Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Install Android Games for Your PC

Up until recently there has not been a reliable source for playing Android games on your PC. Fortunately, as Android technology becomes more widespread in phones, laptops, netbooks, and tablets, the demand for Android software has dramatically increased. This increase in demand has led to the development of several Android emulators for your PC.

There are a few different types of Android emulators at this point, and Android Emulators For PC outlines the pros and cons of each one. Their tutorial video for how to install Android-x86 in less than 5 minutes makes it quick and easy for anyone to run the Android platform on their PC or Mac in no time at all.

However, if you're just looking to install your favorite Android games on your PC and don't care about running a copy of the underlying operating system, your best bet is to read their tutorial for installing BlueStacks. BlueStacks allows you to simply download and run any Android game that is either currently existing on your Android device (using their Cloud Connect software), or that you can find and download on the Amazon or GetJar markets. It only takes a few minutes to install, and once it's running you can play virtually any Android game available on your PC.

So, check out the Android emulator options available over at Android Emulators For PC and play your favorite Android games anywhere you have a computer (and a much bigger screen).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Draw Something

The latest and greatest app to take the mobile market by storm is called Draw Something. Having been released for less than a month, the app has already accrued over 20 million downloads. Draw Something is available on both Android and iPhone. It's relatively simple to play (if you've ever played Pictionary, you'll get the idea), and more of your friends are probably playing it than you realize.

Download Draw Something from App Brain

How to Play Draw Something

The object of the game is simple: choose one of your friends to play with (the app integrates with Facebook), choose a word, draw that word, and have your friend guess. After they guess, the roles reverse and it's time to guess what they drew for you.

The main screen shows a list of your existing games and allows you to create a game. Tapping create a game allows you to choose a friend from Facebook, by their email, by their username, or randomly. You can also delete or end past games by swiping your finger left or right over the game and clicking the delete button that appears.

Once you choose a friend, you'll be taken to the next screen that gives you three words to choose from (easy, medium, and hard). Each level of difficulty will earn you one extra coin. Coins can be used to purchase bombs or additional colors for drawing.

The drawing screen has very few elements. At the top you'll see your palette of colors (default are black, red, yellow, and blue). Below that is a large blank space where you use your finger to draw your clue. In the bottom left you can select either the pen or the eraser, and decide what size to use. The trashcan clears the drawing board and starts from scratch, and the done button is for when you're finished.

Once you send your drawing to your partner, they'll watch its creation in real time and have to guess what the word is by using a bank of letters. If they feel they're stumped, they can click the 'bomb' button to erase some of the wrong letters and make it easier to guess. However, each person has a finite number of bombs and more can only be purchased at the in-game store with coins won by playing matches. If a player is out of bombs and simply cannot guess the drawing, they can click Pass to give up and reset their winning streak to round 1.

Tips and Tricks for Draw Something

From the main screen, you can tap the stats button and view a list of running statistics between both you and the person you're playing. This and coin accumulation are about as close to an official scoring system as Draw Something ever gets.

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I found it particularly annoying to be forced to draw with my finger. I looked up capacitative styluses online, as they're the only ones that would work with Android or iPhone, and there were a few options. There were some complicated methods that recommended taking apart a mechanical pencil, wrapping a paperclip around it, and putting one end of the paperclip through a damp piece of sponge. There were also plenty of capacitative styluses for sale on Amazon. My quick and dirty fix for better drawing ability, however, was to take an old static-free bag that hard drives are shipped in, roll it up tight, and secure it with a piece of tape. The bag itself conducts enough current to register with my Android phone. Here's a video of the process for anyone who's curious.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tank Hero Tutorial

For almost a year, Angry Birds reigned supreme on my android. If I ever needed a go-to, time-killing game to play, that was the one. I would play other games here and there, but none had the staying power of those pork-fiending fowl.. That is... Until I started playing Tank Hero by Clapfoot Inc.

Tank Hero

Never have I found a game as smoothly coded and instantly addicting as Tank Hero. The premise is that you play as a single tank that is apparently the last of its species (green), and all other tanks want to wipe you off the face of the planet. To survive and be crowned the victor, you'll have to blast your way through three worlds and 120 levels. In this tutorial I cover the following:

  • How to Play Tank Hero
  • Tank Hero Movement
  • Tank Hero Scoring
  • Tank Hero Weapons
  • Tank Hero Enemies
  • Survival Mode and Timed Mode

How to Play Tank Hero

Upon starting Tank Hero on your android and clicking 'play,' you'll be prompted to pick which world you want to destroy. If this is your first time playing Tank Hero, you will only have access to the first, stone-floored world until you complete enough levels to unlock the other two. Each world has its own unique characteristics.

The walls and floors of the first world are completely indestructible, and nothing can get through them (though the howitzer weapon can fire over them). The second world is mostly constructed of wood and allows for weaker blocks that look like particle board to be destroyed by tank fire. This makes for really crappy cover. Some later levels of the third world also contain holes that will "teleport" your tank from one area of the map to another. Lastly, the third world is played on grass with destructible brick walls, similar to the old tank game, Battle City.

Each of the three worlds contains 40 levels in campaign mode. You successfully complete a level by destroying all other tanks and not being destroyed yourself. To prevent your tank from becoming a smoldering heap of metal, you must avoid all enemy fire. You can be shot twice by an enemy round before your tank explodes. However, the third time you take fire you'll be instantly transformed from Android Tank Hero to Android Tank Zero. If you are able to successfully eliminate all other tanks without being shot three times your score will be calculated and you can progress to the next level.

Tank Hero Movement

To get around the various worlds of Tank Hero, you simply move your thumb in different directions over the virtual joystick in the lower left-hand corner of your screen. Movement is surprisingly responsive and smooth, making driving around in Tank Hero almost as fun as blowing up the opposing tanks. I'm not sure how they wrote their code, but controlling your tank in Tank Hero is one of the smoothest operations I've experienced on any android application to date.

Firing your cannon is equally simplistic. All you do is tap directly on the tank you want to kill, and off goes your shell. Rapidly tapping the screen will allow you to fire in three-round bursts. Once one shell explodes, you can fire again.

Tank Hero Scoring

Your score is calculated by combining four categories into your total score. Level score is determined by how difficult each level is. Accuracy rating is determined by how high your accuracy is throughout the level. Health rating is determined by how many enemy shells you take in each level. The completion of each level in Tank Hero will earn you either a bronze, silver, or gold medal. The highest scores receive gold medals and are recorded on the home page of each level.

Tank Hero Weapons

There are currently four weapons available in Tank Wars. Below are each weapon's description and cost according to the Upgrade screen in survival mode.

Stock Canon
The stock cannon fires in bursts of three and is capable of reflecting off of walls to hit enemies in hard to reach places.

Spread Cannon
Cost: 6000
The spread cannon fires a salvo of bullets covering a wide area of attack. This is useful for taking out multiple enemies at the same time.

Heat Seeker
Cost: 12000
The heat seeker cannon fires bullets that identify and home in on enemy tanks.

Cost: 16000
The howitzer cannon fires explosive shells that cause damage around its area of impact. It is also capable of firing over walls and other obstacles.

Tank Hero Enemies

Blue Tank
The first enemy tank you encounter in Tank Hero, the blue tank is relatively slow and uses the stock canon. Individually they don't pose much of a threat, but in large groups they can be extremely dangerous. Watch out for their ricocheting bullets, as these tanks are smart and will go for a bank shot if one presents itself. One direct hit will kill any blue tanks.

Red Tank
The red tank poses a serious threat in that it is armed with a howitzer. This allows it to be extremely deadly from any range, as the howitzer can shoot over walls like a mortar. While the red tank is slow and bulky, it also has beefed up armor that allows it to take three hits before being completely destroyed.

Yellow Tank
Using the stock cannon and being reduced to scrap after one hit, the yellow tank is identical to the blue tank in every respect except one... The yellow tank is fast. Very fast.

Brown Tank
With armor similar to the red tank, in that it needs three hits to be destroyed, the brown tank wields the spread cannon. Your best bet at taking one of these tanks down is to get it near a choke point that forces two of its three missiles to be destroyed after launching.

Black Tank
My least favorite tank in all of Tank Hero, the black tank wields heat seeking missiles. These are particularly annoying in that, while the black tank only fires one at a time, you can have up to three missiles chasing you at once from the same tank. After roughly 10 seconds of avoiding getting hit by one of these suckers, they'll self-destruct, but that's a lonnnggg 10 seconds. If there are any black tanks in your level, it's best to make them a priority.

Survival Mode and Timed Mode

If you get bored with playing the campaign mode for any reason, you can select timed mode or survival mode. While any level can be played in timed mode, you can only select levels which you have previously beaten to play in survival mode.

In timed mode the objective is beat each level as quickly as possible. You do not get scores as in campaign mode for high accuracy or maintaining all your health. Your times are kept on a leader board and can be compared with friends' times if you sign into your Open Feint account.

Survival mode, on the other hand, allows you to pick a level and progressively sends increasingly difficult waves of tanks until your tank is finally destroyed. You earn credits that can be spent on weapon upgrades after each wave of tanks is defeated. While playing Tank Hero in survival mode, you can also switch between weapons at any time during each attack wave.

While surprisingly simple in its concept, its smoothness and level variety of this game makes Tank Hero my top android game of the moment. I can already see myself returning to each of the levels once I have finished to ensure I've collected all 120 gold medals. If you enjoy addicting games that can be quickly picked up and put back down, then you must play Tank Hero for android. If you enjoyed this tutorial, please leave a note in the comments (or better yet, link to it on your blog...) and consider checking out another, equally addicting android game, Big Sport Fishing 3D Tutorial.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life is Crime Tutorial Updated 12/7/11

Updated from my previous post at TheDr1ver.com - If you haven't downloaded Life is Crime and are looking for a beginner's tutorial, read that before checking out these updates.

Life is Crime

After the most recent update to Life is Crime that was rolled out on December 2 there have been a few major (and minor) modifications to the way the game is played. Since my original tutorial was so popular before I started this new specialized blog, I figured I would post this and all future updates on Android Game Tutorial... So here goes.

Collecting Money

Upon signing in I noticed the first modification to the game. Now, when you collect money from your kingpin locations, the screen flashes an additional rep bonus. Previously, it wasn't well known how the entire rep system worked. While rep would increase seemingly at random in the previous version, with the new update you are told exactly how much rep you receive simply by signing in and collecting your money. I noticed when I signed in I collected $1.1 million and my rep was boosted by +118.

While I mentioned it in the comments of my previous post, there has also been the option of a personal bank added to the game. You can deposit your cash in increments of $1 million, but in doing so the bank charges a 10% fee. When your money is deposited in the bank it cannot be accessed by those who gain cash from you in fights. You do not need to "withdraw" your funds in order to spend them on new equipment -- buying new equipment automatically accesses your bank funds.


The fighting style has changed too, in that it now allows you to select how many attack points you wish to use (between 1 and 3) to gamble (slot machine style) on how you will fair in a given battle. The slot machine shows you whether your attack hits, your mob bonus, and your rep bonus from your attack. The more points you wager, the higher the chance of scoring a direct hit on your opponent will be. You do not gain any additional building points whether you wager 1 or 3 attack points, but you gain roughly 3x more experience and cause 3x more damage for betting 3 stamina points instead of 1.

In testing, betting 1 stamina point earned +12 building points, +$1801, and +20XP, whereas betting 3 stamina points earned +12 building points, +$5179, and +60XP. However, when killing an opponent, all three categories (building points, cash, and XP) were increased by much more. Through my initial experimentation it still seems that if you were to fight someone 21 times, betting 1 point each, rather than fighting that same person 7 times, betting 3 points each, you would earn slightly more money and cause slightly more damage by betting 1 point for each round of fighting.

Other Notes

With the new update, there seems to be more artwork added to the game. Buildings that previously all looked the same now have newer artwork better distinguishing your city.

They've also added a new kill screen when you beat someone in a battle.

Other than that, most of the game has stayed the same. The leaderboard, "find players," and "find buildings" screens still look the same, the general mechanics still work as they did in my original tutorial, and the existing earned points have not changed.

Specific rep bonuses have also been added to screens where you pick up packages that are found by searching. When I picked up a package of stolen goods that cost 100 energy, I received +18 rep.

I also found another Easter Egg. Before you click 'Use One,' the Easter Egg description reads "From your buddy, the Easter bunny. Upon using the egg, you'll receive +5 R2 credits.

As far as I can tell right now, that covers all the recent changes to Life is Crime. Hopefully this tutorial will hold you fiends over until the next major update.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bubble Blast Holiday Edition Tutorial

Keeping with the theme of the season, I figured I'd write this next tutorial about a seemingly popular android game, Bubble Blast Holiday Edition.

Bubble Blast Holiday Edition

My first android game tutorial written for the android game mammoth, Magma Mobile, Bubble Blast Holiday Edition provides a unique puzzle challenge that I haven't experienced before. Being a fan of any kind of game that can hold my attention and desire to advance for longer than a couple days, Bubble Blast Holiday Edition boasts 2000 unique levels to keep you playing over and over again, long past the holidays.

How to Play

When you start off with Bubble Blast Holiday Edition, you can decide whether or not you want to play puzzle mode or arcade mode (after beating 20 levels). Then you can choose whether your bubbles are purple balls, a poorly designed intersection, a dick-in-a-box, a bowling ball with a carrot stuck in the thumb hole, a crackhead, or a poorly designed intersection in the middle of a lake. After choosing your bubble character, you can choose which level pack you wish to attempt. Each of the 20 level packs contain 100 levels. From within that level pack you can then select any level you have already unlocked.

Each level presents you with different sized bubbles that all need to be blasted in order to advance to the next level. When you tap the largest bubble it will explode, sending smaller versions of itself off in four directions, causing one level of damage to any bubble it comes in contact with. Each level allows for a predetermined number of 'touches' as defined in the upper left-hand corner. Once you run out of touches, if there are no bubbles remaining, you win the level and can advance to the next one.

Your score is determined by how many bubbles you blast and is compounded by the number of bubbles blasted in a given chain reaction. If you blast one bubble and it fails to blast any of the surrounding bubbles, you will receive one point. However, if you blast one bubble and doing so results in one adjacent bubble being blasted you will receive 10 points for each blast, plus 1(+1) point for each combo you've earned (10 + 10 + 1 = 21). For example, if you blast one bubble that sets off a chain reaction of 3 additional bubbles being blasted, your score will be 46 for that touch.

First bubble = 10 points
Second bubble = 10 points + 1 combo point
Third bubble = 10 points + 2 combo points
Fourth bubble = 10 points + 3 combo points
Total = 46 points


If you find yourself getting stuck at a particular level, you can request 1 hint every 24 hours. When you request a hint, you will receive every possible combination of touches you could do in order to successfully complete a level. The first level I got stuck on was level 10, and I have posted the hints I received below... In this case, there were 40 possible combinations I could have tried in order to beat the level, which made me feel like a proper dumbass...

My own incompetence aside, Bubble Blast Holiday Edition has proven to be a great puzzle game with excellent replay value. If you find yourself looking for an android game with the holiday spirit, or simply looking for a new challenge the next time you're on the toilet, I'd highly recommend this game to anyone. And, if you're looking for something else Christmas themed, check out my tutorial on Zombie Christmas.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Access Android From Your PC | AirDroid

While admittedly not an android game tutorial, I came across this incredible new app today called AirDroid and had to write about it. AirDroid allows you to connect directly to your android phone from your browser via local WiFi and modify and transfer just about anything you can think of... So here's the rundown.


Accessing Android From Your PC with AirDroid

Before connecting to AirDroid from your computer (and never needing to touch your android while seated at your desk again), you'll need to set it up first. Once you have downloaded and installed the application on your phone, make sure your android is connected to the same WiFi network as the computer (PC, Mac, or Linux) you wish to access it with. Upon running AirDroid and you will receive a screen similar to the one pictured on the left. Then, open your favorite browser on your computer and type in the address displayed on your phone. In this case, I would enter into my browser to access my AirDroid login screen. Then, I put in the randomly generated 4-digit password and I'm presented with the AirDroid in-browser desktop. That's when the fun begins...

What AirDroid Can Do

According to its market description, AirDroid can do all of the following android actions and then some from within your favorite browser. Take a look at the screenshot to the left to see the layout in more detail. The browser-based desktop is very similar to your regular computer desktop setup.
  • Transfer files between the Android and computer system
  • Read, send, forward, or delete SMS messages
  • Install, uninstall, search, and backup apps
  • Preview, delete, import, and export photos as well as set them as wallpaper or create a desktop slideshow
  • Share clipboard text between the android device and desktop
  • Group, search, create, and delete contacts and call logs
  • Import, export, and customize ringtones and notification sounds
  • Import, export, delete, and play music, or set it as a ringtone or notification
  • Monitor your device hardware usage stats (CPU, RAM, SD card, and battery)
  • Monitor and/or kill certain tasks
After my initial tests, AirDroid proves to be able to do everything it claims to do -- and it does it well. Previously, the most effective method I had for downloading screenshots and pictures off of my phone was to wait for them to automatically upload to Google+ and then download them from there. Now, I can select all the pictures I wish to save and download them with the click of a button.

In addition, file management, text messaging, and app management become leaps and bounds easier when you can do it all with a mouse and keyboard on multiple windows in front of you on a big monitor, rather than attempt to do the same on your small, sometimes clunky android screen.

The fact that AirDroid runs this smoothly and accesses so much of the system without the need for root seriously blows my mind. If you find yourself wishing you could access your android from your PC as much as I do throughout the day, you should definitely give AirDroid a try.

Zombie Christmas Tutorial

In the spirit of the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, as well as the upcoming holidays, I decided the next Android game I wanted to write a tutorial for was Zombie Christmas.

Zombie Christmas

Basic Operations

New to the market, with only 5,000-10,000 downloads currently, Zombie Christmas is a casual tower-defense-style game. The object of the game is fairly simple... Protect your presents from a steady invasion of miniature zombies by dropping a variety of Christmas ornaments on their heads. You can play in either story or survival mode. Story mode requires that you last through 12 rounds without having all of your presents completely destroyed in order for you to "...save Christmas," which if you ask me is a pretty lame attempt at a story... More like a sentence. Survival mode is basically the exact same concept, except you play until all of your presents are completely destroyed.

As you ward off the advancing horde of zombies by tapping on the various Christmas ornaments, they will fall at varying speeds. To change the direction the ornament is falling in, you must tilt your android phone either left or right. There are a few different types of ornaments you can use to kill the zombies, including red and blue ball ornaments, candy canes, icicles, and stars. The blue and red balls fall at the same speed, while the icicles and candy canes fall much faster. The stars fall at the same rate as the blue and red balls, but they explode on impact, making them ideal for combo kills. To kill a zombie, you must land a direct hit on it with any ornament except the stars, which can land near a zombie and still kill it with the explosion.

I have only run into three types of zombies thus far; the walker, the scooter, and the puker. The walker is your standard zombie that walks in and quickly devours your presents. Once he is dead, however, the damage he's caused stops. The scooter is basically the same thing, but she wears pink and slowly slides across the floor on her ass before doing any damage. The puker is the most deadly of the three types I have encountered in that he walks up to your gifts and spews toxic vomit on them. Even once he's been killed the toxic waste remains for a bit and slowly devours your presents.There may be more types, but I haven't been able to get past level 7.


I found that a game with mechanics this simple is best played with an equally simple strategy. At first I was trying to quickly and accurately snipe each zombie by tapping one ornament at a time and tilting my android accordingly. Then I realized that the game more or less instantly replenishes ornaments as soon as you use them, and it make more sense to carpet-bomb the bajeezuz out of the little undead elven bastards as quickly as possible. Dropping as many ornaments as you can as fast as you can allows for a stronger, accuracy-by-volume approach, and allowed me to advance past level 3 to level 7.

I would definitely recommend Zombie Christmas for anyone looking to kill a festive hour or two this holiday season. Or, if puzzles are more your thing and you're still looking for a Christmas themed android game, check out my tutorial on Bubble Blast Holiday Edition.

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