Mobile Round-up #2 - April 2018
Welcome to the round-up! This month we’ve got two delightful Japanese oddities, a relaxing snowboarding sequel, and a rhythm game that exudes ‘80s cool. Grab your pocket rectangle and get playin’!
Million Onion Hotel (iOS, Android)
I’m not sure I have the words to describe how mental this game is, but when you load it up and hear the lounge-style intro music with kazoo solo, you’ll understand. Light on plot and high on wackiness, what starts out as a grid-based puzzle about onions quickly degenerates into a mad tap-a-thon where your reactions are tested even as your brain struggles to make sense of asparagus rockets and weird interstitials about a philandering statesman and spy infiltrations. You’ll think you’ve got a handle on things but then you’ll get a bonus or encounter a boss and the scene will descend into nonsense beyond your wildest cheese dreams. It may be more reflexes than strategy, but you’ll want to keep playing just to see what happens next.
Dandy Dungeon: Legend Of Brave Yamada (iOS, Android)
This is the previous game from Onion Games’ Yoshiro Kimura who brought us Million Onion Hotel; it’s slightly older but worth mentioning here for the sheer inventiveness on display. A feature-filled dungeon crawler wrapped in an odd but endearing metagame about a middle-aged programmer, you’ll be hooked from the moment you hear the laid-back, self-pitying theme song. Yamada has just got fired from his IT job, and wants nothing more than to code an amazing game to earn the big bucks and win the heart of his new neighbour. Sounds simple, but he keeps getting interrupted by all manner of crazy characters like Yasu, his young eager salaryman friend, or Mamma, the outgoing proprietor of Mammazon.com who provides all your shopping needs.
As he meets new acquaintances he will incorporate versions of them into his game, unlocking new levels and features. It’s free-to-play, but gets the balance just right. Rice balls, effectively extra lives if you get wiped out in a dungeon, are available for purchase but not really required. Additionally you can purchase three little ducks for your apartment which effectively removes the ‘energy’ mechanic preventing you from having extended play sessions. I’ve only scraped the surface of the delightful madness this game contains, and encourage you to discover it for yourself.
The original Alto’s Adventure was a solid endless runner renowned for its picturesque alpine setting and calming vibes, and this sequel very much retains that feel without amending the gameplay in any great detail. Swiftly sailing over the desert dunes this time, the titular miniscule skier flies over the picturesque slopes, performing spectacular stunts and collecting coinage in a challenging yet relaxing journey. In a possible nod to celebrated indie game Journey, Alto’s scarf gets longer each time he successfully completes a fancy flip. The delicate soundtrack accompanies your traversal of the sandy slopes perfectly, and there’s even a Zen mode if you want to forget about scoring points and just get lost in the scenery.
Neon Drive(iOS, PC, PS4)
There’s a fact you should know before we continue; I love synthwave, and once you play this game, you will too. The fluorescent glow, the gritty drum machines and smooth analogue synth, the mirrored shades - nothing exudes cool like the ‘80s and you know it.
Neon Drive embraces this aesthetic completely, and places you at the wheel of a rad set of wheels, speeding through a landscape of concrete and mirrored glass.
The gameplay is very reminiscent of the old Game & Watch handheld racers, or a rhythm game like Guitar Hero; there are four lanes of traffic with obstacles coming your way, and you must dodge to the beat in order to progress. Taking visual cues from Blade Runner, Outrun, Back To The Future, Hotline Miami and more, this will have you slipping on your gold scorpion jacket and mirrored shades and speeding into the night.