[EXPRESSO] Nikke: Goddess Of Victory iOS | Anime Asses Frontline

Time to try my hand at another anime gacha with anime girls using rifles or being rifles or the usual military themed shit, because it scratches many itches, especially if your game lives by the profitable (and Houshou Marine-approved) “i don’t want to be happy, i want to be horny” motto.

Especially anime asses wrapped in spandex, because that was how i found about this game pre-release, by v-tubers laughing their butts off… due to incredible jiggle physics.

And yes, this is one of these that doesn’t even try to hide it, or to be also cute, no no, Nikke Goddess Of Victory is incredibly horny from the get-go (it’s from the Destiny Child developers, after all), so i guess points for brazen honesty.

Yeah, the premise is that you’re the ever-so-common amnesiac rookie commander ordering around anime girls with guns in a war against machines. So basically a worse Girls Frontline that wants to have it serious but also alternates between shock value scenes and abudant anime asses. It’s trash, but the dialogues can be somewhat engaging at times, the game looks pretty good, has nice UI, a good soundtrack, even a good english VA and some nicely animated cutscenes.

Gameplay its where things are a little different than the usual, as it’s… a on-rail shooter , basically a touch version of Time Crisis without the “rails” part, with 5 characters team, rpg elements like skills to activate and chain, alongside the usual modern on-rail shooter stuff.

This choice of gameplay also makes it easier to flash the player with pantyshots and latex wrapped anime dumparoos jiggling due to recoil, but it’s fun enough to be played in short bursts, the bosses thankfully provide some challenge not found in the normal stages, and the free-to-play trappings aren’t that awful.

[EXPRESSO] Warped Kart Racers iOS | Dang it Dale, You’re A Genius!

Yep, i eventually decided to play and review this once i saw it advertised as “coming soon” on Apple Arcade’s homepage because i’m pretty sure this is the first time Hank Hill was featured in a kart racer, i do love me some King Of The Hill.

That and it’s been a while since i played a kart racer on mobile that wasn’t Mario Kart Tour… or good, for that matter. And i do understand it’s kinda hard to sell people (or investors) on idea of a lawnmower racing game with only KOTH characters.

Even if you call it Pro-Pain.

So begrudginly i have to say the game also represents Family Guy, American Dad and Solar Opposites (which i haven’t seen, btw), but i’m choosing to believe this is a KOTH only game.

Joking aside, the gameplay it’s basically Mario Kart 7, there’s even the paragliders, the virtual controls are quite good and intuitive, the right amount of complex needed for a mobile title (it also supports gamepads), there are both normal races and MK style arena battles, the IA is surprisingly competent even in the beginner tier of races.

So yeah, color me surprised because it’s actually a good kart racer, looks and runs pretty well, and already at launch it’s a complete package, with online multiplayer, a decent amount of single player content, and the various unlocks of characters, kart parts and skins are made fun since it’s not a free to play release, so you just play the darn thing. For fun. Remember that?

Yeah, there’s nothing new here in any shape or form, but it’s kinda baffling that this licensed quadriple biscuit tie-in mobile kart racer with Peter Griffin and Hank Hill it’s honestly way better than the actual, official Mario Kart game available for smarthphones.

[EXPRESSO] Temple Run: Puzzle Adventure iOS | Thine Freemium Designs

To be brutally honest, this game in itself leaves very little to talk/comment about, as in it’s EXACTLY what you’d think it would be: a generic match-3 puzzle game using the license-name of a popular but old IP that benefits of the deal because people that ever so much do remember Temple Run, with generic character and art style.

Heck, i probably wouldn’t have known it existed if i wasn’t subscribed to Apple Arcade, and this – alongside some of the shittier releases like Galaga + – makes it more obvious how the service’s main selling point of featuring games without ads & microtransactions..is GOOD, but inadvertly exposes how many of these were mostly designed as freemium

We previously reviewed the quite similar match 3 revival of Zoo Keeper on Apple Arcade, but that just happens to be better and way more feature complete overall.

Which makes even more strange how it still feels pretty obvious something it’s “off”, because the game it’s honestly alright, but doesn’t have much to the standard match 3 formula seen a squillion on times, nor does it have an adventure twist despite being called Temple Run… or anything else besides the puzzles themselves.

Still, i played through 50 + of the puzzles and i had to eventually check online what the hell i was getting gems for, as in, you can buy power-ups, but due to the game not telling me at all, often outright handing out some, and the puzzles not being that hard, i wondered if i had to progress to unlock something where to spend the gems.

But nope.

It’s obvious this was designed as a freemium thing first, that easy to imagine it as such.

It’s inoffensive, but also disposable, even on Apple Arcade there are better puzzle games.

[EXPRESSO] Zookeeper World iOS | Match From The Past

Look what the Apple Arcade (yeah, eventually i decided to pay for it, 5 bucks a month it’s not a bad deal overall, in my opinion) resurrected, Zoo Keeper of all franchises.

I distinctly remember when this little match-3 puzzle game came out and managed to make the transiction from cute fun free flash game to full retail release..s, not just on the Game Boy Advance and DS, but even on the PS2. Those were different times indeed.

Of course it had been released on smarthphones after that, as Zoo Keeper DX Touch Edition and it even got a free-to-play VS version, Zoo Keeper Battle.

This new game retains the distinct aesthetic that admittely makes the series stand out more than the gameplay itself, one that translates well in voxel-style 3D graphics, but thankfully developer Kiteretsu also added more aside puzzles, in this case being the ever-popular “simulation-lite” management elements of adding more stuff to increase the appeal of the zoo, fulfilling requests, or doing menial jobs like cleaning up, alongside some minigames.

The simulation elements are lite as expected and needed, but the core gameplay it’s surprisingly addictive and manages to keep things interesting enough along the way via new obstacles and gimmicks, despite being a simple match-3 affair.

Though i do wonder if it was originally built as a free-to-play game, it’s clearly structured like one in terms of unlocks and progression, there are more currencies and cosmetic stuff like a punk costume for the monkeys, but since it’s an Apple Arcade release there are no microtransactions and shit, so you can actually enjoy playing a puzzle game on mobile without being continuosly pressured into paying money to skip deliberately excessive grind.

Not exactly a “subscription seller” or whatnote, but it’s honestly just good mobile puzzle game fun.

[EXPRESSO] Blue Archive iOS | Gacha, Girls & Guns

More gacha? Want more gacha? There’s always more gacha to talk about, not so much play as often gameplay it vestigial obligation or barely there so it can technically be considered a “videogame” and not a “JPEG slot machine”. And because these things always wants all your time. And money.

What kind of free-to-play anime gacha game is Blue Archive?

The story (as far as explained by the prologue) it’s basically A Certail Magical Index via Girls Frontline and a touch of Girls Und Panzers, minus the magical elements and sci-fi robots, so it’s a basically an island full of academies and anime girls students & prefects (all sporting halos, animal ears, etc) going around with weapons, riding tanks in broad daylight, and you’re the “Sensei” that shouldn’t be there but it’s now de facto leader tasked to resolved the current crisis.

Even if you’re amnesiac, like in Arknights, for example.

It’s fairly generic niche anime bungum.

Gameplay it’s mostly what expected, as you witness your selected team of 3 characters (plus supports) automatically proceed, shoot (and take cover if possible) through the battlefield, leaving you to basically just use skill cards for special attacks, buffs, etc

Each unit uses a specific type of gun, it’s more proficient in a specific type of terrain and belongs to a certain class, but that’s it, ultimately it’s about picking the right team combinations, the rest it’s windowdressing.

There is a grid based “strategy map” to move the units around before the auto battling segments, which reminds me of Girls Frontline…. minus lots of strategic elements. So ultimately it’s very similar to Princess Connect, a waifu collector “bonsai game”, with some decent character designs and good production values.

I will admit i enjoyed this one a bit more than Priconne, but not by much.

[EXPRESSO] Contra Returns iOS | Better than Rogue Corps

This isn’t technically new, since it has been available in China for years, but i guess someone at Konami woke from their slumber and figured out they didn’t release it westward yet.

I mean, this is the same company – among OTHER things – that wanted to release 3 Silent Hill games in the same month, cancelled a project involving Junji Ito, Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro, and keeps embarassing itself even with the few things it still peddles as videogames, instead of pachinko and/or slot machines.

Who the hell knows.

And i wanna stress that, because i’m almost surprised by how this is actually decent, fun even, and furious since Konami decide to release that abomination of Rogue Corps and ask full price for it, when the older free-to-play mobile game by chinese developer Timi was miles better.

Sure, it looks cheap, the art direction it’s kept familiar to the Contra bombast even if you can still kinda tell it was handled by a chinese team (as in, it’s solid but kinda generic), but it’s actually proper Contra devoid of bullshit (like overheating mechanic for weapons in a shooter)), and it’s actually playable enough with touch controls, while it supports (and plays better with) gamepad.

There’s the gacha, the power level bullshit and all the upgrading n equipping and shit that comes as standard with the mobile free-to-play model to get you hooked and all the usual crap we fully expect from this business model.

It even leans big into the nostalgia for the olden days, but it actually backs it up on the gameplay department, nothing great in terms of level designs, but considering the trappings of being on mobile and free-to-play, Contra Returns it’s definitely fun enough to waste some time on it.

Didn’t expect that.

[EXPRESSO] Pikmin Bloom iOS | Flower Fitness

Remember that mobile Pikmin game from Niantic that was announced some time ago?

Well, i kinda forgot, but it’s out now pretty much everywhere, so here we are with “Pikmin Go”.

Yeah, it uses pretty much the same augmented reality format, with the need to keep the app open and walking to hatch stuff. Here instead of eggs you have Pikmin seeds, each requiring a certain amount of steps to be taken in order to “harvest” the Pikmin, and you can use nectars to make the collected Pikmins grow flowers and award you with petals, which are needed.

To be honest, i was amazed when i played for the first time, went through the tutorial phase and realized…. that was it. Look, i have been playing Pokemon Go since launch, so i’m not that picky on regards to gameplay, but there is something as too damn simple, even a mobile game like this.

Yes, you can use up petals to plant flowers while moving, which helps in growing both your seeds, and the big flowers on the map, were you can sent the Pikmin into expeditions, to gain nectar, Pikmin cosmetic accessories and more Pikmin seeds, but that’s really it.

Not that i wanted combat from a Pikmin game, and it being very close to an idle game makes some sense, but still, i feel bamboozled, i can’t really imagine it appealing to the main Pikmin fanbase, neither so much to casual players.

I can’t really be to angry or confused about this, i really can’t since even the marketing frames it as something akin to a fitness app than a game, but it doesn’t make for an engaging activity, as there’s no stakes or big goals to work towards, even as a casual thing to fiddle with while walking.

[EXPRESSO] Castlevania: Grimoire Of Souls iOS | Rise from your Konami grave

Another review i wasn’t expecting to make anymore, since this mobile Castlevania title was made available only in Australia (outside of the usual asian territories) before getting removed after only one year. Until it was recently resurrected as an exclusive Apple Arcade title, so this version is free of microtransactions bullshit seen in the original free to play release.

It also “means” i used the free trial period to play it and see if it’s any good.

Plot see Alucard travel through various magic books (the titular “grimoires”) regarding all past events and stories of the Castlevania games, all to subdue the dark power that has grown in them and keep them under control. An excuse as any to have all the characters from the series together.

Gameplay it’s an actual sidescroller 2D Castlevania that really benefits from playing it with a gamepad (and now it’s easy as pie to connect a PS4 or X-Box One controller to iOS devices), but it’s fairly playable even with the touch controls, and know what?

It ain’t bad.

The removal of microtransactions is compensated by handing out the “premium currency” liberally, but they didn’t change anything else, so it’s clear this was originally designed as a mobile free-to-play game, with multiple currencies and resources, gacha for weapons and items, and having to keep upgrading the characters’ “power levels”.

It’s not a bad game per se, it’s just not very good either, it starts promising enough but the level designs and enemies take a while to ramp up, and it hindering from being better by mobile design trappings, so it values content more than the quality and favors the usual “upgrading shit” as a way to resolve hurdles over actual skill.

Still, it’s just ok, nothing that bad to be worth shutting it down.

[EXPRESSO] World Flipper iOS | Pinball Isekai RPG Action

“Flipper” it’s a short-term for pinball outside of America, FIY.

And i’m fairly sure we didn’t have a pinball RPG gacha game before, i remember there was a spin-off of FF XV of sorts for smart devices, but whatever, it’s a far more alluring proposition in a overly satured market of idle games, mild rpgs, and everything in the middle.

The plot it’s basically an isekai tropes salad, but the faux 8 bit graphics are nice enough, presentation is decent, and doesn’t bombard you with too much plot or terminology right away.

Gameplay is a bit different than expected, as it’s not set up as a traditional pinball affair, with the heroes acting as single “ball” but also able to dash while launched to attack the nearest enemy, and launch skills with a pretty typical but pretty good control scheme for touch devices.

There is a bit of depth, with enemies exposing weak points at certain times, the more combos you get in a row powering up your shot to make the team spring a stronger attack, there’s Fever Mode, and overall there’s quite enough to keep it easy to play in short bursts but not mindless.

Of course, this comes with the inevitable free-to-play trappings, events, upgrade trees/maps, but the less annoying ones, just energy consumption and gacha for characters using the main premium crystals/gems, one with gacha advantages for using gems obtained by poning up cash.

But still, it’s not that bad, and honestly it’s good, good fun, way more captivating than expected, even disregarding the obvious methods to try hook you in, World Flipper it’s one of those free-to-play games that you end up back into because you actually wanna play it.

A rare sight, even aside it delivering to the underserved niche of pinball games.

Don’t expect a review of Godzilla Battle Line

I planned to play and review this one like i did for the other mobile Godzilla titles Toho unleashed on us this year, as in via the EXPRESSO format, but the game just refuses to work on my iPhone, regardless if i reset the device, uninstall and reinstall it, remove other apps to make space in the phone’s memory storage, i have tried for 2 weeks by now to make this damn thing working on my device, but it ALWAYS, without fail, immediatly crashes after being launched.

Despite the app being constantly up to date and my device being compatible with it.

I have no clue why, the updates didn’t change a fuckin thing, and unless the next one magically fixes the issues (which seems to affect other uses with more advanced iPhones), i’m never gonna be able to play the damn thing, and hence i will never be able to review it. And i kinda wanted to do that, for completition’s sake if nothing else.

The review might happen, and they might just update the game to make it work immediatly after i post this, and tomorrow i will be able to play with no issues at all.

But until that happens, the review isn’t either.

Sorry, but that’s the situation, so expect other EXPRESSO reviews coming from tomorrow onwards, today is a forced review-less day.