Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Bubble Smile

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Bubble Smile is one of the few games that came with one of my cell-phones over the years that was an actual complete game instead of a demo. But, it’s not really anything to get too excited about.

It’s a really simple puzzle game where you are presented with a screen full of bubbles of various colors, and you have to line up three in a row to clear them from the field (they smile when you do so, clever, eh?). Then the bubbles on the screen collapse down to fill in the empty spots while others fall from the top of the screen to fill up those empty spots. Your only control is to take any triangle of bubbles and rotate them either direction.

There are two modes in this game, Skilled and Timed. Timed is over when you run out of time (duh). Skilled is over when you have done a certain amount of moves, but if you set up chains you get more moves. The thing is, though, that most of the time the chains that I would do would be large and unintentional. They’d be completed by the random bubbles falling from the sky. Heck, about half the time I would start a new game and then be unable to play for at least 30 seconds while the random screen generation got a few dozen chains/combos.


I played this game a whole lot because I somehow fooled myself into thinking it was kind of good. As it happens the only reason I really played this game was because it was free and it was the only game I had on my phone at the time.

Pocket Pikachu 2 GS

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Pokemon was a worldwide phenomenon. Still is, really. At least the influx of licensed crap has died down. Of course, I still bought my fair share of it, though I shied away from some of the lamer offerings. But when I saw the Pocket Pikachu get marked down to $5, I decided to see what it was all about.

Pocket Pikachu

The Pocket Pikachu is little more than interactive pet. You wear it on the belt region of your pants where it acts as a pedometer. As you walk around on your daily doings you put steps on your meter, which will gain you watts. Watts are what you give Pikachu to make it more friendly with you. You can also use them to play a game where you gamble your watts for yet more watts. You can also play with your Pika, watch it take a bath, take a nap, or whatever. But the real hook is that the game has an IR port on the top. Pokemon Gold and Silver were put out for the Game Boy Color, which you may remember has an IR port on it. You can starve your mouse and instead give the watts to your Game Boy game to get prizes. It’s all about selling the accessories, kids.

I played this thing a lot. I fed my Pikachu, I played with it, I got lots of prizes for my Game Boy monsters, and after exactly 730 continuous days I put it away for good. Not because the battery was dead, but because I decided that playing a game every day for two solid years was enough.

Space Ball

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Cell phones are somehow turning into a mobile gaming platform. I’m not sure you can even buy a cellular phone these days that doesn’t have a demo of some game or other installed that will try to entice you to buy the full version (or better yet, more games!). The game that came with my LG phone was a little junket called ‘Space Ball‘.

Space Ball is a game that’s a lot like Hustle in that you are controlling a snake-like creature that travels around the screen. Your goal is to clear the screen by collecting all of the balls that are scattered around. Each ball you collect lengthens your snake a bit, but if you collect three of the same color, then they disappear. This becomes important since as you get more segments you run the risk of trapping yourself in a corner. This is bad. Also, if you get too many segments you lose. This is also bad. You also have a time limit, letting it run out is yet another bad thing.

There’s this powerup thingus that appears occasionally that does one of several random things, but to be honest, I got really tired of this game real quick. I played it three times, and the last time I cranked up the difficulty to the maximum (level 20) and won handily. I have no real desire to pick it back up.

It’s Mr. Pants!

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Imagine that you have a sheet of graph paper. On this paper you have a picture composed by coloring the squares different colors. You have the ability to make the picture disappear by making the component pieces into complete squares and rectangles with the provided pieces. The Wikipedia page does a slightly better job of describing this concept.

Like most good puzzle games, it’s fairly difficult to describe how to play it without actually showing how to play it. Unfortunately, this is different from most puzzle games in that I could hardly stand to play it.

There are two modes: Marathon and Puzzle. Marathon tasks you with building squares and rectangles on an empty playfield, competing only for a high score. Puzzle is more of the thinking-man’s game, tasking you with the aforementioned picture-clearing. Both modes are bad in their own way.

I couldn’t stand to play Marathon mode for more than a couple of minutes. It was exceedingly difficult to formulate any kind of strategy. There is a large number of possible pieces that may appear, of varying shapes and sizes, and it was just beyond me to actually formulate any kind of strategy.

Puzzle mode is slightly more entertaining. You have a finite number of pieces to clear the playfield, and you must use all the pieces given. The problem is twofold: you have a limited amount of time to make your move, and in later levels you can’t see all the pieces you need to formulate a solution. Puzzle mode, by its nature, should allow you to have all the time you need to formulate your strategy, giving extra points for speedy play could be acceptable, but penalizing you for thinking is pretty lame. In later levels, the amount of pieces you need to solve a puzzle is greater than the pieces you can see, barring you from making the correct solution on your first attempt a fair amount of the time.

It was fun for a while, but the novelty of a game starring a poorly-drawn character wearing nothing but a large pair of underpants wore off quickly.


Friday, May 4th, 2007

I do not like Bejeweled in the slightest, and I can’t really fathom why some people do. Bejeweled is purportedly a puzzle game, but it’s a very basic one. You have a grid, and this grid is full of jewels of various colors. You can swap two jewels either horizontally or vertically, if and only if (and this key) they complete a grouping of at least three like-colored jewels in a row. If it doesn’t make a match, too bad! You don’t get to make that move. If it does, then great! They disappear and new jewels fall from the sky to take their place.

My biggest beef with the game is that it’s nigh-impossible to plan for anything. Since semi-random pieces fall from the sky, two things tend to happen when I play: 1. in the first couple of levels I clear the whole stage from making one or two clears, the pieces that drop in create an accidental Super Combo. 2. The later levels get next to impossible, mostly due to the fact that all of the clears are gone and the pieces that drop from the sky are no longer able to be cleared easily without a ludicrous amount of forethought. Exacerbating the problem is that if you are idle for more than about 20 seconds, pondering your next move, is that the game will show you a legal move, presumably to kickstart your brain if you can’t find the next match. The only problem that I found is that it’s usually the wrong move to make, ensuring that my game will be thankfully short.

All of that’s a shame, because I do enjoy a good puzzle game, and the popularity of Bejeweled made me think that it might be a good game. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Pipe Dream

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Pipe Dream (a.k.a. Pipe Mania, or about a thousand different clones), I’m constantly surprised that more people haven’t heard of it.

Pipe Dream is a puzzle game that does away with the standard ’sort things and make them disappear’, and instead has you creating a network of pipes from random pieces to contain the flow of a mystery liquid. What the liquid is changes in each incarnation, but it really doesn’t matter what it is.

The liquid will start flowing shortly after the stage starts, with the length of this initial delay diminishing as the levels progress. Depending on the version and the level, you will have one or two goals to achieve: make the liquid flow through a certain number of pipes, and make the liquid flow through a certain number of pipes while making it to the end pipe.

It sounds easy enough, but you can quickly start to panic as you realize that the liquid is slowly but surely progressing and you aren’t getting the piece you need to connect the two halves of your pipe network.

Not that that’s ever happened to me.