Posts Tagged ‘Mobile Apps’

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make video games? Playing games leads to modding which leads to making your own, its a wonderful process that more people should experience. That’s why today I’m bringing you Stencyl. Stencyl is a development suite for creating Flash, iOS and Android games, and if you have the pro version you can also create Desktop Mac and PC games. The engine is designed for 2D games, but that’s what most people want in a Flash game, right? One of my favorite parts is that they include a feature called StencylForge which is an online hosting of various game assets such as characters, backgrounds, environment building tools and even pre-coded behaviors so that you can learn at your own pace. This is great for kids or people who want to get into game design but don’t have the strong programming background. It also includes example games so you can get an idea how a lot of classic mechanics are done.

One of the great features of Stencyl is the forums. There are tons of people on there willing to help out newbies. Another great thing is that it includes the Kongregate, Mochi and Newgrounds API so you can connect to their score boards and give achievements. Speaking of Kongregate, There are tons of tutorials and forum posts about Stencyl and how to use it. For some of those tutorials, you can go here:

Here’s a code block that handles two different types of collisions: the player with an enemy or the player with a coin pick-up. But you can also choose to write real code if you want to. The interface for building scenes is just as simple. They made everything very drag and drop and friendly.

If you’re interested in learning the concepts behind game design and even starting to make your own games that you can upload to a real gaming site and get feedback from people, you should consider trying out Stencyl. Stencyl is available for Linux, Mac and PC and can be downloaded here. I am thoroughly enjoying using it and can’t suggest it enough. I award Stencyl a 5 out of 5 hearts for wonderful software, community and game design teaching.


This strange game has been sweeping the internet by storm for quite a while. The basic idea is that you are a homeowner in a zombie apocalypse and the only way to survive is by cultivating your garden of zombie destroying plants. If that doesn’t sound fun, I don’t know what does. What’s even better is you can now get a free trial of Plants Versus Zombies from the Chrome app store.

So, first I just have to say that I love the quirky sound effects and upbeat music that plays the entire time. The graphics are also adorable. One of the things I really liked about this game is just how much content there is. I have the trial version and I got 20 stages to play through and mini-games. And there’s way, way more in the full version. The mini-games that I have seen so far include a puzzle game where you have to break jars and you might get a plant to place or you might get a zombie and a bowling game. There was also one where you get a randomly generated list of plants coming, sort of like in Tetris, and you have to place them to combat the zombies. Another thing to be mentioned is that the environment changed, including fighting off zombies in the day or night or even on the roof.

I found the game play to be quite simple and the difficulty ramps up in a very natural curve. The levels always felt like they were right at the level of difficulty I should be at. The gameplay is completely made up of point and click mechanics but its very enjoyable and engaging.

Plants Versus Zombies is available for the following platforms: Xbox live arcade, iPhone, DS and DSi, Playstation, Android, PC, Mac, iPad and Chrome web app. According to their website, they won Game of the Year. This is a really stellar game and I suggest trying it out for yourself. I’ve enjoyed it thus far and it just keeps getting better. Every new plant or zombie type is just hilarious. I especially like the one zombie who is reading a newspaper. He gets very angry if anything happens to his paper. So, having really enjoyed this game, I feel that they have earned the 5 out of 5 hearts. I have no complaints. Any time the game started to feel even the slightest bit tedious, they would give me a mini-game or change the environmental variables. It was very well done.

If you are interested in finding Plants Versus Zombies, you can find it in any of the places I listed before or you can go here. The game is available free to try the demo or $19.95 for the full version.

Angry Birds

Posted: May 18, 2011 in 4.5 Hearts
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Angry Birds is a very popular iPhone game these days. But did you know that it is available for more than just the iPhone and iPad? According to the Rovio webpage (they’re the developers, you see), Angry Birds is also available in the Ovi Store (for the Nokia Ovi, apparently), the Palm app catalog and on Intel App Up, which is for netbook apps. You can also get it in the Google Chrome app store. Angry Birds is a puzzle game based on launching birds with special powers out of a slingshot to attack the pigs that stole their eggs.

For being a silly little puzzle game about birds with homicidal rage and strange powers, Angry Birds is insanely popular. It is the #1 downloaded app in the US and Canada and countless other countries. It plays more or less the same on every platform that you can find it on, the main difference being whether you use your finger or a mouse to control the launch angle of the birds. The physics involved is pretty simple and the puzzles are usually quite solvable. Periodically, though, I find myself getting stuck for weeks on a single puzzle. While a good puzzle game should have moments of frustration, it shouldn’t last for weeks. I admit, it took a good long time before I hit one of these levels, but still.

The graphics are really cute and simple. I love all the little birds. The backgrounds are simple and don’t get in the way of play. The different materials that the pigs use to defend themselves are clearly distinct and you can tell how strong different materials are. The sound effects are quite nice and entertaining. I like the music. Its whimsical and amusing, if a bit loud. All together, it adds up to a very amusing game that is fun for all ages.

I really enjoyed playing this game, I’m still playing actually. One of the things I really like about this game is that so many people are playing it, not just gamers. In fact, Angry Birds is largely played by adults who are normally older than the average gamer. In light of that and in light of just how fun it was to play, I award Angry Birds with 4.5 hearts out of 5.

4.5 out of 5 zelda heartsIf you’re interested in playing Angry Birds, there are so many different ways to play and different places you can get it that the best way to do it is to go to Rovio’s Angry Birds page here. If you want to find it in the Chrome store though, you should go here.

Pocket Frogs

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
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So, this is a new one for Dangerous to Go Alone. I, myself, don’t own an iPhone, but a few of my friends do and I’ve been playing their games in my free time. I found myself playing this neat little game called Pocket Frogs. It is a free app available through the iPhone app store that was developed by Nimblebit. The basic idea of the game is that you’re raising frogs to breed, sell and race. There is a Froggydex of all available frog breeds and achievements for getting different types of frogs and such.

So, you have to tame your frogs by tapping the screen to hop around a lily pond and eat flies. You can also get gifts which can contain things like coins, potions, more frogs and habitats. There are achievements to be gained by getting different kinds of frogs in various combinations. Unfortunately, there is a limited number of achievements and the content isn’t being updated. There are, however, over 15,000 different types of frogs.

Pocket Frogs is what is known as a microtransaction game. This type of games operates off the idea that the user can play the game for free but has the option to buy things which can make play more enjoyable or bonus content. These payments are usually quite small and frequently involve buying some sort of in-game currency. Its an interesting business model and seems to work quite well. There are a lot of games that are using this model quite successfully.

The main problem with Pocket Frogs is the fact that once you have all the achievements there is really no more incentive to play unless you really want to go through the grind to get all 15,000+ types of frogs. Even then, they aren’t increasing the frog types so eventually you would have all of them. While the graphics are pretty cute and the game play can be entertaining, it just isn’t compelling enough to last after all the achievements are gathered. There’s only so long you can tap lily pads and breeds frogs before you get bored.

Admittedly, there is the racing game and puzzle game. I never did figure out how the racing game works exactly. I think that you can tap to make your frog go faster, but this might just be me thinking it works this way so processing what I see as supporting my theory. The puzzle game is pretty much a matching game. You can play either to maybe win coins and other prizes.

Overall, Pocket Frogs is a mildly entertaining little game for the kind of person who likes Farmville and the like. I personally don’t like it very much, but it can be played for short periods of time and has a lot of content. The content isn’t be updated, which is a major downside but it could still be worth it if this is your kind of thing, especially since the game is free to play. I give Pocket Frogs a 3 out of 5 Hearts.

3/5 zelda heartsIf you are interested in playing Pocket Frogs, you can find it in the iPhone and iPad app store and it is available for both systems.