28 November 2013

Can It All Be So Simple

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated you to the state of my iOS game playing. Important stuff, I know. Since a few months ago, I’ve been burning through games. Some quickie reviews and recommends.

I was lauding Neuroshima Hex before but have now played it for many hours. It’s still great and a new expansion pack just tossed in more armies. Yeah it’s a little confusing to start but after you get the hang of it it’s really great. My only lament is that I can’t find any friends to play with me. Ahem. Also there don’t seem to be very many players online sadly.

The other two games that have seriously sucked up my time have been Ascension and Agricola. Ascension is a port of a physical collectible card game and it’s got an interesting spin on deck building. I got into it and then got REALLY into it once I realized there was a whole new level of playing that involved combos and infinite card runs. It reminded me of some of my finer Magic decks and I was hooked. Luckily I tore myself away from Ascension long enough to get super excited about Blizzard’s upcoming Hearthstone, which is basically their take on Magic. It’s gonna annihilate all the other collectible card games out on iOS probably, and I’m ready for that armageddon.

As for Agricola, I finally unearthed some of its mysteries and strategies. Since then I’ve spent more time than I’m willing to admit battling fellow farmers human and computer alike. I’ve learned which occupations work best for me, when to grab the wood over making an major improvement, and still I’m not that good in the big scheme of things. What I need is more friends to play with… sense a theme here? Basically Agricola is a worker placement game in the style of Settlers, sort of, but with no random chance. Anyway, let me just show off a screenshot from my finest game of Agricola yet, and revel in all those sheep, pigs, and cattle. It's not quite as fun as herding sheep on Playstation, but it's close.

Samurai Siege is a Clash of Clans clone that I was loathe to get into but it’s done so well and I actually kind of like the little samurai people. I’m giving it two weeks before I delete it, because I already did my time with Clash. Same principle applies to Tiny Death Star actually. I loved Tiny Tower and reskinning it with Star Wars is great, but only amusing for a bit. Two weeks and I’m out. Having little pixelated Stormtroopers running around in your building is kind of great though. As is the midi Star Wars music. Pocket Trains isn’t a reskin but it’s too similar to Pocket Planes to be fun. It just feels like playing the same thing again. No mas. Actually, speaking of Nimblebit, their Nimble Quest was a really great take on Snake but I didn’t play it that much after a few runs.

Stuff I tried but couldn’t get into: Summoner Wars, Ravenmark Mercenaries, War of Nations, Superbrothers, Pocket Heroes, any of the Arcane Empires / Kings of Camelot / Game of War freeminum stuff. The interfaces were a bit too clunky on those latter few and it was all the same game over and over. Ugh. Also, the awful Marvel War of Heroes game was such a disappointment. I wanted to get into something card collect-y but this wasn’t the answer. I guess I could try out Avengers Alliance to get my Marvel fix.

On the casual side of things, I still have Heads Up!, which I briefly mentioned here, and it’s always fun for a few minutes of party time. I recommend the category where you have to charades everything out. Makes for better videos.

My current casual obsession is Quiz Up, which is a super clean and well designed head-to-head trivia challenge game. (Sidenote: If someone can manage to make Quiz World for iOS, I’m done, I would never stop challenging people to mass games of trivia.) On my third game of Quiz Up, I took out the top ranked Philippines player in the Pop Songs category. I felt bad because well, you know, Philippines right now, but I secretly was wild with glory. Little did I know that would be my high mark. Apparently I know very little about dinosaurs, economics, myth & folklore, medical, and absolutely nothing about food. It's really time for me to start studying more. Come play Quiz Up with me. Trivia forever.

Also, somehow I've decided it's time to play Candy Crush. I fear its addictive qualities but am also curious why everyone is so into it. When JMZ started posting Instagrams of mysterious shit like this and being super excited about it, my interest was piqued. I'd read about the powers of Candy Crush's core loop but haven't experienced it first hand. Now I'm going to take the plunge. Wish me luck.

And these two are basically the same game but it was worth downloading Juice Cubes and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Foodimal Frenzy just to see the anthropomorphic fruits. Playability lasted for about fifteen minutes though.

Back in September, my favorite iOS games site Pocket Tactics spun out a sister site focusing on PC games, Red Door Blue Key. I don’t even own a PC anymore and I still read this thing. Basically it just makes me think about what games I would play if I had a PC around. Similar to my "if I had an iPad I would totally play the hell out of Eclipse and XCOM" fantasies. In related dreams, someone get me an iPad mini for Christmas, thanks.