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DevilishlyGood
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iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride
      #33985 - 08/11/09 10:36 PM

iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride

Lion Pride is a routing management game crossed with a fight for survival. You play the roll of a pride of lions trying to hunt successfully on the African savannah and raise their cubs. In the game, you must think strategically if you're going to survive. Miss too many opportunities for prey and your entire pride could die of starvation.

There is a diverse amount of prey for the lions to hunt including warthogs, antelope, zebra, and the powerful cape buffalo. Along the way you must defend your hunting grounds from your dreaded predatory enemy - the hyena. Hyenas are persistent and will kill prey animals or drive them off leaving you with empty grasslands and an empty belly.

The game consists of 8 stages and a Survival mode. In each of the stages, a new game element is brought into play such as a new prey animal, the male lion, or hyenas. While the stages can be considered an extended tutorial because of this, each of them is a full-fledged game level. After each level you will receive a score card showing how many prey you killed, how many were stunned, and a letter grade for your overall performance.



Once the game loads, you'll be at the Main Menu. From here you can access a number of different areas: Play, Tutorial, Fun Facts, and Scores.

Fun Facts shows a series of neat facts about lions, their prey, and hyenas. These are purely for fun, but they do hint at some of the behaviors you'll be experiencing in the game.

Scores is a report card of sorts and shows your average performance for the all games you've played, highest score attained, and your favorite prey. I would love to see additional statistics like how many of each animal type you taken down and your best performance per level.

The Tutorial section does a really good job of describing just what you'll be seeing and how to hunt successfully. It also shows you how to stun prey animals, wake up your pride's male lion, and earn a "hippo bonus". The tutorial gives you enough information to get started, but leaves out a couple of things you'll discover during the course of playing the game.



Gameplay
The basics of playing Lion Pride are very easy. Draw a line from a lioness and she will follow it; however, things become much more intricate and fun from there. If you draw at a slower pace, the path will show as a series of white dots; in this mode the lioness is sneaking through the savannah grass and can get quite close to prey animals. Now if you draw more quickly, the path is drawn as red dots, and the lioness is now running and will attack prey.

You cannot just draw red paths and hope to catch anything. The animals will scatter and your lioness and her cubs will be going hungry. This game requires thinking and patience. Sneak your lioness in close and then pounce! One thing you'll learn in the tutorial is that you can stun prey animals by double-tapping on them. Use this to your advantage. If you see two animals together then have a lioness pounce on one while you stun the other prey, then when she's done have her kill the other animal.



You start out with one lioness, but eventually you'll have 3 lionesses under your control, and you will need all of them. While warthogs and antelope only take one lioness to kill, zebras require two attackers, and cape buffalo require three. You will have to coordinate attacks on these larger animals if you hope to succeed in taking them down. Your lionesses will also be busy in later levels keeping hyenas out of their hunting grounds. You can directly attack hyenas or simply run near them to drive them off.

You'll have access to the male lion in Stage 4. The mighty male lion spends most of his time sleeping and staying near the den. You can wake him up with a double-tap. If you attack prey nearby that requires multiple lions to kill he will automatically run over and help. He will also help drive off nearby hyenas. Unfortunately, you cannot control his actions directly. Keep that in mind when attacking large prey, you may want to attack in such a way as to get the animal to run towards the den so the male can help out.

You must constantly be on the lookout for hunting opportunities, and you need to do your best to ensure that you are successful. At the lower left of the game screen is a hunger meter. It goes down at a constant rate so you will have to work at keeping it filled. If it becomes empty the lions have gone hungry and the game is over.

The other animal you will fleetingly encounter is the hippopotamus. When you see it's head rise out of the water, double-tap on it for a score bonus.

Once you have played through all 8 of the initial stages, Survival mode will be unlocked. With Survival, you can choose to either play on the Savannah Plains or the African Grasslands map. Survival mode is just that. You start out with one lioness and as you hunt successfully you will earn more lionesses and the male lion. Your goal to have your pride survive as long as possible.

Graphics
The graphics are bright, fun, and a little cartoon-like in their style. The view is a top-down look from overhead as you direct your lionesses, and helps give the entire game an entertaining appearance. The menus and stage screens are all well done and polished.



Sound
The game's background music is very appropriate and unobtrusive with a nice jungle beat. All of the individual animal sounds from the lion's roar to the hippo's grunting are of good quality and add to the savannah atmosphere of the game.

Pros:
-easy to play, but challenging to master - try to get all A's on the stages
-fun, cartoonish graphics
-polished background music and graphics
-local and global Survival mode high scores

Cons: - these are wishes versus detriments to the game
-would like more comprehensive game statistics kept
-would like to see more prey animals and predators to interact with
-Stage scores only have a letter grade, I would like the number total displayed too



Conclusion
Overall, Lion Pride really brings something new to the line-drawing genre. You're not docking ships or landing planes; in this game, you're fighting for survival! Your success depends not only on drawing lines to the right destinations, but in making good tactical decisions to make sure your pride doesn't starve. I definitely recommend that you check this game out.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: -4.5- fun, polished graphics
Sound: -4.5- background music and animal sounds are all well done and appropriate
Controls: -4.5- path and speed dictate where and how quickly the lionesses move
Gameplay: -5- you must be tactical in your hunting to succeed

Playing Hints and Tips:
-Sneak up on animals and then pounce when you're close.
-It takes 3 lionesses to bring down a cape buffalo and you cannot double-tap to stun them.
-While a lioness is feeding, you can stun other prey until she's done so she can capture them.

Game Facts:

Developer: Blue Fang Games
Release Date: August 10, 2009
Genre: Action/Strategy
Price: $0.99

Buy Game: iTunes App Store

Edited by Tong Zhang (08/11/09 11:31 PM)


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EtotheB
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: DevilishlyGood]
      #33992 - 08/12/09 07:43 AM

Hey guys, I spent a lot of time chatting about Lion Pride in some other forums, but if you have any feedback, bugs, issues, comments, you'd like to pass along to the dev group, please feel free to post here. I'll check in.

Glad you liked the game DG.

~Edo


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LordGek
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: EtotheB]
      #33994 - 08/12/09 09:30 AM

@DG
Great review and now a definite MUST PURCHASE!

@EtoB
I can't wait to see what kind of stuff you guys add! While not sure it would be realistic but how about some sort of predator that requires "Mr. Lazy Bones" (the lion) to be involved in the take down? Since, if I understand it right, the player doesn't have direct control over him I kind of like how it would force the player to work with the game's AI controlled partner in crime.

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EtotheB
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: LordGek]
      #34001 - 08/12/09 11:48 AM

@LG (I dig that)
Yeah. We didn't get hyena attacking in until late, but with another week we probably would have made them Lion kill only animals.

The early design included the idea that cubs could be killed, resulting in game over. We were going to let players actual control the male lion as sort of a "goalie" where he auto-defended the cubs, but could leave and be an extra lion in fights if you wanted. This also had Hyena's and actual other male lions being aggressors on the cubs.

I ultimately cut this because very soon it was clear that even controlling three lions was a lot of work. I tried to have some gamer appeal, but not go so far as to alienate more casual players.

For 1 day the Lioness art got swapped with the Lion art. I have to admit it was thrilling to actually control the big fella. I hope we are successful enough to bring this back in the night-time hyena sequence.


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DevilishlyGood
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: EtotheB]
      #34005 - 08/12/09 01:53 PM

now that would be really cool...night time mode...you so need to have all the spooky hyena vocalizations in there

would love to see the male patrolling the territory...like doing a circuit around the edges, that way you can take advantage of his current position when taking down multi-lion game

now cub killing could be interesting to see if you incorporated having an incoming male lion come in and challenge our current pride's male...oooh, just had a great idea, the strength of our pride's lion would be based on the current level of the hunger meter...so if we hunt successfully, odds are that we are going to beat off the interloper, but if he's weak from hunger...new management comes in and you see him attack and kill the cubs and a short time later new ones spawn after our lionesses get in in 2 or 3 more successfull kills


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EtotheB
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: DevilishlyGood]
      #34007 - 08/12/09 02:01 PM

A Male to Male standoff could be awesome. I dig it!

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LordGek
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: EtotheB]
      #34037 - 08/13/09 04:38 PM

Quote:

A Male to Male standoff could be awesome. I dig it!




It could come at any time (well maybe only starting after the player has the two lionesses on field or something). The only thing you can do to influence this is make sure the pride belly is full to increase his chances but (assuming as is Lion Cod of Law, no clue here, I assume not get involved directly in the fight itself). The challenging lions will start off weak but will tend to be stronger over time (at least as I'd see all of this implemented in Survival or a spin-off version of Survival). If our original lion loses the game ends.

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EtotheB
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: LordGek]
      #34046 - 08/14/09 05:21 AM

Ah. So you're thinking of it being like a mini-scripted sequence you some how influence, but not control. Right?

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LordGek
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: EtotheB]
      #34047 - 08/14/09 08:03 AM

I guess, I'd imagine it something taking place off in the corner there by the cubs as you're still playing the game. You may have a little lead time as you see the challenger slowly approaching your male lion to try and snag a few quick kills to insure your belly is full as possible but once the fight starts it will be some roll of the dice behind the scenes that determines the outcome based on the relative strengths of our two competitors (and, again, this value for the home team will be based entirely on the family stomach fullness).

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DevilishlyGood
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: EtotheB]
      #34048 - 08/14/09 08:07 AM

I was thinking in survival the rival male appearing could be a somewhat rare and random occurrence with the incoming male lions' strength also kind of random as well to reflect incoming males of various strength/experience.

Yeah, I can see that fight being a scripted sequence and if the new guy wins we get a message like "All hail the new King" similar to the stuff like "Family Pride" and "Hippo Dunk". If the original male wins it could be "The King Prevails" or something like that.

I would also think it could be interesting if we could lose a lioness occassionally, like if someone does not coordinate an attack on a cape buffalo very well and does not get 3 lions on it quickly enough, then they could lose a lioness. Example, if a lioness gets repeatedly stunned by the same buffalo, that should increase the odds of a fatality. If a lioness is lost, the player needs to get the meat meter back to the top and that will trigger a cub growing up and taking the place of a lost lioness.


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EtotheB
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: DevilishlyGood]
      #34062 - 08/15/09 08:17 AM

Yeah, for the first run a wanted to avoid loosing the lioness, but it was often discussed.

I sorta dig all hail the new king and The king prevails. The way you have it there is acts as true sequence, but not something that changes the game flow. Great idea.


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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: EtotheB]
      #34508 - 09/10/09 01:50 PM

Lion Pride Lite ? a free version of Lion Pride (featuring the first 3 game levels) is now available in App Store




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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: Tong Zhang]
      #34873 - 10/13/09 03:33 PM

Blue Fang recently released version 1.2 of Lion Pride. This update includes four new campaign mode levels, level by level high score keeping, a new survival map and Facebook/Twitter integration.


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LordGek
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Re: iPhone Game Review: Lion Pride [Re: Tong Zhang]
      #34874 - 10/13/09 08:19 PM

And Wildabeest have been added!



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