March 3, 2010

Apps Weekly: Hanged + Gundead Defense

Who doesn't like a game of Hangman? I mean, you're the captain of a random stick person's fate and if you screw up enough times, the person gets hanged, but the fun of the game lies not only in the guessing, but also in the fact that a crossed out stick figure is rather inconsequential. Freeverse's stop-motion romantic take on this classic game aims to change that, however...

Freeverse, Inc.
Rated 12+, requires iPhone 3.0

Featuring a bleak, atmospheric (and moisturiffic) aesthetic, Hanged is obviously not the same ol', same ol' Hangman game you used to play when you were bored. In fact, it combines the atmosphere with segments of narrative, romance and wait for it, a bit of character development even. While you can't always overanalyze something like Hangman, this new take on the word game is actually quite unique and refreshing, if not a bit depressing.

So like the usual Hangman game, you have to select a random letter from, well, the 26 letters of the alphabet. If you guess right, the wind dramatically blows and reveals the positions the letter has. Otherwise, you get a bit of a cutscene, so to speak.

These dramatic moments rendered in glorious claymation reveal, in every successive screw-up, the story of the two lovers involved. Well, you basically have boy meeting girl and giving her a rose, and for some reason they have a fight and break up, forcing the man to go suicidal.

Screw up your guesses enough times, and the man dies. With a cutscene, of course.

If you do get the word right, though, a white screen appears and the word you guessed gets written on it. Obviously, this would be the time when you'll notice that the whole game actually hinges on the letter, and the player's curiosity as to what the contents are. This is actually an effective way to keep players coming back for more hangman, but some of the nuances and stylistic flourishes that the game makes slows the pace to a crawl. When you guess a letter right, the windy animation, while novel, gets old fast, and the cutscenes just loop over and over for each level. There's not even a subtle hint of difference, as far as I can tell.

They're all skippable, however, and that's fine by me. And by the time you finish that letter, you can go on to play the game in "random word" mode.

This is a very stylish take on hangman, and it wouldn't do much harm to give it a try.

Rating: 7/10

The iPhone has been a hotspot for tower defense games, and while Plants vs. Zombies will fill that void, you can also get another tower defense game if you don't have enough cash to buy it and this comes in the form of the surprisingly free game, Gundead Defense.

Also a tower defense game that lets you fend off against zombies, Gundead Defense lets you control an army of Western cowboys on a mission to defeat the invading zombies. I can't really attest as to how good the game plays, but the strategy involved looks to be solid.

Judging from screenshots alone, I can't say that the handdrawn graphics have polish, but there's certainly a bit of a retro style. Everything feels different when viewed on the device itself, really.

But what makes this tower defense game pretty special is the fact that it also has multiplayer. Heck, it even touts itself as the only multiplayer tower defense game on the App Store, boasting the ability to pair with another iPhone or iPod touch via Bluetooth, or just controlling the army with another friend on one device.

Tantalizingly enough, the game also has other kinds of modes on offer, so it's surprising that such a robust game would even be free. No, the description doesn't seem to announce some kind of "48 hour promo" or any of that crap. The only thing you'll probably see that has a dollar sign is the in-game expansion pack, which you aren't really required to buy anyway to enjoy the game. Still, the fact that you can play the zombies with the expansion pack is quite tempting, but I have to actually see the gameplay for myself to see whether the game is even any good. I really think it will be though.

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