Category Archives: Game Nook

Pogz 2

Recommendation: (4 out of 5) A good game that keeps on getting better with every update.
Pros: Lots of levels, nice graphics and sound effects, regular updates by the developer and  includes a free trial.
Cons: Occasionally lags on the Nook Color.

Don’t fall a asleep in a pinball machine, kids.  Else, you might get slapped around in Pogz 2, Terry Paton’s latest game for the Nook.  Pogz 2 came out on the  in early November for $0.99US (as well as other Android markets and iOS).  In the game, the adorable Pogz have fallen asleep, and you have to wake them up to save them from, well, death.

In the game, you essentially throw a pinball at the Pogz, and each one you hit wakes up.  If the ball falls down to an enemy at the bottom of the screen, you lose it and have to use a new ball.  In some levels, you have one or more sets of paddles, like a pinball machine, which you can use to throw the ball back up at the Pogz.  In most levels, though, your main strategy will be careful release of your pinball.  And, you can use a swiping motion to move your pinball around.  The best way that I can describe this is that by swiping, you seem to create an air jet that persists for a few moments.  When the ball comes near, it will be pushed strongly in the direction of your swipe.  In my experience, it feels like you are using a set of powerful air jets to push a pinball back up through the Pogz and obstacles.

Patton has divided the game into 9 stages, 3 of which were available in the current version of Pogz 2 on the Nook (all 9 are available on Google Play, and I expect that update will be live on the Nook soon).  Each stage focuses on a different character (Pogz, Pugz and Pigz for the first three), and later stages introduce new types of obstacles (such as exploding blocks).   Paton has been adding a lot of content to the game, and when all of the stages go live, you’ll have over 200 challenging levels in the game.

Pogz 2 also includes a free trial, if you’re not quite ready to part with your dollar.  The trial is limited to 5 minutes of play, which you can reset by restarting the game (but you’ll have to start over).

Overall, I thought Pogz 2 was a lot of fun, and kid friendly.  The look and sounds of the game are very cute, and give the game a fun spirit.  I did feel that at times the swiping mechanic could interfere with the game experience.  I sometimes found myself (in early levels) frantically swiping across the bottom of my screen to keep a jet of air going, so that I would never lose my pinball.  Perhaps it is just my level of skill, but in some of these levels, it felt more that I was beating on the game than mastering it.  But, I did feel that in the later levels, skill and precision were rewarded.

Bottom line: Pogz 2 is a fun game, and benefits from a devoted developer who has put a lot of effort in to getting new content into the game.  Grab a copy, or grab the free trial, and smack around some Pogz today.  After all, it’s for their own good.

Pogz 2 is on the Nook, Google Play and iTunes.

What should I play on my Nook?

When I released Colonize on Google Play in November, I sent out about 50 requests to websites that review android apps and games.  In the end, three sites were kind enough to review the game, and I was grateful for their help in getting the word out.  I would have loved to do the same thing for the Nook version of Colonize, but there was just one problem: there are no review sites (or no good, active ones) that review specifically apps that are on the Barnes and Noble Nook.

I have spent some time looking for places to get my own games reviewed.  The first source, and probably the most useful, would be Barnes and Noble itself.  So, what kind of publicity does BN offer?  Well, in the app store on the device, there are listings of the “best new” apps in several categories (such as games).   But, on my Nook Color, that list did not update for more than six months, and it was not really clear how apps were selected for the list, so that did not seem to be a useful channel to me.

There is also the App Buzz, where the Nook Blog occasionally posts on new Nook apps.  However, these are usually major releases, or apps that will be popular even without Barnes and Noble’s help.  Since October, App Buzz has incluced: Fruit Ninja, Pac-man, Angry Birds Star Wars, Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots, and Where’s My Perry?  Most of these need little introduction, and the main focus of the App Buzz seems to be to tell Nook users that they will have access to the most popular apps on other (Android) devices.

In my (Google) research for this post, I also came across Nook App Review, which describes itself as “a blog that reviews Nook Apps, analyzes them to death, resuscitates them with suggestions and ideas, and tries its best to be entertaining and useful.”  A survey of old posts made on the blog revealed that while some of the blog’s original posts did actually review apps, it appears to have moved to simply listing each week’s app releases, then stopping altogether.  Recently, the blog has started posting again, but mostly the content is promotional in nature, talking up the new Nook products.   The last review that I found was from July of 2011 for kid’s puzzle games.

One other site that I found (which may still be functional) that was focused on Nook apps (Best App Review 247), but so far as I could tell, it has no real reviews, and just reposts material from Barnes and Noble website (though it does have an option of leaving your own review and rating for an app).  From what I could tell, not all Nook apps are even listed on the site, so at the moment I don’t recommend using it to find interesting games for the Nook.  I also came across references to Nook review sites, or Facebook pages that posted Nook app reviews (and if I’ve missed any good ones, please let me know), but I did not find any site that looked active, and easy to find.

Why are there no good review sites for Nook apps?  I can think of a couple of reasons (which may both be involved).  First, it may be that the Nook app store has few exclusive apps, so if an app is interesting, it is likely you can find a review somewhere else (of the Google Play or iOS version).  Or, it could be that Nook users do not look to review sites as often as other Android users, and instead browse apps mostly on their device or Barnes and Nobles website.

Either or both of these points may be true, but in my opinion it would be valuable (both to Nook users and to developers looking to be seen on the Nook) to provide Nook users with more information about apps (and specifically games).   And especially about games they have not heard of already (re: Angry Birds, Where’s my Water? etc.).  The Nook store is getting more crowded every day, and most of the interesting Nook games are paid (since Barnes and Noble does not allow in-app purchases or advertising, paid apps are the only way for developers to earn money on the platform).  While Nook users can more often get a demo (free trial) of a game today than a year ago, many Nook apps still lack a free trial.  So, Nook users are presented with more and more options, but perhaps less information about those options than they would have on other platforms (where more apps are free, or more lite versions are available).

So, this week I’m going to start looking though games on the Nook (using my old, trusty Nook Color) and use this space on to tell you a bit about them.  Expect short reviews of new and unknown games on the Nook, and specifically ones that you won’t find reviews of elsewhere.  I’m going to call these posts the Game Nook, and if you have a game that you think I should try out, you can send me a tip at support AT