Saturday, September 29, 2012

AAQR: Blood and Glory - Legend

Blood and Glory: Legend is a sequel to Glu's "Blood and Glory", where the player takes on role of a Rome-like gladiator who must defeat various enemies. While the main game is free, the game is HEAVY in micro-transactions, wanting you to buy various things to enhance your hero. The graphics are pretty spectacular, and quite responsive on the test machine (Droid Bionic), but the constant nag for "you need to upgrade!" is getting a bit... lame.

You play this anonymous gladiator who needs to fight his way through the territories, and end up in the capital, where you will seek your revenge. On the way, you'll duel various other gladiators, from lightning fast assassins to monstrous giants, to brawlers, dual-bladesmen, and much more.

The controls are pretty simple: you can dodge left or right (depending on which way is the attack), you can parry (swipe in the opposite direction of the attack when it comes), you can shield block (limited use), and you can attack (slash in different directions by drawing a line on screen). It relies a lot on timing. The idea is block the attacks, and attack yourself. If you parry successfully you can execute a "glorious strike", which is a "super-attack" that do a lot of damage. Whoever is left with a lifebar is the winner, of course.

The actual fight is surprisingly effective, as you'll get big sprays of blood when you hurt the enemy. This game is rated M for mature. Really.

The game then throws various stuff at you. There are two currencies in this game: gold, and coins.

Gold you start with a few, and you can get more by clicking on offers like "install this game and get 10 gold on us". If you finish certain challenges, like "fight 3 battles today" you can get a few more. However, you cannot earn these in battle. And some of the best equipment can only be bought with gold.

Coins, you earn from the battle, and typically, only a few hundred per battle, as least in the first few levels. When a typical piece of equipment is 3000, you can imagine this is not going to be easy.

There are a dozen things to spend your money on: helmets, weapon, shield, armor, potions (heal, attack, or defend), helmet, amulet, amulet slots (so you can use more than one amulet at a time to get stacked benefits),

You can wear amulets to enhance your XP gain (which controls how fast you level up), enhance your coin intake (extra 10%), and so on. You start with one amulet slot, and you'll gain some amulets later. You will need to buy additional amulet slots to wear more than one at a time.

You are also nagged at or before each battle about "pay $2.99 to double the gain, up to 32x!" not to mention buttons to "buy a special pack for larger discounts!"  including beginner's pack, veteran's pack, and so on, which are all in-game purchase bundles.

I played through chapter 3-1 and I'm already outmatched, as I don't have enough money to upgrade all the equipment. I am only doing about attack 10 weapon, so it takes me twice as long to kill someone than if I have a attack 20 weapon. And the game lets you know that... every match now it's "the enemy has better equipment than you: upgrade your helmet [or other pieces of stuff] now!"

It's pretty, and different enemies have different styles of attack, but you'll probably tire of the constant nag to buy this and buy that.
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Friday, September 28, 2012

AAQR: Drift Mania Championship

Drift racing at the Night Shift event in Chicago
Drift racing at the Night Shift event in Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Drift Mania Championship is a 3rd person drift driving simulator. You control this car, in the slightly behind 3rd person view. However, I am not convinced you can properly simulate drifting, which requires very precise control, on a phone.

The game has a "throttle bar" on the right side of the screen, and you turn left and right by tilt. And the graphics are pretty good.

I have problem with the control, as I can't seem to modulate the throttle to spin the wheels to induce drift while keep the car "sideways". I can drift in small increments, but I can't stay on the road, and you need to stay on the road. There aren't any 'driver aids' available, and tutorial consists of merely a couple slides explaining the gauges and controls.

Still, it's worth trying out. Maybe you'll be more adept in it than I was.
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

AAQR: Robin, the Siri Challenger

Plenty of Android apps claim to be a Siri-fighter, and new ones appear every other day.

Robin, which just underwent an overhaul, is actually pretty impressive. The new version has a huge button combined with a map view and is really designed for car use, where you can operate most features hands-free (one or two may require a tap on the screen or two).

And Robin talks back, using any voice you have installed. Those of you who have IVONA installed (download all three English voices: US, UK, and Australia) should have much better voice than the built-in Pico TTS.

And Robin will give you a full conversation. You say "tell me a joke", and Robin will answer. It will do context sensitive search based on location. If you search for a location it recognizes, it'll display Yelp link and Nav link. It knows most commands, and if it doesn't, it'll do a Google search for you. It will link to any Nav package you got, either Google Maps or Waze, or even others like Tomtom.

It'll do social updates, voice dial, and the other stuff. It's pretty impressive, and it's free.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sorry about lack of updates

This blog ain't dead, it's on hibernation as I concentrated on other stuff.

Any way, expect to see a TON of updates in the next week or so, at least one review a day. Stay tuned!