Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

Shark or Die (Android)

Posted: September 16, 2010 in iPhone/iPad/iPod
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As you might imagine, you are the titular shark in Shark or Die – and you’re on a single-minded mission: eat people. But though you have a simple goal, things are never that easy for a ravenous killer of the deep. You must make sure you don’t cause too many waves by quickly jetting between meals, for example. Let your food settle a little, or else you send those innocent appetizers swimming away in a panic. And if you don’t eat enough on a regular basis, well, expect to go belly up.

There is a little bit of shark management to busy yourself with, too. The more humans you inhale, the more upgrades you can buy for your shark, such as increased speed. And you should always be on the lookout for VIP swimmers (noted by celeb-shark names such as Sharkira). If you eat one of those, you get a little fuller…. which inches you closer to the next stage.

I expected Shark or Die to become repetitive after a while and was not necessarily let down when it indeed happened. But there really are enough secondary gameplay wrinkles in here – such as swimming directly at a human may cause them to scream, which alerts nearby swimmers to flee – to keep things interesting for far longer than expected. And I liked to colorful, crisp art as well as the good sound effects. Shark or Die’s music tip-toes right up to the line of copying the Jaws theme within stepping over it. (ign)

Published by: Handy Games
Developed by: Handy Games
Genre: Action
Release Date: US: August 26, 2010
Also Available On: iPhone

Grand Theft Auto, one of the biggest franchises in videogames, now rides shotgun on iPad. A port of the PlayStation Portable edition of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (which was in turn a port of a Nintendo DS game), the iPad version is a phenomenal play.

You are Huang Lee, the spoiled son of a Triad ganglord. After your father was murdered, you must deliver an ancient sword to your uncle so as to keep the empire in your family’s name. Ambushed at the Liberty City airport and left to die, you now find yourself drawn into the underworld with thoughts of vengeance. But what starts out as a simple revenge tale grows in scope, with a criminal world about to explode as gangs (and cops) square off for control. The Chinatown Wars narrative is strong, full of both humor and real drama, and benefits from excellent writing.

Instead of a 3D behind-the-shoulder view, Chinatown Wars returns to the top-down roots of the pre-PlayStation 2 GTA games. The art style is cartoonish and looks fantastic. The camera gives you a good view of the city around you, and unlike the iPhone version which allowed you to get too far ahead of yourself if you started going really fast, the iPad provides ample space around Lee. It’s great to see one of the few problems with the iPhone edition solved by making smart use of the benefits of the iPad.

Chinatown Wars uses a virtual stick for on-foot movement that is just about as good as you’ll find on the iDevices. Combat controls would benefit from some sort of targeting system, but I experienced few problems with digging into a violent crew and trading bullets or putting shoe prints on their faces. When driving, though, you default to a pair of arrows for turning left and right, which you use in conjunction with gas and brake pedal buttons. All of the virtual buttons (gas, shoot, kick, carjack) are also now just the right size. (They were too small on the iPhone.) However, until you get the hang of things, you often must look at the buttons to make sure you are hitting the right one. In the middle of a big fight or a high-speed pursuit, this is troublesome until you are 100-percent comfortable with the controls. The menus have also been cleaned up a little for the iPad.

The mission variety in Chinatown Wars is one of its strongest features. You are not just driving to a location, shooting somebody, and then returning to home base. You perform in a parade, hijack fuel tankers to turn into giant bombs, run interference during a race, and put out fires. And on top of the main story, there is a plethora of side jobs and races, including the extra content that was included with the PSP port. But most surprising is the drug dealing. I’m not just shocked that Apple was cool with heroin (other games have been rejected for drug- and alcohol-related content), but just how vital it is to the overall game. If you want to make money, you have to juggle this resource management game-within-a-game where you buy low, sell high, and watch out for busts.

Another Chinatown Wars high point: the GPS system. Tapping locations on a map to set a course is intuitive and makes finding your way around town easy. Of course, getting there isn’t necessarily a cakewalk, as you must watch for cops on the lookout for the new kid with the high wanted level. All of the touch screen elements from the DS original are pulled into the iPhone Chinatown Wars, too, such as kicking out the back window of a car in the water, interacting with computers, scratching lotto tickets, or hot wiring a car.

Finally, Chinatown Wars does not have the same kind of licensed music as other GTA games. Instead, it has a series of five stations that play genre instrumentals, like hip-hop and dance. I actually like this quite a bit; over time, I found the licensed music in the GTA games almost look-at-me distracting. You can also create a custom station with your own music, which is cool if you want to shoot up Chinatown while listening to Dean Martin.

I already mentioned that the raised camera and extra screen size of the iPad makes it easier to play Chinatown Wars on iPad. But I must also stress just how insanely good this HD edition looks, too. Rockstar refreshed almost everything for this port, cleaning things up so they look sharp on the large, higher-resolution screen. The attention to detail combined with the cel shaded-esque art direction makes Chinatown Wars one of the best-looking iPad games to date. (ign)

Published by: Rockstar Games
Developed by: Rockstar Games
Genre: Third-Person Action
Release Date: US: September 9, 2010
Also Available On: PSP, iPhone,Nintendo DS, iPad
Also known as: GTA: Chinatown Wars


When you purchase electronics, especially in the price range of five hundred dollars and upwards, you want to protect your purchase. The obvious way to do such is to buy a case for your device, and when it comes to Apple products, there are no shortages of options. If you want to take protecting your iPad to a different level, you start thinking OtterBox. The iPad Defender Series Case essentially gives your device that Toughbook feel. It’s the same 1/4″ thick rubber/plastic combination that you would find on any OtterBox on any other device, plus it comes with a multi-purpose cover to help protect the screen. Out of all of the cases I’ve tried for my iPad, this one tips the scales for me. Not only because it’s so heavy, but for the peace of mind it ensures.
What’s goodProtection. Protection. Protection. If I drop my iPad while it’s in this case, I can pick it back up and keep on keepin’ on. The Defender provides more shock resistance than any other case available that I’ve ever seen. With two layers of protection and a cover for the screen, you’re safe against drops, no doubt about it. It also give the iPad a good feel in your hand, and helps you hold on to it. Out of box, the iPad can be a hard device to hold on to. It’s an awkward shape compared to every other device we’re used to, and it’s extremely thin. The rubberized outer shell provides something to grip and the top side of the case offers a little bit of a bevel around the screen to hold on to.

With a hard plastic cover over the screen and a screen protector, there’s no need to ever worry about scratching the screen again. I can just (literally) drop it into my back and go. Before I had the OtterBox, I would gently place the iPad between two of my school books and gently place my backpack on the floor when sitting it down. Now, I can toss it in the bag, toss the bag, etc. No more worrying about breaking my iPad. The case also doesn’t interfere with the usability of the iPad. All of the buttons, ports, switches, etc. are easily accessible through either some rubber plug or in the case of the port on the bottom of the device, through a removable plastic port cover.

The plastic cover that covers the screen is a multi-purpose cover. Not only does it protect the screen from table corners and other potentially hazardous objects when falling, it also serves as a stand for the iPad. With a built-in stand, it puts this case over the top for me. This, I use more than anything. I prop my iPad up on my desk, pull up a PDF of my class textbook, and get out a pen and some paper. Before I would have to look at the iPad laying flat on the desk, which wasn’t terrible, but being propped up and facing me at an angle makes it ten times easier to use in class or while at a table.

What’s badThe Defender series for the iPad isn’t perfect, no case is. But this case comes the closest to perfection for me. For me, the iPad is already heavy enough. Compared to it’s eReader counterparts, the iPad weighs nearly a pound more, which may not seem like a lot, but when you’re holding the device for extended periods of time it can become a little tiresome. Well, when you add the Defender case to the iPad you’re adding another twenty ounces to the mix. That nearly doubles the weight of the iPad, and puts it at almost five times the weight of the competition (judging by the newest Kindle at 8.5oz). There are always sacrifices with using accessories, and in this case the sacrifices are added weight to an already hefty device, and bulk, which is less of an issue.

One of my favorite things about the iPad is the slim design we’ve all come to know very well. The curved back on the iPad makes it feel even slimmer, but it starts out at half an inch thick. When you put the Defender on it bumps it up to one inch thick. You give up the sleek design of the iPad for a Toughbook® look.

Since I’ve put the case on and taken it off at least ten times now, it’s not so hard putting it on. It’s just like any other OtterBox that you’ve had to put on a phone, but much bigger. The hard plastic shell comes in two pieces, the silicon cover wraps around the inside and plugs into the plastic shell every two inches or so. Once you’ve mastered the art of putting on the OtterBox, you can put it on any device without a problem.

The negative side to the stand that comes built-in is the lack of being adjustable. I know, what can you expect from a two-piece mechanism? But typing on the iPad laying flat is a nuisance, and so is typing at a forty-five degree angle. Talk about accelerating carpal-tunnel…

The case comes with a screen protector, but it is a “self-adhering” (in other words a static-cling screen protector), which will help protect the screen, but isn’t something I enjoy putting on or have ever enjoyed after putting it on. Static-cling screen protectors always seem to attract every dust particle in the room to one centralized location that just so happens to be on the screen of whatever it is you’re installing the shield on. I personally use Invisible Shields on every device I own. I’m sad to say it but the OtterBox doesn’t play nicely with the Invisible Shield, and that’s because the Invisible Shield has a tacky texture to it. Sliding it in the plastic cover took me a good three minutes. Wiggling and maneuvering it to keep it from tearing up the shield. That’s my guess as to why the makers of this case chose the static-cling cling shield, but I despise them in every way. I’m OCD and cannot stand dust being under a shield.

ConclusionI know there may seem to be much more bad than there is good, but I’ve never liked cases (for any device) to begin with. I’m carrying two phones right now and they’re both completely naked. Cases, in my opinion, while undoubtedly protecting my device take away from the design someone worked very hard on. I like carrying my devices naked, but the iPad is the exception. In any case (no pun intended), I base my opinion on a case around what has the negatives and sacrifices. I can elaborate all day about what is good about a certain accessory, but what really matters is what’s bad about it, what makes me not like the case and would keep me from buying it. Most of these negatives are me nit-picking, but they’re still gripes of mine which I wish had been addressed, and I’m sure many of you would have the same issues.

I rate the iPad Defender Series Case 9/10. I love this case, much more than anything else I’ve tried for the iPad. It offers excellent protection, ample functionality with the stand, and superior peace of mind against bumps and drops. While adding a little bulk to your already decent-sized device, it does give you some sort of secret agent feel to carrying around your iPad. Anything that makes me feel like Agent 008 earns a thumbs up in my book. (phonedog)

For The Apple Geek Of The Day!

Posted: September 11, 2010 in iPhone/iPad/iPod
Tags: ,

I’m sure this concept is going to bring smiles to many iGeeks (me included) and keep us lusting for it to become a reality! The Docking and Storage Base is a convenient tray that fits under the screen of the iMac or PC and docks everything ‘i’; iPod, iPhone, iPad. It covers the area below and to the back of the screen allowing you to sync, charge, store and display up to 3 devices. Two of the docks are towards the end of the ramp so that they don’t obstruct the main screen, allowing them to be used as secondary screens (clever!).

The tray also provides easy access to USB ports that are located in the front, plus all the wiring is concealed to give it a clean look. The only wires you’ll see are the ones for a firewire and a power source. Two storage cabinets for other smaller electronic devices, documents and pens, complete this panel’s features. (yankodesign)

Totally Awesome! Designer: Yaser Alhamyari

As much as I enjoyed Mirror’s Edge on my Xbox 360, after feeling the breeze at my back with the iPad and now iPhone editions, I’m certain this game was made to be played in 2D. By stripping away any of the fussiness of lining up perfect jumps along three axes, Mirror’s Edge loses almost all of its original frustrations and becomes the best unintended rhythm games for the iPhone. Really, this game is about getting into a groove.

Mirror’s Edge is the story of Faith, a courier in a gleaming dystopia. Information is a precious resource, rarely flowing freely due to the iron grip of a totalitarian regime. You must slip through the police state’s defenses by blasting across rooftops and burrowing through underground passages. Fortunately, you have both the grace and grit of a lion, able to perform incredible acrobatics. With the swipe of your finger, you’re off and running. Timing upward and downward swipes helps Faith leap over or duck under obstacles. You can defy gravity with wall runs, slide down zip lines, and hop across exposed scaffolding with simple swipe sequences that feel natural. All you need to do is leave one finger anchored in a corner of the screen and make your small but distinct swipes, never obscuring a bit of the gorgeous thrills. This is simply one of the most intuitive action games I have played on any of the iOS devices.

Gravity is not Faith’s only enemy, though. She must take down armed thugs and guards, too. Swipes are your instruments of destruction. These are a bit trickier than the urban gymnastics, primarily because timing is so critical when coming up on a guard just as he is raising his weapon. Do you flick up and then to the side to perform a flying kick? Or maybe a roll that sends him crashing to the ground? How Faith comes out of these attacks often affects survival because you can plant your foot in the face of a guard and then be unprepared to deal with a low-hanging duct. Mirror’s Edge is thrown into slow-motion when you engage a guard, too, which can throw off timing until you get a firm grip on exactly when slo-mo starts and stops.

Some of Mirror’s Edge boils down to a little trial-and-error. If the stages were any longer or the checkpoints not as smartly placed, failure to negotiate some of the trickier elements like timed wall jumps up vertical shafts would be frustrating. But chances are good that you will only need to replay sequences once or twice to get your timing down.

Mirror’s Edge includes a new Speed Run mode which challenges you to race through stages and then post your best times on Facebook. It’s a nice addition to the main game, and definitely preferable to the collection mode from the iPad edition, which was all about picking up hidden messenger bags.

EA has done a marvelous job bringing Mirror’s Edge to the iPhone. If you have an iPhone 4 and new Touch, the Retina display mode is brilliantly crisp and pops off the screen. But no matter which device you use, the acrobatic animations are silken. You just look cool when you perfectly link up a series of jumps and rolls, flying across the gaps in rooftops as pigeons take flight out of sudden fright. The bright, primary- and secondary-only color scheme is taken from the console game, which remains a stunner to me. The use of bright reds to denote critical objects or paths is not only pleasing to the eye, but also makes Mirror’s Edge more fun to play. It’s nice to see aesthetic dovetail so well into gameplay. (ign)

Puzzle Agent iPhone

Posted: September 8, 2010 in iPhone/iPad/iPod, PC, Wii
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The differences between homage, inspired by, and outright copycat narrow as you move down the sliding scale. Telltale Games‘ new Puzzle Agent is obviously born out of a collective admiration for Professor Layton’s awesome DS adventures. And though the desire to emulate a great game is perfectly understandable, Puzzle Agent adheres so close to the Layton formula of narrative-puzzle-narrative-puzzle that it’s distracting. Hell, you even search scenes for pieces of gum instead of coins to activate hints.However, to outright dismiss FBI Puzzle Research agent Nelson Tethers as Layton without a top hat is to partially miss the point. Once the similarities between Puzzle Agent and Professor Layton have been fully digested, you can begin to appreciate the best parts of Tethers’ adventure: the wonderful art style and the interesting story.

Tethers has been sent to the freezing Fargo-like burgh of Scoggins, Minnesota to reopen a shuttered eraser factory. To do so, he must talk to the locals, piece together an increasingly oddball plot, and, as expected, solve puzzles using a very basic – but also accessible – tap-and-click interface. There are over 30 puzzles in Puzzle Agent; the majority of them are required to sniff out the culprit behind the factory closure. They include math puzzles, logic exercises, and spatial thinking tricks.

Arrange the food, Agent Tethers.


To be sure, the weakest link in Tethers’ case is the puzzles themselves, which would have absolutely devastated Puzzle Agent if it didn’t have charms elsewhere. Looking over the list, I see that only half of them really entertained me. Far too often, Puzzle Agent relies on basic shape-arrangement exercises that are not really brain-teasers. And Telltale repeats some of these puzzles entirely too often, such as returning to a snowmobile pathing puzzle where you drop logs to create an escape route. Another offender is tile-rotating. Twist these worms. Spin those stovepipe pieces. Rotate these hiking routes. Enough already.

The logic puzzles are much better, such as an exercise where you must visualize a line of crows to deduce the minimum number of the birds on a wire. The trouble here, though, is that the difficulty of the logic puzzles is all over the map. And the placement of tough puzzles is also uneven. The final puzzle is a great stumper, but it’s preceded by two softballs: follow a cord through a tangle and arrange some objects into a specific shape. There is no danger of getting puzzles (and there are several object-placement exercises throughout the case) like these wrong, which robs Puzzle Agent of suspense. You just sit there and click around until you have the final shape. There’s truly no need to use hints on these types of puzzles, and they account for a lot of Tethers’ teasers. I don’t necessarily want to be beaten over the head, but Telltale leaves the safety net under Tethers for the whole game.

It’s too bad that the core puzzling isn’t as strong as Puzzle Agent’s excellent art direction. Telltale hired Graham Annable, creator of the spectacularly macabre Grickle strips and animations, to design Puzzle Agent’s look. It was Telltale’s most inspired decision in the creation of Puzzle Agent, as this game looks like no other. The simple line art is both evocative and creepy, especially when the storyline – which I enjoyed quite a bit – takes a dark turn.

Puzzle Agent is blurry and washed out.


Unfortunately, this brilliant art is under-served by the porting process from PC to iPhone. Puzzle Agent looks fuzzy and washed out whenever an element is in motion or part of a backdrop. The moment something stops at the center of attention, typically Tethers in a scene, he looks fine. But the saturation and blurriness around him is distracting. Game-killing? No, not at all. But it does a real disservice to Puzzle Agent’s strongest element. (ign)

Published by: Telltale Games
Developed by: Telltale Games
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: US: September 2, 2010
RP for Rating Pending
Also Available On: PCMaciPadWii

Posted: September 8, 2010 in iPhone/iPad/iPod, Nintendo DS/i/3DS, PC, XBOX 360
Tags: , , , , , ,

You would be forgiven for saying you’ve had your fill of tower defense games. The past few years have seen a flood of these strategy clones filling downloadable portals like Xbox Live Arcade. But you know who might be able to bring you back: the good people that brought you Peggle. PopCap, one of the best developers and publishers around, has brought its excellent tower defense game Plants vs. Zombies to XBLA. While it uses the basic mechanics of all efforts in this genre, it stands out for its charm, personality, and loads of gameplay variety. The result is another addictive experience from PopCap that will appeal to all walks of gamers.

Zombies are creeping on your lawn, and your garden is the last line of defense against these brain-crazy cannibals. You have some pretty peculiar (but useful) plants at your disposal, including pea shooters that spit green balls at the undead, hot tamales that burn everything in their path, and Venus zombie traps that will devour an enemy in one gulp. By planting various seeds in strategic locations around your lawn you may be able to hold off the onslaught and keep them from entering your house and eating your brain.

Unlike many tower defense games there isn’t a winding path the zombies follow towards your home. The yard is divided into six rows and zombies shuffle across the yard in a fairly orderly fashion. They won’t cross over into other lanes but you will find multiple bodies coming in on one row. It’s a very simple design and, while it does eventually become challenging, this is one of the easier tower defense games I’ve played. The real draw here is the incredible variety of plants (towers) and zombies. There are 48 kinds of plants with numerous offensive, defensive, and production capabilities, and 26 different zombies. Completing each level in the game will unlock a new plant or item to add to your arsenal. The array of choices means you can customize your strategy and confront the undead on your own terms. These constant rewards really keep you involved and will have you defending your lawn for much longer than you may have expected.

There is also a wide variety of gameplay styles. Some levels take place during the day and some at night, which has a large effect on what plants are available to you, how you harvest sunlight (your resources), and what environmental obstacles you encounter. Interspersed among the regular levels are more arcade-like variations on the tower defense formula. You may lose the ability to select plants and instead have to make do with pre-selected weapons that come down a conveyor belt. Or you may be asked to play Whack-a-Zombie out of the blue. There is also a survival mode to unlock and puzzles that let you play as the zombies. You can’t go more than a few minutes with this game without discovering something new and delightful.

Adding to the game’s charm is the cast of undead, ranging from football players to zombies that carry screen door shields to aquatic zombies that ride dolphins (you have a pool in the backyard). These aren’t your gruesome Left 4 Dead or Resident Evil zombies. This is a zombie game for the whole family (never thought I’d say that). It also has a catchy, organic soundtrack that becomes more intense as your yard is flooded with enemies. The light voice acting gives the undead character as they lurch toward your house grunting and moaning for brains.

The transition from mouse and touch screen controls to a control pad has been handled very smoothly. It’s easy to whisk your cursor around the screen with the analog stick and now you can hold the triggers to suck sunlight in. This version of Plants vs. Zombies doesn’t feel cumbersome at all.

New to Plants vs. Zombies are competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes. Versus mode is particularly fun and lets one player take control of the zombie horde and try to eat their way into their buddy’s house. When playing as the plants, you win by shooting down three of the zombie’s five targets on their side of the screen. It’s great fun. These multiplayer modes are only available locally. PopCap is trying something different with Plants vs. Zombies’ leaderboards on XBLA, and I’m not sure it works. Instead of a list of high scores or game completion percentages, you can show off your house to your Xbox Live friends. A pile of dead zombies will accrue on your lawn and ornaments will appear as you earn achievements, which are supposed to be representative of all you’ve accomplished in the game. As I’m playing the game early for review, I can’t really get a sense of how satisfying it will be to check out my friends’ houses. (ign)

Published by: PopCap Games
Developed by: PopCap Games
Genre: Strategy
Number of Players: 1-2
Release Date: US: September 28, 2010
MSRP: $15.00
RP for Rating Pending
Also Available On: iPhoneiPadXbox 360Nintendo DSPCMac

GameDB v0.0712

Posted: September 4, 2010 in Emulator
Tags: , ,

EmuCR:GameDB GameDB v0.0712 is released GameDB is the newest community and directory for Mac, iPhone and iPod games. Evolving from the Mac Game Database, we strive to bring you easy-to-read game and entertainment information, so you can have fun with your favorite platforms. 

DownloadGameDB v0.0712
Source:Here

(emuCR)

Archetype (iPad)

Posted: August 25, 2010 in iPhone/iPad/iPod
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First N.O.V.A., now Archetype. When two of the best shooters for the iPhone unsuccessfully make the transition to iPad, you have the question whether or not the tablet is a suitable destination for the genre. Of course, it doesn’t help that Villain made little effort in the porting process. This is a straight across port with only a few new features — but no new functionality to take advantage of the different platform. I cannot believe I’m using this word to describeArchetype on iPad, which is such an amazing iPhone game, but here it is: lazy.

For the general idea behind Archetype, read my iPhone review.Because the iPad edition is a basic port, not much about the set-up has changed. When you first begin Archetype, you create a login that stays with you – but only on that specific device. This is another crushing disappointment with Archetype for iPad. All that hard work you did to level up on the iPhone? Right now, it’s worthless. You cannot use the same login for the iPad game; you have to start over. That’s craziness – and immediately off-putting for Archetype fans that supported the game since the beginning and made it such a hit in the App Store. Villain promises an update for transferring your profile soon — so unless you’re brand-new to Archetype, you should just wait.

It’s not just the login issue that weighs down Archetype. The controls are fixed; you cannot adjust them. Why not? At least N.O.V.A. allowed you to move the buttons and sticks. I understand fixed controls on the iPhone where real estate is at a premium, but because the iPad is such much larger and heavier, you need to let the player reconfigure the controls so they are comfortable. The size of the virtual sticks are scaled up for the iPad, which makes sense in theory, but it doesn’t work well here. I don’t have NBA player hands. You fire by tapping outside of the look stick. My thumb barely gets across the stick, so it’s never easy to take a shot and return to looking – all while balancing the iPad and running around the arenas.

The iPad version of Archetype does have a new stage – Avarice – and an all-new mode called Rocket Arena. These are good additions and I do like that Archetype’s multiplayer works across multiple platforms. If you’re on iPad, you can play against somebody on an iPhone. That’s smart stuff.

Archetype runs quite well on the iPad. In multiplayer matches over WiFi, everything ran smoothly with no noticeable hiccups. I think Archetype pops a bit more on the iPhone 4, but this version does look very good. The weapons are nicely constructed and well decorated, especially the one-hit kill battle axe. (ign)

Published by: Villain
Developed by: Munkyfun
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Number of Players: 1-10
Release Date: US: August 19, 2010
MSRP: $4.99
Also Available On: iPhone, iPad
Also known as: Archetype

Meow Meow Happy Fight PictureTwin-stick shooters are plentiful in the App Store, but few have the charm of Meow Meow Happy Fight, a ridiculous romp through the city streets of Japan. You pick a silly hero from a roster of goofs like a bowl of ramen or a six-legged cat ball, and then roll around arenas, blasting enemies for points and power-ups. It’s really not all that different from other twin stick shooters, such as the popular Minigore, but instead of throwing waves of monsters at you, you are mainly engaging in showdowns against just a handful at a time.

The twin sticks are well crafted and responsive. But what undermines Meow Meow’s otherwise inspiring theme and visuals, though, is its slow pace. At no point does Meow Meow raise the pulse. The shooting often comes down to basic duels where you just roll away from an enemy while lining up your own shot. And it takes far too many shots to eliminate an enemy. I’d happily trade in power-ups like invisibility and quad damage to have the screen exploding with flying bullets and fast-paced movement. Juice this thing up so normal speed is the same as the Super Speed power-up.

I have no complaints, though, about Meow Meow’s excellent art direction and personality. Really, how can any gamer not smile when a kitten explodes in sushi and capsule toys that replenish your health? The artwork is stylish and colorful, but I’m not exactly surprised because Meow Meow comes from the same folks that made the attractive Piyo Blocks.

Meow Meow lacks online multiplayer, which is too bad but by no means a disaster. It’s just one of those features that would be nice to have. Open Feint achievements and leaderboards are cool, though.

Release Date: US: August 5, 2010
MSRP: $0.99