Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Annexula brings addictive Zergling-rush gaming to the masses in our iPad Games of the Week

Starcraft holds a special place in gamer’s hearts. The Zerg are but one of several races battling it out in this classic, a race of purely organic, icky aliens who spread like a living carpet over any landscape.

Annexula perfectly captures this gaming vibe, applying the game mechanics of a tower defense app to a mysterious island populated with living “organisms” sporting icky, magical qualities. This week also delivers a spot-on Zelda clone from Gameloft, a Ninjump-inspired fantasy platform jumper, and a robot war-themed single-stick shooter.


What do you get when you apply the game mechanics of a tower defense app to a mysterious island populated with live “organisms” sporting icky, magical qualities? Annexula, of course.

Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden HD
Fans of action adventure games (think Legend of Zelda) will dig Gameloft’s newest offering. Hop on a horse, slay some orcs, seek a grail, and save your kingdom!

Wharr: The Colossus Age
If you can get past the broken English in the menus, there’s a challenging platform jumper waiting to be enjoyed inside Wharr, with some seriously mean bosses to take down along the way.

BattleNoidz HD
This week’s dollar-menu arcade side scroller puts you in command of an army of robots tracking down the last remaining power sources in the galaxy. You’ll have to move quickly, or it’s game over.

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.


Annexula ($4.99)

Starcraft fans, take note. Annexula could easily be described as a Zerg-inspired tower defense game. You’re plopped down on a planet covered in sticky, organic “ground” that’s populated with living trees, beating-heart blobs, hungry ground-traps, and more. Your goal is to deploy, upgrade, and properly place a series of living towers to attack and destroy a train of spiders, ants, and other creatures traversing this living, breathing landscape. As the game progresses, you’ll need to take some serious time to plan your placements, upgrade them, and add hungry traps to snare the beasts. Thankfully, you’ll get a glimpse of the kinds of creatures that are about to make a run for it, and with a timer ticking down, so long as you survive for a set amount of time, it matters not if 10-20 enemies remain on the board when the counter reads zero. It all adds up to pricey, yet trippy, “icky” take on a popular genre that’s worth playing.

Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden HD (FREE)

Our friends at Gameloft have landed quite the bombshell in the App Store. Sacred Odyssey is both an in-your-face, Legend of Zelda-inspired action adventure game, and a “free” Trojan horse that’s designed to lead you through a tutorial then find your wallet, open it wide, and snag a quick $6.99. Still, this free introduction is enough to get a taste of the top-quality gaming experience that awaits just beyond your in-app purchase. You fill the role of our hero, young Ayden, hopping on the back of a magical steed to ride across the realm of Lasgalen, taking on quests, slaying orcs, crawling through dungeons, talking to magical trees, and seeking magical grails. While the voice acting is notably good, the overall story tends to swing widly from standard fantasy-speak to modern, tongue-in-cheek game references. That said, there are many hours of solid game play waiting for paying customers looking for a Zelda-like horse-riding, button-mashing experience on their tablets.

Wharr: The Colossus Age ($.99)

My son is addicted to Ninjump, a simple mobile game that challenges you to keep a ninja jumping ever-higher by leaping from highrise to highrise, avoiding obstacles along the way. Wharr offers a very similar experience, this time turning our hero into a fantasy warrior, and using our iPad’s accelerometer to help our hero successfully jump from platform to platform by tilting our device left and right. The wrinkle? There’s a series of bosses waiting at the top of each level, and as we rise, he reaches out to try to grab us, blocking our view in the process. This graphical layering of the boss lurking in the background (roar!), our hero in the middle jumping nimbly higher and higher, with the boss’s grasping hand coming into view every so often adds up a truly unique, sometimes frustrating experience. But what would victory be without a serious challenge?

BattleNoidz HD ($.99)

Robots and war, they go together like chocolate and peanut butter. In this little $.99 app confection, your purpose is clear: Collect the last remaining power crystals fast enough to keep your army up and running before your enemy gets to them first. You’ll take command of a small fighting craft outfitted with a runner bot, which you can land on the surface to grab up to four energy triangles at a time. The sources stream up to your ship, and trail behind. Run them back to your mother ship, hit the glowing trap to unload, then head back to the surface. Along the way you’ll meet up with enemy robots, SAM sites, and more. Don’t dawdle – the faster you go, the less likely you’ll fail. The graphics are above average, and the action can get pretty intense at times. Keep moving!

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