Beyond the Game Trailer: Retro Assault

We take a look at a retro inspired top-down shooter from Big Shiny games that features all the weapon upgrades and combat action gamer’s expect from a Sci-Fi space shooter on their smart phone. We also talk with John Mulkey from Big Shiny Games on what to expect from this upcoming title.

Here are some key features of Retro Assault

  • Five Upgradable Starfighter Chassis: The P.O.D. Fighter, The Tank, The Infiltrator, The Destroyer, and The Interceptor offer a spread of tactical combat options of agility, hull integrity and shield capacity that can be upgraded to better face the challenges ahead.
  • Interchangeable Combat Wing System:  Build an arsenal of Combat Wings that you can deploy to any of the Starfighter Chassis in your collection to ensure you have the right ship and weapons combination for the mission! Each Combat Wing features three tiers of upgradeability.
  • Tacticals: One-Off Strategy Modifiers that can be collected and added to the control stick for fast access during combat.
  • Interstellar Chaos: Fight through the galactic saga of seven sectors of action packed missions, hordes of enemies, and enormous Capital Ships!
  • Rank, Leaderboard and Achievement System:  Test your skill for the best rank, score and time, and compare them against your friends and the rest of the world on global leaderboards.

Check out their site here.

 

Angry Birds

Angry Birds - Mobile Games - Gameplay Screenshot

Angry Birds (2010)
By: Rovio  Genre: Puzzle  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Android  First Day Score: 108,400 (single stage best)
Also Available For: PC (forthcoming), iPhone/iPod, Symbian

You know, the progress of mobile communication technology really has been remarkable. After many years of refusal to conform, I finally had to yield and buy my first mobile phone, and even to this day I’m only on my third phone. I had no intention of ever using any of them to play videogames and, were it not for a quirk of fate, I’d still be using my second phone and continuing to not play games on it! Through much of this time, however, I had been watching, with a certain degree of envy, admittedly, the evolution of the iPhone as a legitimate gaming platform, yet no single game tempted me enough to take the plunge. Until this one.

Angry Birds - Mobile Games - Gameplay Screenshot

Actually that’s not true. I still don’t own an iPhone, despite trying to get one almost purely to play this. I knew from the first moment I saw a shot of this that I wanted to play it, so I found it frustrating that I was apparently unable to. Then, with the aforementioned quirk of fate, my phone was broken. Since it was too old to be fixed or replaced, I was instead given a state-of-the-art (for about five minutes) Android phone for which I found out Angry Birds was due for release. Hooray! Even better, when I was finally able to download it, it was free! This in itself made me very happy, but after all this waiting, was the game actually any good, or had I built it up so much for myself that I was in for a disappointment?
Like most puzzle games, the concept behind Angry Birds is a simple one which doesn’t really need a detailed backstory. Suffice to say, some evil (and for some reason, green) pigs have stolen the eggs belonging to a group of birds. This has understandably made the birds angry who have decided to channel their anger into a direct assault on the pigs who have barricaded themselves in and around various strongholds. It is then your job to launch the birds at the pigs using a large slingshot with the eventual aim of defeating them and reclaiming the treasured eggs. This is achieved either by direct contact, or by causing nearby structures to collapse onto them. Those pesky pigs have built some elaborate defenses though, so it won’t be easy!

Angry Birds - Mobile Games - Gameplay Screenshot
According to the walkthough on the Rovio website, the game consists of five ‘themes’ each comprising of twenty-one levels, but there have been other sets of levels made available to download so the exact number is hard to say, but it’s a lot! Each one features a pig, or pigs, on the right of the level and your slingshot and quota of birds on the left, and there’s usually various obstacles between the two. The structures the pigs are usually protected by are made of glass, wood, or stone, each of which is obviously progressively harder to break through, and are more often than not made of strategic combinations of several materials. To break down/through these structures you have six different types of bird at your disposal.

Angry Birds - Mobile Games - Gameplay Screenshot
The first bird you’ll use is the red one which is a tough sonuvvabitch but doesn’t really do much beyond collide with whatever you fire it at. Next up is the smaller blue bird which will split into three separate birds in mid-air when you touch the screen. After this helpful fellow you’ll encounter the yellow, and possibly angriest of all the birds. A tap of the screen while he’s in flight will see him increase in speed and plummet kamikaze-style in a straight line, causing greater damage. Next is the heavy black bird who self-destructs in a powerful explosion after he makes contact with any structure. Soon after him you’ll meet the white bird who, with a tap of the screen, will drop an egg bomb. Last but not least is the green bird who can reverse his course in mid-air. Each level gives you a pre-set quota of these birds that you can use to defeat all the pigs on that level, and careful planning is needed to make best use of their abilities.

Angry Birds - Mobile Games - Gameplay Screenshot

The pigs have a few tricks up their sleeves too though. The smaller ones barely need a touch to be defeated, but the larger ones are tougher, some of whom are equipped with helmets and armour! Some are so tough you’ll need help to best them. There are often strategically positioned rocks or other objects, for example, which, with a well-placed bird strike, can fall and cause an extensive chain-reaction of destruction. Some levels even have carefully placed boxes of TNT which can be ignited with the strike of either a bird or object of any other kind. The pigs don’t seem to care though, and sit there looking at you, blinking, sometimes grunting, and laughing when your attempts to reach them fail! Completed levels will give you a Star Rating out of three depending on your points, which can be earned for destruction of structures as well as a 10,000 point bonus for any unused birds.

Angry Birds - Mobile Games - Gameplay Screenshot
The first thing I noticed about Angry Birds is how slickly presented everything is. You can breeze through all the menu screens and suchlike in a flash, which might not sound like much but it really is a breath of fresh air, with many games these days, mobile or otherwise, having clumsy interfaces and long loading times. Here, if you fluff up a level, two touches of the screen and a similar number of seconds later and you’ll have restarted it! The visual style used here appeals to me a great deal too. Whilst obviously far from the pinnacle of modern technology, it suits the game perfectly and is very easy on the eye. There’s even some amusing cut-scenes! Whilst there’s no in-game music, the sound is also of a decent quality, with many amusing sound effects befitting the style of the game, and several catchy tunes and ditties on the various screens between levels. All the flashy front-ends in the world can’t disguise a sucky game, but luckily Angry Birds is anything but that.

Angry Birds - Mobile Games - Gameplay Screenshot
The best games on a platform as limited as a mobile phone are ones creatively programmed to make the best use of its unique features, and it’s here that Angry Birds excels. The game was created originally for the iPhone but, since Android devices use near-enough identical technology, it works just as well here. The touch-screen controls are simple and precise and I don’t think it’s possible for the game to work any better. The physics are spot-on too, with partial destruction of some structures leaving the remains teetering and swaying, sometimes taking thirty seconds or more to finally collapse. This is one of those games that you can play for five minutes but often end up playing for hours on end, constantly adjusting your birds trajectory until you get exactly the shot (and ensuing destruction) you want! Even if you manage to finish all the levels on offer, there’s still the challenge of achieving a three star rating for each of them. Angry Birds is such a simple concept but it’s supremely playable and unbelievably addictive. I guess I’m a bit of a sucker for these silly games – I was exactly the same with LocoRoco for the PSP – but everyone should at least give this one a try. Android owners don’t even need to pay for the privilege. Ready. Aim. Fire!

Angry Birds - Mobile Games - Gameplay Screenshot -

RKS Score: 9/10

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNNzRyd1xz0[/youtube]

Retro King Simon is a 36 year old guy from England, and likes lots of stuff, including retro videogames, movies, and anime. You can check out his blog here – Red Parsley.

Angry Birds review

Angry Birds title screen

The great thing about mobile and even flash gaming is that you can bring a dynamic that may not work in the console and PC world. Though there have been many successful puzzle games for console and computer systems, some of the most played have found their birthplace in the mobile world. One such game is Angry Birds, a game that has swept across the mobile gaming world with fun gameplay, level design and even music and sound effects that has captured the hearts of even the most hardcore gamer. You would be hard-pressed to find someone with an advanced mobile device that does not have this game on it.

The Breakdown

Angry Birds was published by Chilingo and developed by Rovio , a game maker out of Finland. The game in a nutshell is to fire different types of birds at pigs who surround themselves in various structures. It is almost a play on the three little pigs in that the pigs barricade themselves in structures made of wood, concrete, glass and other materials.

A group of pigs have stolen un-hatched eggs from the birds making them angry. The theft of the eggs begins a war between the birds and pigs. Each level has the pig’s setup in various positions with items such as wood planks, concrete beams, tnt and glass. Your task is to fire the birds via slingshot to take out all the pigs on the level. Sometimes the pigs are in the open and by hitting them directly with the bird takes them out. Other times the pigs are hidden beneath various objects and you need to either break through to hit them or cause the structure to collapse onto them. When you take out all of the pigs you advance to the next level.

Angry Birds bomb
Angry Birds bomb

Level Design

For the most part there is only one screen for each level of Angry Birds. What this means is you can view the entire playing field at once. However, to do this you have to zoom out in order to see the full screen, otherwise you begin from the left hand side with a view of the slingshot and the birds allotted to you for the specific stage.

The slingshot always stays the same, but the amount and type of birds you are given access to changes. The levels are made in a way that you can take out all the pigs without using all of your birds, but that takes planning, some skill and a bit of luck. Since the configuration of the structures the pigs surround or hide themselves in changes each level you need to know what type of bird to use and where to hit each part of the structure for maximum effect.

The Cast

Angry Birds is the war of birds versus pigs and there are different types of each. For the most part the pigs are the same as there are only a few size differences and what they might be wearing, but everything comes into play when deciding how to best take them out.

The Pigs

  • Small Pig – The small pig is your basic grunt, it is taken out pretty easily and does not get to wear any accessories. You can hit these directly for an instant kill or having almost anything fall on it will take it out, the same goes for it falling even a small distance.
  • Large Pig – The larger pig can take a bit of damage from a falling structure and is reflected by the appearance of black eyes.  However, a direct hit from any bird will take it out and a fall from most distances will kill it. The large pig can wear a helmet that gives it further protection from falling debris, but it does not really protect it from a direct hit from a bird or a fall.
  • Mustache and King Pigs – These pigs are pretty much like the large pigs except they may be a little more resistant to damage from a short fall or smaller debris.

The Birds

  • Red Bird – The red bird is your standard and starting bird, it is average against most structures, but is mainly for either knocking something over or a direct hit on a pig.
  • Blue Bird – The blue bird breaks into three small birds once you launch it and hit the button. These birds are great against glass.
  • Yellow Bird – The yellow bird has a speed burst if you hit the button after launch. These birds are great for wood.
  • White Bird – These drop one single bomb egg when you hit the button after launch. These birds themselves do little, but the egg bombs can destroy structures or take out pigs.
  • Black Bird – These overstuffed birds explode once launched and you hit the button or once they come in contact with any object they explode in a few seconds. These birds are pretty strong against anything, but they are really good against concrete.

Additional Birds

  • Boomerang Bird – Yes, it does what it sounds like it would do. This bird can curve once launched to come back and hit those hard to reach places.
  • Fat Bird – The fat version of the red bird, think wrecking ball.
Angry Birds bomb
Angry Birds bomb

The Strategy

When you start out each level you have a predetermined amount of birds and they will vary per level. So you may start out with three red birds, but there are six pigs to take out. You also get to use the birds in a specific order so you can’t pick the black bird first as an example. Keeping this in mind helps you plan for the best way to take out the pigs and the structures around them.

The slingshot is pretty simple. If you have ever used one as a kid the principle is the same. If not the idea is a rubber band around a curved tuning forked shaped stick. The more you pull back on the band the farther the object will fly. You can also adjust the band to fire the bird high or low and to create launching angles and bombing trajectories.

Sometimes the best way to think of each level is how much slash damage you can do. As an example, if you start with a black bird you might want to explode it in a place causing the most debris to fall that can not only fall on the pigs but cause the pigs themselves to fall over and die. However, you must know your enemy. If the pig has a helmet and you bury it under debris and it doesn’t die it can be very hard to get to it with the birds you have left.

Not only do you have to think about taking out the pigs, but there are hidden golden eggs and other things to hit and destroy. You earn points a number of ways.

  • Destroying structures
  • Killing pigs
  • Remaining birds

Sometimes causing a structure to collapse is the best move and other times you may want to cause a chain reaction as in the case of TNT. Sometimes there are boulders or other items that when you detonate the TNT can fly out and take out the structures or the pigs. Other times the pigs may build a structure you can weaken like a train out of glass or a boat of wood. If you take out its support structure you can win the day. The good thing is you can go back to any level once you complete it to earn a higher star rating, so you can go for the quick kill and then come back later to get fancy.

Platforms and Add-ons

Angry birds has five storylines with over 60 levels in each and that is before you add in the holiday add-ons for Halloween and Christmas. You can find Angry Birds on the Apple, Android, Palm and Maemo platforms.

Overall

Angry Birds is fun and addictive and can be frustrating so if you are the type of person prone to fits of anger then take a class before you play this game or you might end up destroying your phone. Personally the best thing about this game for me is seeing a chain reaction you did not expect. Sometimes I would be stumped on a level and then all the pieces would fall in place and I would win. I think that makes the game fun to play again even after you have beaten it.

If you have a phone that supports this game it is worth the price. It is a serious time killer and will make even a 14-hour ER wait bearable.