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!

Tastes Change

I have a long history of playing RPGs in their many forms. From JRPGs to MMOs, I’ve dipped my toes in all of the sub genres and over the years some of those genres have died off or changed in ways that were incremental and not really noticeable at the time.

Snap judgement: I am not in love with Pillars of Eternity. I absolutely adored all of the Bioware/Black Isle games from the 1990’s; titles like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale took up much of my gaming time back then. The revival of the isometric real-time cRPG genre that’s been happening for a few years now with titles like PoE, Wasteland 2, and Divinity: Original Sin seemed like it would be right up my alley. I did of course play many of these games over the years, but as this genre moved forward into the 3D space with titles like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, I too evolved.

Because of this realization, I have uninstalled all of these titles that have been sitting in my backlog for ages that I would have believed that I would have liked but simply don’t anymore. My tastes have changed. The same could be said for a lot of other titles/genres, but this one in particular strikes me as odd. I know that with age comes changes in not only your body’s function but your mind’s as well, but I’m surprised to find myself writing these words.

I’ve been enamored with games like Shadowrun, Diablo, and some recent JRPG style games. It’s funny because Shadowrun and Diablo are both isometric like the cRPGs that I’m not longer into — but they differ because Shadowrun uses turn-based tactical combat, while Diablo is action combat and I seem to prefer both. The real-time coordination of multiple party members just doesn’t feel fun anymore. In Dragon Age or Mass Effect, the AI for your teammates can be programmed and always felt effective enough to where I could focus on my own character. In action RPGs you only have yourself to depend on so there’s never the added distractions. My tastes have clearly changed. Though I would have called Baldur’s Gate superior to Diablo back in the 90’s, my 35 year old self has flipped sides. I don’t know how to feel about this.

I do feel better about uninstalling all of those games. The backlog has shrunk and many of those games would have taken 60+ hours to complete. Gives me more time to focus on other games I would rather be playing. I’m not going to slog through something just because it *should* be something I’m into. If I’m not feeling it, I’m just going to pass. I’ve done this with other games but had this little sub genre up on a pedestal and I’ve now kicked that pedestal over. If it’s not fun, entertaining or holding my interest, it’s getting cut.

Time to dive into the games that are more appealing to the older me.

Further Thoughts on Battle Chasers: Nightwar

I first jotted down thoughts about Battle Chasers: Nightwar a couple of months back. It was a round-up post though, so I didn’t go into too much detail, and hadn’t really played it for more than a few minutes to that point. It wasn’t too long ago that I was burning through my backlog at a rapid clip, but that train had lost some steam in recent months mainly because I was having a hard time deciding what to play. I’ve spent some time in a fair number of titles but none had really sunk their hooks into me. I came back around to this game and it’s been holding my attention more than the others, so this is likely the next game I’ll play through to completion.

I’m in love with the aesthetic of Battle Chasers. It was apparently inspired by a series of graphic novels, which makes sense given the artwork in the game which appears as a hand-drawn style. The mixture of high fantasy and some sci-fi elements works, and the gameplay is the normal tried and true JRPG turn-based style but it doesn’t feel stale. You’ll be earning levels in no time, and that means new abilities and actions will become available to you. Starting with a group of three adventurers, you’ll eventually reunite with others and have a little variety in your group composition on top of the new gear and upgrades you’ll earn along the way. There’s even an alternate advancement tree that will allow you to further customize your heroes.

When I left off, I had made it to the little town that serves as an HQ of sorts, complete with an Inn to rest at, and vendors to buy/sell goods too. There’s some light crafting too, so everything you pick up tends to have a purpose. Soon enough, my party was heading into their first real challenge… a dungeon!

The Iron Outpost:

The Iron Outpost was easy enough, it was the first dungeon of the game after all. The final boss was a sword demon thing… there’s not a good way to describe it, but it looked pretty cool nonetheless! It was mostly overrun with bandits and they were XP fodder leading up to the final battle.

The Rushlands and Path of Fangs:

Long story short, we were trying to get to another part of the map and it was blocked by a large cannon that would shoot anything that came too close. Unfortunately the only way around was via a teleporter, but the power had been lost. We headed to another cave and fought off some elementals to get a power source which we used to turn the teleporter back on. Soon we were in the Rushlands, and we came across our second dungeon, The Path of Fangs. This one was headed by a bunch of lycanthropes (called something else but similar) and I was charged with killing off the leaders of a couple of tribes. After doing so, one of their kind let me pass through the other side of the dungeon. We then took out the bandit manning the cannon, and could then freely pass through a short cut back to the starter town.

Fishing:

Like many an RPG before it, there is a fishing mini-game that is fairly easy to partake in. You have to use one character in particular (pictured above) to fish, but he comes equipped with the rod and line to handle business. I managed to catch a couple of unique fish so far, some of which can be sold for some alternate currencies that can buy you some skins and bad ass gear in large quantities.

Story:

The storyline plays out over time, and like most RPGs of this style, you only get bits and pieces as you go along. We’ve met what I think is either the main villain or at least an antagonist, but she was nice enough to our faces. We later learned that she was behind some of the goings-on, so that leads me to believe we’ll see more of here soon. We eventually found one of our lost party members and he’s a pretty powerful mage. There’s also some random events where you can be attacked by a passing airship, which I thought was pretty cool, though a little more difficult than the typical battles, and confusing as to how you end up fighting on the ship itself. Nonetheless, we found ourselves heading into Junk Town, which I think may end up being the 3rd dungeon but I have yet to enter.

Overall I think the game is great, and it’s been on sale recently on both PSN and Steam. If you like JRPG style games, I’d highly recommend this one!

Thoughts on Ironclad Tactics

I’m not entirely sure where I first heard about Ironclad Tactics, but I remember someone talking about it and giving it praise. I happened to catch it in a flash sale on PSN for a couple of bucks, and picked it up as it ticks several boxes for me. It’s turn-based strategy, it has mechs, and it’s set in a historical period. It doesn’t really compare to most games, as it mixes a combination of TBS and CCGs, but the game I could compare it to most is one that I spoke about within the last few months: Has Been Heroes.

The only reason I can really compare the two games is that they both utilize “lanes,” in that whatever unit you put down will travel in a straight line and only perform other actions if something lies within that path. If they hit a wall they will stay put until you use a “maneuver” card to move them to another lane. So it’s a little more slow paced than Has Been Heroes, but still makes use of this mechanic.

Here’s the main game screen. It mixes this lane based mechanic with the use of cards. Turns are automatic, and occur in real-time using the little dial in the bottom left corner. You’ll have unit cards and action cards in a row, and each turn the right-most card will fall off and a new card will appear at the left. You’ll want to use the cards as efficiently as possible with your action points. You’ll only get one point a turn, unless something else in the level gives you extra (like capturing flags). Enemies will appear on the right side of the map while your units will progress to that side from the left. When they meet in the middle they fight. If a unit makes it all the way across the screen unimpeded, you’ll get a victory point (or two, depending on the unit). That’s what most levels are like. New units and actions are piled on as you progress, and though admittedly I haven’t played it that long, there’s still enough of an impression that has been left on me. It’s a good little time waster, but not something you’ll play for too long. There is a full campaign and some versus modes as well, but I imagine after completing the campaign most people would be done.

The storyline is told through beautifully rendered comic book panels. Apparently it’s the Civil war and parts of the country are seceding, while your characters work for a guy on the Union side. Someone has created these “Ironclad” mechs, and apparently the Confederacy has them too. So a bit of alternate history here, but it still feels believable enough. I’d urge you to give it a try if you enjoy tactical games, particularly if you can grab it for a couple of bucks like I did. It’s interesting if nothing else.

The Banner Saga 2: Screenshot Dump

I pre-ordered The Banner Saga 2 as soon as I had the chance. The first game caught my attention due to it’s beautiful 2-D animation art style, reminiscent of old animated films from the 70’s and 80’s. Learning that it was a tactical RPG was all I needed to hear, and finding that I enjoyed both the combat and the story was even better. I loved it, but only managed one playthrough of the game. Sadly, I lost my save file so I was unable to import that into my playthrough of The Banner Saga 2. I might have to go back and play through them both again at some point, as the sequel is a direction continuation of the first game, so it is less of a sequel and more of a second episode — despite the title never being labelled as “episodic.”

The game went live this past Tuesday, and I dove right in. I’m only three hours into the game at this point, but I can already tell you it’s fantastic. If you enjoyed the first game, you will enjoy this one all the same. It feels like some of the kinks from the first game have been ironed out, and some additional depth has been added. For instance, it seems like you earn Renown more readily, which can be used to promote your heroes and buy items/supplies. It also feels like the random encounters are almost always bad, but you’ll still make it to your next destination with supplies to spare. Either that or things that I learned during the first game are just coming back to me, and I’m playing a safe style? I’m not sure but it seems more balanced this time around. The combat also feels more varied and diverse. There are additional races and combat abilities this time around. For the most part though, if you liked the first title, you will enjoy this one as well. I wanted to save some of the screenshots for posterity, so I’m going to add them to the bottom of this post. Be warned, there might be some mild spoilers but I don’t think anything game-breaking.

I saved a couple bucks by pre-ordering, but you can still pick the game up for only $20 on Steam. It’s very much worth your time. The first game took me 8 hours to beat, and it’s likely this one will be a similar length, so it’s also one of those games you can beat in a weekend and still feel like you got your money’s worth. That’s my two cents at least.