Always Sometimes Monsters Review

Always Sometimes Monsters Review

Jul 20, 2015

Alright, it’s probably time for disclaimer: Always Sometimes Monsters is long. I’m certain I didn’t complete even a quarter of the game, so I can’t speak for the turns that it may have later than four or so hours that I’ve spent playing it. And it is the kind of a game that you should complete before you state your opinion. So, I apologize for that, but I did play for a long time, so if the game suddenly becomes a strategy or a goat simulator later on, it’s entirely not my fault. But I do think that the game is pretty great.

On the first glance, Always Sometimes Monsters is just a pretentious indie RPG, made with RPG maker – and there’s certainly a lot of those. However, after playing it after a while, you start to understand something. This thing is devilishly great written. The story and the characters and the world are just insanely interesting and hold you for a really long while. It’s even more impressive when you consider that the game is, essentially, a life simulator. The player character needs to go to work, find a place to Always Sometimes Monsters 3sleep and eat, and remember all the little things that would bore you out of your mind in any other game – but here, it strangely works. I’ve never knew I wanted a game where I’m supposed to remember my appointments and decide if I want to spend the last dollar on a meal, or on rent. Graphically and gameplay-wise it’s really not any different from what you’d expect, but I was completely blown away at how skillfully this game simulates a life that is just a bit more exciting that your own. It probably sounds like I’m describing a cheap Sims knock-off, but it’s entirely a different thing.

Overall, I strongly suggest Always Sometimes Monsters for anyone who is alright with playing a game that looks more like a daily life simulator, than a classic “hero” perspective. It may look a bit anime-heavy, and it certainly looks somewhat bland, but it’s just too interesting to skip it.

Implosion – Never Lose Hope Review

Implosion – Never Lose Hope Review

Apr 30, 2015

Implosion – Never Lose Hope is a hack-n-slash action game that takes place after Earth has been invaded, and subsequently lost to, a weaponized virus that mutates humans into vile, disgusting creatures that kill everyone they see. With the question of how they sustain themselves decades after supposedly killing everyone off being left unanswered, the humans have set to the stars and created off-world colonies, being protected by a special army of special distantly-controlled robots, who are able to fight the creatures without putting anyone at risk of infection. The game follows the adventures of one of the pilots of these mechs, who has to return to Earth, in order to investigate a beacon that went off somewhere inside.

Right from there, Implosion – Never Lose Hope sounds like a high-budget game with an interesting and complex story – and, surprisingly, it is. There are cutscenes, and professional voice acting, and complex gameplay – the game honestly wouldn’t look bad if it was released on PSN tomorrow. But this all comes with a huge “but”. Implosion – Never Lose Hope is merely a trial that expires at several missions in, and requires the purchase of the whole game, which costs 10 bucks. It’s a pretty huge price for a mobile game. This means that even if the game is awesome, you’re left wondering if it’s better to purchase 5 simpler and cheaper games instead. Which is a shame, since Implosion really is a good game, but not on a 10 bucks level good.

Gameplay of Implosion is a pretty standard hack-n-slash, set in the cyberpunkish background. The player’s mech is controlled viaImplosion 2 a virtual stick and a bunch of buttons. It levels up and can be upgraded by installing special libraries that can be found throughout the levels, or purchased from the store. The mech has a main melee weapon, and a bunch of long-range weapons that are quite difficult to aim properly. The melee weapon has a relatively simple, but varied enough combo system, as well as several special abilities that can be activated in the time of need. The enemies are also pretty distinct and have different behavior and attacks, and require some skill to kill – especially if the player wants to get the perfect score after beating the level.

Wrapping up, I’d say that Implosion is a great game. I’m eager to see more of its kind on Play Store, which currently lacks serious triple-A titles. But at the same time, its price makes it comparable to the PC and console-style games – and when viewed in that light, Implosion isn’t exactly up to the level.

Sorcery! 3 Review

Sorcery! 3 Review

Apr 29, 2015

Sorcery! 3 is a continuation of an adventure game franchise from Steve Jackson, who is kind of a big deal. For those not familiar, Steve Jackson is a US tabletop game designer (not to be confused with Steve Jackson, a UK tabletop game designer – I wish this was a joke), who, among other great things, created a tabletop RPG system GURPS, and the bane of all geek friendships, Munchkin. He is basically neck-deep in the geek world. This should add credibility to the following statement: Sorcery! is one of the best, most immersive games, I’ve ever played.

It’s really difficult to explain Sorcery! 3 to a person that’s never played anything resembling a tabletop role-playing game. Because Sorcery! is basically that. It’s a digital tabletop campaign for one person. It’s not really an RPG in its purest sense, but it certainly feels like it. The player character is on a quest to defeat seven evil serpents that are controlled by a powerful warlock. The player must embark into a land, filled with magic, secrets, and time and space distortions, to find the ways to destroy the serpents – and to find the serpents themselves. The story is as rich and multilayered as one would expect from an RPG campaign, and describing it would take forever, so let’s not bother. Suffice to say, if Sorcery! 3 was a book, its page count would go far into the thousands.

The gameplay of Sorcery! 3 is a weird beast to describe, since it’s a mix of different elements without any anchor in established genres. At its core, it’s a really complex text adventure. But on top of that, you have a unique magic system with a couple of dozen of unique spells, a huge – and I mean, freaking huge – map with hundreds of points of interests, which change based on the circumstances, an endless amount of random encounters, and a whole lot of quests to complete on the way towards the serpents. I can’t describe how much stuff there is in the game. I’ve played it for hours, and I’m still well in the first quarter.

To be fair, while Sorcery! 3 is an incredibly great game, it’s not without some issues. The two biggest ones are the weird magicSorcery! 3 3 system and the weird battle system. The magic system could be made a lot more comfortable by removing the long transition and letter-picking mechanic, boiling it down to a simple list of castable spells. The battle system is just somewhat unintuitive. I’ve played a great number of fights, and still basically go with my instincts, rather than knowledge. The fights could also be a little more varied in terms of gameplay. Reading out the descriptions of the attacks is great, but it could very well be replaced with a more traditional turn-based system.

Overall, Sorcery! 3 is the best mobile game out there for people who like tabletop RPGs. If the thought of reading for an hour about how your character navigates through a magical forest, makes you dizzy, then it’s probably not the game for you. But, if you’re one of those people who want to try out a great tabletop RPG, but never seem to have the time, or people for that, then spending five bucks on Sorcery! is a no-brainer.

Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic Review

Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic Review

Mar 16, 2015

Mobile gaming has a really weird habit of mispricing its games. The price of the game here never seems to reflect the game’s quality, polish, or really anything. There are free triple-A shooters, and there are indie RPGs, twenty pixels high, whose cost reaches the price range of some PC games. Of course, Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic is an example of the latter.

It’s nigh-impossible to pinpoint what Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic is actually about. It presents itself as a parody, I can tell that much. But what it supposed to be a parody of, is quite uncertain. The story is but a collection of funny characters and references to other RPGs, Cthulhu mythos, and god knows what else. The humor is alright, but the game seems to bet on it, as the gameplay is not much different from other mobile RPGs. It’s certainly not a rip-off, but there’s really no unique feeling to it. Basically it’s, a very compact jRPG, with pixels instead of spiky hair. It should be noted that the RPG part is pretty well fleshed out. The three heroes have their own equipment, abilities, and stats. There’s tons of randomly-generated loot that grants different bonuses, and lots of unique enemies.

The game consists of three things. A town, where the heroes sell loot, buy stuff, and get quests. A road to the instance, where Pixel Heroes 3the party encounters different things and, well, encounters – it’s, probably the most interesting part of the game. And then there’s the battle phase. In battle, the three heroes stand in line, before one to three monsters. The heroes take turns and attack the monster of their choosing, considering their weapon can reach it. There are different weapons and different spells. Some grant bonuses, some drain the enemy of health – there’s quite a variety.

Unfortunately, for me it didn’t translate into a compelling gameplay. It’s a pretty subjective reason, but I just didn’t feel any excitement. I don’t like jRPGs, simple as that. The constant micromanagement, the awkward battle process, the weird progression – it’s just not for me. So, what I’m trying to say is, if you really like the jRPG-style battles and management, then this game is right up your alley. But I still think that 7 bucks is quite expensive for a game, in which the characters are shorter than 30 pixels.

Bit Dungeon II Review

Bit Dungeon II Review

Jan 16, 2015

Bit Dungeon II is a sequel to a fun, if a bit repetitive role-playing game that has a lot of common with the original Legend of Zelda. It has a lot bigger world than the first part, and a lot more mechanics – but the question is if these mechanics serve to make the game better. The player character is a spiritual being, whose wife’s grave has been desecrated. Our task is to find the perpetrators and stop them. On the way there, we’re going to defeat a horde of demons and other evil spirits, and find a whole lot of loot.

The main problem of bit Dungeon II is a complete lack of tutorials or just help of any sort. I know that a part of fun in playing rogue-likes is to figure out their mechanics, but this is a bit too much for my tastes. You have to figure out literally everything, from moving and attacking, to casting magic and advancing the story – the GUI is literally just mana/health bars and the equipped items. Oh, and I still don’t know how to access the game menu while playing. There’s no button or anything. If anyone figures it out, feel free to write what a moron I am. So, this spoiled a lot of the experience for me. Another problem is the fighting. To attack an enemy, the hero must stay near the enemy bit Dungeon II 2and face it. The amount of times when the hero died just because the attacking enemy was hitting him in the back and I couldn’t turn him around was one too many. It generally feels like the game should still be in the beta stage.

It’s a shame that bit Dungeon II suffers from these problems, since in its heart, it’s a pretty cool zelda-like. It has lots of different weapons like bows, magic staffs, axes, etc. There’s also a great deal of different locations and dungeons to plow through, and a great deal of loot to collect. I feel like with some major updates, bit Dungeon II can become what it aims to be, but insofar it’s just a good effort, lost in horrid controls and messy interface.

Infinity Dungeon Review

Infinity Dungeon Review

Jan 15, 2015

There’s such a staggering number of super simple games, it makes me wonder if they even like to play the games, or if they just meditate while tapping on the screen. Infinity Dungeon proves that rather obvious point again. It combines a very primitive endless runner with a very primitive RPG, resulting in a somewhat primitive game. Basically, it’s one step away from being able to play itself without any player interaction. If you’re wondering how I know that it’s Asian, here is hint that prove points haha.

The game is about a couple of adventurers that stumble across a dungeon full of treasures and precious metals. Handily, they have a bunch of dwarves that agree to dig the booty up, if they clear the dungeons first. Of course, the dungeons are full of all kinds of monsters, begging the question if it would be easier to just find a job instead. But we’re here to shove people’s faces in, not make reasonable assumptions, so we go through each of the levels of the dungeon, clearing it of everything that moves, so that a dwarf could Infinity Dungeon 2then dig it for gold. Action itself is very simple: the heroes walk through the straight dungeon level from the beginning to the end, and punch everything that runs up to them.

The player can’t control movement, but he can activate one of the four abilities that the heroes have: powerful short-range blow, less powerful long-range blow, fireball, and healing. The only thing required from the player is to activate the skills at the correct time, when there’s a lot of enemies nearby, or when the hero is at low health. The abilities spend mana that has a recharge time, so you have to watch it, too. But even if the heroes fails, they are simply sent back to the surface, keeping all the gold they earned. There is no experience – all the abilities and stats are increased by spending gold or diamonds on them. Really, whatever skill it requires, isn’t necessary since you can simply grind your way through any obstacle.

I can’t say that Infinite Dungeon isn’t fun in its zen-like, no-losers way. It’s incredibly repetitive, and lacks most of the basic features of a videogame, but it’s better than some other casual games I’ve seen. It’s not frustrating, not buggy, and has simple, but pretty cute visuals. So, it’s not bad, if you want a mindless activity to kill some time.

Tap Titans Review

Tap Titans Review

Jan 15, 2015

It’s hard to define what genre Tap Titans belongs to. It looks like an arcade RPG on the first glance, but in reality it belongs to what I call finger busters. It’s going to be a lot easier to explain what Tap Titans is, and why it’s actually fun, if you’ve ever played Cookie Clicker. It has the same idea and the same lasting damage on one’s hands. I’m not ashamed to admit that my fingers are a bit numb, and it’s a difficult to move my hand to type – a feeling that I’ve not experienced since the 8th grade.

It’s always a bother when an RPG is full of useless mechanics like story and challenge and basic gameplay elements that stand in the way of grinding and infinite power gain. If you, too, want an endless grindfest without the useless basic videogame mechanics, Tap Titans presents exactly this opportunity. Ditch the story and the item grind. The enemies not only can’t kill the hero, they can’t even scratch the little bastard. It’s just a matter of time until they all get wiped out by his barrage of sword attacks. The player’s task is simple. He needs to repeatedly tap the screen as fast as possible, the hero dealing a blow every time the finger touches the screen. That’s it, that’s the whole Tap Titans 2gameplay of Tap Titans, and it can consume hours at a time – until the player’s fingers start going off in protest. There is time limit on the more powerful enemies, so it’s not completely without a challenge. Besides, trying to get as much DPS as possible is a challenge into itself.

But that’s not all. The enemies do get stronger in time – that is to say, it takes a little more time to cleave your way through them as the time passes – so the game has another essential tool: money grind. When the hero kills an enemy, he gathers some money off him. The money can be spent to upgrade the hero’s basic damage, get additional characters that will steadily attack the enemy, even if the player is busy blowing on his steaming fingers, or, if the hero is powerful enough, to purchase special attacks. The special attacks deal massive damage, but take ten real-world minutes to regenerate.

Overall, Tap Titans is incredibly simple, and barely even counts for a game. It’s almost insulting how fun I found it to be. But the enemies are well-designed, and there is a lot of stuff to unlock. So, if you like mindless time-consumers like Cookie Clicker, and hate your fingers, this is a great way to torture them.

Buff Knight – RPG Runner Review

Buff Knight – RPG Runner Review

Nov 4, 2014

Buff Knight claims to be a role-playing game runner, but you’ll struggle to find a trace of role-playing in there. The game also claims it’s a top paid RPG in Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Sweden, and a top App in Korea. To which begs the question: what the hell, aforementioned countries? There’s been a fair share of lazy runners, and Buff Knight is by no means the worst, but the fact that it’s considered a top paid anything makes whatever is left in my dried up heart, slightly warm up.

At first, it seems that Buff Knight is absolutely boring. Then you uncover a depth you haven’t noticed before. But ten minutes later it looks absolutely boring again. The hero runs forward. Whenever he bumps into a monster, they both take damage. The player can tap on the screen to summon a magical lightning at the cost of mana that will hurt the closest monster, and maybe a couple of others near him. There are two potions, for mana and health, and the player has to juggle between them to try and run as far as possible, in Buff Knight - RPG Runner 3order to get more gold and crystals that fall from monsters, cutlery, and chests that require a key to open. When the hero inevitably dies, player can spend gold and crystals to buff him and buy better armor and sword, or upgrade them. After a certain mark, the hero starts meeting more powerful enemies and get more gold. At the end (that’s about an hour of gameplay away), he encounters a boss, and after defeating it, gets an artifact that can be equipped to gain some slight advantage. Then the player has to run through the whole damn thing once again, from the very start, twenty times in total. Top paid my ass.

The obvious problem with the game formula is that difficulty or skill change is non-existent. You can run for an hour, but the gameplay won’t change one bit. The enemies don’t have any differences except for health and damage; you can’t learn new spells or play as a different class – hell, if the enemy sprites didn’t change, you could loop five seconds of gameplay, play them on repeat, and have about the same experience. Maybe I’m too harsh on Buff Knight, but after all, it’s a game that in some countries, beat all Final Fantasies, Dragon Quests, and even 10000000 that basically contains this game within itself. I mean, it’s an okay, simple little game, but don’t expect anything more.

Phantom Rift Review

Phantom Rift Review

Oct 29, 2014

Phantom Rift is an unusual little game with a world just as weird as its gameplay. We play as a mage who gets thrown into a limbo dimension for an unspecified reason. The only thing that the main character remembers is that (s)he was a powerful mage in the real world. A wisp that happened to be nearby explains that the rift has all sorts of entities, most of them malicious, so the mage will have to use his rich spellbook if he is to proceed through the endless levels of the rift.

Phantom Rift gameplay has two parts that seamlessly transition into each other. The character walks around a map that is literally building around him as he goes. The map contains various treasures that give precious loot, and portals that can transfer the hero to different parts of the rift, and every once in a while, a random encounter happens. Then, the game switches to the battle mode. The map shrinks into a small area, divided into two zones, three rows by three columns each. The enemies move around their half of the field, mostly at random, between the squares, and attack the hero in various ways. The hero needs to evade these attacks and try to kill the enemies, using his basic weapon and a range of spells. The spells are the most interesting part of the game, so I’ll focus on them.

There can be thirty “active” spells that the hero can use during the battle. Many more can be found and bought during the game, but from them, and their copies, the hero can only Phantom Rift 3equip thirty to use in battle. When the battle starts, the hero is presented with five random spells from the ones he equipped. Using each spell costs mana, so some of them have to be destroyed in order to generate more of it. The ones the player chose can then be cast at any time during the battle. The hero can repeat the spell cycle every several seconds. The system is very unusual, but it works great and there’s plenty of spells to choose from. At times, it almost feels like a trading card game, since the spells should compliment each other, and different spells should be used against different kinds of opponents.

Overall, Phantom Rift is pretty captivating, even though the gameplay is always the same, and the random encounters sometimes feel like grinding. It has great world and battles that are resolved by tactics as well as luck, and a loot-hoarding element, so it’s an incredible time-waster. I recommend it both to Diablo players who want something more tactical, and turn-based action players who want something more exciting.

Talisman Review

Talisman Review

Sep 29, 2014

Games Workshop games are quite often a treat, even though they seem to outsorce the licenses to some entirely random developers, and always price them a couple of dollars more than they really cost, just because of those licenses. Talisman is a staple GW game, and it’s pretty fun, even though it requires some time to get acquainted with all the numbers that it throws at the player from the very start.

At its core, Talisman is a turn-based tabletop adventure, sprinkled with RPG elements here and there. It’s a mix between Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders, with a bit of Talisman 2DnD on top for good measure. The players need to go through three looped “layers” of the game, reach the tower and defeat whatever lurks inside, to beat the game. Of course, the closer to finish, the more challenging the game becomes. Add to it the fact that players can spoil each others’ progress, up to and including direct confrontations, and you get a pretty competitive place. A lot of its elements are decided by dice throwing, but just like in Monopoly, the game is not about random numbers generator, but how you can use it to your advantage. There can be up to four player characters, and the game can be played with humans just as well as with AI.

There’s lots of mechanics, but basically, the players need to draw cards almost every turn. These cards can be positive, giving the character a companion, an item, or boosting one of his stats; or they can be enemies that the player needs to defeat. There are five stats that each player has: strength, that is his basic attack power; Craft that is spiritual power, being used against special enemies, as well as allowing spellery (spells are separate cards that can even be used on the opponent’s turn); Lives that are basically character’s health – they lose one when defeated, and can be restored or added to, in various instances; Fate that allows the player to re-roll their dice; and Gold that can be traded for some useful boosts or items. Each character has different starting stats and abilities, and playing for and against different characters gives Talisman a lot of replayability.

In general, I think the game is fun. It has a great combination of randomness that makes you eager to see what adventure you will get on your next turn, and skill that lets you plan and foresee your next steps, based on the current situation. If you’re a fan of tabletop adventures, then it’s an easy pick, but Talisman can be somewhat overwhelming if you’re not a casual with this sort of games.

Defenderia Review

Defenderia Review

Jul 25, 2014

DEFENDERIA 2Defenderia presents an unusual mix between a classical squad-based role-playing game and a match-three arcade game. It also presents a strong case for hiring professional interpreters instead of using your own, heavily lacking English knowledge. I mean, wow. The game is good, but I had to learn its mechanics basically on my own, as it’s completely impossible to understand the tips and tutorials.

Apart from that, Defenderia is a fun game, although I think that it’s a bit short. The player controls three heroes, divided into three roles. Each role has two to three different characters that can fill it, although I didn’t notice much synergizing between any of them. The characters have a basic attack and a special attack that they have to use in order to defeat the stacks of enemies, coming at them in three columns. The battles are strictly turn-based, with each character getting a turn according to the value of his initiative. The player chooses an attack and then the target. The trick is not just to pummel the mob to nothingness, but to do the combos. Basically, each enemy has a plate underneath it. When three enemies with plates of the same color, or of different colors, but excluding the brown ones, face the heroes, these enemies get a significant amount of damage. If the player removes just the right enemy, and is a bit lucky, it’s possible to kill most of the mob in just one turn.

Defenderia is divided into a dozen maps that consist of several randomly-generated squares, contents of which are often only revealed when the player has already stepped on it. To finish the map, the player needs to uncover a boss square and defeat the boss, before getting all of his heroes killed. It has lots of little mechanics, like consumables that heal or improve damage, smiths that forge random items for the heroes, and enemies that have different abilities. It’s weird that a game with this rich amount of mechanics would look so primitive, but if you can get past the simple graphics and horrendous translation, it’s really enjoyable.

Heroes of Atlan Review

Heroes of Atlan Review

Jul 22, 2014

Heroes of Atlan is a new demon slaying tactical adventure. Does it stand out from the recent flood of entries in this genre?

Heroes of Atlan is a tactical RPG in its purest form. The player takes no active role during combat. Instead, the player is relegated to equipping their team and positioning them to support each other. Unlike most RPGs of this type, there is absolutely no way to influence a fight once it begins; it’s all about the planning. Battles are short enough that they don’t drag on and the cool monster designs and decent animations make watching battles fun. Like any RPG, it is always satisfying seeing upgraded equipment or boosted levels turning the tide of battle.

Screenshot_2014-07-11-15-08-54A great thing about Heroes of Atlan is that it has an actual story. There is plenty of dialogue to read and some surprising moments. Nearly every battle has some interesting pretence to it and there is a real feeling of the kingdom galvanizing behind the player.

Heroes of Atlan uses a map based system where energy is expended to enter each battle. After winning a battle, the player earns experience and cash and moves onto the next battle. Previous battles can be replayed for more loot. As long as the player tempers their equipment and so on the difficulty is quite reasonable. Heroes of Atlan also includes a PvP arena, but it is filled with very high level players. Combat is completely hands off, just like single player so it really comes down to a pay to win scheme; the player with the best equipment will always win.

Upgrading equipment in Heroes of Atlan can be accomplished in two ways. First there is Tempering, which is a cheap, immediate boost to an item’s stats. This only requires money. Crafting is much more complicated and involves using a wide range of reagents to change an item’s form. Reagents take time to hunt down, but crafting makes equipment much more powerful. Once an Item has been crafted, it can be tempered all over again and the cycle starts anew.

Screenshot_2014-07-11-14-30-00Heroes of Atlan looks decent. Presented in a bright, colourful 2-d style the game features pretty nice character design and there are always new enemy types to see. The animation is fairly primitive, but the graphics aren’t really relevant to a game of this genre. Cool looking characters are just a bonus. The sound is likewise middle of the road. The music gets rather repetitive and there is no voice acting or even battle cries.

Heroes of Atlan is a pretty fun tactical RPG, at least in single player. While its lack of control and obvious freemium-based multiplayer might annoy some players it tells a good story and there is enough game here that gamers will keep gaming for a long time.