iOS Roundup: Chemical X Edition

It wasn’t a great week for iOS, especially in what would pass for the AAA market. Miitomo was probably the most significant event, and let’s face it, do we really need to give the Internet gaming community yet another outlet for their trash? Once again, Nintendo’s late to the party; they’re going to figure out that the Internet gaming community largely consists of manchildren who can’t be trusted with anything.

Powerpuff Girls: Flipped Out!

Sugar, spice, and everything nice. These were the ingredients that Grumpyface used to create the perfect Powerpuff Girls game. Unfortunately, they forgot to buy the Chemical X. Thus, Flipped Out! was born! That’s a lot of exclamation points!!

There are two modes: Sugar and Spice, and you can switch between them at any point during a stage. Sugar mode is a clever twist on the match-3 formula: the girls are all on the grid and you have to send one of the girls to grab and throw an enemy so he ends up as part of a match. You can also chain-throw enemies, so there’s a bit of strategy in trying to get the girls positioned correctly.

Spice mode is the action mode that isn’t as polished. The controls are fine in theory: tap on a girl to select her, tap an empty space to dash there, tap an enemy to send the girl to attack, double-tap a space to tell all the girls to dash there. Unfortunately, they don’t work too well in practice: there’s no visual or aural feedback when you’ve selected an enemy to attack, so you’ll occasionally have situations where you think you’re going to attack an enemy, but your girl just sits around because you didn’t quite tap the enemy correctly. Once the game starts throwing larger enemies at you, it’s difficult to select a girl that’s “behind” the enemy because the enemy takes up the entire hot spot.

Control issues aside, the game is fun, it’s also just kind of blah. There’s a silly plot about the girls receiving a weird blocky fish as a present and overfeeding him, causing the blocky fish to grow out of control and start spawning smaller versions of himself, which are the enemies that you’re fighting throughout the game. It’s kind of interesting, I suppose, and I do appreciate that Grumpyface didn’t throw in long obnoxious cutscenes to tell this tale throughout the game. I don’t know. For 3 bucks, you probably can’t go too wrong, even if it is essentially stealth marketing for the new series.

There were also two licensed gacha games released this week: Tales of Link and Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ is not X. Both of them are your bog-standard gacha games without a lot of depth. Tales of Link has absolutely no polish whatsoever, with Japanese-only voice acting, an English translation that ranges from barely acceptable to awful, and a clichéd amnesia plot that the game feels compelled to shove in your face. It’s kind of a problem when the pre-battle cutscenes take longer than the actual battle itself. KH, on the other hand, has a ton of polish (as you’d expect from Square Enix), but it still suffers from unnecessary cutscenes.

The problem with these types of games is that the bar has been set so high by Puzzle and Dragons and Terra Battle, in terms of post-release support, general polish, and variety of units, that it’s tough to get excited about a new one. And it creates a self-fulfilling death spiral in the process: gamers are lukewarm about the game, so the company has a hard time justifying post-release support, so gamers tend to drop the game in droves, so the company has a hard time justifying post-release support, etc., etc., until the game spirals down into oblivion. I have no idea what Bamco plans on doing with ToL, but given some of their previous business decisions I suspect it won’t be good. Square Enix has some vested interest here, with Kingdom Hearts III on the horizon, plus a decent track record of post-release support. If I had to choose one to throw my hat behind, I’d pick KHXINX, but I don’t see either of these games having legs.

Oh, and before we forget:


You know at Sony of America they’re all like, “Um, Vita guys sit over there. This table is for the console that people actually buy. As if!” The Vita is the Zoidberg, the Meg Griffin, the Cleveland Browns of the PlayStation brand.

Next week should be a bit better, with Warbits finally getting a release, and hopefully the Lost Socks update and Romancing SaGa 2 on the horizon. The best part of Romancing SaGa 2 is that now I don’t feel compelled to buy Bravely Second, also known as babby’s first JRPG. Plus, I still have TWEWY Solo Remix to keep me busy.