Hollywood Hospital – Time Management Meets Tinseltown [iPhone Game Review]

(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)

Oh noes!  The rich and famous have been afflicted with a strange virus, turning them into caricatures from famous horror and action movies.  It’s up to you and your crackerjack team of healthcare professionals to render treatment and turn these Hollywood Horrors back into Hollywood Hotties in Hollywood Hospital for iPhone [iTunes $0.99].  And, if you’re good enough, you’ll bank some cash along the way.


Released last month by Spacehopper Studios and Zed Worldwide, S.A., this unique time management game incorporates several mini-games into the flow which keeps the action hopping as you juggle multiple patients who expect the best treatment without delay.  In fact, they have no problem storming out if you’re taking too long attending to their needs.


Each of the dozen or so characters has a hilarious malady which corresponds to a particular Hollywood feature.  In the first rounds, there’s a Gorgon who needs her serpentine hair trimmed before her closeup, Rambone, who needs a few stitches and the Zombie chick who just needs a slap of reality to fix her brain-eating ways.


At each level, you are given the opportunity to spend some money and upgrade various elements, like adding an extra doctor or putting in cushier waiting room chairs.  Each improvement allows you to treat more patients more quickly and earn even more cash on the next level.  I found each upgrade to be quite the return on investment.


As you clear through stages, additional wings are added to your hospital facility, giving you the ability to treat more varied conditions.  Keep an eager eye out for the paparazzi, though.  They’d like nothing better than to catch a star in an unflattering light.  Keep them away and you’ll earn some extra points with your patients.


One unique aspect of the game is the ability to "chain" actions.  So, once you learn the routine that each patient follows, you can quickly set up each of their stops, freeing you to keep tabs on the whole operation and the mini-games vs. micro-managing each little step.

Currently on sale for 99 cents [iTunes], this game has plenty of entertainment value even at its regular price of $1.99.


Truckers Delight: Episode 1 – Um, Yeah, Wow, Um, Hey [iPhone Game Review]

(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)


Released just a couple of weeks ago by Mobigame, Truckers Delight: Episode 1 [iTunes $0.99  – on sale, was $2.99], would appear to have an unorthodox genesis. First, there was an electro pop song by Third Side Records artist Lionel Flairs. This was followed by a much-viewed, 8-bit style animated YouTube video by Jérémie Périn which instantly reminded me of the annual Spike & Mike’s Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation. If all of the segments of the video were given the app treatment, there’d be another 3 or 4 episodes coming your way though most of the later imagery wouldn’t pass the AppStore approval process. If you seek out the video, don’t say I didn’t warn you. [editor’s note – click here to view video … Tim warned you!]


But, back to Episode 1, where the player, as the intrepid Trucker, pursues, as the name suggests, some Delight in the form of Alpha Chick, a buxom blonde in a hot red car. When you catch up to her, you get extra points for bumping her from behind. You need to avoid the other vehicles on the road, though, since they slow you down and you only have so much time to pass through each checkpoint. Particularly bothersome is the biker who inexplicably is able to divert your much larger vehicle off the side of the road. Strike him just right, however, and he meets an untimely end.


Make sure you keep an eye out for the power up cubes as well. One of them gives you the extra power called Mr. Slurp, a big ol’ long tongue that can be used to enhance your, um, game play. Just make sure you keep your eyes on the road!

While the style faithfully reproduces the look of the video, the gameplay itself is pretty basic. Pedal to the metal, checkpoint to checkpoint, powerups along the way. One interesting twist to the visuals is that at some points along the road you encounter hills that obstruct your view of the traffic up ahead. This adds a bit of challenge as you dodge and weave at the last seconds.


Normally priced at $2.99, the game is just 99 cents through Sunday, June 6 [iTunes]. The game appears to be very popular in Paraguay, for some reason.


KRAPPS of Defense! – Crap Of Defense Review (Redundant)

(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)


I’m calling bait and switch on the developer’s of Crap of Defense [iTunes].  See, they lead off their description with "This is worst game ever!" and then they deliver a solid & entertaining tower defense game.  Emphasis on the singular tower – you only get one tank cannon to face off against wave after wave of enemies delivered in a unique, hand-drawn style.


Featuring two separate campaigns, the original and the recently added Winter Assault as well as two modes of play, Missions and Survival and three different levels of difficulty, this one will keep you entertained for quite a while.  That single cannon also gets an assist from an impressive number of battlefield power-ups and special weaponry types that show up from time to time.  If you’re falling behind, you’d better hope that an airstrike or armaggedon power-up becomes available to turn the tide in your favor.


In the Missions mode, you are faced with a series of different goals – clearing each one unlocks the next dossier of destruction.  Depending on your skill and performance, you may also obtain achievement medals to proudly display.  Some of the missions are easy, but they quickly progress in difficulty.  Utilizing the special weapons and power-ups to their full potential can be the key to victory.


In the Survival mode, you are tasked with dropping as many enemy units as possible before a certain number of them get through.  As you level up, the enemy assault ramps up along with you.  Fingers will have to fly furiously to stay in the game.


Perhaps the hot weather here in AZ is the reason, but the Winter Assault campaign has become my favorite.  Each campaign offers different types of enemies, power-ups and goals.  The game also sports appropriately quirky sound effects and music that sounds like it belongs in a war-time newsreel.


Linkin Park Wants YOU to Join the 8-Bit Rebellion!

(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)

Linkin-Park-iPhone-Title Somewhere in India, a phone rings …

Apple Dude: iPhone/iPad service hotline, how may I help you?
Fanboy: Yeah, um, both my iPhone and my iPad have a problem with the built-in speakers

Apple Dude: Can you describe the issue?
Fanboy: Yeah, so these advanced devices currently sound suspiciously like my old Nintendo

Apple Dude: Both of them, eh?  So, tell me, have you purchased any new games lately?Fanboy: Yeah, I was just playing "Linkin Park 8-Bit Rebellion!"… that’s when I noticed the sound thing.  See, I know every Linkin Park song by heart and…

Apple Dude: Every one?
Fanboy: That’s right, every one, and these just sound a little, like, different.

Apple Dude: Sir, what you are hearing is the carefully crafted sound of "retro" beautifully rendered through your wisely chosen next generation devices.  But, I have to question whether or not you truly know every Linkin Park song by heart.
Fanboy: Huh?

Apple Dude: See, once you complete the game, you’ll unlock a brand new, exclusive track.  So, until you’ve mastered the game, there will be one song that you won’t yet know.
Fanboy: Well, then I guess I better get back to it, thanks!


Linkin Park 8-Bit Rebellion! for iPhone [iTunes $4.99] and Linkin Park 8-Bit Rebellion! iPad Edition [iTunes $4.99] were developed by Artificial Life, Inc. in collaboration with the band.  Featuring 8-bit versions of eight songs, including One Step Closer and my personal favorite: New Divide.  The 8-bit songs are fantastically re-imagined (there is a media player so you can listen to them at your leisure as well).



It took me a little bit to figure out the game side of things.  One key observation:  it’s important to pay attention to the current mission objective since character interactions will be different depending on whether or not you’ve completed the current goal.


I found the iPad edition to be easier to play overall, but that’s likely to be attributed to the fact linkin-park-rebellion-55 that my iPhone is a 3G so it’s a little sluggish with the bigger apps.

If you’re interested in the background of how the app came together, I encourage you to check out the blog of Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda –> http://MikeShinoda.com … and if you want to sport one of these cool 8-bit avatars (mine’s got a lot of orange on it since I am a Phoenix Suns fan), head on over to http://www.8bityourself.com.


[heads-up … tomorrow we’ll be announcing a Linkin Park 8-Bit T-Shirt giveaway. It’s a very cool shirt and you will not want to miss it … stay tuned] 

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 – Sequel Even Better Than The Original

(written by guest author Connor Coghlan. follow Connor on Twitter @Condawg)


I grew up on Sonic the Hedgehog. It was one of the very first console games I ever played. (first videogame ever was SkiFree … couldn’t get past the damned yeti.) And let me tell you, I played the hell out of every single Sonic game (up until they started sucking).

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was by and far my favorite. It introduced the ability to rev up and roll fast as hell … which I love. So, as you can imagine, when Sonic the Hedgehog 2 [iTunes $5.99] was released by SEGA for the iPhone and iPod touch sometime last week, I bought it instantly.


Sonic 2 plays like a champ on iDevices. The emulator that SEGA made to allow this port is fantastic. I’ve never noticed any lag and it just feels like I’m playing it natively. It gives you a virtual d-pad and "A" button (only "A" because that’s all you need). In-between zones and levels, the buttons disappear to show you the title slide … which is a very nice feature that makes it feel more like a native game.


Plus Sonic 2 has an awesome savestate feature. This means that if you get interrupted by a call, you can just resume your game right where you were. Or even if you just close the game and come back to it later, you’ll be RIGHT where you left off … it’s awesome.

All-in-all, if you’ve ever played Sonic 2, you get the gist of this game. The gameplay transitions perfectly to a mobile device and how well they pulled this off just gets me even more psyched for the upcoming Sonic 4. (if you’re not aware, Sonic 4 will be a 2D sidescrolling, episodic Sonic game … brand new game, but it’s going back to its roots. It’ll be pretty sick.)


Running around at mega-speed and stomping enemies is just as fun as ever. Robotnik’s complex machinery still fails to kill you (which makes me wonder why the dude doesn’t just, like… make or purchase a firearm … that would be much more effective).


If you’ve ever played and enjoyed a Sonic game, you shouldn’t be thinking twice about giving this a purchase. If you’ve never played a Sonic game… what the hell is wrong with you? Well, you’ll never have a better opportunity to start. Sonic 2 is currently #53 in Overall Paid Apps … buy this game and help it climb a notch to #52 [iTunes $5.99].

Thumpies For iPhone & iPad Flat Out Rocks, Rolls & Even Thumps

(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)


I have been playing Thumpies [iTunes $2.99], a rhythm game from Big Blue Bubble for a few months.  I shall now put the game down and attempt to convey my unbridled enthusiasm for this app and it’s bigger iPad sibling, Thumpies XL [iTunes $4.99] (which I am pretty sure stands for eXtraLicious).

This game flat out rocks, rolls and yes, even thumps.  The imaginative graphics, ultra smooth gameplay and wickedly good soundtrack will quickly draw you in and the challenges will keep you coming back for more.  Much more, if my experience with it is any indication.


What?  You’re still here?  OK, for those of you that didn’t immediately jump over to the AppStore, I’ll back up and give you some highlights.

In Thumpies, you tap in rhythm as these crazy fuzzy monster heads bounce around, striking a set of targets (mushrooms, tree stumps, turtles, etc.).  When your taps are right on your notes get added to the mix and your scoring meter moves up.  When you miss, your scoring meter falls.  When your meter fills up, you get to advance.  In the early rounds, you’ll be able to keep up with just one finger, feeling the pattern and kicking out the jams.  As you progress though, you’ll have to rely on multiple finger dexterity, tracking multiple monster heads each following their own pattern.  When you nail the beats, the resulting musical number is quite spectacular indeed.  To add to the challenge, you also need to collect butterflies which allow you to unlock even more quirky levels.  You have to be quick, though, since the monsters love to eat them and if your meter falls to zero, they escape.



Easy, medium and hard settings give both kids and adults & newcomers and veteran players an appropriate level of challenge.  Like I said earlier, this game has legs.
In the past few weeks, following the release of the iPad, several venerable games were super-sized for the new device.  And, I am happy to report, Thumpies XL retains all of the yummy goodness of the original and then heaps on some extra whipped cream in the form of multiplayer mode.  That’s right, all of the flying finger fun can now be enjoyed by two players at once.  This mode splits the screen in two for a "cooperative competition".  So, there’s only one shared meter to fill but each player is given a breakdown of their performance at the end.  My kids and I enjoyed playing a few rounds in this mode this afternoon.  The updated graphics in the XL version are big and bold, just as I expected them to be.


At $2.99 for the iPhone app (or try the free trial version) and $4.99 for the XL iPad app, you are getting a whole lotta entertainment for the price.

Get Hooked On HELLKID – One Hell Of An Addicting iPhone Game

(written by guest author Connor Coghlan. follow Connor on Twitter @Condawg)


Do you love running and jumping, all while collecting things? … How about occasionally hooking onto shit?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the questions above, have we got the game for you! And no, it has nothing to do with Tarzan.

Hellkid [iTunes $0.99] by Justnine Co.… officially HELLKID: hook & jump … is a game that reminds me of Canabalt (you’ll notice that, in most of my reviews, I compare a game to another similar game – yeah, that’s how I roll … I get around). The goal is just to run as far as you can. The twist here, however, is collecting souls.


In Hellkid, you play a kid named Devi, in hell (who would’ve guessed?). Your mission is to collect souls. By collecting these souls, you unlock other characters (which I haven’t been able to do quite yet … not that I suck, this game is pretty difficult).

Devi wants to know what it’s like to be human. Somehow that ties into everything… I dunno, I don’t pay much attention to the story in this game. But basically if you collect enough souls, you become human. The gameplay is really addictive, which makes me want to get to it  and not necessarily focus too much of my attention on the storyline.


The game consists of you (Devi) running and jumping around to collect souls. Every now and then, a gap comes up. Sometimes you can clear them with one jump … if not, you have to hook to the pillar behind you to swing across, collecting souls as you do so.

As you progress through the levels, the game gets faster, and the souls become more sporadic in nature, causing you to jump around much more than you’re comfortable with, and leading to your very inevitable and saddening death.


One thing that’s really tough (for me, anyway) in Hellkid is timing swings just right to maximize your soul collection … or to survive since I die a lot in this game. That said, Hellkid is a blast and it’s never really too frustrating when I die (that’s the beauty of the  "Retry" button).

Hellkid is a quality iPhone game … well polished and great graphics. It contains 12 levels, 50 patterns and 38 achievements to unlock … the replay value of Hellkid is outstanding. For the agro player, there are global leader boards and you have the ability to post your score to Facebook or Twitter from within the app. And per the developer’s Twitter account on April 8, a new update is coming soon.


I highly recommend this game for anybody who’s into "pick-up-and-play" games (which I imagine is 99% of iPhone users) … or you can take Apple’s recommendation (but why would you do that when you have me?) of Hellkid as it was featured in the New & Noteworthy listings last February.

Be sure to check out the full version of Hellkid at 99 cents [iTunes] … or the lite version which is a free download [iTunes Free].


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