Do we need an intro for this latest round of free Android game reviews? You bet!
Around the Dumpster in 80 Minutes: “At least it’s not Muffin Knight” edition
Look, there are some free Android games I love out there, but some of them — and by “some of them,” I am explicitly referring to Muffin Knight — are so bad that I continue to suffer from their psychological scars. The good news is that most of these games aren’t nearly as bad.
Air Penguin by GAMEVIL: The graphics are cute, and the controls are simple; you play by holding your device flat and tilting it to bounce and slide across the ice on the way to rescue your adorable family. The graphics are a jarring combination of super-cute penguins, the cartoon predators trying to eat them, and the bleak desolation of a lone penguin corpse sinking to the bottom of the ocean on the “game over” screen. It gets old quickly, but at least you don’t have to pay for it.
Cookie Dough Bites Factory by Sunstorm Interactive: This is what happens when your game is designed by people who love money and hate gaming. It’s a sequence of activities that produce cookie dough bites, and you’re scored based on how well you do, but the actions don’t fit together well enough to feel like a complete game. There are in-game extras you can unlock (and pay for), but it’s missing a lot of little touches that make it gamer-friendly. For example, it’s not easy to ragequit, but it makes up for that by being easily deleted.
Golden Ninja by Alfa Production: You’re some kind of golden ball who is also a ninja, and your golden ball girlfriend who may also be a ninja was kidnapped by some jerk who likes to cause problems. You play by setting a trajectory and then flicking your ball (less fun than it sounds, even if you’re into that sort of thing) over and around a series of obstacles. I’m sure this is exactly what ninjas do in real life, but I just couldn’t enjoy it. It’s not the worst game in this batch, much the same way that Mussolini wasn’t the worst fascist in history.
Happy Poo Fall by Retro Dreamer: What it says on the
box app screen. You tilt your device from side to side so your poo can slip through gaps to keep falling downwards. Maybe I’d hate this game less if I could figure out how to turn the sound off, but now that I’ve deleted it, we’ll never know.
Heroes Call by Defiant Development: The graphics in this game are impressive — but they should be, since I needed wifi network access to download the game’s massive graphics file before I could play it. In Heroes Call, you walk through dungeons and hit things. It’s well detailed, and seems almost too polished to be a free game, until it locks up and the touchscreen controls stop responding. Also, the title needs a direct object. Who are these heroes calling? Me? Donald? The local item shop, to see if they’ve got Prince Albert in the Can?
Ninja Fishing by Gamenauts: This game is played in three parts that combine to make an experience that could pass for entertainment. First, you tilt your device to avoid hitting fish so your line can sink as far as possible. Once you’ve hooked something, you tilt the device to hit as many fish as possible on the trip back to the boat. In the finale, all the fish are thrown into the air for you to slash, fruit ninja style. This earns money that you spend on better fishing gear so you can do it all over again. I’ve seen worse games, and I’m not just talking about Muffin Knight. UPDATE: It looks like this game is heavily based on Radical Fishing, which is probably more fun.
Super Baby Sitter by Satyalaksmi: Between this and Super Baby Sitter by Cute Game Lab, there’s some e-skulduggery afoot, but I can’t be bothered to find out which one is the original and which is the copy. In either case, I don’t need a generic time-management game to remind me that childcare is an endless loop of messy, unpleasant chores — I play video games to get away from this stuff. Stay as far away from these as possible.
Traffic Panic London by Neon Play: If you have ever wanted to slam a London taxi into the side of a speeding ambulance, then this is the game for you. If you like taking less than half a minute to see everything that a one-trick pony has to offer, then this is also the game for you. You control a single intersection’s stoplight and have to run vehicles through it without causing an accident. Traffic Panic suffers from a bad combination of game-freezing ads combined with relentless, aggressive demands for real money to unlock extras, but you can tune it out and enter a zen-like state of “traffic on, traffic off” to orchestrate some breathtaking near-misses. Unfortunately, this nirvana happens about five minutes after the game stops being fun to play.
Truffle Trails by Salami Entertainment: Olli Saarinen and his friends at Salami Entertainment are polite young men from Finland, but they haven’t put a lot of thought into the most intuitive way for a pig to steer a rocket cart in search of truffles. You have to worry about accelerating, braking, controlling the angle of your thrusters, reversing direction abruptly, and running out of fuel while navigating levels that seem like they were designed for an entirely different game. There is also a timer, so the end result isn’t a very immersive pig-themed gaming experience. Their game is free, and hardly ever crashes, so it’s better than Muffin Knight.
Turbo Kids by Droidhen: A footrace where you shoot your competitors in the back of the head? This is an idea whose time has come. Turbo Kids has a lot of extraneous garbage, with unlockable upgrades and power boosts that I don’t entirely understand, but Salami Entertainment could learn from the elegant simplicity of the game’s level design — jumping from platform to platform as you zoom to the right — which lets me focus on the key game mechanic of nailing other runners in the back of the head. You’re only throwing snowballs, but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying.
Zombie Cafe by Beeline Interactive: Rotten. See what I did there? Seriously, though, there is no reason for you to play this game. It’s a a poorly implemented time management game, with a badly executed “do battle with your friends” element and a terrible “click a button so you can wait around until it’s time to click it again” mechanic. The real crime against fun committed by Zombie Cafe is the way it lets you you start a timer but demands that you check back at the exact moment that it finishes. (Do you know what you’ll be doing precisely four hours from now?) Maybe that’s supposed to keep people playing for longer amounts of time, but it just makes it harder to return to after you take a short break.
Should Muffin Knight be the new industry standard for excellence (or excrement) in free Android games? Let us know in the comments, or submit a game for review!Tweet