Here at Gamers XTREME, we love bringing our readers the most informative and entertaining game reviews possible. However, as we’ve been thinking on recently, mobile gaming is an entirely different beast. The iOS App Store and Google Play Marketplace are extremely vast, and contain so many titles from an unimaginable amount of developers, it can be hard to separate the very best games from the chaff. Console and handheld markets are considerably smaller, and make it much easier to report on a variety of games, giving you the scoop on the good, the bad, and the mediocre. So as we’ve come to conclude, reviews on mobile games should be done differently. To that end, we’re proud to announce the launch of a new regular column on the Gamers XTREME web site, the Mobile Spotlight.
The Mobile Spotlight aims to deliver more than just game reviews – we’ll pick out the best of the best from the Android and iOS app markets and deliver it to you, complete with a full analysis of why we think you should try it. In order to kick things off, we’re presenting two great mobile games to you today. Let’s begin with Extreme Road Trip 2.
Ridge Racing to the Extreme
Cars with stuck gas pedals; normally a scary predicament in real life, it’s the central element to Roofdog Games’ Extreme Road Trip 2. Part 2D racer, part stunt simulator, the game sees you pulling off turbo boosts and flips to keep it in overdrive without crashing. A simple but thoroughly addictive concept, Extreme Road Trip 2 is the perfect game to set a few minutes aside for, or a few hours of boosting, crashing fun. The game’s controls are simple, and a quick tutorial runs you through them when you start up the game for the first time. Pressing the lower-left or -right of the screen will rotate your car counter-clockwise and clockwise respectively, allowing you to perform flips and ready your landing after a big jump. Performing stunts and getting a smooth landing will earn you Boost, allowing you to conserve your fuel and increase your speed for as long as it holds out. You can also hold down both controls to slam, causing your car to fall rapidly but granting extra Boost if you stick the landing. This is the key to filling up your Boost meter and achieving Overdrive, a high-powered Boost mode that only lasts a few seconds but can give your car some serious air time if you hit a jump. You can also use a selection of power-ups at the beginning of a game, allowing you to start off with a brief speed boost, collect pick-ups in a wider area, and even gain double coins for each one you pick up.
One of Extreme Road Trip 2′s hooks is the drive to unlock more and more cars to add to your collection. You start out with a basic red Compact, aptly dubbed “Almost Reliable”, but can unlock many, many more vehicles through the game’s currency, coming in two forms: coins, which can be collected during a game, or cash, a premium currency used for higher-end unlocks, acquirable randomly through level-ups and bonus crates (more on these later). Either can be purchased using real money, but Road Trip 2 does a good job of limiting the need. Premium cars aren’t prohibitively expensive, and cash can be acquired at a fair pace. Every car has a series of challenges that can be completed as well, ranging from crashing at a specific distance to traveling upside down for a period of time. Each completed challenge grants a star, and collecting five stars will earn you a pair of bonus crates, which can contain coins, cash, and power-ups given at random. In fact, there’s really little to no feeling of stagnation, as you’ll always be doing something new in Road Trip 2, whether it’s completing car challenges, upgrading your ride, or saving up to purchase something new. You can even post your best distances to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and iOS players can post challenges to their friends using Game Center. It’s always satisfying receiving a challenge from a buddy and crush it, knowing a message will be sent to them saying their record’s been beaten.
Aside from being an awesome gameplay experience, Road Trip 2 boasts an excellent audio-visual presentation. The game’s 2D sprites are well-detailed and are very reminiscent of Hot Wheels or Micro Machines toy cars. Each stage is littered with scenery and random objects (like beach balls) that can be tossed around by driving through them. Even better, you’ll see road signs representing your friends’ best scores, and you can smash through those as well, literally demolishing their record. Land mines also litter the map and can launch your car extremely far, but can be unpredictable as well, sometimes sending you straight into an oncoming hill. The game’s cute graphics are accentuated by a downright bumping soundtrack. Mixing classic 80′s rock and roll synth with 8-bit sweetness, the game’s music will have you rocking along. There’s only three songs at present (the main menu and the two stage themes), but really, it’s all Road Trip 2 needs. For proof, listen to one of the in-game tracks below.
Extreme Road Trip 2 is one of the most surprising and enjoyable hits I’ve had the chance to play this year, offering addictive gameplay, great social tie-ins, and an awesome presesentation. Best of all, it’s free to play, and comes with a very player-friendly microtransaction model. There’s no carrot on a stick here. Download it today and give it a spin!
An Old-School Mental Workout
On the other end of the spectrum we have Daily Crossword by Blue Wind Studio. Now I know what you might be thinking – crossword apps are a dime a dozen on the app markets. What makes this one so special? A few things, but the main draw is the constant support from the developer. Blue Wind puts out new crossword puzzles constantly, easily downloadable through the app’s main menu screen through a helpful pop-up alert. This alone makes Daily Crossword the app to beat, but it boasts some great features as well. Unlike traditional pencil-and-paper crosswords, after entering a word, you’ll know right away if it’s right or wrong, eliminating a ton of confusion. If you get stuck, however, you can get some help with a word using the game’s hint system. You start off with a few right from the beginning, and can earn more in several ways, including daily app launches, Liking the game on Facebook, and of course, in-app purchases.
It’s a shame there really isn’t more to say about Daily Crossword, but given its nature, there isn’t much to tell that most readers don’t already know. However, I’ve tried quite a few crossword apps and this, by far, is the best you can get for free. It’s gone so far as to change my nightly routine – rather than watching TV until I fall asleep, I find myself firing up Daily Crossword to try to beat a puzzle or two before bed. Given the proven fun factor of crosswords, the excellent feature set Daily Crossword boasts, and its low, low price of FREE, you really owe it to yourself to give it a go.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you discovered a couple more apps to add to your collection on your mobile device. Keep checking in at GamersXTREME.org for more Mobile Spotlight and other great reads. To the hardcore and casual alike: game on!