four, but only gets to choose from two between-level upgrades instead of three. Then of course there are dozens of Palette options that change the colors of the game, though I have only found a handful I like as much as the default black, white and red. The variety makes the frequent deaths more palatable and I would probably buy a custom dedicated handheld that just played this game. Because death comes so quickly, health is at a premium. If you slowly inch your way down the well, stopping at every platform and dutifully eliminating enemies, you'll take forever and likely not rack up enough gems to clear out shops, which are operated by the the most adorable timeline version of a snowman (who gives a good disapproving face when you jump behind the counter). But as you get better and can chain combos, netting gem, battery (ammo) and health bonuses, you can stay in the black, even increase your max HP. It's all about building a better, more equipped you while you play. It's always fraught, mind. You are working against gravity and your stabilizing shots will sometimes rip the ground from under you as you destroy blocks on the way down that might have offered reprieve. Or you accidentally shoot an enemy you're coming up on, losing a chance to replenish your ammo, and end up in a dangerous free fall. My 15-hour transition from inelegant tank (Boulder style) laboring down the well to eyes-closed, 25-kill-combo (Levitate) falling with style has been a flurry of close calls, of "one more run," of consistently dying to the boss despite doubling my starting health. The knees-braced bullet pounding side winding across the screen to slow my descent, the meaty pop of brain stomping and the brief upward moment it grants before gravity yanks me down again. And for such a noble reason. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Downwell review photo
Falling with style
Once upon a time I was falling in love, now I'm only falling down wells. Downwell is a game about getting down a well, but the only way to get down the well is to learn how to get down the well well. Because this Game Boy thr...

Fallout Shelter update photo
Fallout Shelter update

Meet one of Fallout 4's characters early in Fallout Shelter

Plus new hard mode, cloud saves
Oct 16
// Steven Hansen
The many-millions-maker Vault dwelling mobile game from Bethesda, Fallout Shelter, got its 1.2 update, which includes a new survival mode and, for some, one of Fallout 4's characters. Piper, who runs a newspaper in Fallout 4...
Metal Slug x Battle Cats photo
Metal Slug x Battle Cats

Metal Slug teams up with The Battle Cats

Remember Metal Slug?
Oct 12
// Jordan Devore
My experience with Metal Slug Defense is watching former Destructoid writer Jim Sterling suffer through its free-to-play trappings for a video. My experience with The Battle Cats, a similar strategy game about overwhelming yo...
Shakira photo

Shakira and Angry Birds developer teaming up for 'Love Rocks'

Oct 12
// Chris Carter
Do you love Shakira? How about Rovio, the developer of Angry Birds? Well I have a pitch for you -- it's a game featuring Shakira, created by Rovio. Whoa! Yes, this is not a joke or drill, Love Rocks is a real thing. You ...
Devolver Digital photo
Devolver Digital

Downwell is going to take over my life

One run at a time
Oct 07
// Jordan Devore
I was on board with Downwell (PC, iOS, Android) as soon as I saw this gif. It's a game about descending a narrow well as a little guy with guns on his boots. Gun boots! Shooting slows your descent and, crucially, destroys ene...
One Piece mobile photo
One Piece mobile

One Piece: Thousand Storm is a new free-to-play mobile game

Coming to Japan next year
Sep 28
// Chris Carter
When I was in Japan, One Piece was absolutely everywhere. From ads on trains, to stores full of Tony Tony Chopper figurines, to a host of Pachinko machines, you couldn't avoid the Straw Hat Pirates. Now they're about to ...
BiOShock photo

BioShock mysteriously zapped from Apple's App Store

Full refunds are available
Sep 24
// Brett Makedonski
It's said that during the rapture, all who are good simply vanish from earth to continue their existence in the afterlife. Fitting given its eponymous setting that BioShock for iOS devices just kind of disappeared recent...
Five Nights World photo
Five Nights World

The next Five Nights at Freddy's is an RPG

Recruit the nightmarish machines
Sep 15
// Jordan Devore
Five Nights creator Scott Cawthon claims there "will NOT be a Five Nights at Freddy's 5." That's hard to believe, but one thing is for certain: those horrific animatronics aren't going away. In a post today, Cawthon announced...

Review: Dropsy

Sep 15 // Zack Furniss
Dropsy (Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows [reviewed])Developer: Tendershoot, A Jolly CorpsePublisher: Devolver DigitalReleased: September 10, 2015 (Windows, Mac, Linux) / TBA (Android, iOS)MSRP: $9.99 Last week I said that Dropsy's music was "brimming with the earnestness you feel when you're about to tell someone you love them for the first time." I'd like to extend that statement to include the entirety of the game. While it's hard to swallow that idea when it is juxtaposed against the titular clown's disquieting countenance, I assure you that his adventure is more uplifting than it is horrifying. Some background: Dropsy had always looked different, and had a hard time communicating with his fellow humans. Animals, however, always found a fast friend in him. This ability to talk to creatures furred or feathered gave him a skill to perform and please people with. Through use of this talent, Dropsy convinced the crowds to love him. He and his parents were Big Top circus performers until a mysterious accident set the tent and their reputations ablaze. Daddy Dropsy survived, but Mommy Dropsy didn't. A short cinematic conveys all of this to you, and your first "quest" is to leave a memento on your mother's grave in the cemetery on the other side of town. Though it starts off on a somber note, Dropsy quickly becomes an exploration of what it means to bring happiness to a stranger. Dropsy wants to hug everyone to show him that he loves them the way he hopes that they can love him, but most people aren't keen on the idea. By helping each NPC in the game by way of light puzzles, you can eventually earn that sweet, short embrace. Whenever Dropsy meets someone in need, thought bubbles appear over their heads to convey what it is they want or need. The difficulty lays in trying to parse what exactly these small pictures mean, and it can be frustrating at times. But the beauty of this is that it places the player right in Dropsy's clown shoes, effectively showing you how hard it is for the poor guy to communicate. If each character could just verbally tell you what they required, this would be a short game. But that isn't the world Dropsy lives in. Though there is the aforementioned main quest, Dropsy is non-linear in such a way that you can wander the entire city (a beautifully pixelcrunchy mish-mash of city, desert, bayou, and forest) within the first few minutes. People that you meet early on might have secrets that you won't unravel until the back half of the game, which I completed in about five hours. You'll gently float through town with your queue of animal buddies, spreading love to all who will receive the message. Most puzzles are solved by having the right item stored in Dropsy's overalls. These often won't require too much of you, though there are a couple of tricky scenarios in the latter half of the game. There are a couple of pixel hunts and logic leaps that aren't immediately apparent, but that is mostly in regard to side quests. You don't have to make everyone happy in order to complete Dropsy, but I recommend having multiple saves so that you can go back and earn all of those sweet hugs before the ending sequence locks you out. While many suspected that this would be a horror game before it came out or that there would be some disturbing twist halfway through, that never ends up being the case. Instead, this is a celebration of the small victories we achieve when we become even the slightest bit closer to someone. Dropsy's appearance lends itself to terror and has lead to his alienation, but his presence brings an indomitable cheer to anyone who gives him a chance. Every so often, Dropsy subverts this tone with an emotional kick right in your heart's crotch, and it hurts in the best way. In the interest of being as earnest as this game, I felt a hope while playing Dropsy that I don't usually associate with gaming. This a point-and-click where your main interaction with the world is a hug button. You can play as a dog who has a map with all of his favorite places to pee, who wiggles his eyebrows when he finds a new place to mark. You can re-unite families or learn more about your own. There's an optional button in the menu to turn on the sound effects for your clown shoes.  This levity, this world, and these people are going to be with me forever. If you've ever complained about there being too much violence in gaming, or that games are all the same, and you don't play this... I hope somebody hugs you.
Dropsy photo
The best hugventure you can embark upon
I finished Dropsy about a week ago. Though an increased workload at the ol' day job slowed down this review, I'm grateful that I had extra time to put together these thoughts. Most would take that to mean that Dropsy&nbs...

Pokemon Shuffle photo
Pokemon Shuffle

Pokemon Shuffle is hitting iOS today in the west (Update: Android too now)

Much better suited for mobile
Sep 01
// Chris Carter
[Update: it's also available on Android too.] If you haven't tried Pokemon Shuffle yet, now's your chance -- it's hitting iOS today in North America and Europe. It was always better suited as a mobile game anyway, one th...
Final Fantasy VII photo
Bring a controller
Final Fantasy VII hit iOS last week with a $15.99 price tag, which left a number of people skeptical as to how much work was put into it. After playing it however, I have to say that most of my fears were put to rest. By...

Clicker Heroes photo
Clicker Heroes

We're doomed: Clicker Heroes hits iOS, Android

Be strong
Aug 25
// Jordan Devore
It's a good thing I swore off Clicker Heroes. It was bad enough playing the game on a desktop computer. Now, the perpetual time-waster is available for iOS and Android. There's no escape. For the uninitiated, this is an idle ...
Triple Triad iOS photo
Triple Triad iOS

Square Enix's Triple Triad iOS app is an embarassment

How is it possible to ruin Triple Triad
Aug 21
// Chris Carter
For those of you who aren't aware, Triple Triad is an iconic card game that originally debuted in Final Fantasy VIII. It was so iconic that Square decided to use it in multiple series entries over the years, most recentl...
Spider cheats photo
Spider cheats

Hate spiders but want to play Spider? Use this cheat code to play as a walrus

Goo goo g'joob
Aug 20
// Ben Davis
I reviewed Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it, but some readers were concerned about the fact that they would have to play as a spider, because, well... spiders are pretty creepy. If yo...
Final Fantasy VII photo
Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII hits iOS tonight

At midnight
Aug 19
// Chris Carter
When the clock strikes midnight in your country, Final Fantasy VII will be available on iOS. This version evidently offers up multiple controller options, including analog or digital movement. It also comes with some of...
Pac-Man 256 photo
Pac-Man 256

Pac-Man 256, from the developers of Crossy Road, is out now

On Android and iOS
Aug 19
// Chris Carter
Developer Hipster Whale hit it big with Crossy Road, and for good reason -- it's a fantastic little mobile game. Now they're back with Pac-Man 256, which sees the iconic character in an endless runner format, wacka-ing his wa...
Fallout on Tinder photo
Fallout on Tinder

Bethesda wants you to swipe right on Vault Boy on Tinder

And then play Fallout Shelter
Aug 18
// Brett Makedonski
After all this time stuck in adverts for Vault-Tec, Vault Boy needs a little love too. The Fallout mascot has turned to matchmaking app Tinder to look for companionship. It's so awkward when you come across the profile o...
iOS controllers photo
iOS controllers

The Gamevice is the best controller I've used for iOS devices to date

Only for iPad mini though
Aug 18
// Chris Carter
MFi (made-for-iOS) controllers have been around for almost two years now, and slowly but surely, they've risen above their once niche appeal. Previously they were only available for a few devices, and could run upwards of $10...
Gathering Sky impressions photo
Gathering Sky impressions

Gathering Sky is out today on Steam and mobile, and it's quite relaxing

I want to fly like an eagle
Aug 13
// Ben Davis
Gathering Sky, a game from indie studio A Stranger Gravity about controlling a flock of birds, released on Steam, iOS, and Android today. I got a chance to play around with the Steam version this week, and it's a pretty neat ...
Woah Dave! Cross-Buy photo
Woah Dave! Cross-Buy

Woah Dave! is out next week on Wii U, Cross-Buy with 3DS

Out on August 20
Aug 13
// Chris Carter
I didn't really dig Woah Dave!, but a lot of people did, and those folks will be able to enjoy it on Wii U next week. As announced by developer Choice Provisions, it will be Cross-Buy with the 3DS, and if you already own...
Fallout Shelter photo
Fallout Shelter

Fallout Shelter is now available on Android

For free, still
Aug 13
// Chris Carter
Fallout Shelter isn't as completely devoid of free-to-play tactics as Bethesda would have you believe, but even for a AAA mobile game, it's pretty good. While fans were pissed that it was only announced for iOS following thei...
Funcom photo

Funcom's in a bad way after poor Lego MMO performance

Seeking merger, acquisition, or anything
Aug 12
// Brett Makedonski
Norwegian developer Funcom is seemingly in financial peril after its free-to-play turned pay-to-play game Lego Minifigures Online performed worse than expected. The company doesn't expect revenues from the Lego ...
 Evangelion photo

Neon Genesis Evangelion invades Super Robot Wars X-Ω

Shinji Ikari returns
Aug 12
// Chris Carter
Before you get too excited, note that Super Robot Wars X-Ω is a mobile game. Ok with that out of the way, Bandai Namco has announced that Eva Unit 01 will be joining the cast of the game, complete with pilot Shinji Ikari. He joins guests from 28 properties, including Code Geass, Star Driver, Zegapain, and Full Metal Panic. Uh, this is enough for me to check it out at some point!
Vinyl photo

Get a load of these hexagonal vinyls for Super Hexagon

Aug 11
// Jordan Devore
At first glance, I just liked the colors of these limited-edition Super Hexagon vinyl records. Then I realized the sleeves are partially clear and, holy crap, the records are hexagonal! The EP features "Courtesy," "Otis," "Fo...
Sons of Anarchy photo
Sons of Anarchy

What the hell happened to the episodic Sons of Anarchy game released back in January?

I did some digging
Aug 10
// Chris Carter
[Update: a representative from Silverback (who presumably saw this article) has responded. They note that "Silverback Games was hired as a consultant to assist with the creative and some of the technical foundation for t...

Review: Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon

Aug 08 // Ben Davis
Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon (PC [reviewed], PS4, Vita, iOS, Android)Developer: Tiger StylePublisher: Tiger StyleRelease Date: August 6, 2015 (PC, iOS) / TBA (PS4, Vita, Android)MSRP: $12.99 Spider is primarily about eating insects and getting high scores. You play as the titular character in a large, seemingly abandoned estate, and come equipped with all of the skills a real spider would have. It can cling to almost any surface, move around very quickly, jump incredible distances, and spin webs to trap prey. Playing as a speedy, acrobatic hunter feels really great, and the controls are very responsive and precise. But on top of the slick web-slinging gameplay, there's also an underlying puzzle game hidden in the recesses of the estate for players who want to delve a bit deeper. The core gameplay is simple enough to learn the basics very quickly. Basically, jump from one surface to another while spinning a web to start building, and try to create geometric shapes which will be filled in automatically once completed. These webs will trap passing insects, which can then be eaten for points and more silk to spin more webs. Eating multiple insects without leaving the web will increase a combo meter, but the combo will reset to zero once the spider touches any other surface. [embed]297461:59879:0[/embed] Gameplay leaves plenty of room to develop new skills and strategies to maximize your score. Combos remain as long as the spider is touching a web, so you can try building multiple webs to jump between to keep the combo going. More points are earned by eating smaller insects first and saving the larger and rarer ones until the combo meter has built up a bit, so figuring out which insects to catch and eat in which order can drastically alter your score. Different insects require different strategies to eat them. Most have to be caught in a web, but some will need to be led into the web somehow and some can only be caught in strong webs. These strong insects might destroy webs that are too weak, releasing any other captured insects in the process. Other insects can only be killed by being tackled, such as hornets and ants. These have a separate combo meter which runs out in ten seconds unless the spider tackles another insect to keep it going. Just jump into them to eat them. No webs necessary! But be careful, because some of them can fight back. Spider also has an interesting time and weather mechanic. The game detects your location and mimics the current time and weather in-game, between four different scenarios (clear day, rainy day, clear night, and rainy night). You can choose to opt out of the location services as well, in which case it just uses the developer's location. It also tracks the current phase of the moon if it's a clear night. The time, weather, and moon phases all affect gameplay in different ways. Certain insects only come out when it's daytime or while it's raining, and some areas can only be accessed during certain weather conditions. Sometimes, the level will feel completely different between night and day. For example, one level in the barn is filled with a normal variety of flying insects during the day, but at night it becomes infested with hornet nests, totally changing the way you play it. My only complaint is that I felt some of the levels could have used more obvious differences between the various time and weather scenarios, but for the most part there was a good variety. Then there are the moon phases, and this is where the underlying puzzle game comes in. While roaming the estate as a spider, you'll come across secret areas and clues pertaining to certain mysteries. Many of these clues can only be found and solved if special requirements are met, such as playing during a new moon or at night while it's raining, although some of them can also be completed whenever. Solving mysteries will unlock more areas to play, and the game cannot be truly beaten until all clues are found and the final mystery is solved. While time traveling and altering weather mechanics is an option for those less patient players, Spider is really meant to be played slowly over a period of time. Try playing at different times of the day to find new stuff. Or if it starts to rain one day, then try to find some time to jump into the game and see what all has changed with the gloomy weather. Once you start finding clues, you can begin to synchronize your gaming schedule with the phases of the moon and plan out certain nights to return to the game to check on something. Eventually, as the month goes on, you'll start to unravel the mysteries of the estate. Or, if you don't care about all that, there's still the incredibly fun web-slinging, insect-catching action to focus on, which should be more than enough to keep you engaged. I'm sure some players will be more involved with achieving high scores and climbing up the leaderboards than trying to solve riddles and look for clues. Either way you choose to play, it's still a great game. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the developer.]
Spider review photo
Strong web
I will take any opportunity to play as an animal in a video game. Let me control a dolphin, a wolf, a shark, or even a tiny little mosquito and I'm happy. As you surely already guessed, Rite of the Shrouded Moon puts the...

Lara Croft GO captures the essence of pure Tomb Raider

Aug 08 // Brett Makedonski
Lara Croft GO fits soundly into that latter category by more than just name alone. Despite being a mobile title, it nicely captures the spirit of the very first Tomb Raider games. Donning her classic outfit, Lara works through level after level in search of an artifact. Puzzle-solving and exploration are earmarks, just as they had been all those years ago. However, the mobile format is what makes GO distinct. Rather than continuous action, this game is turn-based which places a greater emphasis on thinking before moving. A rudimentary example might be a pair of snakes that are facing opposite directions. You always have to attack from the side or back, lest they strike and kill you first. There's only one path that allows for the correct order of operations; the others just leave you dead. But, even when Lara Croft GO deals out frustration, it doesn't negate progress. This is the mobile crowd, after all -- a group that might not have the patience to have its time wasted. Checkpoints come frequently and everything is ever-so bite-sized. On a micro-level, the scale of each section is obviously intentional. Routon says that the studio knows who it's developing for. Despite Lara Croft GO allowing for minimal time investments, Square Enix Montreal is seeing a more encouraging trend. "People intend to play for five minutes, and they end up playing for an hour or more," Routon comments. "We tell playtesters they can leave, but they say they want to finish this puzzle first. I guess that's not a bad thing." [embed]297421:59880:0[/embed] It really doesn't come as a surprise that people don't want to put Lara Croft GO down. It elegantly encapsulates what makes Tomb Raider work, and boils it down to its purest form. Swipe, swipe, swiping on the screen is so simple, yet it doesn't feel cheap to lead Lara on an adventure in this fashion. Helping production values are the strong aesthetic and the narrative told only through gameplay details. Although it's in the mobile market, Square Enix Montreal prices its titles more traditionally. GO will be available on August 27, but the cost is unknown right now (Hitman Go released at $4.99). Once invested, this game is fully playable at any speed; there are no energy meters to temper progress. Routon confirmed that there will be microtransactions of some sort, but their nature will be puzzle solutions for those who are struggling. In a wasteland of freemium games, this price model is commendable. More commendable, however, is the way that Square Enix Montreal boldly gets back to the roots of Tomb Raider. Series veterans will rediscover a Lara Croft that they know and love in a format that's undiscovered to them. Fitting, seeing as Tomb Raider should be all about discovery.
Lara Croft GO preview photo
Swipe right
Antoine Routon grinned. "We have people knocking down our door saying 'Can you do our game too?'" Routon's the lead programmer at Square Enix Montreal -- the publisher's studio that's dedicated to mobile titles. Square Enix h...

Camp Pokemon photo
Camp Pokemon

Camp Pokemon, that kid-friendly iOS app, gets an update

For kids...right ::shifty eyes::
Aug 07
// Chris Carter
If you have kids and you want them to chill out for a while, you can try handing them a tablet with Camp Pokemon on it. It's basically an iOS app with various Pokemon-related activities on it, and as of yesterday, it jus...

Review: Angry Birds 2

Jul 31 // Chris Carter
Angry Birds 2 (Android, iOS [reviewed on an iPhone 6])Developer: Rovio EntertainmentPublisher: Rovio EntertainmentRelease Date: July 30, 2015MSRP: Free-to-play Yes, it's still the same concept as before -- you'll take a handful of birds, and with the help of a slingshot, fire them into the path of evil pigs. Just like before, it's still really fun to unwind and fling things around, and actual designs of some of these forts and contraptions hasn't gotten stale. Sure it's mostly mindless, but there's a great degree of skill involved with Angry Birds as well, like identifying specific objects like TNT, and certain degrees of structural integrity to do the most damage. This depth is aided by the fact that like in Angry Birds Star Wars II, you can choose individual birds to use in each level. Levels are much more interesting as you can now approach them multiple ways, not only in terms of figuring out solutions, but different methodologies in which to reach your end goal. It's also a beautiful game, and Rovio has mastered their craft to the point where it has production values much like a fully-fledged Disney experience. I love how bright everything is, and how charming the character designs are even to this day. Now here comes the bad news -- Rovio got greedy. Unfortunately, it has heavily incorporated free-to-play elements into the game in just about every way possible. There's an energy meter, there are in-app-purchases (IAP), and it constantly nags you to connect to Facebook. Let me break it down though so you better understand exactly what went wrong. In terms of energy, players can thankfully continue to play levels without using up your stock of five "hearts," but if you fail a level once, you'll need to use some stock. This is an issue after level 20 or so, as stages become so complex that you'll often need to give them a go a few times. [embed]296952:59745:0[/embed] It also exposes the "multi-tier" format of Angry Birds 2's stage design. In short, each individual world map level can have multiple arenas within it, so if you fail on a later tier, you'll fail the whole thing. It's actually a cool idea in theory, as you have to play conservatively and try to earn more lives constantly, but it all falls apart when you add in an energy scheme. IAP feels wholly unnecessary, as the game charges a ton of "gems" to continue mid-level after failing to come back to life. Gems are earned at a rate of roughly one continue per 45 minutes, lest you opt to buy them. The sad part is that unlike most of the iterations in the past, there's no option for a premium version. Say what you will about the franchise, but Rovio has generally done pretty well in a sea of freemium-fests over the years, providing fans with a way to buy a game outright. But with Angry Birds 2, you'll have to suffer through all of the fixin's that Rovio forced into the game. Angry Birds 2 proves that the Angry formula is still fun, but Rovio isn't doing itself any favors by gating that fun left and right. Angry Birds is supposed to be a series you can just pick up and play, and I have no idea what they were thinking here -- other than "more money."
Angry Birds 2 review photo
I'm the angry one
As I've said a million times in the past, I have no real problem with the original Angry Birds and the initial string of sequels. Yes, it was a derivative of Crush the Castle, but Banjo-Kazooie was a derivative of M...

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