All About Symbian score 94%.
We reviewed Alawar's Farm Frenzy last year. Well, the farmyard madness is back with Farm Frenzy 2. Sequels are always difficult to get right though. If you're a mobile gamer looking for a frenzied challenge of screen bashing and resource management, with a dash of cuteness.
If I was giving out awards for the most addictive mobile game of 2010, I would have given it to Farm Frenzy for Symbian, which I tested on S60 5th Edition. The sequel is now here, with the unsurprising title of Farm Frenzy 2, which I've been reviewing on Symbian^3.
All in all, Farm Frenzy 2 has it all. It's addictive, absorbing, highly amusing, and it will take a good long while to complete. If I had to pick one thing to criticise the Farm Frenzy games on, it would be that there's no way to extend the game play. Once you've completed the game, that's it. Unless, you want to go back and try different strategies, or earn every last award.
All About Symbian score 79%.
Battleship Modern shows that it knows where its roots are. The game is presented on a background of squared paper with animated Biro drawn artwork of naval warfare. This style immediately draws you into the user experience. Also, just because the graphics are in a hand drawn style doesn't mean they're scruffy either. When you win or lose a game, you are treated to some fine artwork that is a pleasure to look at.
The innovative twist with Battleship Modern is when you opt for the 'advanced' mode. In this mode, you are able to choose (at the beginning of each round) two special weapons to use. These weapons act to increase your odds of hitting something by either showing hidden ships or by using large firing patterns. For example, the radar will scan a three by three grid and highlight any return signals. Whereas the Leagfrog is a torpedo that will jump in and out of the water, targeting alternating blocks until it hits something. Other weapons like the Flagman and Air Strikes will carpet two by two or three by three areas in fire.
Overall, Battleship Modern is a fun game, and as far as the Battleship genre goes, I can't fault it.
All About Symbian score 62%.
Autumn Dynasty is a real time strategy (RTS) game, apparently set in feudal China, with music and visuals reflecting that ancient era. Aesthetically it works really well. The playing field and military units have a hand drawn feel, which adds a certain sense of magic, as you see your battle units move across an ancient map, following your orders and doing battle. The music has a mellow, oriental accent, but there's no way to turn it off. When the game is paused, there are sound options - which just don't work. I quickly went from enjoying the music to being driven to distraction by it, after it had looped through for the dozenth time!
Overall, I enjoyed playing Autumn Dynasty; it deftly brings a potentially complex game genre into the mobile space by stripping away all the demanding mental work, characteristic of RTS games. Instead, it reduces the genre down to a smooth flow of thought, by only requiring you to select which units to create and where to send them. Perfect for a mobile device, where you're likely to only want a moderately quick distraction before you get off the train, or continue with your day's work. However, it's marred by a lack of long term appeal, due to being too easy, and it lacks variety by only having five maps.
You can try Autumn Dynasty for yourself, it's currently free in the Ovi Store.
All About Symbian score 55%.
If you’re unfamiliar with this game genre, the idea is to build up your own civilisation, while coping with problems like disease and rival civilisations competing for land and resources. Revival 2 follows the formula perfectly.
You start with a settlement which has a small population, producing gold and resources, but also consumes money and food. Straight away you have to start thinking about building other structures to produce food and cure diseases.
However, your civilisation won’t last very long if it doesn’t expand, so this is where producing Barbarians and Immigrants comes into play. Barbarians are good scouts and do some fighting for you, but have no specialities. Immigrants have the ability to found a new town, so it’s those you must send out to expand your territory. However, they take so long to produce that you can’t risk using them as combative scouts.
I’m sure that some people will be glad to see this sort of game available for Symbian, in all its retro-graphics glory. However, for the majority of mobile gamers this sort of game is not appropriate. Surely mobile games should have slick graphics, be less fiddly, be something that you can get to grips with quickly, and will not require a great deal of strategic planning to play.
Instead, Revival 2 offers gameplay which soon becomes a major project. To makes things worse, it’s wrapped up in an extremely fiddly user interface, and with tiny retro-graphics that gave me eyestrain. In conclusion, HeroCraft has failed to translate this genre into a worthwhile mobile gaming experience.
All About Symbian score 45%.
Townsmen 6 is set during the build up to the French revolution, and you are based in a southern province of the country. The game has an overview mode to see how France is divided, over time, between royalist and republic control.
Each province has goals for you to complete. For example, one province has you quarrying an area rich in stone. Once you have stockpiled enough stone, you are instructed to build a windmill and bakery to produce bread.
In some ways this game is quite similar to Farm Frenzy 2. You are required to build structures, like quarries and wood cutting sheds, to create primary resources. Other structures are then required to process those resources, as in the previous paragraph.
Overall, Townsmen 6 had a lot of potential to be an engaging strategy game. Unfortunately, the pace isn’t fast enough for a mobile device. Even if you had the time and patience to play, it is let down by microscopic graphics and irritating adverts.