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Mobile Minute: Pudding Monsters, TNNS, Extreme Road Trip 2

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Yes, yes, this site still functions. I apologize for not writing anything in... a long time, but I'm actually playing games! Loving Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny on the PS3 and just picked up a 3DS with Super Mario 3D Land, Harvest Moon: A New Beginning, and Fire Emblem: Awakening! With all the great games coming down the pipe from Nintendo and third party developers, I figured I had better get on the 3DS train sooner than later.

In the meantime, here are some more thoughts on Android and iOS games I've been playing lately.

Mobile Minute: Knights of Pen & Paper, Androminion, and Triple Town

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I've been distracted by life's other bits the last couple of weeks, but there's pretty much always time to play games on my phone. I’ll spend a minute writing about each game, hopefully summarizing my thoughts as quickly as if I were telling you about a mobile game in person.

I covered Super Hexagon last go around, and have since played it on the PC, and I have to say the experience is a lot better on the big screen. It's definitely fun on the go, but I managed to reach 60 seconds on Hard on my second attempt using my keyboard.

Mobile Minute: Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers, and Super Hexagon

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I used to write reviews on nearly every Android or IOS game I spent more than an hour on, but I’ve fallen behind lately, so here's my first round at some reviews. I’ll spend a minute writing about each game, hopefully summarizing my thoughts as quickly as if I were telling you about a mobile game in person.

Devil's Attorney

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Devils Attorney CoverI used to love the Ace Attorney series, but fans in the United States have to face it: it’s been almost three years since the last American release and over five years since we actually got to play as Phoenix Wright, so we have to move on, and if you’re looking for your defense attorney fix, Devil’s Attorney may be it.

Released in October for Android and iOS, Devil’s Attorney stars an egotistical attorney who makes his buck defending the dregs of society in their exceedingly hilarious and bizarre crimes. The cases come rapid-fire and are played out like a turn-based battle - pretty much the opposite of what fans of Phoenix Wright have come to learn, love, and in turn, lose. The humor is what sustains the game through nearly 60 cases, and there are some really clever bits of writing.

As the year draws to a close, this may be one of our last reviews of 2012, be sure to return on December 31st for our 2012 Game of the Year Awards. I may personally have a surprise pick for my favorite of the year if one of the final games I’m playing stays awesome. Thanks for reading.

The Walking Dead: No Time Left

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the Walking Dead CoverThe finale to the first episodic season of The Walking Dead has arrived, and after the shocking conclusion to the fourth episode, it was apparent just how No Time Left would end. Of course, getting there is never straightforward in The Walking Dead universe.

This final review will be rather spoilerific after the cut, so there’s your first warning. It would be massively difficult to talk about the season as a whole without talking about the characters and their relationships, the real core to The Walking Dead. It’s funny: comparing it to my earlier episodic gaming experience, Tales of Monkey Island, and while I’m going to end up awarding them identical scores, it’s for completely different reasons and I feel totally different about each experience. My thoughts are also a lot more complicated when it comes to The Walking Dead.

So with that, let’s talk Lee, Clementine, and the end of the world.

The Walking Dead: Around Every Corner

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the Walking Dead CoverThe penultimate episode of the first season of The Walking Dead brings our group of survivors to the edge with seemingly no hope for a happy ending. While I’ve certainly enjoyed the previous three episodes quite a bit, I feel like everything has finally clicked for me in Around Every Corner. There’s a great sense of dread, urgency, and horror as you progress, and it successfully caps off the previous three hours with a heart-stopping finale.

Telltale Games wouldn’t have been my first choice for a Walking Dead game, as a popular graphic novel and the most successful show on cable television, the intellectual property owners should have had their pick of the litter when shopping their game. Could Call of Duty: Black Ops II have sold even more with a fully licensed Walking Dead zombie mode? Should the Dead Island developers been tapped? Capcom for their Dead Rising experience? Valve with Left 4 Dead? EA for their gobs of money?

But Telltale’s interactive drama experiment has been a huge success, at least critically. There are bound to be more Walking Dead games in the future, but this will certainly set the bar high. Here’s my review of episode four: Around Every Corner.

Eufloria

Indie Impression

Eufloria CoverOriginally known as Dyson during its prototype stage, Eufloria is self-described as a "space gardening RTS." What that means is not very clear without some description, but in essence, Eufloria is about growth and destruction. Building up your own spores of pollen to seed across the galaxy and wreack havoc on your enemies. Any tree not your color is marked for death and total domination is necessary for your own survival.

Well, that might sound cooler than it actually is, but Eufloria is our latest go-around at Indie Impressions. Developed by a trio of indie devs, Eufloria was released in 2009 for Windows and later released on Linux, OSX, iOS, Android, and PlayStation Network. Here is Steve and Greg's take on the game after playing a few hours.

The Walking Dead: Long Road Ahead

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the Walking Dead CoverIf there’s something that Telltale Games teaches its Walking Dead players in Long Road Ahead, it is that everyone is expendable. While I don’t know if everyone’s experience was like mine, I lost four major characters over the course of the episode. Zombies are dangerous in the world of The Walking Dead, but humans are a lot worse. To quote one of the characters, “I don’t believe in strength in numbers.”

I haven’t been quite as blown away by the episodes so far as the rest of the internet are, but I’ve certainly enjoyed them so far. The areas are generally small and there is little exploration or puzzle solving required. I’m reminded again of my original comparison of the game to Heavy Rain, but there was a greater sense of dread in Quantic Dream’s psychological epic than in this zombie-laden drama.

Long Road Ahead was released in late August and it was during this time that I was first exposed to the game through social channels, which is certainly not a surprise considering some of the hellish scenarios the episode puts its players through. While I feel episode three was an improvement over Starved for Help, I’m still looking for a bit more from the game than frantic quick time events.

Dungeon Village

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Dungeon Village CoverIt’s been a while since I played a Kairosoft game, not since May with the extremely lackluster Epic Astro Story. It’s easy to say it’s that game that put me off for another six months, but the Kairosoft formula as a whole can really drag on a gamer after a half dozen games.

But Dungeon Village was on super sale at the Google Play store, and it seems like it should be right up my alley: build up a Japanese RPG village which will house an inn full of heroes. Some of my earliest gaming experiences were with Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy 1, the nostalgia of my youth was calling me to a game I could play on my phone in the bathroom.

Dungeon Village was released in March for Android and iOS, this review is for the Android version.

The Walking Dead: Starved for Help

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the Walking Dead CoverI’m not any kind of expert on zombie apocalypse fiction, but from my point of view, there’s two crucial points in the story that every good zombie story needs, and needs to do well. The first is the tension build-up in Act 1. Everyone watching, reading, or playing some sort of zombie media knows there will be zombies. The ones who don’t know are the characters, the heroes whose lives are about to be torn apart by the undead. The more tension the author can build, the more satisfying and terrifying the reveal will be when hell is unleashed.

The other crucial part of zombie fiction doesn’t involve the zombies at all, but human conflict. The zombie mythos rule of thumb says that the dead are never the true enemy in zombie fiction and that interesting drama lies in the living. This is true, but drama isn’t necessarily easy or obvious to write, so it’s not a given it’s executed well.

The Walking Dead already featured their tension build-up and zombie reveal in Episode 1: A New Day, but it still surprised me that Episode 2: Starved for Help almost immediately dropped running from zombies in favor of arguing with fellow survivors, but Telltale Games is apparently confident in their story, so let’s take a look.

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