Monday, April 16, 2018

App of the Week: Karateka Classic

Karateka is a game from 1984. You don't need to talk about it much. Or do you?
Well it's back on Android. Even there for quite some time. This week I was searching around in my library to find a little gem for making it app of the week.
as soon as I stumbled on this title it was clear. And that's for a reason. Retro games are fascinating. And Karateka was THE graphical highlight back then. On mobile it's just a great game that fits perfectly. What once was a huge game, is now a low memory profile app. The thing is as a computer game it felt like a graphic demo sometimes. There was no huge story line and no need to play this for 10+ hours to finish it.

That's exactly what you'd expect from a mobile game that you can play casually through the train stops.
Karateka made a great jump onto mobile and into the present. For nostalgic reasons, they even made the sound of the floppy drives when part of the games loaded from disk into memory. Not that this would be necessary today :).
It's only €0.99 one-time to play this forever. Jupp, just like the old days, when you bought your games and can play them completely (!) without buying anything afterwards. No season pass, no in-game items... weird.

Download from the Play Store: Karateka Classic

Monday, April 9, 2018

App of the Week: Ramen Craze

You probably know I really love ramen. And as it happens a new Anime is out at Crunchyroll "Koizumi-san loves Ramen Noodles".
And that means I'm in serious trouble keeping my mind away from ramen. Even when using my smartphone (huh, and people talk about smartphone addiction... meh).

The game can get really stressful very quickly. But that is the essence of games of this type. You need to handle the customers quickly. Think it's too hard? Try to survive as an employee in a real Japanese ramen shop...
The graphics are more than good enough for the gameplay. The manga-style fits perfectly. Indeed, this is how you want a game about Japanese food. Don't even try to imagine XYZmen trying to eat a bowl of Japanese noodles. They would probably lose all of their super powers immediately :).
The sound is okay. You can turn off the music and use your own playlist of J-Pop or anime songs for this. The sound effects are good and funny.

Yes, it's a free-2-Play game with in-app purchases. A big downside. But all in all it's not done too unfair. You can play fine in the beginning without spending any money. And then you just need to be patient. Prices for the packages is for everyone to decide for themselves if good or not.
The game itself is great and with my current ramen craze it was inevitable for this to be app of the week.

Download from the Play Store: Ramen Craze

Monday, April 2, 2018

App of the Week: Splitter Critters

Some time on the play store with a unique game concept. Yes, I know... unique usually translate a boring ;). But not this time...

In Splitter Critters you slash the game world a.k.a. your screen virtually. Then you want to rearrange the tiles so that your character can pass through the level.
While this sounds easy, it isn't. Not even in the slightest. While the first levels are there to get you used to the gameplay mechanics, it soon turns into puzzling nightmare. In a positive way if you like challenges.
All in all it's a great fun without any in-app purchases or ads. Yay!
Just buy this for approx. $3.69 (€2.99) and you're in.

Download from the Play Store: Splitter Critters

Monday, March 26, 2018

App of the Week: Aura Kingdom

Whenever a real big MMORPG is released on Android, I'm going very excited. Normally this excitement vaporizes quickly.
This one however could be really big.

The graphics are very nice, anime-style from ground on (mind the cute cat-girl pose on the loading screen =^.^= ), great sound, and a promising intro and story at first. Of course, the game falls and stands with the later story in the game, but a good beginning has been made so far, dragging reality into the game at some point.
The chars are really nice. The customization however is not really extensive, so you can expect a lot of same looking chars running around the world.
If you don't care much about that, you can enjoy a mobile optimized attack system, with an auto feature (I believe it's a must on a mobile device, but feels weird if you play mmorpgs on your computer or PS4).

The memory you'll need on your device is massive. After the installation (almost 1GB app from the play store) it downloads even more data from the server and stores it in your device. After that, it uses up a mind-boggling 1.9GB on the phone.
Expect more data installing when more gameplay content are available.
It's those moments when you wished you bought a device with more storage...

It was a sure app of the week. It was only a question if the short time I had to play was enough to made up my mind. It was. Because it's brilliant from the start.
Yes it's free2play. Expect to spend some money when you want a quick level up and great gear. That's how things are. I would rather have had pay to play instead. But mmorpgs normally have a monthly cost. So if you put this in perspective and spend the money for a monthly cost, like say 8-12 bucks, you can get some real advantage.
Is this game pay2win or not? Only time will tell.

You can download it for free in the Play Store: Aura Kingdom

Monday, March 19, 2018

App of the Week: NHK World TV

This is one that personally makes me jump around of joy.
Since I have no longer access to satellite TV and bound to a cable provider I couldn't watch NHK World. It was THE program that ran in Background all day long.
The app to watch the live stream of the broadcast as well as video on demand recorded programs, is available for quite some time, but there was one thing missing: Chromecast support!

Finally it makes sense. Watching a TV program on a tiny screen is not. Now you can directly cast the stream to your Chromecast device as intended. Not via a horrible screen cast, but directly as it is meant to be with Google's streaming solution.

In addition you also have a news app, since NHK World's program has a big news chunk, and warnings for the Japanese area. So you are being updated on earthquakes e.g.
The huge video on demand library from recent broadcasts is a great way to get your dose of Japan everyday. Btw. you can follow the whole Sumo season!

There is a lot of more to say, but the most important feature is clearly the live stream of the actual NHK World TV station. Awesome! NHK World is back on my big screen at home. Thank you!

Download from the Play Store: NHK World Android App

Monday, March 12, 2018

App of the Week: Captain Tsubasa Dream Team

You like soccer and strategic games? This might be for you.
The latest Android Game from Klab brings anime/manga star Tsubasa Ozora together with his mates and competitors to your smartphone.

Waiting since the NES release in most countries, this is the thing for any Tsubasa fan.  The graphics are okay since it is a strategy game. The in-cut scenes are very nice and you can see clearly that this is an official release.
The sound is great and thankfully you can hear the original Japanese voices instead of some horrible localized part-time voice actors (sorry for that but so many stuff gets ruined). you can select the rest of the game language seperately. So this matches all the expectations.

There are some caveats however.  The in-app purchases are insane! Even though it's free to download and install, you can easily spend 100+ bucks for a decent package of game items, energy and so called dream balls you need to transfer players to improve your team.
But since you can decide if you want to play just casual, I think it's okay.

So yes, that is definitely an app of the week. Alone for the great comeback of Captain Tsubasa to the world. Klab 1:0 Dull !

Download from Play Store: Captain Tsubasa: Dream Team