Hives is the second title of Loner Cat, an Italian team that after the arcade Infinity Ripple returns with a puzzle based on spatial intelligence developed using Corona, a cross-platform framework based on the Lua language, with simple mechanics but ready to test your skills.
Gameplay – Find the right path
The logic behind the game is simple: all levels are formed by a grid of hexagons in which you have to move from point A to point B, moving through swipe in one of the six possible directions using a limited number of moves. Each movement however will take us to the last available cell of the grid, so you must carefully plan each move by making the most of the grid shape to get to the end point, but without any hurry. From these few but precise elements comes a gameplay that can create a very challenging puzzle game to which you add other important elements.
Some hexagons have different characteristics such as breaking once crossed, changing the level, or give extra moves, increasing the variety to the levels. If the level of challenge seems too low in the first few minutes Hives offers different categories of levels with five different degrees of difficulty, with increasingly complex grids, with the last two more different with different ideas than the basic gameplay of the simplest levels.
Graphics – Blue & Black
As for the gameplay, also from the technical point of view Hives focuses on visual solutions that are not very complex and clear: on the grid of blue hexagons on a black background moves our white reference point that leaves a trail between a swipe and the other, thus always being easily readable thanks to movements always fluid. The electronic and hammering musical background will accompany us for all levels.
The Swedish studio Dreamon Studios, creator of Jumpy Canyon and Bouncy Basketball, returns to the mobile stores with Gladihoppers. Taking advantage of the physics of the basketball title they want to bring something new and original to smartphones and tablets. This new production, set in the era of ancient Rome between gladiators and roosters and Egyptians, offers an arcade point of view in combat with white weapons.
Gameplay – Death, death, death!
The focal point of the title are bloody and frantic fights one on one hopping instead of running towards your enemy via swipe on the left side of the screen. The combat system, which needs a few games to be mastered at its best, is composed of directional attacks with different power and speed to be performed by swipe on the right side of the screen, making every duel fun. This is accompanied by damage management based on the type of weapons, armor and character statistics, speed of movement and which part of the body is hit but is not fully exploited.
The main mode, waiting for the career that should arrive in the future, is the Arcade where you must defend the emperor from a tribe of Gauls in revolt against his villa ready to assassinate him in a series of duels that unfortunately show the side to a certain repetitiveness. The other two “quick fight” modes, where you can customize your guerreiro by choosing equipment from a wide range of weapons, shields and armor; and “pratice” unfortunately they do not add much variety to the experience but they are more useful to fully learn the combat system, lacking a tutorial or anyway a guide inside the application.
Graphics – 2D + 3D = 5D?
Gladihoppers combines sprite in pixel art from the retro style of the fighters to environments, in this version only three, three-dimensional with a more modern style offering a unique style with lots of bloodsheds.
Since Temple Run and Subway Surfers, the endless runner genre has evolved and titles like Pinout or Chameleon Run have added variety to the genre. The guys from Pixel Perfect Dude, a Polish developer and publisher, have contributed to this historic game formula. #DRIVE is an endless driving inspired by action movies and the “road movies” of the 70s and 80s that tries to offer the simplest approach possible allowing the player to get in the car immediately with an experience without too many frills.
Gameplay – The farther you go, the better
#DRIVE puts us at the wheel of a car on procedurally generated long highways in which we will always cross five cities within the level. The control scheme is typical of the mobile platform: the acceleration of our car is automatic while it is possible to move to the right or left by plugging one of the sides of the screen while braking while holding down both, very useful when you have to avoid obstacles or perform sudden maneuvers.
All while keeping an eye on the amount of fuel in the tank and the level of damage as the farther we go the greater the traffic and the number of cars to avoid, complicating our journey . Fortunately on the way we will find service stations at the sides of the road to refuel or repair the car, donut shops to use to keep the police at bay to our pursuit or power ups to make our journey easier.
There are about 30 cars available, all inspired by historic real cars like the Citroen 2CV, the Delorean, the powerful Renault 5 Turbo, the local Fiat 500 and off-road vehicles of all ages and sizes, each with different characteristics such as speed, grip and acceleration that can be improved by spending the corks collected.
Graphics – A road movie in low poly
The cars and settings created in low poly by Karol Miklas return the feeling of the films to which it is inspired, thanks also to a typical aesthetic of the 70s and 80s, as well as the soundtrack. Currently, three different locations are available: starting from the desert areas of the United States of America, passing through the snowy provinces of England, up to the forests of Germany (others will come with the next updates); each with its own colors and rich in details.
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaire Plot has finally landed on iOS and Android to the delight of all puzzle and puzzle fans.
The Level-5 home series, now in its tenth anniversary, this time comes first on mobile devices with a real new chapter. 3DS owners will, therefore, have to wait a few more months, as the title is in fact scheduled for release in the autumn.
In Katrielle and the Millionaire Plot there will not be the well-known Professor Layton but his daughter who, with her marked investigative skills and two rather bizarre helpers, will have to commit herself to solving a series of cases, with an end which is anything but obvious. Will the new Level-5 signed title succeed in winning over mobile users? We think so and reading our review you will discover why.
Despite the fulcrum of the whole experience, in Professor Layton’s games, it is the puzzles and puzzles to be solved, even the narrative sector is of some importance .
The protagonist of the whole story is called Katrielle and is the daughter of Professor Layton. An investigator with strong skills, ready to solve any mystery that, one day, she decides to open an investigative agency. At his side we find Ben, his assistant who, despite not being particularly witty, tries in every way to help the employer: a modern transposition of Sherlock and Watson.
The activity of Katrielle is at the beginning and the raw material, or rather the customers, are scarce. Surprisingly, outside the agency, our investigator meets a nice talking dog who obviously needs help. Katrielle is not particularly surprised by the fact that the quadruped can speak and, after assigning him the name of Sherl, decides to help him discover his origins. Soon the commitment taken into the background and Katrielle,Ben and Sherl will begin to work together to solve intrigues and strange cases that will end in completely unexpected ways.
In Katrielle and the Millionaire Plot we are called to solve 12 cases , apparently separated. The various surveys in fact only connected to each other by a single thread. The game experience is characterized, as usual, by the presence of puzzles and puzzles of various kinds and difficulties, some mandatory to continue the investigation while others are completely optional.
The screen of our Tablet or Smartphone is divided into two equal parts : an upper area with the main scene and a lower one with area map and buttons to access the game menu. Our task is obviously to solve the various cases, inspecting, with the inevitable magnifying glass, the environment that surrounds us in order to find clues, collectibles, question witnesses, passers-by and suspects who will not miss the opportunity to entrust us with countless puzzle to solve. Puzzles and puzzles are therefore the focus of the entire gameplayand solving them all won’t be a walk. You need to squeeze your brains, use ingenuity, reasoning and intuition. Sometimes we will also need some mathematical calculations and often the “Notes” interface, on which we can scribble, will be very useful to formulate our hypotheses.
Each puzzle is associated with a certain number of Picarates , a value that determines its difficulty and increases the player’s score. Once the tackle has been resolved, the Picarati go to increase our global score, however, by making a mistake or using the aids, the Picarates assigned to the enigma will decrease.
All the puzzles, in addition to being equipped with an explanation, also provide some help that to be activated need coins, which can be recovered by carefully exploring the various settings. The aid, however, does not solve the enigma but simply gives indications or suggestions to reach the conclusion. The level of general difficulty is varied: some puzzles are simpler while others are complex and arriving at the solution will not be absolutely simple, often also due to an excessively hasty explanation with a translation that does not always make people shout to the miracle.
Katrielle and the Millionaire Plot keeps players busy for about ten hours , however the time depends a lot on the skill of each individual user in solving the various puzzles. In addition, if you want to complete the game 100% (with optional puzzles, coins and collectibles), the longevity of the title will increase significantly.
After completing the first case, our nice investigator will be immediately enrolled in another difficult investigation but the freedom to return to the studio remains, from where it is possible to visit again all the settingsthat have been the background to the solved cases, in order to complete the survey 100%.
The personal study of Katrielle can also be personalized by changing the furniture, the color of the upholstery and choosing a new flooring provided you have the ” Tickets ” you can get by playing. The game also includes an optional micro-transaction system: with the use of real money you can in fact buy some extra content including a series of clothes for Katrille that can still be obtained even when playing. Also interesting is the section called “Enigma of the day” which offers us a different puzzle every 24 hours.
On Tablets and Smartphones, Katrielle and the Millionaire Plot offers a resolution, image quality and a level of detail greater than what was seen in Professor Layton’s previous games, released on Nintendo’s portable consoles.
The style is reminiscent of Japanese anime and the various cut-scenes can be viewed both horizontally and vertically, obviously the first option is the recommended choice. The London settings are absolutely engaging and even the characters are well characterized : the only slightly off-key note is the innumerable sometimes verbose dialogues .
The title is translated into our language however some parts, especially those relating to the explanations of the various puzzles, are not always perfect, a factor that complicates the resolution of some puzzles. Good dubbing with a higher than average quality.
The game interface is simple, intuitive and allows the player to immediately become familiar with the style of play, in addition the possibility of saving at any time makes Katrielle and the Millionaire Plot a suitable game even for a quick game and the presence of a brief summary, every time we load the rescue, it allows us not to lose the thread of the plot and the investigation.
Katrielle and the Millionaire Plot is undoubtedly a “must have” for all Professor Layton’s fans but it is also a great title to get closer to the series. The game mechanics are simple, the bizarre characters and the investigations, some even to the point of absurdity, are engaging and amusing. The proposed puzzles are diversified, never frustrating and between mathematical calculations, logic-based puzzles, real puzzles and a difficulty level sometimes quite difficult, the title will delight all fans.
Unlike the previous chapters, the game does not have a single investigation but is divided into 12 cases to be solved , all connected however by a single thread. The division into chapters surely makes the narrative sector less profound but offers a fresh, engaging and above all suitable game for quick matches, in short, ideal for tablets and smartphones.
Absolutely positive note for the possibility to face the adventures of Katrielle even in the absence of connection while less exciting the price of 17.99 euros that could turn up the nose to users accustomed to playing mobile titles with often lower prices.