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    Entries in android (3)


    Curiosity: Curiosity Killed the Fun

    Chisel out exciting messages to share with the world

    Peter Molyneux - the Grand Puba of hyperbole - has returned with his latest, greatest project known as Curiosity. What is Curiosity? An massively multiplayer mobile "game" in which players work together to chip away at a giant cube which is rendered as countless individual cubes. Only one of the horde of Curiosity players will be treated to a secret prize hidden away in the cube, which they can then either share with the world or keep as their own private trophy. Following their decision, no doubt Mr. Molyneux will claim his "game" a success before retiring to his hall of mirrors, where he every night proclaims his greatness which is reinforced by his reflections.

    I hate ripping on people who try, and Lords know Peter does try his hardest, however if there's one thing I hate - well, I hate a lot of things - but if there's one of the many relevant to this piece, it's a habitual liar. Unfortunately, the ex-Lionhead Studio lead is a constant offender, having brought his old ways to his new studio 22Cans. Curiosity isn't so much a product of lies, but rather a waste of time. It's a social experiment wrapped in a loosely termed game, which requires hours of combined player-power with little-to-no satisfaction save for the single recipient of whatever is inside the cube. My guess is that the "winner" will receive a video file containing a talking, floating, Molyneux head, which has some sort of positive bullshit message about Curiosity changing the world, book ended by proclaiming himself the world's greatest human being. Awesome!

    When you launch Curiosity, provided you are able to, as server load prevents connection to the game quite often, you are faced with a gigantic cube. You can pan and tilt the cube to see the world's progress thus far, and if a particular piece of land calls your name, you zoom in and have at it. As you get up close and personal with the cube, you see that each pixel of the bigger piece is individually rendered and reacts to the action taken around it. Tap tap tap tap tap at the cube to chip away, causing the mini-cubes to shake and stir as their brethren are poked to death. The more efficiently you tap, the higher combo you rack, the more coins you receive. Rinse repeat. You can take your coins to a store to purchase utensils that will make your cube-dispensing life that much easier. Rinse repeat. This is basically Curiosity in a nutshell. Wait, no. This is pretty much the full scope of Curiosity. It's an interesting multiplayer concept, allowing pretty much the entire world the ability to work together toward a singular cause, however the reward is not something the community as a whole will profit from. I play games to release frustration, to beat scores, gain accomplishments, admire art and design, or hear an interesting tale. Very rarely do I play simply to waste time. Curiosity offers none of the above, save for the latter.

    It's said the cube will take months to penetrate to its secretive core, perhaps years if these server connection issues continue. As the mobile gaming landscape evolves monthly, will something as vapid as Curiosity have the holding power to keep the demanding mob of gamers satiated for the duration of its lifecycle, or will it fizzle out before being chipped away for good? For me, Curiosity's lack of enjoyment is enough to fend me off while suggesting you do the same. Sure it's free, but so is the incredible Punch Quest, which offers a seemingly endless stream of awesome and feels much more rewarding. The bottom line is that we game for a purpose, a satisfaction unique and individual to each of us. I don't want my experience clouded by an unrewarding social experiment, at least not like this. It's an interesting concept to which I'd be more receptive of if it were presented differently, as in if it were actually fun. 

    The Score: 2 outta 10 Blasters!


    Bullet Points: Avengers Initiative

    Hulk looks like he's having fun, but don't be fooled - he's wishing someone could kill him

    Marvel knows a big thing when they have it, and honestly when it comes to their latest focus of movies, big things have been few and far between of late. Seems like any Marvel flick that doesn't feature Robert Downey Jr. is doomed for mediocrity. On the strength of Mr. Tony Stark and Joss Whedon, The Avengers has been absolutely steam-rolling everything from the box office to the BluRay, and everything in between. With a property which can do no wrong, Marvel Entertainment now attempt to conquer mobile gaming by way of Avengers Initiative, an Infinity Blade rip-off.

    There have been quite a few Infinity Blade rip-offs of late, however most tend to put their own spin on things rather than straight re-skin the source material. In all honesty, that is exactly what Avengers Intitiative feels like, rather than its own experience. The game is set to unfold in four separate chapters spanning The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, where each chapter costs $7. As the Avengers' most powerful and volatile member, I was excited to see what The Hulk would be able to do, expecting building leaps, wall runs, limb ripping, and general chaos. What I received instead was a literal stroll down memory lane, using memories stolen from Chair Entertainment.

    Infallable Infinity Blade gameplay
    -  Uninspired re-skin of Infinity Blade
    -  IAP fueled customization system
    -  Sad excuse of a Hulk

    The Avengers' Hulk was a quivering, snarling, white-hot bowl of gamma-irradiated terror. Hulk as he's presented in this title is more doctor than destroyer, casually walking up to enemies, waiting for the player to initiate the battle, then half-heartedly taunting before engaging in the repeated swing of fists. Give us the Hulk. Let us barrel through enemies like the unstoppable freight train the green guy is. We want to jump over mountains and gamma clap helicopters mid-flight. Avengers Initiative is a sad cash grab that deserves to be disrespected as Loki was at film's end. If the other chapters plan to be much the same as this, shame on you Marvel.


    Archos Enters the Game with Android 4.1 Powered GamePad

    Uninspired name aside, Archos latest piece of hardware looks like it may be on to something

    The Archos brand has been synonymous with hit or miss since the company has been pumping out personal media players for as long as I can remember. Today they've announced the GamePad, a 7-inch Android powered tablet with controls built right into the hardware. Two analog nubs join a directional pad and four face buttons to give a gamer just about every input they need, shoulder buttons possibly included. This could be a very big hit. 

    The GamePad is Google certified, running Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean", the latest and greatest in Google's mobile operating system. Archos has developed automatic game recognition and mapping tools, which will allow most advanced Android games to have their controls automatically mapped to the physical input with no fuss. Don't expect PeeMaster 2000 to work with the sleek dual analogs, however Shadowgun should map without issue. With full access to Google Play, you can pick from thousands of titles, any of which will function with their original touch controls should your obscure tastes be too hipster for the device.

    Under the hood, GamePad is toting a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor combined with a Mali 400mp quad-core GPU, which means not quite cutting edge but way more than enough to run today's top spec Android games. No word on storage and display specifics yet, but Archos has confirmed that the GamePad will retail for under 150 euros, which is a shade under $200. I expect there to be size options which scale up with price, but more on that as the information becomes available.

    As a gaming tablet, this bad boy has a lot going for it. Once you take into account the fact it's fully Google certified - Gmail, Google Play, Maps, Drive - this becomes a tablet that is very hard to turn down, especially at the curiously low sub-$200 sweet spot. Hopefully that doesn't mean skimping on the display and the build quality, something which Archos owners have bemoaned in the past. I'm intrigued, Archos. Please don't disappoint me.