Hello. We don’t have a theme for this week’s Free Video Game Summer. There’s just a lot of small games. That means that these reviews won’t be too long—for the most part—so let’s get to it.
Pocket Politics uses the same set up as Kongregate’s previous game, AdVenture Capitalist. I reviewed AdVenture Capitalist earlier this summer and liked it, but that was the PC version of the game, which is the far superior version of the game. I downloaded the iTunes app and there were more stumbling blocks in terms of ploys to gain people’s money and these schemes rear their heads here in Pocket Politics.
Looking beyond these money-making practices, the main game mechanisms from AdVenture Capitalist are still in place. You tap businesses to open them and generate money, hire managers to tap businesses for you, and purchase upgrades to boost your earnings. This set-up worked for AdVenture Capitalist because it matches the game’s theme. The same can’t be said of Pocket Politics. Most people know that money talks in politics, but it’s not the one-for-one of the original and these same game mechanisms fall flat even before you factor in the shady ways power-ups work. Play AdVenture Capitalist on the PC and skip Pocket Politics.
Big Bang Racing
Big Bang Racing is a fun little racing game in the mode of Mod Nation Racers or Little Big Planet Karting. The controls aren’t as good as a 3D racing game—this is a side-scrolling racing game—but they’re also not too difficult to pick up and master either. Where Big Bang Racing shines is in its customization.
Not only can you trick out your cart, you can create your own levels and play levels designed by your friends. This makes for endless content. And with a global community, you’ll find hours of enjoyment. Big Bang Racing isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of other games that capture the adrenaline of pedal to the metal racing, and I would’ve preferred some power ups besides turbo boost (there may be more if I were to play longer) but for a free, kart racing game, you can’t go wrong with Big Bang Racing.
Snakebird gets its name from the titular character who’s a gooey amalgam of a snake and a bird. At its heart Snakebird is a puzzle game. You navigate levels by sliding your snakebird over hills and into caves. It’s a simple and fun concept, but the game can get frustrating.
There’s no hint system that I could find, so players could spend hours—days if you take breaks—on a stage before clearing the level. That’s not a deal breaker for me, but it could be for many other people. In fact, Snakebird doesn’t waste much time before plunging its players into difficult to solve puzzles. It can be brutal game, so beware. But if you can get pass its unforgiving puzzles, Snakebird can be fun.
Winter Fugitives 2 Chronicles
Like Big Bang, Winter Fugitives 2 Chronicles is another simplified version of a popular game type: stealth. If you like sneaking around in Thief or Metal Gear Solid, you might enjoy the stripped down Winter Fugitives 2 Chronicles. Players control a prisoner trying to escape. You have to avoid guards (who have cones of vision you must side-step) and look for the occasional key, found in desks, safes, or crates. You have the option of knocking out guards and subduing them, but you run the risk of not gaining the level’s bonus, and you typically want the bonus. Other than that, there isn’t a lot of complexity to Winter Fugitives 2 Chronicles. Try not to be seen. The gameplay is tight and it can scratch the itch of a free-to-play stealth, mobile game.
Jelly Jump is another game with a simple concept. Players control a jelly cube and must jump (tap the cube) at the right time to make to the level above them; instead of side scrolling, Jelly Jump top scrolls. You only have a short time to make your jump because you may get closed off from the level above you (draw bridges) and water is filling the bottom of the screen. It’s a fun little game.
You could pay $1.99 and eliminate ads that periodically show up, but the ads in Jelly Jump aren’t obtrusive, you can get by with the free version. The gameplay may be simple but it can be intense. Several times I got my jelly cube stuck in a draw bridge and frantically tapped the screen to free it. It’s odd how a simple game can elicit a response like that. For a little game Jelly Jump can get your blood pumping, and it’s worth a quick play.
Power Hover puts you in control of a guy on a hover board, restoring power to the countryside. Each stage has you swiping to avoid obstacles and pick up electricity. If you collect enough electricity, you can power up the local power stations and people regain their electric power. This is yet another simple concept game, but Power Hover does a good job of providing tight controls and gameplay, and players know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. That’s always a plus.
While Power Hover isn’t as deep as Big Bang—few free-to-play games can offer that much content—it does provide plenty of fun. That’s probably the theme of this week’s games: strip away a game style to what makes it work. Power Hover may be too simple for some gamers, but for what it is, it works.
It’s funny how some of these games do exactly what the title says. Nonstop Knight is a game where the player controls a knight who runs through a dungeon, killing creatures, whether you control them or not, hence the title, Nonstop Knight. This title has more going on but that doesn’t make it a better game.
If you’ve been following Geekly’s Free Video Game Summer, you’ll know that I don’t care for games that give me little agency as a player. Nonstop Knight plays itself. Literally, you don’t have to play the game for your knight to kill goblins deep in the dungeon in which you’re crawling. It’s a game that’s on rails, and I don’t care for it. Sure, AdVenture Capitalist suffers from this a bit, too, but the player still has to make choices. If you’re logged in, you can pull off some combat moves, but Nonstop Knight doesn’t give players any meaningful choices. You don’t even control your character. Skip it.
We don’t have too many more weeks left. Hopefully, I can keep this up. Until next we meet, thanks for reading.