REVIEW: Fat Cow – Hot Air

Fat Cow – Hot Air ($1.00) may be a slightly-less awesome title than one of 20 Goto 10 Games’ previous works, Magic Thighs & Slightly Phil, but it’s no less literal; you are indeed a large cow stuck in a bubble, using ‘hot air’ (…I’m assuming farts) to propel and boost yourself around some very claustrophobic stages. But that this particular cow’s name is ‘Hans Gruber’1? Now that’s awesome.

Fat Cow - Hot Air - Screen

It’s just too bad ‘Hans’ finds himself trapped in an otherwise familiar and pedestrian-playing Maze game. Not that there’s anything ‘wrong’ with Fat Cow – Hot Air mechanically. The usual tricks apply— you navigate2 the increasingly-complex layouts, searching out other animal friends that double as ‘keys’. Collecting all of your pals opens the ‘exit’, allowing you to progress to the next stage.

Each level is timed, natch, and there are roadblocks thrown up to detour you. These include other floating balls that magically ‘warp’ you back to the starting line, and lava-lined walls that quickly suck precious seconds off your remaining clock. To counteract the hazards, you can collect coins to increase your time, and ‘zoom out’ to see a given level’s design, charting a route around dead-ends and avoiding any enemy-choked corners. Subsequent stages will up the number of foes or key-friends you’ll have to rescue, requiring more dexterity.

Fat Cow - Hot Air - Screen2

A zoomed-out look at a stage, obviously.

Despite the worsening odds, the game keeps things moving at a breezy and (mostly) casual clip, with you finishing one stage and quickly cycling onto the next without too much trouble. The only ‘challenge’ of it really comes from making a wrong turn, or trying to rush past a defender. Online leaderboards will track the fattest scores, and even then you can always retry the stage you failed, albeit with your previous high score erased.

And that’s about all there is to Fat Cow – Hot Air. Without any original bits or clever hook to the gameplay, it’s likely the game will deflate your enthusiasm after the first couple runs. If you’ve played one maze game, you’ve played ‘em all. Poor Hans. Perhaps we’ll see him again someday. Godspeed, good sir… er… cow!


  1. I’m hoping for the ‘Hans Gruber’ from Die Hard, yippie ki-yay and all that, and not just the Austrian / Canadian composer. 
  2. The controls are initially a little funky, but you adjust pretty quick. Granted, I was still zig-zagging around half a dozen stages into it, but nothing that caused any catastrophic issues. Cows aren’t known for their agility, you know. 

REVIEW: Deadburg

Similar to DayZ— or XBLIG’s own ApocZReanimated GamesDeadburg ($1.00) is a zombie survival adventure set in a sprawling, completely explorable world. Visually, it’s a cross between Minecraft‘s blocky environs and a more realistic look for its items and zombies1, meeting nicely somewhere in the middle of the two styles. Its idea is well-worn by now, but the end result is one of the more playable crafter / shooter types you can find on the service.

Deadburg - Screen

Staying true to the genre and those aforementioned games, your objective in Deadburg is survival. This requires the obvious finesse in combat, battling undead hordes and watching your health, but also in monitoring your food and water situation. Strangely, this zombie apocalypse overfloweth with water bottles and canned goods, making this less of a serious concern about micromanagement and more of an annoying, ‘Don’t forget to to eat and drink’ bit.

Regardless, you will certainly have no shortage of houses and stores to search for said gear. Each world ‘seed’ is procedurally-generated, granting you hundreds2 of options to loot out life-saving bandages, firearms, items, materials, etc. In fact, it’s quite overwhelming at first glance. Multi-storied homes and abandoned businesses line the zombie-filled streets. Huge skyscrapers and buildings loom in the distance, erupting upwards into your game world all Inception-like, promising their own rewards and surprises.

Deadburg - Screen2

And dangers. Zombies are keen to taste human flesh, of course, and Deadburg offers up a large collection of melee weapons and guns, ranging from sledgehammers (which doubles as your ‘pickaxe’ to break apart the buildings / blocks) and golf clubs, to pistols and assault rifles. Each comes with their own durability and damage output (or limited ammo), necessitating that usual carrot-on-the-stick strategy of continuing to explore and look for better gear.

Your avatar can effectively ‘level up’ as well, buffing skills like strength and stamina, or various attributes that will, say, give you an edge in combat, grant you night vision, or increase your odds and talents in crafting. The Minecraft-ian hook is more than just an excuse to design and / or wreck the environments, too. Build makeshift bridges to cross rooftops and avoid a fight, or stack together a barricade to block off a pack of zombies. Options abound.

Deadburg - Screen3

Pertinent info aside, the online play— seemingly one of Deadburg‘s most popular features— remains sketchy even a month after release. Up to three players can join a world (or host their own)… when that game world is stable. Lag / stutters create some issues, as does the lack of an in-game map, making it hard for players / friends to find each other and team up. The zombies, too, are literally hit and miss, featuring some wonky AI where they’ll just kind of stand around looking at you until you get close. To counter this, the game does boost their collective stats, making them stronger and more resilient with each passing day / night cycle3.

These are minor bumps in the road, however. The game gives you plenty to keep you busy and exploring, finding new crafting recipes and better weapons, and leveling up to meet the challenge. Deadburg feels ambitious, massive, and involving, its environments larger and more varied than ApocZ. It’s ultimately missing the apocalyptic presentation and the ‘human element’ of something like Survivalist, but if you’ve yet to fully scratch your ‘zombie survival’ itch, Deadburg is certainly worth a look.


  1. Some of which look like an undead Vladimir Putin, curiously. 
  2. The game’s description says ‘thousands’ of explorable buildings / homes, but I’m leaning more towards the conservative side until proven otherwise. Not that it matters; you literally won’t run out of property to search or stuff to pick up. 
  3. There’s been other issues as well, including crashes and other gameplay bugs, but the developer is working on another patch to address some of those outstanding issues. Even better news, they’re working on a new ‘Defense’ mode and other tweaks / options that will be added in a future update. Keep an eye on their site for details. 

REVIEW: Assault Ops: Warzone

Assault Ops: Warzone ($1.00) has a lot in common with the plain-old vanilla-no-subtitle-here Assault Ops. No doubt that’s intentional, and easy enough to spot anyway1. Developer Rendercode Games released the latter shooter in October, to very little fanfare and critical acclaim (I thought it was generic). While that game gave you an isometric view of the action, Assault Ops: Warzone offers up the more typical— and ‘mainstream-friendly’— first-person shooter.

Assault Ops - Screen

And outside of the change to your viewpoint and a new-ish map to do battle on, the gameplay itself is entirely familiar to anyone that’s dabbled in the genre. Assault Ops: Warzone allows for up to six players online2 in a deathmatch setting, with a supplemental offline mode using A.I. bots as a competent stand-in. You can once again choose from a collection of soldiers, each with his or her own stats for agility and firepower, but it largely comes down to preference more than one character being stronger or better than another.

Ditto for the weaponry, which pulls from the well-thumbed book of videogame guns; assault rifles, shotguns3, LMGs, and pistols. The first-person setting does improve on one of the original’s most glaring faults— the limited sightlines. No such issue here, as navigating corners and planning moves ahead now comes with much less surprise and / or a hail of unseen gunfire. Also, headshots(!).

Assault Ops - Screen2

Enemies still drop the always-helpful ammunition and health packs upon death, letting you string together killstreaks with relative ease; the A.I. runs from ‘go ahead and shoot me’ on Easy to ‘bullet sponge-y’ on Hard. Which you better get accustomed to. Likely you’ll be left only with the single-player option, and that mode stales pretty quick. Online play would doubtlessly fare better and provide more of a competitive spark (it comes with online leaderboards), if there was anyone left on XBLIG to duel against.

Which is the real shame. Sure the idea here is ‘generic FPS’ personified, but the sharp visuals and decent control scheme makes Assault Ops: Warzone play better than certain other first-person shooters on the service. It’s just a game that’s come too late in the cycle, putting all of its focus into an online community that really no longer exists.


  1. Because titles, man. 
  2. And before you ask, no, I never once found an online lobby and / or opponents to spar against. Oh, you didn’t ask? Well, I’m telling you anyways. Forewarned is forearmed. 
  3. Extremely over-powered, I might add. Just as in games like Call of Duty, Destiny, and the like, you can pretty much wreck shop with a shotgun from any range. Good for you run&gun types. 

REVIEW: Really Scary

Really Scary ($1.00) is the fourth title (in as many months) from developer Chris Antoni to feature a low-budget horror set and Five Nights At Freddy’s- style jump scares, with the tension created by said scares meant to provide the enjoyment1 and impetus to keep playing. As with any long-running franchise, though, you risk alienating your audience with repeated releases that only fractionally change the core gameplay. Really Scary is thus really familiar, leaving this series (and its idea) running on fumes.

Really Scary - Screen

That depends… we talking about what I did last summer, or did I just leave the toilet seat up again?

This new outing attempts to once again mash together the two play styles of the previous games, asking you to navigate a supposedly haunted house via on-screen control prompts and tackle the usual gameplay of perusing in-house camera feeds in order to ward off your would-be murderers. Your chief antagonists here are bloodied and / or decapitated teddy bears speaking demonic gibberish (good nightmare fuel for your kids!), but the goal of survival and the perks of steady nerves remain the same.

There is some very light puzzle-work to be done as well, mainly in triggering the next ‘event’ or in choosing the correct door, but the real threat comes from watching your attackers inch closer to your safe room. Said intruders are scared off when you turn to face them, with the trade-off of having a limited amount of time to do so. Disappointingly, you should know the drill by now, and even these moments feature the same obligatory quick scares and sound effects found in the other games.

Really Scary - Screen2

Well… bonus points for the old school console love.

It should surprise no one then that Really Scary doesn’t differ much from previous installments (you have to give the people what they want, I guess), though it does offer up some of the smoothest camera transitions and pseudo-FMV so far2. That increased fidelity comes at a cost, however, as this game is also on the shorter end of playtime. It took me about 25 minutes to reach the conclusion, even allowing for a few mistakes in-between.

Brevity aside, there’s not much here that’s new or fresh enough to warrant another purchase, and the recycled bits have lost their edge. I hate to pull out this old gem of a saying, but if you’ve played one of the games from this collection, you’ve really played them all. Granted, there’s been some decent scares along the way, but let’s hope this series now takes a very long hiatus3.


  1. If you’re into that sort of thing, of course. 
  2. No choppy frames – motion sickness = yay! 
  3. At least until next Halloween, please. 

REVIEW: Croc’s World 2

Despite some crisp, cheery visuals and a lovable croc mascot with a football helmet, I didn’t like the original Croc’s World. Most of that had to do with the fact that it was almost a straight Mario clone, with no interesting bits or unique mechanics to define itself as anything other. Now Sprakelsoft has unleashed Croc’s World 2 ($1.00) upon the unsuspecting mobile and XBLIG masses, and… nothing much has changed for the sequel. It’s still an unapologetic Mario clone.

Croc's World 2 - Screen

In a valiant attempt to cover for that, Croc’s World 2 has effectively ‘doubled-down’ on the content for this follow-up. While the original had a pair of world themes covering 30 stages, the sequel has four(!) unique stage themes, spread across 60(!) levels. It’s that classic sequel trick, using the fuzzy math of ‘more = better’. Tempting to consider, but the platforming remains as nonchalant and formulaic as ever.

Croc’s moveset is simple enough to master; he runs, he jumps, he collects diamonds in batches of a hundred in order to gain a 1-up. His ‘football helmet’ powerup mirrors Mario‘s ‘mushroom’, allowing you to bash bricks above your head and take one extra hit from enemies before dying. You can collect a second item, a bag of rocks (see Mario‘s ‘fire flower’) to toss stones at aerial foes or attack ground opponents from a safer distance. In a new twist, you can pick up an additional bag to turn your stones into ‘homing’ rocks, seeking out targets and simplifying the combat even more.

That over-simplification is a natural byproduct of being a port of a mobile game (just as the original was), yet the ease at which you can complete stages once again throws out any semblance of challenge for someone over the age of five. I consistently ran through most scenes at top speed, navigating the basic obstacles (think spikes, disappearing bricks, or fire hazards1) and taking down end-level bosses without a care. With plentiful checkpoints and unlimited continues considered, there’s really no way anyone can lose.

Croc's World 2 - Screen2

Once again, the only real challenge to be found is to figure out the bizarre reasoning behind your stomp attacks, and what can hurt you; bees and crabs are fair game to be bopped, while porcupines are strictly on the do-not-touch list. Even the boss fights, while appreciated, fall into the familiar rut of ‘platforming 101′— stomp them, wait for them to exit their ‘stunned’ animation, then repeat.

Inspiration in any creative design can be a very good thing— when it’s used as a model to advance your own ideas. Croc’s World 2 borrows too much from Croc’s World, which in turn borrows way too much from Super Mario Bros. Thus, there’s no reason to invest in this artificially-inflated sequel, unless you like generic platformers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; why play a dumbed-down knockoff when you can just play the stellar original game it’s based on?


  1. Another new powerup makes you invulnerable to fire at certain points, which, you guessed it— makes things even easier

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