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Gaming Review

Mobile reviews: 'Frozen Synapse', 'Bombcats', 'Men's Room Mayhem'

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Released on Tuesday, May 21 2013

Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include a cyberpunk strategy game, explosive felines and a quick trip to a public restroom.

Frozen Synapse
Platforms: iPad
Price: £4.99 / $6.99

The PC strategy game Frozen Synapse arrived on iPad this week with a fantastic tablet conversion.

The simultaneous tactical battles have both players and their opponents planning out their squad movements at the same time, then letting the action play out in five-second bursts.

Frozen Synapse


Setting waypoints is intuitive with the new touch controls, complete with actions like crouching behind low cover, waiting for a set amount of time and aiming in a particular direction.

Anticipating your opponent's actions, and watching those actions play out at the same time as your own, has a profound effect on strategising, as do the different unit types, with shotgun, assault and sniper soldiers each offering their own tactical advantages and disadvantages.

The iPad version includes the full campaign from the original on PC, featuring randomly generated maps through a lengthy story. Though the terrain changes each time, the objectives in each level do not, which leaves much of the game up to chance as a fortuitously-placed wall can make the difference between getting shot immediately and having room to move your squad.

The full host of five multiplayer modes is also available, all of which can be played cross-platform with the PC version.

The downside is that new players may become overwhelmed with all the tactical options that need to be accounted for. Video tutorials try to teach players, but much of it comes down to trial and error. Thankfully, you can also test all of your moves before confirming each turn, so experimentation is encouraged.

Frozen Synapse on iPad offers everything that made the PC original great, along with multiplayer support between the iPad and PC. Those looking for deep strategy on the go need to look no further.


> Download 'Frozen Synapse' from the App Store




Bombcats
Platforms: iPad, iPhone
Price: Free, with in-app purchases

Bombcats is the latest iOS release from indie developer Radiangames, best known for neon-coloured action and puzzle games like Super Crossfire and Slydris.

The puzzles revolve around the titular bombcats, which are cats that are also bombs. Your goal is to flick them across each level so that they blow up energy cages imprisoning other baby bombcats.

'Bombcats' screenshot

© Chillingo Ltd

'Bombcats' screenshot



The game starts off rather simply, but gradually builds to become deviously clever through its 190 levels. Cats with new abilities - like sticking to walls or setting off tiny explosions with each bounce - are introduced, offering creative new puzzle possibilities.

Some puzzles even use multiple bombcats with different abilities, opening new challenges when using them in tandem.

Each level has three suns to collect, all of which must be found before moving on to the next level. There is also a skip option if you miss one of the suns available every 2 hours, or for a small fee through in-app purchases, so that particularly challenging levels don't need to halt your progress.

You will also collect gems, both in the levels and through a series of goals. Gems can be used to upgrade your cats, buy cat outfits or buy power-ups like slowing time or a larger explosion. In-app purchases let you buy more gems, but the levels are fairly generous so it never seems necessary to do so.

Bombcats may have a more cuddly appearance than the developer's past titles, but the impeccable design behind its puzzles stands out as some of Radiangames's best work yet.


> Download 'Bombcats' from the App Store



Men's Room Mayhem
Platforms: iPad, iPhone, Android
Price: 69p / $0.99

Men's Room Mayhem brings all the chaos of public restrooms - which ironically is probably where you are most likely to play Men's Room Mayhem - to your smartphone screen.

The game has players drawing paths for restroom goers leading them to the toilet so they can do their business. You can then draw a path leading them to the sink for a hand-washing bonus before sending them out of the bathroom's exit.

'Men's Room Mayhem' screenshot

'Men's Room Mayhem' screenshot



It becomes quite tricky when the restroom gets crowded, as any contact with another patron starts a brawl, and paths are bound to intersect as you send individuals to urinals, stalls, the sink and the exit. Some will also have a timer, and will leave an unpleasant mess on the floor if they don't make it in time.

Each level also has its own unique restroom-goer to mix things up, like the old man that does everything slowly or the drunk who changes his walking speed spontaneously.

In between rounds players have ten seconds to clean up their restroom, swiping frantically on the screen to get bonus points and scrub away blood from fights and other fluids that may have spilled in an accident.

Men's Room Mayhem also has a combo system, which makes an effort to offer a challenging game beyond just its silly premise. The more men you have idling about in the restroom, the higher your score multiplier, encouraging players to risk fights breaking out by keeping patrons from leaving right away.

The combo system makes it a unique spin on the Flight Control formula, so that climbing the leaderboards takes some skill along with endurance. However, those who are not particularly competitive with leaderboards may find that the joke wears thin in the time of only a few trips to the bathroom.


> Download 'Men's Room Mayhem' from the App Store and Google Play from May 22

What mobile releases have you been playing recently? Add your comment below!

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