Icarus-X, Taiko no Tatsujin, Charadium

   27/04/2010 at 17:44       Richard Horne       1 COMMENTS.
 - Icarus-X, Taiko no Tatsujin, Charadium, Games Round-Up, Free games

Icarus-X

After the disappointment of hearing that ESPGALUDA II wouldn’t run on my inferior 2G iPhone, I was pleasantly surprised to see the release of The Quadsphere’s Icarus-X, a game which holds no such requirements.

A slick vertically scrolling shooter with 3D animated backgrounds, Icarus-x delivers the same bullet-hell gamers have grown to love, or hate. With slick controls, detailed graphics and a decent variety of enemies there’s plenty to like.

Controls can be set to relative or direct with the latter positioning your ship just above your finger, while the former lets you manipulate its position directly. Bullets are fired automatically while your finger is on the screen and a meter fills up as you kill enemy ships. Once this meter is full, a quick double tap fires a laser missile which automatically targets anything on screen.

As you shoot consecutive groups of enemies your combo meter increases, which in turn builds up your score multiplayer, and as the enemy patterns are static, practise definitely makes perfect. And speaking of practise, there is a mode dedicated to just that, which lets you play the game at 25, 50, 75 or 100% speed. Meanwhile, downloadable replays let you wallow in your inadequacy, as you see just how the best players in the world play the game.

The game features 5 distinct levels each with its own boss, and while the backgrounds are nicely animated, they do repeat far too often.

A polished little gem of a game then, but nothing that’s going to set the world on fire. Still at $1.99, you can’t go wrong. 

4/5 - Icarus-X - Full 3D

Taiko no Tatsujin

Taiko no Tatsujin, which literally translated means Taiko Drum Master, is developed by Namco and currently only available for download from the Japanese iTunes store. But luckily, as its mechanics are fairly basic, you can just about navigate through its menus without too much trouble.

An unusual choice for an iPhone game, Taiko no Tatsujin follows the Donkey Konga approach to rhythm games, and in its usual larger-scale guise sees you whacking large drum controllers for all you’re worth. Symbols scroll across a horizontal timeline and it’s your job to bang either the centre, or the edges of the on-screen drum, in time to the music. It’s an unusual choice for an iPhone game because the action, and the actual fun of hitting a big old drum is replaced and reduced to simply tapping your iPhone’s screen. Of course it should be said that using sausages instead of your fingers is a whole lot funnier.

With the music tracks limited to standard Japanese J-Pop, remixed classical and anime fare, they’re invariably catchy and infectious but with only a very small number of them actually available, the whole experience pales into insignificance when compared with Rock Band and even the Tap Tap games.

To complete each song you’re required to hit 65% of the overall notes, but any rhythm game aficionado will generally hit almost 100% of them each and every time. It’s not a particularly challenging game but that’s probably a deliberate and conscious decision to ensure the experience remains as fun as ever.

Very much RockBand-lite then, but well worth a look if you’re a fan of any of the previous Taiko no Tatsujin games.

2/5 taiko no tatsujin

Charadium

Charadium can best be described as Pictionary online. Which, for those of you from another planet, means it’s a multiplayer game where each player is given a word to portray to the other players via the medium of art. Players must guess the word being drawn in as quickly a time as possible and before their opponents guess correctly, in order to maximise the number of points awarded. Each game lasts for a few rounds and whoever has the highest score at the end wins. It’s quite simple really.

As Charadium is a multiplayer game, a wi-fi or 3G connection is an absolute requirement. With a free ad-supported version, there’s also no excuse not to try it either.

Charadium is almost identical to another iPhone game called Depict. But the key difference between the two is that the basic drawing tools in Charadium are much more accurate, responsive and easy to use. Simply draw with your finger and touch the appropriate tint if your word requires a splash of colour.

Of course, as with most online games, there’re always idiots who try to ruin games by just plain hand-writing their word instead of abiding by the rules. Charadium counters this by allowing you to file a complaint against the offender and if enough people complain per round, then the offender receives a point deduction. The game also attempts to interpret your drawings and uses its own character recognition system to punish you automatically if it thinks you’re cheating. All of which is a great idea until you find yourself punished for no good reason when you weren’t actually cheating.

With online play against both strangers and friends, Charadium is great deal of fun, but as ever, you can’t beat the authentic experience with real friends sat around a table.

4/5 Charadium Pro

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