Tag Archives: Mobile game

Haven Review: Kill Me Again

   Kill Me Again is a free mobile zombie puzzle shooter. Your character moves on rails, backwards as zombies advance on you. Your job is to match 3 colors of bullet casings in order to damage to them. The more casings you line up, the more damage you do. You level up as you go, and get skill points to unlock new skills. Some of these are straight bonuses to your stats, others are combo and chain skills. If you get 5 of the same color in a row, you activate one of those skills. It’s all fairly straightforward.

Unlike standard match-3 games, in Kill Me Again you can drag colors from anywhere on the board to anywhere else. This is useful for setting up those 5 block combos, but slows you down so that the zombies will have a chance to eat you. At first this seemed like an interesting way to mix up the stale match-3 mechanic, but after a while it became just as mundane.

One fairly interesting feature is “critical hits”. You can hold off on making a match until a zombie is right next to you and starts to glow red. Make the match at this time, and you’re rewarded with bonus damage. I feel like this was a way to switch up the idea that you should make as many matches as quickly as possible, and put a little bit of timing into the game. While this is a great idea in theory, I found that the bonus damage wasn’t worth the wait. It was much more effective to just make as many matches as quickly as possible. There are bosses in the game, and they have weaknesses to specific colors of blocks. This is one of the better mechanics in the game. You have to decide whether or not to go for those weaknesses or go for matches that activate abilities.

My complaints are small enough so that I wouldn’t say the game is bad; rather it’s simply more of a standard puzzle shooter. The place where this garbage really starts to smell is in it’s micro-transactions. For each level you play, you need pills…two pills per level per try (except boss levels, which cost three). At the very beginning of the game you get 10 pills. You get 14 more from the “Day 1” present box. There are present boxes for the first 8 days of the game. These give you pills, money and the occasional consumable item. The game will periodically give you more pills, seemingly at random. So after you blow through all your pills (about an hour into the game) you’ll need to spend some time waiting around until they refresh.

Of course, you can spend money. You can trade real currency for in-game gold bars. You get 10 of these for $1 (USD), for example. You can spend gold bars on numerous things. The first item will probably be pills for 10 gold bars. You get 10 pills. That’s right. Five more fucking levels of play for a dollar. That’s like 5 minutes. You need to spend a dollar if you want to play for 5 more minutes. You can also spend on new weapons and consumables. Weapons will run you about 5 dollars worth of gold. They are also needed in the game to complete rescue quests, which give you jack-all in exchange for your gold bars. Luckily, if you play long enough you might pick up one or two bars from fulfilling challenges and achievements. So these micro-transactions take the game from a standard puzzle shooter to a greedy cash grab.

-Jordan Kamm-

We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

KMAScale

Haven Review: Herding dog

   Herding Dog is an obvious mobile port of a game about herding animals. The game is entirely mouse driven, you click to move, and bark. Those are literally the only two things you do in the game. The goal is to drive animals from all over the field into a target zone. There are a wide variety of animal from sheep, to goat, to cow. Each animal has it’s own way of moving so each of them means changing up your strategy, or so the game wants you to think. Each animal, more or less, acts the exact same. The only real note is the chicken, which follows you around instead of running away from you. The game also introduces predators that will hunt down and eat the animals you are trying to herd. This sounds a lot more exciting than it is. The foxes and wolves will follow around the animals until they lose all their health and disappear. The way to get rid of the predators is to herd them into their own target area. You don’t actually fight them or anything it’s literally more herding. The foxes are easy to take care of, but the wolves will unrelentingly follow the other animals. One wolf is fairly easy to deal with, but more than one is near impossible not to lose one of your animals. Luckily you can clear the stage with just one animal remaining.

Throughout the Level there are also items you must collect. The game isn’t clear about what these items are. They are just little pieces of shit on the ground called items. You run over one to collect it. The game doesn’t give you a clear indication of where these items are in the level and you must just run around until you find them all. You need to find all the items before the level is complete. So long after you have dealt with all the cows and foxes you are still running around trying to find bits of tiny ass shit on the ground. It’s not enjoyable at all, it’s tedious and boring. Tedious is a good word for the entire game. There really isn’t anything enjoyable about Herding Dog. After the first level you’ve pretty much experienced all that the game has to offer and each subsequent level is just more of the same. Herd the things, find the shit, complete the level. It is the definition of tedium. If the herding were fun then maybe this would be enjoyable, but it’s not. It’s just clicking right behind the animals until they get to where they need to go.

Normally I don’t mention music unless it’s really good or really bad. In Herding Dogs case it’s really bad. It seems to just be a 30 second clip of elevator music repeated ad infinitum. It drills into your mind as you rapidly click behind poorly rendered animals in a big field made of green planes and angles. Like every single mobile game ever this game comes with an arbitrary scoring system. When I say arbitrary, I mean incredibly arbitrary. I felt like there was no real reason for the scores I got. In some cases I would finish a level quickly. I would herd all the animals and collect all the things fast and succinctly. For these efforts I would be rewarded a grade of C+. Other times I would take my time. In one case I got up from my computer to get a snack. When I came back and eventually completed the level, spending even more time finding all the shitty items, I was awarded a grade of A+. If some sort of grading system is going to be implemented in your game, make sure the player knows exactly how they are getting the grade they got. Just like it’s scoring system this game is incredibly arbitrary, and offers nothing interesting to the player.

-Jordan Kamm

herddog