Thoughts on Knight Story

Because I’ve been going back and forth between my current living situation and the place I’m going to be moving (looking for work and other various tasks), I’ve spent more time playing mobile games on my phone. For years I really couldn’t get into them, but eventually a few caught my interest enough to download, but fewer still have actually stayed on my phone for very long. Clash Royale is still the longest tenured game in this regard, and unless they do something to completely fuck it up, I see myself playing it for years to come. I’ve talked in recent months about other games like SEGA Heroes, and that one has actually made the cut for a long while, but others have been interesting for a short amount of time and then get deleted. Some of these titles I’ve talked about recently have already hit the garbage bin. I’m not sure where this one will end up, but my initial impressions have been somewhat favorable.

So, Knight Story is another Match-3 style game that mixes in other elements from other genres. The majority of the game is spent in this mode, where you will match various symbols together (in minimum pairings of 3, but there is no maximum) and your character represented at the top of the screen with then attack enemies. Each enemy has various weaknesses that correlate to the symbols that you’ll match, and this will dictate the matches you’ll be shooting for. Besides your basic attacks, you can also match shields to block incoming enemy attacks, which you’ll know coming based on the numbers next to them (dictating how many turns before their next attack). You’ll earn gear as you progress and can eventually upgrade this gear as well. You’ll also get special abilities like fireballs and whatnot to use on particularly difficult encounters.

The world map appears to be fairly large, and you’ll progress throughout the levels as you clear them. Periodically you’ll come across shops where you can buy gear but you can also talk to the barkeep to get information about the area, along with other little tidbits.

Gear seems to come at a fairly rapid clip, along with other goodies. It seems to be pretty varied but also pretty straightforward.

As you level up you can also choose between the three attributes and assign skill points. These three attributes are Defense, Attack and Health, and those should be pretty self explanatory. Overall it’s a pretty fun diversion, though if this is really all there is too it, there isn’t much depth to keep you coming back for more. Perhaps other modes open up as you go? I could see PvP being a fun diversion or perhaps some sort of dungeon run system being alright. Whatever the case, it’s worth checking out since its free, and there doesn’t seem to be a ton of ads or even any sort of monetization scheme. It’s just a fun little time waster for Match-3 fans. I doubt I’ll play it for long, but thought I would share my thoughts with you all.

Thoughts on SEGA Heroes

Within the last couple of weeks, SEGA released a new game for mobile devices called SEGA Heroes and as I had pre-registered for it on Google Play, I was notified that it was available. I enjoy match-3 games that incorporate other mechanics into them — titles such as Puzzle Quest or Ironcast have entertained me for countless hours. Having something like this on my phone is a boon because I can play in my downtime at work or when I’m out of town. I did try a game similar to this one earlier in the year called Legend of Solgard and though it was entertaining for a time, it had some severe time gating that slowed progression down to a crawl and I just couldn’t keep doing it. SEGA Heroes on the other hand, seems to have found the right balance between accessibility and making money via RMT. The game is also interesting because they are doing something in the vein of Nintendo, by slamming characters from all of their unique IPs into one game.

Like most games, it starts you off with a tutorial, where you’ll meet Ax Battler from Golden Axe, and a character from a Sonic the Hedgehog game, while learning the mechanics. It’s match 3, and each color corresponds to a character’s color. So if you match 3 blue gems, you’ll cause Ax Battler to attack in this scenario. There are a bunch of heroes though, but they all fall into one of four colors: Blue, Red, Yellow and Green. There is a fifth color, purple, which fills a bar and each time the bar is filled you get bonus attack damage and some bonus effects on your abilities. Each hero has a basic attack for matching 3, but if you match 4+ you will create a star gem on the board, and when you match that the hero will use their “star skill” which is more powerful. Additionally, each character has a bar underneath their picture, and when that fills you can tap their photo to use an ultimate attack.

You’ll unlock various heroes as you progress, and there are various sorts of progression in the game. Each time your account levels up, you can also level up each hero for some gold. Each hero is made up of “shards” and finding those shards in the world or buying them for the shop is how you can upgrade a one star hero into a two star and so forth. Some heroes are considered common and some epic. You can also upgrade their individual star skills and ultimates with reagents found in the world (and the shop).

Speaking of the shop, it’s pretty straight forward. You can buy chests and bundles and the in game currency (gold) or the RMT currency (diamonds). You can buy hero shards and reagents, and you’ll get some free chests each day. As you level there are other features that start to open up. Besides the campaign, there is a PvP arena, and events where you can earn more reagents/shards. There are a couple more features I haven’t opened yet as I’m only account level 13, but I would assume some are more difficult challenges. One mode is called survival so I imagine that to be endless battles until you die. Whatever the case, there is enough varied content here and characters from IPs I love that I’m engaged for the time being.

Overall it’s a fun little title and I have enjoyed myself with it. It might actually stay in my regular phone rotation, or maybe I’ll burn out on it, but I’d recommend check it out if you enjoy match 3 games!

The Legend of Solgard

Being famous for games like Candy Crush Saga and Farm Heroes, it would be safe to say that I haven’t been too interested in titles that King has produced. The last time (and only) time I’ve talked about the company was back in 2015 when they were acquired by Activision/Blizzard. Having written them off completely, I was surprised to find they released a new title this month, and I was intrigued because not only is it a Match-3 style of game like many of the titles the company has already produced, but it also mixes in RPG and “gotta catch em all” elements. If you’ve every played a game like Puzzle Quest or Gems of War you’ll sort of know what to expect. The game in question, is Legend of Solgard.

I really learned to love this style of game with Puzzle Quest 2, a game that was gifted to me way back in my early Steam days. It differed a bit, because the battles were you against a single enemy and the gems you would match would correlate to attacks or spells you could cast. When the battle ended you’d move around on a map until you hit the next encounter. It was a fun game that I spent a lot of time with nearly a decade ago. The same company made other games in a similar vein, Gems of War being one of the newer iterations. I believe they were also responsible for the Marvel and MTG puzzle quest games, but I’m uncertain and too lazy to look at the moment. Another cool game in this genre was Ironcast, which made the match-3 correlation by powering your Steampunk Mechs actions. This game is similar enough to these titles I’ve mentioned but does it’s own thing pretty well.

The tutorial explains things well enough, but if you’ve played similar games you’ll be able to jump right in quickly. You’ll start each match with a variety of unit types that match up with one of the four basic colors that comprise your bestiary. Matching at least three of them puts them into an attack position, which occurs after you use your three moves. There are lanes in which your creatures (and the enemy’s creatures) inhabit, and they will attack in a straight line (unless an ability allows something else to happen). The goal of each level is to destroy the portal on the enemy’s side of the screen, and you’ll have to break through their defenses to do so.

The four colors are red, yellow, green and purple. It seems that each type correlates to a sort of class system, but I haven’t dug deep enough to confirm that. The red creatures seem to be melee, yellow are swift, green are defensive and purples are magic oriented. You’ll start with a few and open others eventually, as each match rewards you with gems that eventually unlock the new creatures. Those same gems will also upgrade your existing creatures and as they are upgraded they get abilities that change what happens when they are merged into their attack position. Most of the time this is an ability that triggers upon merging, and usually with shoot something either directly forward or at a random spot on the enemy’s side. Your player character also gains experience and unlocks abilities, the only one I’ve seen so far shoots a spear at a random enemy.

The campaign map is rather large and I’ve completed 25 or so levels. Most are pretty straightforward, but occasionally you’ll come across a boss fight, and those are a little more challenging. You’ll also eventually open up other Match-3 mechanics, like making t-shapes, squares and horizontal matches that produce different effects. They have been pretty good at keeping things simple and adding new mechanics sporadically so people who have never played this sort of game should be able to adapt quickly.

Of course being a mobile game, there’s a cash shop. Hell, these days it doesn’t matter if it’s even a mobile game, there’s usually some form of microtransactions so we’re used to this. It doesn’t seem necessary to buy anything, but I guess if you enjoy the game and want to throw the devs some coin there’s nothing wrong with that. There are chests, gems and gold to buy so similar to what you’d expect out of other games (Clash Royale offers the same sort of thing). There are also daily quests that are easy enough to complete and give you gold/xp and chests. A daily login bonus usually provides the creature gems and upgrade dust (used to level up the beasts’ abilities). There is also a guild feature. I joined a random one and am not sure of the benefits as of yet. There is a gold donation option which looks to give all clan members bonus stats, and there are guild boss fights but I’m not high enough level to participate just yet.

This would probably be enough to keep the game interesting, but King went ahead and added additional layers. At a certain point you open up the “Treasure Caves” which is a zone that is filled with jars and coffers that contain loot. You make the matches and attack those containers to break them open and grab the goodies inside. No challenge, but a nice way to level things up, though you can only do so a couple of times a day. There is a whole screen full of other game modes that are fairly self explanatory but don’t unlock until a higher level. I’m sitting at level 5 at the moment and am about half way through the first campaign, so I’ll get to these bits eventually. I’ve been liking having additional games to play on my phone outside of Clash Royale, and am surprised that I found something else that has kept my attention. I’d recommend it if you like Match-3 games, it’s quick and fun!