Pokemon Shuffle Review & Pokemon Go Preview

The world of “mobile” gaming is surely evolving (accidental pun intended) as the gamer demographic expands. Mobile gaming used to be my brother and I playing our Gameboys in the backseat of the car during family vacations. Mobile gaming used to be restricted to the few who owned handheld systems. Now, mobile gaming is done on just about every device in our pockets or on our wrists.

The Pokemon Company has dabbled recently into how their namesake can be implemented onto other devices. Previously, Pokemon as a video game was a Nintendo handheld gaming franchise. Then, it lightly expanded into guest appearances in other games and occasionally a few standalone console titles. Now, Pokemon is being taken to the masses on mobile games.

You might recall that Nintendo partnered with DeNa back in March of this year to start bringing games to smartphones and other devices. So far we havent’ seen anything come from this partnership, at least not that I am aware of anyway, but we have seen Pokemon begin its journey into the mobile space much more aggressively in the past few weeks. I attribute most of this to how Pokemon is owned partially by three main companies: Nintendo (33%), Gamefreak (33%), The Pokemon Company (33%-2% or so to some anima people). I think I saw that Nintendo owns 54% of Gamefreak, therefore putting Nintendo technically in big control, but it just gets too complicated. Suffice it to say, Pokemon gets around.

Let’s first take a look at the just announced Pokemon Go.

Sensationalized in every imaginable way. Obviously the city of New York will not band together to defeat Mewtwo, and Blastoise won’t be making waves in any major bodies of water. You won’t see these things in real life, and you won’t throw or even mimic throwing anything to catch a Pokemon. This will all take place on the phone, maybe utilize the camera, but at best still be a digital experience.

Pokemon Go Plus Watch

Wearing this bluetooth device will alert you when there’s action happening in your area.

The point they’re trying to get across in this video is that Pokemon can transcend a game you play on a device where you control a trainer. YOU can become the trainer. YOU can set out on the adventure. Just a few problems with that…

I don’t want to go out and adventure. I’m simply not going to bust out my phone and geolocate Pokemon. I’d rather sit at home in the air conditioning and explore a fantasy world.

Gamers — specifically Pokemon gamers — aren’t into traversing mountains, seeking out vistas, or exploring the world. They are definitely (especially in Asia) into the whole street pass thing where people carry their system around with them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a group of Japanese tourists at Disneyland all playing on their 3DS while waiting in line for rides. That’s a far cry from seeking out the experience of hunting pokemon by traveling to different locations. [Read more…]

Garrison Management on iOS & Android

Garrison App

I know that I’m really, really late to this discussion, but after playing Warlords of Draenor for almost a week now I’m curious why the Garrison management system hasn’t been implemented on iOS. The auction house can be fully managed from the WoW App, so we know it’s not too much to ask.

For some reason I see a lot of people saying they hate Garrisons. Am I missing something entirely here? Sure, they take lots of upkeep if you want to utilize them to their fullest, but they aren’t mandatory once you’re at 100, right? I could be way wrong there.

I like knowing I can earn tons of cash by maintaining my Garrison. I prefer Garrison work orders over the daily quest hub B.S. in every way. I like sending my companions out on missions to level them up, and I’m not even getting rewards from them yet. I like mining my ore, finding wood, using my profession buildings, etc.

Back on topic, I think the interface lends itself to an app. Simply log in to the Armory app or whatever, choose Garrison, and manage sending your troops on missions. You could even see the timers left on your missions and receive push notifications.  To me this would make managing your Garrison even easier, and might even alleviate some of what people dislike.

Sadly, I guess Garrisons might be going away in Legion. I think the “Class Hall” will be public, and not a private Garrison-like feature. I think providing the Garrison feature in Legion would be great for those of us who enjoy the carrot it provides.

Anyone else really enjoy Garrisons and wish they would stick around in Legion?

D23 Expo Gaming and Geek News

I’m a huge fan of Disney. My wife and I just renewed our Disneyland annual passes, and I’m eager to start going again once this heat weave we’re experiencing is over. Somewhat on-topic for our blog, Disney just had their D23 Expo over the weekend and announced some incredible news for fans like us as well as for gaming fans.


Star Wars Land

Star Wars Land

I got chills when this was announced. An entire land at Disneyland (and Disney World) dedicated to Star Wars… it’s a dream come true. Star Tours the ride is already a must-ride for me every time we go. I spend at least 10-15 minutes in the Star Wars gift shop looking at all of the overpriced licensed goodies. Apparently the new Star Wars Land will have shops operated by difference species, and new major attractions featuring the Millenium Falcon and a “cinematic battle.” My fingers are crossed for blue milk at concession stands. I didn’t see an announced date, but I’m guessing 2017.

A little more on topic now… (Not that Star Wars and geekery are ever off-topic…)

Disney Magic Kingdoms

Disney Magic Kingdoms App Game

Disney Magic Kingdoms will be a Roller Coaster Tycoon style game where players can build their own Disney themepark. Starting with the iconic castle (which one I do not know, but I’m partial to Sleeping Beauty), players can place many of the rides and attractions from the parks including Haunted Mansion, California Screamin’, Astro Orbiter, and of course Space Mountain.

I’m assuming Magic Kingdoms will be a time-waster game. I’m okay with that, and I trust Disney to carefully control the experience, especially since it involves their brand in such a huge way. I’m betting we’ll see expensive In-App Purchases — the likes of which I will never, ever, purchase but always work hard to hopefully try and earn them in-game.

Nothing beats Disney quality. Their apps are phenomenal. I’m really excited to build the ultimate park, put Dole Whips on every corner, and pipe that sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar to every inch of the Keenland. Definitely putting this one on my must-watch list.

Age of Empires Castle Siege on Windows and iOS

Age of Empires Castle Siege Review

Microsoft Studios continues their experimentation in different business models and applications with Age of Empires Castle Siege, the latest entry into the AoE franchise.

This time around, Age of Empires has been adapted to fit what I have coined the ‘time waster’ model. Essentially it’s a full game, but actions are gated behind time sinks. Building a barracks will take just a few minutes, but upgrading that barracks to be able to build your next units may take 10 hours. Gathering resources plays a huge part in time waster games, and that mechanic is ever-present in Castle Siege. Have you played games like Clash of Clans, Star Wars Commander or similar games? If yes then you already know how to play Age of Empire Castle Siege.

Your Kingdom Can’t Run on an Empty Stomach

ResourcesGameplay is centered around building up your kingdom whether it be Briton, Teutonic Knight, or any of the other popular civilizations. To do so, you need three things: Apples, Wood, and Stone. Acquiring these three resources is done with buildings that generate the resource over time then storing them in another building. Each of these buildings (generators and storage) can be upgraded to generate faster and store more.  It’s simple and easy to manage in Castle Siege. [Read more…]

Agar.io for iOS

Agar.io for iOS

Have you ever played the incredibly addictive Agar.io? I thought it was just a browser game until I logged into the app store yesterday and saw that it was the #1 free game.

Agar.io AppAgar.io is simple. You move your little cell/dot/bubble/thing around what looks like a piece of graph paper and absorb little baubles and other players who are smaller than you. It reminds me of those games I used to play where I was a fish and I could grow by eating smaller fish until I was eventually the biggest fish in the sea.

In Agar.io the goal is much the game: Grow. Eventually you’ll grow so large that you can barely move and you just sit there as a fat mass absorbing anything that makes the mistake of coming too close to you. What I like about Agar.io (and hate… or love to hate) are the splitting mechanics. You can eject part of your mass in the direction you are moving thus catching others who are running or out of your reach. Moving too slow? Eject your mass onto someone else and assimilate them into your blob or simply split into multiple pieces to move faster.

Something to watch out for are the jaggedy green circles. Run into one of those when you are too big and you’ll split yourself into a ton of little pieces and be swept up by someone like me who like to lurk around them waiting for prey.

A really fun/funny feature to play with is the nickname system. There are dozens of names you can use that will make your blob/dot/thing take on an image. Most major countries are represented along with memes (Doge), major sites (Reddit), and even EA. I chuckled when I saw the irony that was a massive EA blob floating around absorbing everything in its path.

Agar.io on iOS is 100% online. You play with others. It’s actually such a simple and ‘pure’ gameplay experience that it lends itself beautifully to touch controls and mobile implementation. It runs phenomenally. I pretty sure there isn’t even sound. My only two complaints are that you can get some annoying ads between rounds (when you die and have to restart), and sometimes there are little lag hiccups which will cause you to fly right into EA a waiting juggernaut.

Download it and give it a try. It’s free, fun, and addicting (at least for a while).