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Developer: Cherrypick Games

Reviewed on iOS, also available on Android

Overall Review

Touchdown Hero

Touchdown Hero

Sometimes all you need for a great game are some simple graphics, simple game mechanics, and even simpler game play. In Touchdown Hero, you take on the role of a football player who is running down the field avoiding opposing players. The goal is to score as many touchdowns as you can on an impossibly long series of football fields. It is, in essence, an endless runner that chooses to flat out ignore the 100 yard football field. The fun doesn’t stop when you score because you can keep running forever as long as you never get caught.

All you do to move your runner is drag your finger on the touch screen to maneuver he can run faster slower and left and right quickly. If you need a little more time to process the opposition pick up your finger and you get a couple of seconds of slow motion. This is definitely a gameplay gimmick and it was really necessary to master this tool to enjoy the game, but it does add at least a little depth.

Scoring points helps you unlock cosmetic upgrades like new uniforms for your runner. You even get to unlock uniforms for your favorite NFL team over time! This makers it a great casual game for young fans who want to express their fan status in games, but can’t quite handle Madden yet.

Scores are displayed at the end of each attempt just like they are in Flappy Bird or Spikey Walls. It shows both your best score and your last score. This will drive a score chaser crazy, but the game is enough fun to make it worthwhile!

Family Gaming Assessment

Hey. Its football. Touchdown Hero is only violent in the sense that it emulates the sport. It doesn’t simulate the hits very much though. When you are tackled a cartoon-ish puff of smoke pops up to represent the tackle.

Playability Assessment

The controls are responsive and simple. The defenders are never in the same locations so every game is just different enough to keep you guessing. The game does get difficult as you get farther in each run. There is a real challenge to dodging the large and larger opponents and they attack from multiple angles and speeds.

This game simple enough for children to play. Each games is short enough to allow families to easily pass the iPad back and forth to compare scores A friendly competition will arise out of who can get the most TD’s in a single run.

Conclusion

I was pleasantly surprised by Touchdown Hero and have enjoyed the experience overall. It ends up being another junk food game to take or leave whenever the mood strikes you for a quick game.

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Nintendo held a press conference in Japan this week to announce that they had formed a strategic partnership with a company called DeNA (pronounced D-N-A) to bring Nintendo IP to mobile devices.

Let’s take minute to let that sink in. Go ahead. I can wait.

Nintendo has been making dedicated home gaming devices for almost thirty years. They all but invented handheld gaming when they released the GameBoy. But, they have been hesitant to bring their talents to mobile devices like iPhones and Android tablets. That all changed with this press conference and the possibilities are endless.

Fear not though, Nintendo President Soturu Iwata was quoted as saying that Nintendo and DeNA would not be simply porting older games to mobile platforms. They lack the sophisticated controls to make that a pleasant gaming experience. Instead they will be taking Nintendo properties (The Super Mario characters, Link, Zelda… pretty much anyone in Super Smash Bros for Wii U) and crafting new experiences that are built specifically for mobile.

iPad

Nintendo will FINALLY make it here!

I could be misinterpreting this here, but it sounds like Nintendo is finally “getting it.” They have been out of touch with the video game marketplace for a while. The runaway success of the Nintendo Wii led them down a path of “innovation” that gave them the idea that every one of their consoles needed to have a unique X-factor. The issue being that the Wii U gamepad has been largely a dud and has resulted in less than stellar sales.

Nintendo agreeing to enter the mobile marketplace means that they recognize the power of the smartphone and tablet industries. There are tens of millions of these devices in the hands of consumers around the world and Nintendo stands to gain a HUGE amount of exposure by putting their properties on those devices. This would utilize phones and tablets like “Trojan Horses” to get Mario and friends in front of people’s faces making them more likely to buy a home console!

What do you think? What kind of Nintendo property would you like to see on a mobile platform? I’d personally love to play a Mushroom Kingdom city builder. Sound off in the comments!

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Osmo Masterpiece is Here to Make Your Child an Artist!

Osmo is an augmented reality toy that lets children play with the family iPad in some astonishing ways. The current product includes a tangrams toy, a word game, and a physics based game where colorful balls bounce down screen on lines that you draw on paper. They have been, for the most part, educational toys.

Osmo doen’t look like they are doing to stay quiet on that front much long. Today, they have launched a new app to go with the Osmo product that makes the decide as much of a tool than it is a child’s plaything.

Osmo Masterpiece is an iOS app (downloadable here) that will let the user snap a picture of anything they would like, convert it into a line drawing. They can then use the app to help guide them as they draw the image themselves on paper.

I know. Sounds hard to believe based on my explanation. Take a look at this video and see for yourself. Go ahead. I’ll meet you underneath it.

See what I mean? This is some amazing stuff!

Some of the features include:

  • Infinite Library – Images can be captured via camera or pulled from an internet search, making Masterpiece a modern drawing (or coloring) book with infinite number of pages!

  • AutoLine and AutoShade – Osmo’s Reflective AI automatically analyzes the digital image to suggest best lines and shades to draw.

  • Composition – You can rotate, zoom and move the digital template to fit your imagination on  paper. Masterpiece also allows combinations of multiple objects from real life or online images to make completely new compositions.

  • Video Capture – Masterpiece makes an amazing time-lapse video of each of your drawings that is a fun and unique movie for you to share with friends and family!

Engaged Family Gaming will be publishing a review this week once the app goes live, but my early impressions tell me that this will be a really neat app to mess around with. Until then take a look at the gallery below to see the app in action!

 

Osmo Masterpiece is Here to Make Your Child an Artist!Osmo Masterpiece is Here to Make Your Child an Artist!Osmo Masterpiece is Here to Make Your Child an Artist!Osmo Masterpiece is Here to Make Your Child an Artist!Osmo Masterpiece is Here to Make Your Child an Artist!

 

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We have spent a lot of time recently talking about Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and amiibo here on Engaged Family Gaming. It makes sense because the Toys to Life category has exploded in recent years (so much so that Activision is reporting that Skylanders alone is a $3 billion franchise). Those aren’t the only toys that come to life on screen though. There is one line of toys that has been right under our noses for a while now. Even better? It is a learning toy for our toddlers!

I’m speaking of Tiggly Shapes, a set of plastic shapes that interact with special apps on iOS and Android devices. Our daughter was gifted a set for Christmas last year and she adores them!

Tiggly, the company behind the shapes, isn’t stopping with shapes. They are intend on releasing a comprehensive line of learning toys that cover all of the educational bases. Shapes came first, but it was followed quickly by Tiggly Counts, a toy to help build basic counting skills. Up next is basic letter recognition with Tiggly Words.

Tiggly Words Box and toys

Tell me these things aren’t cute?

Tiggly Words is launching this May and will feature five vowels (no y) in bright colors. It will also include several custom apps One of them will allow kids to use the letters (along with some presets within the app) to create words. For example, it might present them with a “b”, a blank space, and a “g.” They could tap the “u” Tiggly Letter on the screen to make “bug” and a cute bug will start flying around the screen!

Tiggly Words App Screensho

This is just one of the prototype apps they have in the works!

 

The apps I was able to see at New York Toy Fair were still in development, but they all showed a lot of promise. We will follow up with a formal review once Tiggly Words is released! Keep your eyes here on Engaged Family Gaming for more info!

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Publisher – iMagine Machine

Reviewed for iOS

Overall Review:

The Land of Venn - Mobile game

This game gets nuts if you don’t learn your geometric shapes!

Some of our favorite games recently have been focused on teaching math. None of those games, however, focused much on geometry. That is all changing today with the iOS game The Land of Venn.

The Land of Venn – Geometric Defense is an adorable lane based defense game where players defend their “home base” by drawing geometric shapes using their enemies as points. For example, tapping on an enemy creates a “Point” which does a small amount of damage. Sliding your finger from one enemy to another will create a straight “Line” which will do even more damage, and so on. The levels get very challenging as time goes on so players will need to think quickly and use the various shapes to their advantage. You simply cannot just tap on one enemy until it dies or you will lose quickly.

The learning is all in the form of repetition here. There is a voice actor who will call out the name of the shape being created each time it is used. This repetition is great for rote memorization of geometric terms. The voice acting does, however, get a tad bit old after a while for people not playing the game. We had our sons use headphones after a bit.

All that said, The Land of Venn – Geometric Defense is an excellent game and will help establish a basic understanding of geometric shapes for your children without making them feel like they are memorizing shapes and charts. That is worth a loud voice actor any day of the week.

Family Gaming Assessment:

The art style is very reminiscent of the 90’s Nick Toon AAAAAH! Real Monsters. There is nothing to be concerned about here.

Playability Assessment:

This game was challenging, but even younger players will be able to grasp the early levels here. They just need to learn that tapping on enemies is a bad plan. Once they move past that strategy they will be able to progress.

The controls are all touch-based and there is very little reading involved.

Conclusion:

The Land of Venn is a must buy for parents who are looking to make sure the tablet games their children play have educational value. This is especially true for home school parents. This is a great way to casually establish a base of knowledge for higher level math.

Disclosure: Review code was provided for the purposes

 

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Developer: NaturalMotion

Available for iOS and Android

Overall Review

Clumsy Ninja is a mobile game that comes out of the shadows and will surely find its way into your heart. This story is about a ninja whose friend was kidnapped by a very dangerous villain.  The problem is our hero is pretty much the worst ninja ever and he needs a lot of training to become a master so that he can rescue his friend.

In this game, ninja training consists of assorted playground activities like jumping on trampolines, hitting punching bags, and dodging balls. Over time as you master equipment and learn cool tricks you can purchase better equipment and slowly get your little ninja closer to his goal. Clumsy Ninja guides the player with lots of quests so there is always something to keep you busy. The art style is bright and colorful and when you add the music it feels like you are in an animated martial arts movie.

Kids will love being able to drag the little guy around the screen and knock him over. His animations are hysterical!

Family Gaming Assessment

There is no real violence in this game as the ninja never battles any other ninjas. He just gets knocked around in a lot of cartoony ways.

The game itself is free and you don’t have to spend any money to download or to play.

Playability Assessment

As far as game play goes Clumsy Ninja is just a satisfying experience, there is just something soothing about making the little ninja jump on a trampoline or bouncing him off of said trampoline. Even if your kid isn’t into the grind of completing missions they may just enjoy interacting with the ninja and making him act silly for a while.

It is worth noting though that little ones who aren’t strong readers may be upset they cannot follow what is going on with the quests.

Conclusion

Clumsy Ninja is a delightful experience, it’s a complete package of game play and atmosphere that is free to play and kid friendly.

The game does put up ads when you access the menu for in game extras, but you don’t have make purchases to enjoy the game.

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Having followed Playworld Superheroes for a while I’m excited that everyone will be able to get there hands on it on 29th January.

It’s from the development skill that was behind Wipeout and Motorstorm and it shows. Something like a cross between the crafting of Tearaway and the adventuring of Disney Infinity with a little Infinity Blade thrown in for good measure.

Currently you may not have heard about Playworld Superheroes, but it looks like it’s the start of something that will be come expansive and substantial for families. Best of all though, once you’ve paid to download the game (around $2.49) there are no in app purchases.

I tried the first hour or so of the game and recorded these Let’s Play videos:

For more information visit the official website.

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Our review of WWE Immortals is here.

The following is a list of the characters included in WWE Immortals for iOS and Android at launch (01/15/2015)

Bronze Heroes

WWE Immortals Bronze Heroes screenshot

The “Bronze Heroes” seem pretty rad to us!

Centurion Roman Reigns (9000)

Rigorous Training – ~ gains increased SPEED when he’s below 40% health.

YES! Movement Daniel Bryan (9000)

Technical Expertise – ~ When ~ uses a special move, he has 30% increased SPEED for a limited time.

Ice Witch Brie Bella (11000)

Frost Shield – ~ provides a HEALTH increase to her teammates.

White Witch Trish Stratus (11000)

Statusfing Management – ~ boosts the HEALTH of her male teammates by 5%

Pyromancer Nikki Bella (11000)

Pyromancer – ~ boosts her team’s damage by 5%.

Ancient Druid Sheamus (11000)

Mystic Offense – ~ and his team have 10% increased SPEED.

Giant Big Show (11000)

Big Landing – ~ Big Show does damage when tagging in. Landing damage increases as ~’s HEALTH increases.

Dark Sorceress Paige (11000)

Queen of Ravens – When ~ uses a signature attack, her teammates regenerate ADRENALINE 15% more quickly for a limited time.

The Demon Kane (11000)

Demonic Power – ~ deals 15% increased Damage when he tags in with less than 20% health.

Silver Heroes

WWE Immortals Silver Heroes screenshot

The mid tier characters in WWE Immortals!

Lunar Guardian Brie Bella (38000)

Moon Shield – 6pm-6am, when ~ tags in she gains a shield that REDUCES DAMAGE TAKEN by 50%.

Solar Assassin Nikki Bella (38000)

Sun Aura – 6am-6pm, when ~ tags in, she is surrounded by a burning sun aura that deals damage over time.

Celtic Warrior Sheamus (41000)

Mystic Defense – ~ and his teammates have 10% increased HEALTH.

The Authority Triple H (41000)

Best for Business – ~ and his team game a 10% DAMAGE increase for each gold character on the screen.

Deadman Undertaker (42000)

Deadman – Once per match, ~ will rise from the grave with 33% health and max ADRENALINE.

Banshee Knight Paige (42000)

Mistress of Death – After using her Finisher, ~ grants her teammates a burst of ADRENALINE.

Stone Watcher The Rock (46000)

Electifying Tactics – When ~ hits with a signature attack, he deals 25% more DAMAGE with basic combos.

Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar (47000)

Conqueror – ~ deals 15% increased DAMAGE after defeating an opponent.

Soldier John Cena (48000)

My Time is Now – When ~ tags in, his next special attack will deal 20% additional DAMAGE.

Gold Heroes

WWE Immortals Gold Heroes screenshot

The best of the best!

NO! NO! NO! Daniel Bryan (182000)

Building Momentum – When ~ performs a Signature Attack, he gains 30% SPEED and deals 30% more DAMAGE.

Lumber Jack Big Show (192000)

Big Defense – After tagging in ~ takes 65% REDUCED DAMAGE for 6 seconds.

Angelic Knight Trish Stratus (192000)

White Aegis – After ~ bl;ocks damage equal to 10% of her health she grants her team a bonus 25% ADRENALINE regeneration for 6 seconds.

Necromancer Undertaker (192000)

Soul Collector – Every time an enemy is knocked out, ~ gains a 25% DAMAGE increase.

Evolved John Cena (201000)

Will to Win – ~ deals bonus DAMAGE with Basic Attacks as he loses HEALTH.

Hound of Justice Roman Reigns (201000)

Powerhouse – ~gains 50% DAMAGE increase when he’s below 40% HEALTH.

King of Kings Triple H (201000)

Cerebral Assassin – Each time ~ KOs an opponent, all remaining opponents lose Adrenaline.

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We have a closer look at the new Beast Quest video-game for iPad and Android tablets. In this video we meet new enemies and beasts as well as explore more of the world of Avantia.

It all culminates in a massive battle with Sepron as Tom tries to free him from the evil curse of Malvel and get the enchanted chain off his neck.

We battle Titan Crabs, Giants Crabs, Piranha Pirates, Shark Eye, Sepron as well as visiting the Enchanted Grove and Burning Sands

We spoke to Ben Meakin at Miniclip about the game. Why should kids play Beast Quest?

It combines some of the best elements of games like Zelda and Infinity Blade into a compelling single player adventure. Beast Quest fans will love seeing the worlds and characters they know coming to life, and those new to the books will quickly see why it’s so popular. There’s treasure to find, different worlds to explore, and of course huge screen-filling Beasts to battle.

What’s the most awesome thing in Beast Quest? Picking a single thing out in Beast Quest is tough, as there is so much to talk about! From seeing the awesome Beasts in brilliant 3D to the fast-paced combat against multiple enemies, there is loads to enjoy. However, if I had to pick one thing, I’d say the huge open worlds are the heart of what makes Beast Quest great. With six huge worlds based on each of the original books, there’s a ton of things to do, see, and battle.

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By: Inkle Studios

Reviewed on Android, Also available on iOS

Overall Review

Mobile games have been getting a bad rap for years. A huge percentage of the population views them as free-to-play throwaway games. This makes a lot of people very hesitant to spend money on a mobile game. This is unfortunate because there are some real gems out there. One of the best of them right now is 80 Days.

80 Days is a resource management game hidden within a beautifully illustrated visual novel. The premise is built around the classic novel “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne. Players take on the role of a steward for an eccentric British gentleman who makes a bet that he can travel around the world in less than eighty days. This is no real problem now, but since the story takes place more than 100 years ago it presents some serious logistical challenges.

Players need to make careful decisions about riding by car, boat, airship, underwater train, or even walking city (Yes. I said walking city. Head towards Calcutta. You’ll see). The different modes of transportation all vary by duration, departure schedule, and comfort so you will need to balance them carefully to make sure you don’t run out of time or money. You’ll also need to keep your boss happy. If he becomes too uncomfortable the game is over!

The game starts in London and as the game begins you are provided with a few different routes of travel to choose from. You select your mode of travel and are tasked with deciding your next route upon arrival. You can do this by purchasing maps or even exploring the city. You have to be careful not to spend too much time exploring though, because you might lose a whole day waiting for a motorcar or train to come back and depart! The excitement of arriving at a new city and figuring how much time I had before I had to run was a highlight of the game for me.

All of this is wrapped up with gorgeously drawn backdrops for each of the featured cities and modes of transportation. The minimalist art style is very reserved in its use of color, but it is strikingly beautiful regardless. If you are a member of your family has any interest in illustration you could spend hours looking at this game.

With all of that said the hidden strength in this game is its potential as a teaching tool. We live in an era where world geography (and to some degree even local geography) is not a heavy focal point. This game forces players to learn it in order to be successful. It certainly would not replace a geography curriculum, but it is far less costly than most sets of flash cards and will be far more engaging for the user.

80 Days globe

The 80 Days world map is minimalist, but includes everything you need to play!

Family Gaming Assessment

I consider this game to be family friendly. It is a visual novel so there is very little in the way of inappropriate imagery. Some of the cities you encounter are in war-torn areas, but there is nothing to be concerned about.

Concerned parents can play through the game once be3fore sharing it with their children, but this is more than appropriate for almost every family.

Playability Assessment

80 Days is a challenging game that is almost unplayable unless the player is a very good reader. They could randomly select destinations, but there are clues hidden in conversation that are vital to success.

This is, however, an excellent game for parents or older siblings to play WITH their children. One party simply reads the text and players can discuss the different options. The clock does continue during most phases of the game so people will need to think and negotiate quickly, but that is half of the excitement!

Conclusion

In a world dominated by mobile games that are free to play this is a game that is worth every penny and more. There is a lot of entertainment here for less than five dollars.

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