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.

State of the Game: #BlaugustReborn Recap

August is quickly drawing to a close, but due to Blaugust Reborn, I’ve had to write more posts and that means playing more games to have things to write about! I’ve touched on a bunch of smaller titles that I’ve been playing in spurts, and in nearly all of those that I’ve talked about this month I’ve made some progress worthy of a round up post! Today, we’ll be revisiting games that I’ve been playing through August along with some other titles I’ve talked about but haven’t written that “this game is complete!” post for yet. With that said, we’ll be touching on Battle Chasers: Night War, Fallout 4: Far Harbor, Questland, Chasm, and one other game I haven’t talked about yet, Pacman Championship Edition 2. Let’s get started, shall we?

Battle Chasers: Night War

One problem with trying to play a bunch of new games so that you have something to write about on your blog is that you don’t really make much progress in any of them. I’ve subscribed to this play style for a number of years now, as I haven’t committed to a single game (like an MMO) for years and the last one I did play super regularly was a MOBA (League of Legends). For the past year or so I’ve been focused on clearing my backlog, but have also sprinkled in some new games that I’ve completed as well. Battle Chasers is a game that I picked up quite a while ago, but have been plugging away at here and there in my spare time. The last time I talked about it, I had recently finished up a couple of the early dungeons. Since then, I’ve picked up the final two members of our group (one that was on the airship with us at the beginning and another guy who is the descendant of someone who has defeated this world’s evil in the past.

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As JRPGs go, this one is reminiscent of the greats from the 1990’s. I haven’t played a more modern JRPG that plays like those of old but has the nuance and polish of today’s games. Most of the time they feel lifeless and uninspired, whereas Battle Chasers has a charm about it that really speaks to the source material. There isn’t too much in the way of character building which is a bit of a disappointment, but it’s got a decent storyline (it’s still the hero’s journey at its core) and the artwork is fantastic. I’ve explored a large portion of the map at this point and would suspect that I’m either at or just past the halfway point of the game. I’m hoping to be able to complete it before the end of the year at least.

Fallout 4: Far Harbor

The other RPG I’ve been playing here and there is Fallout 4. With Fallout 76 coming in a couple of months, I wanted to clear the DLCs for the game. I completed Automatron back in June and have been playing Far Harbor as of late. Wanting to complete this and the Nuka World DLCs before the new game is out. I’ve explored a large chunk of the island at this point and I’ve been enjoying it. I do have one complaint though, and that is that the island feels sort of lifeless. It’s not that there aren’t mobs to kill and people to talk to and a good number of locations to explore, but it feels like there’s more open space and less stuff to loot in buildings. I’ve poked my head into most buildings I’ve come across and have found that a good majority of them have been barren. This probably comes down to production costs and it is a large chunk of land to populate but for paid DLC it feels a little sparce. The story is good though, and it’s interesting to see how other parts of the world have progressed as you were pushing through the main story.

My recent adventures on the island have been doing side quests for the residents of Far Harbor. One lady has been obsessed with revenge for wrongs done to her, which lead me around killing bandits and wild beasts. Another quest ends with a battle with a Mirelurk Queen, which was a really difficult fight back on the mainland, but not overly difficult here (probably due to my level). I’m nearly level 40 at this point and progress has been swift. I’m looking forward to seeing how this storyline ends and of course finishing up the final DLC as well.

Questland:

The mobile game that I talked about a week or so ago, I’ve still been playing it daily. It’s the closest thing to an MMO or ARPG on my phone that I’ve played. It’s not because it has those types of gameplay, but more that it has the same sense of incremental progression. You’re mostly looking at a series of menus but you get the same effect of upgrading your gear a little at a time, applying orbs and upgrading them and micromanaging your inventory. Crafting has become more involved, I’ve joined a guild and have opened up the PvP arena which is an interesting concept.

As you progress through the game and these new modes open up you have a flood of things to do each day. There are daily tasks, donations to make, crafting to do, events to participate in and PvP battles to get to. PvP is interesting because your opponent’s character is controlled by the AI rather than the player. You can be attacked without being in-game. You’re given a selection of players to attack and should aim for someone with a power level similar to yours. I’ve had enough success to promote to the silver tier, but most of the players anywhere near me on the leaderboard have more power than me so I’m kind of stuck without leveling up. The weekly events are interesting as well, as they allow you to use particular items with multipliers on them on a separate page that essentially multiplies your power level. Then you fight through a special campaign and fight special bosses that are huge. It’s satisfying to see those multipliers in action! I’ve also pushed through a large portion of the main campaign, along with a large chunk of the difficulty 2 levels. It’s a fun game and I think I’m going to stick with it!

Chasm:

I wrote about Chasm earlier this month as well, and I’ve made forward progress with it. At that point I had just found a special item that allowed me to traverse areas I had not been to (Spiked Gloves) and had just finished up the mines and wound up in the catacombs. At this point I’ve found two other areas of the game, the Gardens and the Keep, though in the Keep I wasn’t able to make much progress as it seems there’s probably an item needed to get further. Ditto the Gardens, it appears there are some underwater areas but I can’t swim down into them yet. I did grab another special item (Shin Guards) that allows me to slide, so I cleared out a few old hidden areas with that and am working further into the Gardens.

The boss of the Catacombs was rather difficult but I managed to down him and also rescued the blacksmith and found his hammer. Each character rescued populates the town but each also has a side quest to find particular items that end up helping you out in the process. One vendor sells potions and you can bring her back recipes to make others. Giving the blacksmith his hammer opened up the ability to craft items with some of the materials found in the dungeon. I’m sure there’s more to find but so far each addition has proven its worth. Being partially procedurally generated means that the puzzles are always unique (which means looking them up doesn’t really help) and your experience may vary from mine but that also gives replay ability. As Metroidvanias go this one is up there towards the top of my list.

Pacman Championship Edition 2

I looked through my archives and couldn’t find any posts about the first game, but I remember during the 2014 or 15 NBI where me and Doone were competing for hi-scores in the first game. I just happened upon the sequel here and it changes things up a bit. The first Championship edition was vastly different than normal Pacman because instead of just collecting all the dots and power pellets in a level you have predetermined lines to follow and ghost mechanics are different. This game has taken that altered formula and changed it further. It’s hard to describe with words, but if you enjoy Pacman and variants, you’ll probably like this one too.

There is a ton of customization available to get the look just how you like it. Besides a tutorial that will get you up to speed with what’s changed, there are also score attack and adventure modes. Adventure mode doesn’t open until you’ve cleared a few score attacks, and that’s really all there is to it, besides trying to get S ranks on all the levels. I did just that with the first game, so I’m sure I’ll eventually do the same with this one. That’s really all there is to say, it’s a fun little diversion.

And that’s all for this week’s round up. Happy Gaming everyone!

Thoughts on Questland

Recently I’ve been on a bit of a kick with mobile games. Clash Royale has been and will be my game of choice for the foreseeable future, but I have been branching out looking for something different to play when I need a break from CR (or get frustrated with it). The other day I posted about Idle Apocalypse, which felt like a game that I’d rather enjoy until I found out that it’s just an endlessly repeating loop and there’s no real traceable progression. I have since deleted it and resumed my search for the next great mobile game (to me). One thing I’ll give Idle Apocalypse credit for: it forced me to watch advertisement videos, and one of the ones I watched piqued my interested. Enter Questland.

Questland is a rather deep, multi-faceted game. One part RPG, one part clicker, one part idle game, and one part turn-based RPG. The tutorial for the game will get you started with the basics, but there’s technically still a tutorial going on and I’ve played for a few hours. New bits and pieces open up as you level your character, so there’s always something new to check out. Honestly, you’ll probably be inundated with information at first, I know I felt a bit overwhelmed until I played for a while. First they’ll send you to the barbershop to customize your character, and then you’ll be thrust into the campaign which takes place on a rather large map, with each location having several levels or phases contained within. Initially it feels laughably easy, but the difficulty does turn up a notch as time goes on, but you’ll be countering that difficulty with gear upgrades of which there are multiple facets as well.

There are multiple currencies, some which will allow you to purchase items for the normal item shop, others that are used to upgrade gear, others still that are usable at a number of specialty shops that open up over time. Levels come pretty quickly as you complete quests and battle through the zones. Speaking of combat, let’s take a look at that.

Pictured here are a number of bosses that I have faced in my short time with the game. Each zone will contain 5-6 (to the point I’ve experienced) battles, each having three phases. You’ll walk along a path in first-person, coming to a group of mobs. You’ll tap the screen to attack and they will attack back in a turn-based fashion. Your basic attack also gives you a mana build up, which can then be used to cast spells. Currently I have a single target Fireball, an AOE Blizzard and a Healing spell. They aren’t really necessary just yet but I assume later you’ll have the option to upgrade them or procure different spells. Outside of combat there are a shitload of different screens which you’ll use to buy/sell/upgrade and perform other tasks.

New buildings in the town open up as you progress, and there are events and guilds and a ton of stuff to check out. Like most mobile games these days, there are lockboxes and wheel spins that will give you more gear, currencies and items. Of course this also means there is an RMT shop, and gems are this game’s premium currency. There is also a $2.99/month subscription that gets you a bunch of bonuses. The good news here is that the currencies seem to add up rather quickly, and I haven’t spent any real world money to have a great time so far.

The bundles seem relatively cheap, and there are special offers that provide huge bonuses so I’d say if you like the game you should probably throw the devs a few bucks. I might in the future if this one holds my interest long enough. As of now I’ve cleared 4 or 5 zones but have only scratched the surface of the game’s map. I’m approximately level 12 at this point. It’s a nice little RPG-lite experience and I’ve rather enjoyed it so far.

Like most modern RPGs, there are color-coded bits of gear. Each piece can be further upgraded using some of the in-game currencies, and it seems as you gain character levels you can also upgrade your gear further. The best gear in the game appears to be locked to crafting, which requires collecting parts of the gear piece (most have been around 30 individual pieces) and then merging those to get the item. Most of the pieces earned have come from chests, but certain levels will show you that there is a drop chance for gear pieces, so they can be farmed to get what you need. Also something typical of mobile titles, each level has a star rating which correlates to how many actions you take to complete all of the phases. Most have required under 20 actions to get a 3-star (max) rating and you’ll gain further rewards for earning all of the stars available on a level.

That’s all the information I can provide at this time. I have applied to a couple guilds but have not been accepted to one yet, so I’m not sure what benefits they bring. I participated in one event and won, but then the 2nd stage kicked my ass so I think that might be more end game content. There are also still features that are level locked at this time so it will take me a bit to get to where everything is opened, but I really like this game so I can report back later once I have more knowledge. I would still recommend this to anyone look for something else to play on their phones, it’s pretty damn good. Scratches the MMO itch without requiring the commitment.