Week in Mobile: Knightmare Tower, Butterfly Sky, and Amateur Surgeon 3
Every Saturday here on GameZone, we assess a handful of new titles released for iOS and Android and update you on the biggest news we covered during the week.
One of the best Ouya titles around is now available on Apple’s App Store for $3, and it’s worth every penny. The princess-saving, monster-battling game is a twist on the endless runner with a touch of Fruit Ninja at its core.
Juicy Beasts’ Knightmare Tower puts players in the role of a knight who must soar ever-upward on a rocket, fleeing from the lava below that’s engulfing the tower. While players maintain their speed to escape instant and hot death, they also need to focus their attention on the constant barrage of monsters in close pursuit.
Tilting steers the rocket, and a simple touch makes the knight slash with his sword, splitting monsters in twain. Some enemies take more hits to defeat and can even fight back with an attack of their own. Players can prepare for impact whenever a foe flashes bright for a few seconds, but evading all adversaries and still achieving momentum by chaining together kills (and not missing a target and plummeting below, which slows the knight down) is what makes the game challenging.
Survive long enough, and the carnage will free a princess as parts of the tower are destroyed, letting you watch as she hilariously flies into the lava below. She’s safe, though — somehow!
Different quests, or objectives like in many endless runners and other games, serve to help players progress and earn rewards. The shop runs on coins, not in-app purchases, and can beef up the knight with armor, accessories, or potions that drop during play. These might add an extra life or give the knight a stronger hit, for example. They do help, making it easier to climb a little higher and last a little longer.
Knightmare Tower may sound simple, but it’s highly addictive because of its fresh play style and humorous, bright graphical design.
This is the part where we put games to a quick test. Are they fun?
Another endless runner — or rather, jumper — that’s out now is Butterfly Sky (free for iOS), where players travel the world on whaleback and bounce around on clouds.
The premise is simple: Leap around in the sky and hold a finger on the screen whenever you want to plummet sharply downward onto a cloud to launch off it and gain more distance or speed. Some clouds conceal springs that send the adventurer flying while others provide power-ups, like magnets and rockets. The goal is to collect as many butterflies as possible and avoid falling in the gaps between the clouds.
It’s not much more complicated than that. Leveling up (up to 10) by completing missions unlocks new areas, and players can collect and spend gems when they die to continue. Coins can be used to purchase outfits, a new house for your whale buddy, or to increase power-up efficacy.
Butterfly Sky does introduce new twists and obstacles, like rare butterflies that shoot players into a safe zone called butterfly heaven and electrifying thunderclouds, but the basic gameplay remains consistent and, well, not exactly engaging. The visual style leaves much to be desired as well — you’ve seen it all before.
The game is free if you’re inclined to try it, but its lightweight package lacks what it needs to be compelling, especially in a crowded market. On the other hand, maybe you enjoy smacking your butt off clouds. That is kind of fun.
Amateur Surgeon 3
Adult Swim returns with another installment in the Amateur Surgeon series.
I haven’t played the previous titles, but Amateur Surgeon 3, which is currently free on the App Store, merges the serious motion-sensitive operations of Trauma Center with the goofiness of Surgeon Simulator 2013, where clumsiness is just a normal part of the job.
New recruit Ophelia Payne knows nothing about medicine, but the doctor teaching her doesn’t seem to mind. He encourages an experimental style where pizza cutters and staplers are acceptable surgical implements and prisoners are fodder for hands-on learning.
The game runs on humor, and some of the animation is downright hilarious— like when Ophelia and her doggy tag-team partner Mister Giblets high-five in the middle of surgery so his slobber can boost the patient’s health (none of this makes sense, so just go with it). The jokes are fun, and so are the scenarios and characters, like a test dummy named Proxy who uncontrollably shouts out words that sound offensive but aren’t, like “coccyx.”
Surgery is timed, which cranks up the pressure for a good performance. Each mistake costs the patient health, and too many means players will waste precious seconds trying to revive them with a slow, careful push of the healing injector. Upgrades can boost the all-around power of that and other tools and make surgery easier.
Most of the time, gradual movements lead to successful combos, which increase the overall score, while hasty actions inflict damage. And while Amateur Surgeon 3 is fun, touch is the primary form of interaction, which can start to feel repetitive. The game is in desperate need of more music, too; most of the time, players will be reading dialogue in complete silence.
You get a lot of content, though, and the game is fun — even if you do have to wait set periods of time to reuse tag partners like Mister Giblets or acquire more blood packs, which allow for more continues. But hey, it’s free.
These games were reviewed on an iPad Mini.
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