Archives for category: reviews
Everything you ever needed to know about this series is written here!
And here is my humble opinion…
808 has a convincing dystopian feel with its bleak portrayal of the futuristic urban monstrocities*. Lowlifes, hermit hackers, perverts, mercenaries, betrayal, cyborgs, illegal trade in human body parts and the general underlying notion that life is cheap are presented in abundance.One of the things I enjoyed most in this anime is the relationship between Sengoku and Varsus (a robot assistant). It’s important as it characterises how technology will become the subject of abuse and have to suffer the worst of human emotions. The small R2-D2-esque robot is cursed and berated constantly by Sengoku, and while we don’t expect it to do anything other than continue running its program, it’s interesting to see how much Sengoku uses Varsus as an outlet for his anger.
Criminals becoming police officers and earning time off their sentences with each completed case is an interesting concept – and yet deep down we know these men can never be free because the powers that be won’t allow it. We feel sympathetic to them yet know they must have commited horrible deeds in the past. They are true anti-heroes.
Another noteworthy aspect of this anime is the UK soundtrack – which perfectly captures a range of moods from high-octane action to sombre pieces that reflect the decline of humanity.

The downsides are that there are only three episodes – which is a shame as the characters, premise and setting have potential to go further. The hardline cyberpunk feel in the first episode is somewhat diminished by the second episode that introduces a cyborg with psychic powers. And diluted again in the final episode which focuses on vampires in space. There’s no real sense of closure either; as we don’t know what becomes of these unlikely heroes.

Despite these flaws the series is definitely worth a watch for any fan of cyberpunk. All episodes are viewable on YouTube.

*monstrous cities

808_body_parts abuse death_collar

Good because..
On the surface Jetpack Joyride is a very simple game with the visual quality you would come to expect from HalfBrick. Underneath the accessible single-touch compulsive one-more-go gameplay however, is a wealth of missions, vehicles, utilities, gadgets and customisation options for both character and jetpack. The constant stream of missions provide a great source of motivation to continue playing. Three missions are active at any one time – and when a mission is completed it is replaced with another. Each mission has a number of stars associated with it, and those stars feed into a ranking/levelling system. Fulfill the stars required and you level up, bringing with it a coins bonus that are then used to purchase utilities, gadgets and customisation options. Missions, coins, and levels piggyback each other very well – creating a never ending domino effect. The vehicles effectively give players an extra life as once the player gets hit they can continue on as normal – but it never feels like this was tacked on; each vehicle feels unique and if nothing else will always provide entertainment value and leave you with a big smile on your face.

Bad because…
If I have one criticism it’s that coin accumulation is very slow – which makes purchasing coins from the App Store the only alternative to spending a large number of hours playing the game. Obviously this technique enables the developer to make money – but there will come a point where each player has to make a choice – buy coins or lose interest and stop playing. I feel this choice could have been delayed and made a little less black and white by giving more coins to the player during gameplay; not enough to remove the need purchase additional coins, but just enough to make the utilities and customisation options seem more attainable and within a shorter time frame.

Improve because…
Coin collection is something primal within a player, most likely because we are obsessed with money – it’s satisfying to fly through a field of floating coins; so why not have coins everywhere, all the time? Failing that – a bonus game accessed via the slot machine would be a good addition; thirty seconds of pure coin collection and no obstacles. Another welcome addition (for me at least) would be to have a zombie killing spree round – where hordes of zombie scientists shuffle along the floor while Barry mows them down with his jetpack – resulting in coins or completing a mission objective.

Overall…
I would say that Jetpack Joyride is an essential game to the App Store – just the kind of game that makes the iPhone a genuine rival for any traditional handheld game console, and challenges the perception some people have that mobile gaming is somehow inferior to traditional console gaming because of it’s size/cost.

Read the rest of this entry »