Thoughts on Teppen

Seeing advertisements all over the Internet is a common thing. Be it while browsing websites, seeing adverts on social media, or even within the apps we are already using, these things are everywhere. I happened to catch wind of a new game called Teppen due to one of these advertisements, and initially ignored it. Licensed IPs or no, I won’t always fall for the usual trappings of these targeted ads. After seeing it several more times though, I found myself at the Google Play store page, and well, I downloaded the game.

Being a game featuring many of my favorite Capcom characters, I thought this might actually be a licensed game that could actually be good. It’s supposed to be a card game utilizing these symbolic characters, but it doesn’t play like the typical digital card games I’ve played previously.

So above is the battlefield. As you can see, there are familiar concepts here as you have your hand down below, a mana bar that is more similar to Hearthstone and a life total one either side of the characters who are fighting. What’s different, is that your character isn’t really fighting, more like just waiting for their special ability to charge (the AP meters in the corners) and then you can do some various things including direct damage to creatures or the enemy character. Otherwise, the combat is done via your cards, and are typically other characters from Capcom games that have various power and life points. When placed on the battlefield, an arrow will slowly travel towards the enemy from the unit you placed. If there is another card placed directly across from it, the cards will damage each other. If there is no blocker, then you damage the enemy general. That’s really all there is to it. I’m sure other depth might arise due to having different characters to play as, but overall it was very simplistic and not something I see holding my attention.

After a few battles  you’ll get to the main menu, which functions like most mobile game menus do. There are various currencies used to buy things, “Hero Stories” where you’ll play characters through several missions and learn more about them. Missions are like dailies. There are other various modes that allow for PvP and those that provide additional challenges. I can see that there’s plenty to do here, but with the core gameplay loop being so boring, I couldn’t be assed to go any further.

I just figured I’d share my thoughts about this one to hopefully prevent someone else from wasting their time.

Warriors of Waterdeep

As I mentioned in my recent ramble post, I haven’t been gaming as much lately and was in a bit of a funk. Thankfully, blogging about things can be therapeutic, and since then I’ve made more time for gaming and have found some new things that have held my attention, but more on that later. During the time I wasn’t playing much on my PC or my Playstation, I was still spending at least a couple of hours a day on mobile titles. It’s unlikely that I spend more than 30 or so minutes at a time playing any one game, but I have a pretty good roster of games that I’ve settled into a routine with, and I play each for chunks at a time throughout my day. Generally I play a little bit before work, on my lunch break, before I nap in the afternoon and again in the evening before sleeping until work comes back around. With four titles that each have their own things going on it seems like it would get overwhelming, but I have found a balance between titles that share some similarities but still play out in different ways — different enough to keep me engaged. The newest game added to the roster is none other than Warriors of Waterdeep, which is a Dungeons & Dragons licensed title.

What originally caught my attention about this mobile title (besides being a D&D inspired game) was the turn based combat on a small grid. Similar to other games like Stormbound, which I wrote about before, but set in a more familiar universe and done differently enough that I’ve found this to be more enjoyable. You’ll start with a short tutorial that explains the game’s simple yet intuitive mechanics. Each character falls under a particular archetype, and those archetypes work better or worse against the others, in sort of a power wheel. The different classes are traditional D&D flavor, and those classes will determine the character’s abilities, but you can further customize them by changing out equipment to affect the outcome. What is constant among all characters is that each will have an ability that can trigger from movement, has two activated abilities, and then has another ability that will trigger on attack. Let’s take Halbenet, our Cleric, for example:

 

As you can see, Halbenet looks like a Cleric. He’s got a blunt weapon, he’s wearing cleric garb, and he has a healing ability. His movement ability (these trigger randomly) will heal a random ally. He can activate a heal (and later, different kinds of buffs in the third slot), and when he attacks, a random trigger can lower the enemy’s armor class. Of course, each of these abilities will change as you find and upgrade new gear. Some of the abilities are better or worse depending on your playstyle, but you can usually find a balance with the rest of your team to allow for interesting interactions. The combat is simple but satisfying. Upgrading looks to be a pain in the ass as time goes on as you don’t get much experience from actually playing the game, but rather from upgrading your gear. This means spending gold on upgrading items you aren’t even using just so that you can get your character to the next level. This is the only way to upgrade your abilities as well, and the pieces needed to perform said upgrades come in at a fairly rapid clip.

 

To begin with, you’ll only have access to the campaign, which is played out on a 3-D map that is a nice homage to table-top setups. You’ll play through short levels that consist of a few rooms until you reach a boss, at which point you’ll move to a new section of the map. Bosses can be huge, and will take a lot of effort to dispatch compared to the normal monsters, but they aren’t so difficult as to halt progress for very long. Each level will have branching choices where you can choose to fight against various enemy types (some will be easier to deal with for your party than others), find secret areas, and also find doors that require a certain hero of a certain level to access, but give chests for that hero containing a good amount of loot. Other game modes include challenges, where you’ll crawl through an endless dungeon and survive as long as you can — this gives fair rewards as well. Finally, there is a PvP battle mode that appears to be you actually playing against real people (rather than the AI controlled PvP battles I’m seeing in most games). This has a similar ladder system to Clash Royale, in that you gain/lose trophies for wins/losses and ascend arena levels for greater rewards.

I’m unsure about how long the campaign will last, but I have enjoyed all of the modes and intend to see what other hidden gems this game has to offer. I guess I have to be thankful for mobile gaming, as it has been the only form of gaming that is always readily available when life says you don’t have time. I think I’ve come out of my funk though, so I should have something to share about more substantial games soon.

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.

State of the Game: Mobile Check-In

The last time I wrote a State of the Game round-up post was way back in September of last year. Things have definitely changed a bit since then, and a big part of that was not stretching myself so thin around so many games. I had a backlog clearing spree throughout most of the year but that project lost steam once fall came around. There was football to watch. I was busy preparing for a move. I was playing a game at a time and not really having enough small tidbits to share in this column. Since then I’ve moved, started a new job and have less free time than I’ve had in a while, mostly due to adjusting to a completely new schedule. As such, the blog has suffered a bit and some of my side projects have been delayed further. Whatever the case, there is one thing that has been pretty consistent for the past couple of years, and that’s mobile gaming.

It’s strange saying that. I used to rally against mobile games and thought they were complete trash — and to be fair they were pretty much that for a lot of years. However, things have changed, and there are some pretty decent mobile games out there, you just have to sift through a lot of dog shit to find them. I’ve written individual posts about all of these games, and will link to those original posts if you’re curious to see how my opinions have changed. I’ve also written about a few of these titles multiple times, and so I’m only going to link to the most recent. Then I thought I’d give an update on to my current status in that game, or why it got uninstalled from my phone. Let’s start with the games I’m still playing:

Currently Installed:

Clash Royale
SEGA Heroes
Langrisser

Clash Royale:

Clash Royale is still my favorite and most played mobile game to date. I don’t know exactly what it is about it that keeps me coming back, day-in and day-out, but I have played it religiously for over two years. I’ve tried other Supercell games and didn’t play them long, but this one has staying power. Here’s some brief updates about what’s new:

The last time I shared my deck progress, I only had a couple of max level cards, and the new star upgrades were just implemented. At this point I now have five max level cards, and I’m well on my way towards getting a sixth (bats). Fireball will come next, and I only need a dozen or so more Electro Wiz’s to max it out as well. This has worked well on the ladder, and I had my best season ever last month, when I finally made it to Challenger 3. I’m hoping to get back there and push beyond soon, though the season reset keeps bumping me back down. Lastly, there are player stats I’ve shared, just because I find that sort of thing interesting.

SEGA Heroes:

SEGA Heroes has become my second favorite mobile game, and has replaced quite a few games that came before it. There isn’t much else to say, outside of sharing some progress:

I’ve unlocked all but about a dozen heroes, though they keep adding more. I’ve also promoted most of them to at least four stars and level 20. Those at the top are my most powerful, being level 40 and 4-5 stars. It takes time but it doesn’t really feel like a grind, and that’s probably why I enjoy both of these titles so much. There’s a sense of progression, but the game remains fun along the way.

I don’t have anything new to say about Langrisser. It’s still installed but I haven’t played it in a couple of weeks. I’ll need more time to give any more information. Next up, games that I’ve spoken about in the last couple of years that I’m no longer playing. Click the links below for more information on these particular titles.

Previously Installed:

Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem
Knight Story
Stormbound
Legend of Solgard
Questland
Idle Apocalypse
Paladin’s Strike
Fire Emblem Heroes

The most recent casualty was the Looney Tunes game I spoke of recently. In all honesty I rather liked the game, and it was full-featured enough that I can see one playing it for a long while. The problem is that I liked it for similar reasons to the games already installed on my phone, so it felt like more of the same, and I got bored of doing the same sort of daily tasks in multiple titles. I would still recommend it to anyone whom I thought would enjoy that style of game, but I just didn’t want to check in on it anymore.

Knight Story was a game that I thought looked interesting but got boring quickly. That’s all I can really say, it didn’t last long.

Stormbound was fun, but after beating most of the single player stuff I got bored.

Legend of Solgard had a lot of potential. I really enjoyed playing it and it was on par with engaging me like SEGA heroes, but it really did feel like a grind and like they were time gating things to a point where I almost felt required to spend money. Not cool man.

Paladin’s Strike is a game better suited to a tablet and would probably play much better with one of those mobile controllers. I liked it well enough but I just couldn’t hang with the touch screen controls.

I’ve considered re-installing Fire Emblem Heroes a couple of times now. I think I uninstalled it because I was playing on an older phone and needed to free up some space. Whatever the case I remember it fondly and might get it back soon. Nothing new is on the horizon that I’m excited to try.

So that’s about it, just thought I’d jot down some notes for posterity. I’ll try to get some extra gaming in now that I’m starting to adjust and get the round up post going more often again. Until next time.

Thoughts on Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem

I’ve been pretty happy with the mobile games I’ve been playing as of late. Clash Royale is still my #1 go-to and has been for over two years now — it gets regular updates and has improved over time for the most part. SEGA Heroes is a more recent addition to my phone, but I have been playing it diligently for almost two months. I don’t think I’ll be quitting anytime soon either, as it has a good balance of playability and time gating. It doesn’t feel overwhelming nor does it get boring. I’m actually pretty equally invested in this one as I am in CR.  With that said, I think I have finally found a solid third option for my rotation, and that game is Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem.

The general story of the game is that Marvin the Martian has come to earth and was up to something dastardly, and Bugs Bunny comes along and accidentally stops him. In the process, Marvin’s machine blows up and destroys the world to some extent. It’s up to you to “reatomize” the other Looney Tunes and put things right. What this means is that you’ll only start off with a couple of toons and have to find extra shards to reatomize the others. You’ll eventually be able to use teams of four toons to fight your battles.

I wanted to show off some of the combat animations (which are fairly interesting) but my screenshotting was a little slow on the draw and I couldn’t ever capture one at the right time. There is an assortment of basic abilities that range from clubs to canes to safes and other wacky shit you’ll remember from the cartoons. Special abilities are more lengthy animations and range from taunts to heals to buffs. This is really just what you would expect from an ATB JRPG. Turn gauges are under each toon’s health bar, and once that fills it’s that toon’s turn to act. Basic attacks don’t have a cooldown, but other special abilities do. You’ll open new skills and passives as you level up the toons.

Toons are separated by various characteristics, being attackers, defenders, or supports. They also have relationships with other toons, where sometimes their special attacks are able to affect particular enemies. For instance, Bugs Bunny has a special attack that does decent damage to any enemy, but if you target an Elmer Fudd character, you will also stun him. When I say “an Elmer Fudd character,” this is because there are multiple versions of the individual toons, which coincides with the mountain of source material (cartoons) from the years these cartoons were produced. One version of Daffy Duck might be an attacker, and another will be a support and so on.

Besides a story campaign, where you will earn star ratings (1-3 depending on performance), there are a couple of other game modes that are packed in. There is a sort-of PvP mode called “Brawl” where you try to attack other player’s chests to steal them. I guess I should mention that you will get chests delivered to you a couple of times a day and those chests are placed on “banks” where you have to set up a team of defenders. You can in turn attack other teams of defenders to steal crates for yourself, but you can only set them up with defenders if you have an open bank. You’ll start with only the one, but more will open as time goes by. There leaderboards for this Brawls mode and you’ll get rewards based on your ranking on a daily basis. There’s a league store where you can buy goodies as well. The banks coincide with the world map, where your toons go in between fights. You can set up their own unique burrows as well, and then send them on “tasks” which are time gated and will earn you more supplies, gold and shards. There are various supplies that are required to level up skills and passives for your tunes (along with gold), and then there are XP potions that are used to level them up individually. Obviously the gold is the in-game currency, but as there are a bunch of things that are time gated, this means there has to be an RMT currency (as is the norm). That currency is Gems, and of course there are plenty of ways to spend them if you’re impatient. There’s a store but I think it’s pretty fair overall (and I haven’t felt the need to speed things up because I’m used to other games trying to get me to spend money for nothing).

There are multiple pages of store offers, but there are bits and bobs that are available for free (daily login rewards and crates mostly) and some that are available for gold (XP potions). There are some reasonably priced packages that will get you some goodies but it seems like you can progress pretty well without spending any money. From time to time you’ll get golden tickets that you can spin a wheel for, and also get a daily ticket by completing the daily tasks every day which will get you more toon shards and whatnot. As you level your account, you’ll also eventually be able to join an Alliance, which does bring some benefits. Later still, Challenges and special campaigns open up and give you more options that flesh out the game. Overall I’ve been enjoying it and have been playing it the entire month and have already progressed quite well, but I’ll save that progress for a State of the Game post that will be coming soon. Until then, I bid you farewell. Happy Gaming!