Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Final Thoughts - Clash Royale [Android]

Title: Clash Royale
Genre: PvP card brawler
Developer: Supercell
Publisher: Supercell
Release Date: March 2, 2016 (international release on both iOS and Android, a bit earlier for soft-launch)
Platform played on: Android Phone [OnePlus One and Samsung Galaxy S7]
Available on: Android and iOS
Completion Status: On-going, it doesn't end
Trophy Status: N/A

Clash Royale is the latest game from Supercell (known for Clash of Clans and Boom Beach) which is another free-to-play game for mobile (both iOS and Android). Unlike the prior games, nothing takes place while you are away except countdown timers for chests which I will explain in a bit.

In Clash Royale, you build a deck of 8 cards and with each card, there is an elixir cost associated to them, I believe from 2 elixir to 9 elixir, which you will use take down your opponents in a one-on-one battle. Once you have your deck selected, which you can have a few pre-set, you go into battle with a random opponent who is usually around your level. The game is split into two battlefields, the bottom half is yours, the top half is your opponent's. Each person has two side towers and one crown tower in the middle. Once the crown tower falls, you have lost. At the beginning, you can only place cards on your half of the board and when you defeat enemy towers, you gain a piece of their land where you can put down your cards on their half of the board which means you can approach them quicker. The games are quick because each battle has a 3 minute timer, with a 1 minute sudden death in case of a tie.

At the bottom, there is an elixir bar which gets filled with time and you can hold a maximum of 10 elixir. The rate of refill is the same for both players. Card use is simple, you just drag and drop your card if you have enough elixir and it will appear and do what it does automatically. What it does depends on what the card is, some are buildings that are defensive which attack nearby enemies, buildings that periodically generate units, units that rush enemies, among other card types. So, there is a lot to the deck building, and you need to make sure that you have a deck that works well for you and is able to counter what the opponent will have. When you win or lose, you gain/lose trophies which are used to determine what overall level you are at which unlocks new arenas and cards that you can get.

Now, once you win, you get a chest, and these come in different sizes and depending on the size, you have to wait a certain period of time for them to unlock. You can only hold 4 chests at any given time, however, you can speed up the unlock time by paying gems to unlock them, which is one of the game's currencies that you can pay for. Otherwise the wait time starts from 3 hours and I believe goes up to 24 hours which is a very very long time. The chests will always contain some gold, the game's other currency, and some cards.

When you get cards, you will either get new cards that allow you to use something new, or you get old ones, which allow you to level up your existing cards. How does that happen? Well, each card has a level, to get to the next level, you will need a predetermined amount of the card as well as enough gold to level them up. This means that even though you can your opponent have the same card, it is possible that one is weaker than the other. So, even if you constantly get common cards, they can get very powerful due to leveling them up.

Also, there is a component where you form a clan and this is an important part of the game. You need an active group and it currently holds a maximum of 50 players. Within the clan, you can solicit card donations which means that you can level up your cards quicker. You can also donate cards, which gives you experience and gold back as well as giving away cards that you won't use anyways. As you can see, being in an active clan, you can progress quicker than without a clan.

It sounds like a lot to take in, but it is really easy to get into, but hard to master. I had a lot of fun for around a week, but the constant grind after made me give up since I felt like I was not getting anywhere. Also, I found that most people were playing with the same or similar decks and it made it quite boring when I knew that I would win against certain decks and lose to certain decks.

I enjoyed it for the short period of time that I played it. I feel that it has a good foundation and a lot of people really enjoy the game, so give it a shot and see how you like it, and maybe you will be more addicted than I was. I do find that I have a short attention span for a lot of the free-to-play games I play on mobile and this was no exception.

Come back next Wednesday for my Final Thoughts on Hitman Go for Android.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Final Thoughts - Fez [PlayStation Vita]

Title: Fez
Genre: Puzzle platformer
Developer: Polytron Corporation
Publisher: Trapdoor
Release Date: April 13, 2012
Platform played on: PlayStation Vita
Available on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Windows PC
Completion Status: On-going, near the end
Trophy Status: 4 of 12

Fez was a free game on PlayStation Plus and while I haven't actually finished the game yet, I think I'm a good 80% through the game. When I stopped playing, I felt that I was really overwhelmed by the world and I was having difficulty with remembering where things were and how to get back to where I needed to go. If there was a suggested update that I would add, it would be the ability to fast travel to certain sections of the game or to put down notes on each section. It does have something like fast travel, but it only applies to certain sections and they are very infrequent.

Fez is a single-player puzzle platformer game, you move around in a 2D space, however, the world itself it actually in 3D. With a press of a button, you can change the world to see the plane that is either to the left or to the right of your current plane. Imagine if you have a six-sided dice and you ignore the top and bottom. You play on one side of the dice and with a button press, you would twist the dice so that you are now on either the left or the right side of the previous side of the dice.

At the beginning of the game, you are shown a 2D world and with an explosion of a giant hexahedron, the world becomes a 3D world, however, you only operate in 2D at any given time. With this explosion, pieces of the hexahedron were sent all over the world and your goal is to retrieve as many pieces as you can and correct the world.

Fez has no enemies, so you don't need to worry about running into any and fighting them, you just wander around and try to determine where you may be missing a door or cube fragment. If you die, you quickly respawn to the same area which allows for you just enjoy the game.

Cube fragments are not the only thing that you collect, there are also warp gates, obelisks, just to name a few. There is plenty of content for a game like this. The levels start off easy, but grow more and more complex as you progress through the game. It has a nice art style where it is simple and it has a pixelated look to it.

If you are looking for a puzzle platformer where you run around and try to solve puzzles, I have no issues recommending this game for everyone. I played this on the PlayStation Vita and I had no issues with the load times or any glaring issues with it.

Come back next Wednesday for my Final Thoughts on Clash Royale for Android.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Final Thoughts: Jamestown+ [PlayStation 4]

Title: Jamestown +
Genre: Shoot'em up
Developer: Final Form Games
Publisher: Final Form Games
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Platform played on: PlayStation 4
Available on: PlayStation 4, Windows PC
Completion Status: On-going, it doesn't end
Trophy Status: 9 of 28

Jamestown+ is a game that I played on my PC when it was just called Jamestown and it is a fun little shoot'em up game. For those that don't know, shoot'em up games are games where you control a plane and you fly around and you shoot down enemies and usually with the end of each level being a boss battle.

Jamestown+ is also categorized under the bullet hell genre, which is where you get spammed with bullets and while there is always a pattern so that you can avoid them, it takes a lot of exact movements to do so.

In Jamestown+, you play as one of four ships, each with its own primary and secondary attack and well as a vaunt ability that allows for increased attack and score multiplier for a short period of time, it is an ability that you have to build up a meter for to use.

It is a fun game and there are a lot of things that you can unlock as you go along. You unlock difficulty levels, new ships and mode. Each level can be played on its own or in a full story (which is pretty complex for this type of game) with several difficulty levels. As well, it is the only shoot'em up that I can recall that allows for up to 4 players simultaneously.

Well worth a try if you are into the shoot'em up genre, I don't know if I could recommend it to those not interesting since it does get difficult quite quickly and for those that aren't into bullet hell games, the precision required to dodge can get quite infuriating. However, the mechanics and layout of the level means that you learn things pretty quickly as long as you don't give up.

Come back next Wednesday for my Final Thoughts on Fez for PlayStation 4!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Final Thoughts - GUNS UP! [PlayStation 4]

Title: GUNS UP!
Genre: Side scrolling strategy game
Developer: Valkyrie Entertainment
Publisher: Sony Entertainment
Release Date: December 5, 2015
Platform played on: PlayStation 4
Available on: PlayStation 4
Completion Status: On-going, it doesn't end
Trophy Status: 8 of 12

GUNS UP! is a free-to-play game for the PlayStation 4 where you build a base, setup defenses, and then you try and take down other people's bases. It is similar to Clash of Clans, except, it is in a 2D plane and you are attacking from the left, and the defender is on the right.

Before you begin your attack, you must choose the opponent that you are going to face. They are ranked by difficulty (which is odd, since higher base power does not mean more difficult), and shown are the number of buildings that the opposite has broken down into things like bunkers, turrets, mortars, etc. Going in, you will not know the layout of the base. To do battle with something, each difficult has an assigned cost, in munitions (the game's primary currency), and there is a free one, so you can play this indefinitely with no restrictions like other free-to-play games which have timers. Even if you are broke, you can keep playing the free opponents. However, the amount of munitions and experience that you win from freebies are low, so it is best to pick harder ones.

Once you have selected your opponent, you get to choose the units you want to bring into battle and a selection of cards that you would like to bring along as well. Cards are abilities in this game and each time you select them to battle, they will be used and you can replenish them by winning battles or buying card packs (for gold or money). Cards are things like dropping missiles, fire bombs, or launching paratroopers, putting up a decoy and more and they will be used regardless of if you use them in battle or not.

In battle, you control what units to produce, cards to play and, that's about it. You don't actually get to control the units you produce (aside from some cards like focus fire or rally), and they generally do their own thing and you hope for the best. This is one aspect I don't like, but it makes the game a lot easier to manage as the end user since you don't want to manage squads and such. Units cost munitions to make, but they are something you get back when you defeat enemies as well as buildings. At the end of the battle if you win, you will get scored, which determines how many munitions you get back, experience gained, and cards won. Rinse and repeat!

As you progress, you gain access to new units, ability to have more unit types while in battle, ability to bring more cards with you and more. Also, your units have goals that they need to reach in other to level up. As well, there are daily challenges which you try to complete for rewards. Completed ones are removed at a set time, so you can't just charge through challenges. New is the daily reward which is a perk for just logging in daily.

The game is actually quite fun at the beginning, but you hit a wall pretty quick when you don't get the double bonuses like double exp, double munitions, or bonus card when you win. I enjoy it with the daily reward now, since it encourages me to come back and play a little bit. The game has been out for almost half a year and it is fun in short bursts. I don't have the pull that I did initially, but for free, why not give it a try?

Come back next Wednesday for my Final Thoughts on Jamestown+ for PlayStation 4.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Month In Review - March 2016

Here's what I played in March 2016:

The Division has taken up most of my evenings with my friends and I am not sure how I feel about this one. It is a fun game, but I feel that the story isn't capturing me at all. All the side missions and encounters repeat itself a lot and only the main story missions are designed differently. I understand why this is, but it makes me feel more like I'm in a game versus a world, if that makes sense at all. At this point in time, I'm not sure if we will play together much after the story missions are completed, but we will just have to wait and see on this one.

Danganronpa 2 is being slowly chipped away at. Again, this game isn't holding my attention as much as the first one due to me knowing what the formula is now. However, they did add new games and mini-games to it to keep it fresh and the game itself does reference things that happen in the first game and takes jabs at it like 'oh, it'd be silly to do it this way' when it was done in the previous game.

Nom Nom Galaxy, I thought I would enjoy this game since it is by Q Games and it was too big of a change for me that I just didn't enjoy it. I'm sure that there are people that enjoy having a game that throws a lot of systems and things for you to do and you have to management them appropriately, however I'm more of a player where I focus on one thing and try to do that well and the other things can just wait.

Clash Royale, a mobile game from Supercell known for Clash of Clans. It is a moba-like game where you collect cards and you battle with other players PvP style. Due to the restrictions on the game, there seems to be little incentive to spend money since you are only enabling yourself to achieve things quicker, however, that doesn't mean that you actually do better. In the game, when you win, you get one chest, this chest takes anywhere from 3 hours to 24 hours to unlock. There are four slots to hold chests and once you have four chests, you won't get any more. So you are stuck there waiting for chests to unlock, so that you get new cards and you continue the grind. I play for a few minutes a day and just leave it alone, it is annoying since it is fun, however, I cannot play a lot at a time.

Punch Club, a PC game that came to Android and I've been playing it on my phone. It is a boxing simulator where it takes a lot of influences from things like Rocky, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mortal Kombat, Batman and other things. You start as a teenager who has a rough start in life (like Rocky) and you meet up with a trainer and you just start training yourself to be the best boxer you can be. You are able to train in three categories (strength, agility and stamina) and your skills and abilities are based on those. You will fight in legitimate fights in the league as well as possible underground fight clubs and you can also fall in love in order to make you train better. It all adds up to quite the fun game in my opinion. I haven't gotten to the end yet and there is no demo available, so you will just need to watch some videos to see if you like what you see. I am slowly getting to the point where I'm a bit bored since I am not thrown new scenarios anymore, but it was a fun game and I would have no problem recommending it if others are interested.