Finding your other half – Jack N’ Jill Review

A simple yet challenging platformer made by Rohan Narang. With music and graphics that can be considered a nod to the retro games. With various mechanisms to reach the end of each level, this game can provide hours of entertainment.

Jack N’ Jill is a one-button retro platformer. Take control of Jack or Jill, jumping (or wall jumping) to get past obstacles and enemies. Your goal is to find your other half while wandering all 7 worlds. There are 20 levels in each world, making it a total of 140 levels.

As you start the game, you can choose between Jack or Jill by selecting one in the lower left corner. By default, it lets you play as Jack. When entering the first level, you get a small tutorial about how to play this game. Tap to start a level and delve into a fun, yet simple game. Like the popular game “Geometry Dash”, repeatedly press your screen to keep the moving Jack alive. As you progress, the difficulty rises, introducing complex combo-jumps you learn by repetition. For example, as soon as you start the second world, you gain the ability to wall jump. Each time something new appears, the character comments on it before the start of the level. Sadly, the unlocked abilities can’t be used at earlier levels.

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While the gameplay seems simple, it is not always forgiving. It starts off easy, but soon you notice that the timing has to be a lot more precise than you expect. Sometimes you need to press the jump button way before you reach the pit. Another time you need to press it at the last moment. You can’t really determine what you have to do by looking at the level. This makes many parts of the adventure very unforgiving, as when you die due to this, you have to start the stage all over again. Thankfully, the developers were more forgiving when hopping off of enemies. You have a larger window to press the screen again to jump the full distance again instead of half the distance. If you managed to wait for the last moment, you even can jump further than possible. There are no uses for that, but it makes it a bit more manageable.

The graphics remind us of the Gameboy days. The black and white style with the simple character design is a tribute to that beautiful handheld device. The backgrounds are also very simple and not in the least distracting. In fact, if you focus on the game itself, you hardly notice it. The main characters could have been a lot more unique, but the simple design of them really works well with the retro theme.

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While the game is fun, and the gameplay good, the music itself is repetitive. Each world has their own music, but all of them seem to consist of the same parts in it, with some other instruments giving variation to the world music. For short sessions, it seems fine, but if you play it for more than 30 minutes, it gets annoying. When you keep dying, you keep hearing the music go on and on, always cheerful. It does not really capture the retro feeling we suspect they were going for. The 8-bit era had games with better music, which is a shame since this is where they could have shown their love for the game.

The games of Rohan Narang are mostly inspired by old Gameboy and NES titles, and this game really shows his love for those titles. We find the characters cute and charming, and this game is no different. However, in contrast to the old Gameboy games, the music of this game is below average quality. The best way to enjoy this game is by turning the music off and listening to old Gameboy platformer OST’s while enjoying your simple adventure.

EnomView Score: 7 out of 10.

A Ninja-Swinging, Bunny Eating, Squid-Like Game – Ocmo

When I played Ocmo for the first time, I was greeted by an interesting sight. I saw darkness, a yellow substance, and a bunny. The whole premise of this platformer is to get your character to the other side of the level where he can feast on his food, the bunny. I don’t quite know that you are, but whatever it is, it has many appendages and uses them to climb its way through the various levels. The game requires a great amount of skill, concentration, and practice. You need to be able to dedicate time to sit down and play this game. Though I think the skill gap may be too high for this type of game, it is still very fun to learn the mechanics.

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In order to experience the game in the proper way, you need to use your index finger for control. Depending on where and how you tap the screen, your character moves and interacts with the environment in different ways. In order to complete the levels, you need to chain movements together and avoid the yellow goo which will kill you. In some instances, the goo is moving and you need to dodge it, making the level drastically more difficult.

thumb_OCMO_press_06-e8380c1bba5e25937392b36b67a6e166At the end lies a bunny for you to feast on. The way you kill the bunny is very dark, ripping it apart and eating it. That sequence adds to the very dark feeling of the game. The boss fights are different though. They involve you making your way through a level in fast ways to avoid being killed. You need to really know the mechanics in order to beat them. Even though this game takes immense skill, it is still very fun, keeping me playing and engaged for longer than I thought it would.

As I mentioned before, this game is dark. I’d like to think it’s a post-apocalyptic world. It quite possibly is, but there are other ways to think about it. Maybe it’s a metaphor for our hunger, not with food, but with satisfaction. We would do anything to meet our needs no matter how bad the odds. Even if we have to complete challenging tasks, we do it anyway, because we need to be satisfied. With 80 levels and 6 boss fights, you are left with many hours of gameplay, trying to collect three stars in each level. There is so much more potential for this game to add more interesting content for us to enjoy. Ocmo adds new life to the ninja-rope swing style game and does it in a very unique way. You can pick up this game on the App Store for $4.99.

EnomView Score: 7.5 out of 10

Check out the game: http://www.teamocmo.com

Manipulate Gravity to Make a Planet – Lonely Sun

Imagine being a small asteroid. Your small, but dense and strong. You know the path ahead of you and you know it won’t be easy. You orbit something small, slowly growing in strength and size until you break off. You continue to go from place to place, slowly growing, assembling mass. You knew it wouldn’t be easy, but before you know it, you’re orbiting a Lonely Sun… Or rather, one that’s not so lonely anymore.

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Before I continue with the review, I just want to thank you for checking in on our third game in the “12 Games of Christmas” series. We explored two awesome indie games before this, they can be found here. All of the games we have done so far have been free to play, so there’s no reason not to pick them up and try them out in time for the Holiday!

Lonely Sun is an addicting app-game in which you manipulate and control gravity. The goal of the game is simple, turn your small rocks into planets. You grow your small asteroid larger and larger by collecting other pieces of rock. Swipe across the screen to move your rock in any direction. Collect all pieces of a single planet spread out between three stages to complete it. There are obstacles that obstruct your way, however. These obstacles differ in both color and sometimes form. They range from moving mountains to sharp spikes. Avoid these obstacles at all cost because there aren’t checkpoints within stages.

Although a much more appropriate approach was slowly traversing between the obstacles and shifting terrain, I found myself attempting to speed run through every nook and cranny. Stages are unforgiving, yet the fun of testing your reaction time and memory was more than worth it. Continuously swiping without more than a second to think was invigorating.

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Lonely Sun features cool and simplistic designs. Terrains were very minimalistic, consisting of a limited palette. Levels felt wholesome because of this unification. As a fan of minimalistic games myself, this had perfect art design. Attention to detail was not amiss as even fine articulate efforts could be seen in the background of each stage. Each stage differs in a theme. Neryssa, the first level, is based off water. The next, Nuriona, is based off fire and so on. Levels were profusely thought out, offering a balance of difficulty and attainability. It punishes rash and quick behavior (which is why I died countless times) and promotes smooth movements.

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Lonely Sun was initially imagined as a metaphor for life, a simplified version of life’s complicated nature, tribulations and hurdles. Overcoming dangers, navigating through strange worlds, remembering what you’ve gone through, learning as you go… all these are meant to make you resilient. The inevitable nature of failure gives you two choices: pick yourself up and try again or let the memory of your existence fade away. Accomplishing goals takes time. The cosmic powers of planetary genesis that create the vastness and mystery of space follow the same rules: patience. Patience is the key to creating something beautiful, something worth living for.

One thing we keep hearing from players: “No checkpoints?”

Our response: “Does life have checkpoints?”

Overall, Lonely Sun was well worth playing through to review. The satisfaction of completing not only a stage but a planet was refreshing. The cool design with astounding details made great art and a great game. One of the main reasons that I took interest in Lonely Sun was the breathtaking quality of the design. We have Nik Mihaylov, the Art Director of Rinikulous Games, to thank for the outstanding artwork. We highly recommend picking up this free game, as well as checking out our other free game reviews here on the site.

EnomView Score: 9 out of 10

Check out the game (iOS): http://www.rinikulousgames.com/lonely-sun/
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EnomView

 

 

 

Slide Down a Powdery Snow Mountain – Chilly Snow

There are two apps that I love more than anything. Minimalist games and games with snow. I enjoy the simple textures that create an emphasis on the actual games, as well as the overall smooth design. I just love snow in games, because I love snow in general. Snow, winter, the cold, and Christmas are what I look forward to year round. On the topic of the winter holidays, I would just like to thank everyone for checking out the second of our 12 Games of Christmas review. In this festive mini-series, we explore the best games to play during Christmas time. You can check out our first holiday review here.

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Chilly Snow is a creative app that features you, a little blob, making its way down a mountain densely packed with trees. Tap the screen to switch your direction or swipe to make sharper turns. Chilly Snow offers points in two ways: points are given based on time (I believe one point per second survived), as well as coming in close proximity to trees without hitting them in your dissent.

The most satisfying thing for me was clearing a patch of three of four trees by the skin of my teeth and changing to yellow or a satisfying hot red. The colors don’t accord you any additional points, but it makes hitting tree-combos so much more satisfying. For every tree that you do come in close proximity to, and not hit, you gain an extra two points. That means clearing your first pine will give you two points, but the next will give you four and so on.

If you’re looking for a game to pick up for when you’re on the go, Chilly Snow is the way to go. It’s minimalistic looks and smooth gameplay offer the best an indie app can.

EnomView Score: 8.5 out of 10

Check out the game: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chilly-snow/id1297701531?mt=8

Alto’s Adventure – The Perfect Harmony of Winter, Snowboarding, and Music on the Go

On its cover, Alto’s adventure is just a simple snowboarding game, but after enjoying it, you realise there’s more than meets the eye. When you boot up Alto’s adventure for the first time, you are greeted by a beautiful mountaintop and are thrown right into the game. The gameplay is basic, yet engaging.

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Outstanding visuals in minimalist format

The core structure of the game is snowboarding down a vast, serene mountain. You collect points by hi-fiving llamas (Yes, we said llamas), and collecting coins. By tapping the screen for various amounts of time, you can jump and execute flips, also collecting points that add to your overall score at your run’s end. With coins you can purchase a multitude of one-time use items such as revives, allowing you can continue your game after hitting an obstacle. Next to the transitory items, you can find the permanent upgrades. You can use your coins to buy power-ups that can be found while snowboarding. Those powerups, such as coin magnets, can be upgraded to last longer and appear more often. Although the game has only a few key obstacles to watch out for, when you do encounter them, you must take heed.

At one point of the game, you are being chased by “The Elder”, an enemy that snowboarding behind you. You must avoid him in order to progress. Other than that, the only other obstructions to watch out for are the rocks and your own self-error.

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Due to the simple, yet soothing gameplay, I wasn’t able to sustain gameplay for over a long period of time, but the aspects that keep me reminiscing are the stunning graphics visuals and soothing music. The game has a unique art style rarely found in the app store. Alto’s Adventure also includes time cycles, switching between day and night, complementing the snowy environment in amazing ways. Blending with the visuals perfectly is the soothing soundtrack. It keeps you calm and practically pacifies your heart rate.

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Alto’s adventure is still just a simple snowboarding game with simple mechanics and gameplay. It’s the charming visuals and beautiful music make the app greatly stand out from its peers. You can pick up this game on your respective app store for $4.99, which is a bargain for this caliber of game.

Enomview Score: 9 out of 10

Check out the game: http://altosadventure.com

Dragon’s Watch RPG – A Fresh Take on RPG App Combat

Forget repetitive clicking, limited characters, and no player versus player (PVP) support, The Secret Police’s new RPG mobile game, Dragon’s Watch RPG, cures all of those gaming insufficiencies.

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When I first started playing Dragon’s Watch not too long ago I didn’t see what made this game so special. Right from the beginning, I thought everything was pretty standard: Pick a strong/rare character out of a few to be your “starter”, assemble a starting, weak team, and hop into a tutorial stage. What I didn’t see coming was the new intuitive way of clearing levels of enemies.

The stages of enemies you fight, or waves, consist than more of clicking randomly. Dragon’s Watch demands a more strategic approach to combat. Instead of entering a dungeon with 3 or 4 characters standing side by side, taking turns mauling enemies, a revolving team controller is utilized. By shifting the Revolver left and right, the six heroes you have gathered on your team move spots from active to inactive roles.

This might seem like any other easy way of switching out characters in a fight, but it’s much more tactical. Want to allow your hero to regain some much needed HP? Have another character who would match up better against the enemy? Want to activate your charged super? Need someone to tank the next attack? Just move your thumb up and down and your three active heroes can be switched up in any number of ways.

Many of the Mobile-RPG apps out there don’t leave you with much to look forward to when it comes to story. The Secret Police spared no effort in drafting a story that lends a platform to the game while expertly maintaining a theme of a hero’s journey. The tale of dragon’s ascending to heaven, leaving a new generation of overseers could come straight out of a Disney fantasy.

Along with this story comes the increasingly hard areas you aspire to clear. At the end of a long, well-fought level you encounter bosses that can only be described by one word: Epic. These titans are made with brilliant vision and look perfect. Even without the design in mind, bosses switch up the battlefield, making you rethink your plan entirely. For instance, the boss encountered during the first level began attacking multiple heroes at once. This made me throw out my rotating attack method and focus on a more attack heave stance, risking my team to destroy it before it, me.

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Something that did take me by surprise was the graphics quality of the game, at least during the beginning of the epic story. The individuality expressed within each character through their design truly premeditated the vast range of protagonists to choose from. Sadly, the design of the starter team and early enemy left much to be desired. Except for your main character, chosen right at the commencement of the game, sprites were simplistic and methodical. Without many indications of future possibilities for your hero collection within the game, motivation might be an issue in continuing the adventure. Dragon’s Watch also opted for an older, two-dimensional core for their design. Although notable for the immaculate detail present, three-dimensional games are both coming up in the Mobile-RPG genre and more visually appealing. Take, for instance, the RPG Dungeon Boss.

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One last aspect of which we took a serious interest in Dragon’s Watch RPG is the available PVP. Unlike nearly every other RPG on the app store (or Google Play store), Dragon’s Watch allows live one on one PVP in the Arena. This takes a turn from the normal, non-live combat we’ve come to expect. Instead of facing your opponents team in the form of uncalculating NPCs, you’re matched with another live player looking to test his strategy and skill. Something that I did note however is that I was matched against a player who was had enjoyed the game much longer and had the higher levels to prove it. Of course, that’s to be expected in the early launch of any game.
All-in-all, Dragon’s Watch RPG is an exciting new twist on the current Mobile-RPG genre. An in-depth story, freshly renovated combative controls, and live player versus player abilities all make this an appealing game to pick up for free on your phone.

Enomview Score: 7.5 out of 10

Check out the game: https://www.dragons.watch/