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Rapid Fire | Deadlings and Taijitu Review
One of the best things about the mobile market is that I’m never short of something to play or review. Although the quality of these releases can be somewhat spotty at times, you can’t fault the sheer quantity of options out there. Unfortunately, many of these games, though worthy of appraisal, offer fairly short experiences. They lend themselves to a pick-up-and-play mindset that sometimes makes it difficult to justify a full review. But fear not, noble reader- I’ve decided to review these games anyway, compiling them into a buffet of bite-size reviews for your enjoyment. So without further ado (except for the ado which I’ll probably find some way of sticking in the reviews themselves), I declare my first Rapid Fire open!
Deadlings is a game developed by Artifex Mundi that puts you in control of a horde of zombies- albeit one at a time- in order to complete puzzles and platforming segments. Each member of your introverted horde has a special ability that can be utilized in order to pass specific obstacles, or make progression through certain segments easier. The narrative contrivance of the game is that you are apparently helping a despondent Death to make friends- something which I’ll admit appeals to the Pratchett fan in me- but it really is just a contrivance. It has no real bearing over the game as you progress, and the main point of attraction are the puzzles. With that said, it’s a shame they don’t really make for a consistently engaging experience. They quickly become repetitive, and the key to success in most levels is to work out the order in which to deploy your zombies and, consequently, their special abilities.
I’ve often heard the opinion that the vast quantity of games out there featuring zombies prohibits any new ones from being good- the market is saturated with them, and so it’s time to find something new to make games about. Whilst I find it hard to agree with that sentiment completely, I will admit that anything that’s going to stand out against the horde has to be something special. Deadlings, unfortunately, is not. The entire game seems competently but lazily put together. It defaults to zombies, because zombie games are everywhere. It presents itself in a twee style that looks a little bit too much like Plants Vs Zombies, because it’s a style that’s been endearing before. And there seems to be no real thought given to the design of each level, to the point that the tasks become monotonous and dull instead of intriguing or challenging.
I’ll be honest; there’s nothing glaringly bad about the game- except that it charges micro-transactions on top of it’s base price- but there’s nothing especially good about it either. All in all, it’s a middling, unmemorable title. Right now it’s available for $1.99, a price tag I’m not sure it’s worthy of.
Overall Verdict: 5/10
Taijitu is a term which refers to the symbol of Yin and Yang that adorns many a hipster’s diary, bedroom wall and skin. It’s also the name of a fantastic game developed by Squrce, or (more accurately) the Malaysian developer Chew Wen Kang. This is the kind of game that aims to achieve simple goals, and fulfills them to the point of surpassing them. It’s the kind of game that makes you a little more optimistic about mobile as a platform.
The game is a series of puzzles based upon the mythology of Yin and Yang. It adapts the ideologies of balance and harmony, by presenting images of different coloured shapes which the player has to shift around to find the right union of colours. In short, no two colours may be present on the same side of a central line. The puzzles become increasingly difficult, starting as asininely easy (I didn’t even realize what I was doing to succeed in the first few levels) to head-scratchingly hard. The game is presented in a clean, bright and minimalist fashion and is set against a pretty, atmospheric soundtrack.
It’s not completely perfect- it is, after all, made by a single person and is somewhat frayed around the edges. In addition to the aforementioned opening levels, there are some issues with screen-tearing throughout the level selection. In addition to this, the progression of difficulty sometimes feels ungainly. There’s still a nice curve there, but it sharply rises and falls here and there along the climb; certain levels provide either a much more challenging or ridiculously simple experience to what you may expect. However, these mistakes do little to ruin what is a very good game. Taijitu is available for $1.99, features no extra micro-transactions or in-game advertisements, and is well worth a look if you want a relaxing game to play on the go.
Overall Verdict: 8/10