This week we have two smaller write-ups, evaluating a pair of the many recent releases to hit mobile devices. First off we have Puzzle Trooper, followed by Sheep Happens, both of which are completely free-to-play though how long you spend enjoying these games is another matter.
In last week’s Mobile Watch we talked about trends in touchscreen gaming and the rise of the Endless Runner, a genre born from the highly addictive Temple Run series. However, one breed of game that has continued to thrive under the mobile revolution (and long before) is the connect 3 puzzler. Popularised by hits such as Bejeweled, the genre has also been fused with other game-types to produce hybrid classics including a personal favourite, Puzzle Quest.
Puzzle Trooper, from gumi and Kabam, is a similar sort of game, though no way near as refined or impressive. Straight away players are thrust into a global conflict fought between five warring factions. Each of these teams are represented by a specific colour and, already, you can see where this is going.
Your own squad is comprised of customisable grunts who will fire upon an enemy whenever their affiliated colour is activated on the puzzle grid below. It’s your standard “connect-three-or-more” affair, though coloured tiles can be moved freely, shunting others aside as it slides towards its destination.
Winning battles unlocks XP and additional recruits. These can either be thrown into your ragtag squad or sacrificed on the firing range to upgrade and even evolve your current platoon.
It’s a fun enough game but does nothing we haven’t seen already. Also, the puzzle-solving action is staggered between each attack, breaking any sense of seamlessness. Though some will find joy, for others, Puzzle Trooper is a stop gap at the very most.
This bizarrely-named endless runner comes from Russian studio Ling Play, backed by flash game hub, Kongregate. Though we’ve already talked in depth about the genre, it’s worth noting that endless runners usually come in one of two forms, simplified as 2D and 3D. Where games such as RunBot and Temple Run have players tilting and swiping between three-dimensional planes, 2D runners have but one along which players duck and jump over obstacles.
Sheep Happens falls into the latter category and is completely pared down in terms of mechanics and control schemes. Players are simply tasked with tapping to hop over a variety of moving and static objects. After tapping you can then hold down your finger, allowing your sprinting oddball to glide momentarily.
The objective, by nature, is to run as far as you can, using whatever upgrades and one-use items you see fit. It’s zany albeit predictable fun and incredibly rewarding if you manage to hit the perfect run.
Longevity comes from earning coins which can be spent on a gallery of upgrades and items including shield durability, starting boosts, and even the number of lives available. That, of course, and a desire to climb the in-game leaderboards. There are also a decent amount of challenges on hand, forcing you to experiment with the ways in which you approach the game.
Sheep Happens is a solid mobile game but, unless you can really get your teeth into it, serves as yet another touchscreen throwaway. Still, if you’re looking for something to play in short, five minute bursts, its perfect, if only for a little while.