Mobile Games Update

It’s funny to me that despite my protests about mobile games in years past — things like they aren’t real games and none of them are worth the time investment — I play them more than console or PC games these days. It’s true, there was a time when the majority of mobile games were time wasters in a bad way, either due to huge time gating mechanics or pay walls and I guess the same can be said about the entire free to play industry so there’s that. You’ll know that my mind has been changed more recently though, as I have been blogging about one title in particular for a couple of years now. Others have come and gone, but I usually at least share my thoughts about said titles each time I play a new one, or give updates on the long running staples. The last time I did an update like this was about six months ago, so I thought it would be interesting to see what’s changed on my phone, and what’s happened with the games I’m still playing.

Currently Installed:

Clash Royale
SEGA Heroes
Pokemon Go

So we have the usual suspects here, but also a game I didn’t think I’d ever write about outside of the “it’s a passing fad” commentary I’ve made in the past.

Clash Royale has seen a few big updates since the last time I went over what was on my phone. Shortly after that time the new trophy road system was implemented. Just a little over a month ago we also saw pass royale become a thing. I have to say I think the new trophy road system is better than the old ladder, as I do enjoy getting a slew of unlocked prizes each time the season resets, rather than just dropping a bunch of trophies for nothing. They did reward a chest but it was never as good as all of these rewards have been. Then as we take the trek back up we get more unlocks as well. It has felt good during the few months we have had it. Ditto pass royale. For $5 you get some creature comforts, but as you progress you get more unlocks than you used to at the end of any season. I do feel like I always fall behind with unlocking the tiers and have to do some grinding from time to time to earn crowns, but hell that used to be all we did during clan wars, just grind out as many trophies as you could — that got old fast. They are gamifying what used to bother us, to a point where it no longer bothers us. I think Supercell has done a great job with the game and I hope it continues to be awesome.

SEGA Heroes has also seen some updates that added in some cool features. One thing that was always really annoying was when doing your challenges (these reset daily for the most part) for any of the levels in which you earned a 3-star rating you could later “loot” without having to actually do the fight over again. You can do the same on campaign levels, by the way. Anyhow, you can now “quick loot” the whole set of levels on each challenge if you’ve already completed them all. It’s very nice for convenience sake. Boss battles were introduced recently as well, and some new currencies introduced. You can spend one type to summon a boss and the other type to fight against it. Bosses have a ton of health bars, so if the whole guild attacks repeatedly, you should be able to take it down. If not, they disappear after a set time and you’ll be rewarded for what hurt you did put on it. It’s an okay system but due to the fights being timed, they also opted to limit the speed at which you play. See there are game speed settings, and most people play on the faster speed so they don’t have to sit through the drawn out animations. In the boss fights you can’t adjust the speed so it’s painfully slow. Otherwise a fine idea. New characters are being added all the time, recently from the games Shenmue, Altered Beast and even Valkyria Chronicles. I’m still enjoying it, but at account level 65 and working on the blue stars on my main team, progress has slowed to a crawl.

As I said above, I’m surprised to be writing about this at all, but yes I have Pokemon Go installed on my phone right now. I can pretty much guarantee this would have never happened were it not for my woman, but it has happened nonetheless. Apparently she had it installed since back in ’16 when it released, most likely due to prodding from the boy. Whatever the case, she started playing it again a couple of months ago, and prodded me to install so that she could send me gifts. I agreed and pretty much only logged on when she would bug me to accept my gifts so that I could be sent more. The bug may have caught me a bit more at this point though, as I have been catching Pokemon more often (mostly while sitting at home, or when we are out doing errands) and now find myself with the app open while we are driving around trying to get pokestops and catch more critters. It’s still a game that frustrates me due to being janky sometimes, and I don’t like the fact that they essentially force you to pay for storage space but maybe I should be using my items faster? I don’t know exactly, and I don’t know shit about Pokemon except for the more popular characters. So yeah, I’m not truly invested but I have participated more actively as of late.

Previously Installed:

Langrisser
Warriors of Waterdeep
AFK Arena
Dr. Mario World

So in that last Mobile check in post, I had spoken of Langrisser still being installed on my phone. It lasted for a while longer but I just never came back around to it so it was thrown on the burn pile. It seemed fine as I expressed in the linked post, but I just don’t play games that are too involved on my phone — I’d rather be able to play for five to ten minutes and feel like I did all I needed to do for that day.

I also rather enjoyed Warriors of Waterdeep but I just couldn’t keep up with the requirements to stay relevant. I eventually started to see that the play pattern wouldn’t change any more and lost interest. It was fun while it lasted though.

Ditto AFK Arena. It was fun to play for a few weeks but it was clear that it would be a play pattern that I wasn’t going to enjoy indefinitely. I’ve already essentially got a couple games that do this thing for me really well already, and despite thinking I’ll find another to add to the list I haven’t found a solid third game just yet.

Lastly, Dr. Mario World which is still a fairly new release and could possibly change into something I’d enjoy more, just didn’t do it for me as much as I wanted it to. I’d still take a bare bones Tetris game over this though, so that hurts its prospects. I don’t know why Nintendo have such great success with their first party IPs on their own systems but can’t seem to get this mobile thing going. Whatever the case, I have my doubts about any of their games being addictive to me personally.

And that’s all there is to touch on. Any good mobile game recommendations, given what I’ve written above? I’m always open to trying something new, but there’s no guarantee it will stick!

Thoughts on AFK Arena

It’s been a while since I tried out a new mobile game, and this one happened to pop up in an ad while using another app — it managed to catch my attention. I’m not sure if it was the art direction or what that first caught my eye, but I decided to follow the ad to the store page for AFK Arena and ended up liking what I saw enough to go ahead and download it. I’ve been playing it for a couple of weeks now and I’m happy to report that it’s a nice time waster if you don’t mind “games” that don’t require a ton of input from you. Sure, there are quests and activities that require some clicks and/or setting up, but for the most part the game is pretty automated, and yet still remains interesting.

The majority of the time you’ll be looking at this screen, or similar ones in the sub-menus. The campaign map is a long winding adventure and really the only portion of the game where you really need to do things. Once beginning a campaign level, your characters will appear on the left side of the screen, and enemies on the right. Combat is AI controlled, so all you’ll really do is watch the combat unfold, and RNG + character stats will determine the rest. You’ll get gear and new skills for your characters as you level them up, but they will still use these abilities on cooldown and you don’t have input otherwise. The only part you’ll take in battles is using your character’s ultimate abilities, which charge up over the course of a fight and are clickable once that meter is full. Each character has a unique ability, and sometimes it’s best to hold off on using one that is available only because mistimed abilities can whiff. However, you can still set these abilities to automatic, and in that case you really don’t do anything but watch your minions do battle for you.

Combat isn’t necessarily bad to watch either, as I’ve fought my way through to the campaign’s third chapter and it hasn’t gotten too stale yet. You do open up new characters quite often, so you can choose to switch things up as you go along. Characters also come in a variety of rarities as well, so you may end up with a better version of the same hero and want to use it instead. You will have to level up the characters you want to have on your team though, and each has an alignment that affects combat but doesn’t seem to matter in these early stages. As such, you’ll spend your exp and gold on these upgrades, and as you battle through the game you’ll get gear upgrades that help as well.

The world map appears to be rather large, so there is plenty of campaign to work through. Other activities include the King’s Tower and the Labyrinth, both of which are survival modes on increasingly difficult levels done in different ways. The Tower presents you with enemies, and you do your best to clear them to go the next level — pretty straight forward. The Labyrinth is a little different (pictured above) in that you can choose from two paths each stage, and there are special tiles where you can recruit powerful mercenaries, heal your squad, or revive fallen comrades. Neither are overly difficult, but it should be noted that the Labyrinth resets each day so your progress will be lost each time. There are guilds, and with that come guild hunts, where you fight an enemy continuously, but it slowly levels up and eventually you die. Points are recorded and the guild is rewarded after a set period. There’s also a store of course, and you can buy various heroes and things but I don’t see the point. You get gems at a rapid clip, so I don’t see the need to spend real coin. You’re also rewarded with summoning scrolls that sometimes give you some decent heroes, so I’d just play this for free were I you.

Overall I’ve enjoyed my time with it, and this is such a low maintenance title that it doesn’t feel overwhelming along with the other mobile games I’m still playing. I’ll have more updates on my progress in those games soon enough. Until then.