Skeletomb: Review

     Punk Labs' Skeletomb is an odd combination of an endless runner with rogue-like gaming and is packaged as a platforming dungeon crawler.  The game isn't truly an endless runner, but makes use of the elements found in them, and breaks it down into sets of randomly generated levels.  The player simply has to move in a specific direction to the end of a level.  Of course, along the way there's moving platforms, enemies to slay, and even some traps to encounter all in the span of a few life hearts.  Nothing too strenuous or difficult.

     This game actually caught my eye due to the strange and bright blocky designs of the characters and enemies.  You can play as a kind of wizard, a barbarian, a jester, and even funny Jack-in-the-Box character.  Though, nearly all of the 30-some playable characters are merely palette-swapped versions of each other, so the limitations begin to show as you unlock more playable characters.
     The core game is Adventure Mode.  Players collect and spend in-game coins to help either unlock those other playable characters or gain higher scores for the leaderboards.  There's an alternative Endless Mode made strictly for chasing leaderboard high scores if that is your thing.  The only difference I noticed between modes was that it Endless wasn't broken into levels.
     In addition there's a small achievements list with some humorous trophies to obtain that made me laugh.  I won't spoil any of them for you though, you'll have to discover them yourself.

     The music is great as well.  It hearkens back to the old days of Nintendo action games.  It's very upbeat and fun and adds a layer of nostalgia to the game.

     The only real problem with Skeletomb is the controls.  The swipes and taps to change direction, jump, or even attack are consistently imprecise and cause a lot of unnecessary deaths lending to some irritation.  I mean seriously, having the attack input be the same as the one for move forward is never a good idea.  These issues are somewhat offset by the options menu allowing for some changes, but they are barely fixed and no matter what you change them to, they remain relatively poor in touch response.  As this is rogue-like game the deaths aren't too much of a set back, just a bit of frustration.

     Skeletomb is a great waste of a lunch break.  There's a simple charm to the the game that'll keep your attention for exactly as long as you might expect out of a casual free-to-play because there really isn't a whole lot of depth here.  I don't believe it'd keep people entertained for a whole lot of time due to it's mindless action, but in small doses it does its job quite well.
     Skeletomb is free to play on [ Android ] & [ iOS ]


VULTURE ISLAND: Donut Games' Upcoming Platforming Adventure

     After a freak run in with a cloud in a homemade flying machine, a group of four friends wind up stranded on Vulture Island.
Benjamin has built a spectacular flying machine to take him and his friends around the world. 
During one of the first flight sessions something goes wrong. The youngsters have no choice but to parachute themselves to safety. 
After an exhausting swim Alex, Paul and Stella end up on a distant island. Barehanded and with no trace of Benjamin.
Players will need to explore the island and gradually reunite with their friends and find a way off the island.  Along the way there will be characters to interact with, weapons and items to collect, puzzles to be solved, and of course...  enemies and bosses to be fought!

     Vulture Island looks to be another hilarious, but solid arcade adventure brought to us by the creators of Traps n' Gemstones.

     According to the Forum, the game will launch this week on iOS and Android devices.
          (In addition, it'll be a $5 game with a 40% off sale for the first few weeks.)

     Donut Games on [ Touch Arcade Forum ] [ Twitter ]


Tiny Necromancer: Review

     I've been scouring the Google Play store for any games that might be interesting and came across this little gem by PearFiction Studios.  Tiny Necromancer is an almost rogue-like game where players actually get to be an evil-doer instead of a typical hero.

     As the titular Tiny Necromancer, you must fight your way through the levels by either finding the key to a door to proceed to the next level or by killing one of the 4 bosses.  To help accomplish this we are armed with glowing green skulls to shoot down naysayers in our path.  Granted we can save up gold and purchase other spells, but as they are single use only they are nearly worthless.  If they were purchased and reusable as the main attacks it would be a considerable boon for the game.  I hate saving up gold, buying the minion spell, and when you use it- oftentimes the minion immediately dies, making it a giant waste.

     When it comes to combat, the controls are tight and responsive, but the enemy hitboxes are off.  If you keep your distance you can remain fairly safe by pelting enemies with glowing skulls from afar, but their placement occasionally forces you into close combat on absurdly small ledges leading to a swift death.  You can be killed by a single hit from any enemy, or even being touched by one or more accurately, being near an enemy (or spikes on the ground) will still cue your death.  This is only a real troublesome issue when fighting the bosses though because of their large health bars, you can get them whittled down and die for apparently no reason at all.

      The levels are relatively short and fun, though some are oddly misplaced in what one might think would be the proper order, as all 4 bosses are inexplicably in the first half of the game.  Why didn't they add any extra bosses when they expanded it from 24 levels to 54 levels?  That being said, it is still really entertaining to play this game.  Playing it can give you a bit of frustration with the cheap deaths from poor hitboxes, but that irritation doesn't last long because the game plays so quickly.  It's fast paced enough that the deaths will only truly set a player back about 30 seconds.

     It's easy to pick up Tiny Necromancer and play through a handful of levels and move on to other things- and that's something very good for mobile games.  It's got a nice touch of nostalgia with the added benefit of playing as an 8 bit villain, and there's enough of a fun factor to keep players entertained for short bursts.  I'd recommend snagging this game for a decent hour of fun.

     Play Tiny Necromancer free on [ Android ] and [ iOS ]