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Category Archives for "Mobile Games"
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Pokemon Go is a Thing Again

I remember when Pokemon Go came out two years ago. Those were wild times. They lasted about two weeks.

The novelty wore off. Justifiable so, right? Who wants to walk around outside looking like a pariah? I mean, other than the large crowds of people who went to the events that flopped, but would keep going to them despite their issues.

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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Review & Interview with a Super Fan

The highly-anticipated Harry Potter game for mobile devices came out this week. Hogwarts Mystery is an adventure story-driven game where you take on the role of yourself as a student at Hogwarts. The game takes place sometime between the initial fall of Voldemort and when Harry turns 11 and can attend Hogwarts.

You're given a backstory as the sibling of a brother who previously attended and was expelled from Hogwarts. As you unfold the story and discover what really happened, you'll advance through all 7 years at Hogwarts. You'll attend classes, learn spells and potions, and advance your character's stats and conversational skills.

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Mario Kart is Nintendo’s Next Mobile Move

I think mobile gaming continues to have a strong future as a defined space which is why I’m always interested in seeing who is going to make the next coolest advancement in the mobile gaming space.

If anyone has the ability to come out of left field, it’s Nintendo.

This next idea isn’t really weird, but perhaps it’s a neat and logical step for the company’s mobile offering. Mark Kart is coming to smartphones. What a perfect idea.

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Civilization 6 for iPad

Civilization 6 is now available on the iPad. It's not just a crummy port, either. It's the entire, full, complete Civ 6 experience. The port was handled by Aspyr Media, the same company to bring over KotoR 1/2 for mobile.

What's the catch? Well, it's not really a catch, but the game is the full price. Yep, the game is $60 on iPad, and must be played on an iOS 11 capable device. The recommendations are any iPad 2017 version, iPad Air 2, and any iPad Pro model. You'll also need just over 3 gigs of space on your iPad.

I have an iPad Pro 12.9" model from 2016, and Civ 6 runs smooth as butter. I can confirm that the entire game is there including all 20 civilization leaders, all diplomatic relationship options, etc. It's all there.

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Pocket Camp: My Gripes

I have logged in and played Animal Crossing Pocket Camp every day since it launched, and for all intents and purposes it’s a fun experience on a mobile device, but I’m left with a few grumbly gripes.

Remarkably none of them have anything to do with microtransactions or the game being free to play. I haven’t felt pressured into spending a dime. They’re overly generous with leaf tickets, and I can make anything I want with what feels like plenty of bells.

Gripe #1: Camp size

I need more space to decorate. As of right now, I feel like I’m unable to create anything that remotely resembles a ‘put together’ setup because I don’t have the space to fit a fraction of the things I’ve crafted. Compared to previous Animal Crossings, I feel like I might have 1/5th the space. Unless I’m missing something, I can’t even pay to increase my camp size — And I would HAPPILY do so.

Gripe #2: Room to move around

Just when I think I’ve squeezed in something that looks good, I realize my character can’t actually fit. In takes 2 squares for my guy to waddle his way through the camp, and even though there’s plenty of room visually (1 square) it won’t let him through.

Gripe #3: Interacting with pals in your camp sucks

I’d almost rather not invite people into my camp because once they’re there it becomes 2-3x more work to talk to them, and I feel like they offer less benefit in the camp than they do in the wild. Granted, having your pals in your camp means more people to fill the other areas which obviously nets more, but once they’re in your camp they feel like dead weight taking up valuable space.

I’d also like to have these animals leave and have their own camps. Instead, they’re all in mine and I never get to visit theirs. It feels like I’m running a daycare for a bunch of psychos who want to do nothing but eat, sleep in my bed, and beg for things.

Gripe #4: People aren’t checking their friend help requests

I’ve sent out a dozen requests for help for the past 3 days, and every day I don’t get enough of them wanting to help me go to the quarry. Literally as I write this 4 out of the 14 friends on my list have offered to help. If I don’t get another person to help, I’m screwed out of another day in the quarry. Grumble.

Grip #5: Limited space to roam

This should probably be right up under camp size for me because it’s the second biggest issue. I really feel like the disconnected areas make the game feel way too shallow. A simple open map like every other animal crossing game could have been achieved while maintaining the “camp” feel. Imagine Stardew Valley without the main city, but instead you just warped from your farm to the mine, warped to the dock, warped to a store. It would lose that ‘I’m in a world’ feeling, and a lot of that magic would be lost. Part of the fun is what you do getting from point A to point B. Pocket Camp lacks that experience.

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Anyone Emulate Android?

I’m looking for an Android emulator to play some of the mobile games I’d normally play on my iPhone but on a PC instead. I hear Android emulators work pretty well, and that there’s not a lot of legal issues with using one. Truth to that, anyone?

I saw a lot of Twitch Streamers recently playing that new Lineage game on their PC which is what me down this road of thinking that I might be able to play games like Animal Crossing Pocket Edition on my PC since it uses a Nintendo Account to save progress.

Anyone have experience and want to weigh in?

  1. Can you play games multiplayer?
  2. Anyone successfully played a game on PC that they also played on a handheld and had their progress transfer over seamlessly? (I’m thinking it would have to be a game with a third-party account system since I’m an iOS user and not Android)
  3. How are microtransactions handled? Is it tied to something like a Google Play account?

And lastly, what emulator do you guys use? I keep seeing Bluestacks as the one people recommend, but I’m open to suggestions. Thanks!

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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp – Not a Bad Start

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is out for iOS and Android today — well, technically yesterday. For some reason it came out a day early.

I have already been asked by friends and family, “what is Animal Crossing?” I guess it’s harder to explain than I thought because I didn’t have a really good answer to give right away. Contemplating the series, I came up with the following. Animal Crossing is about three things: Collecting, decorating (or expressing yourself), and real-time open-ended gameplay.

In all of the games, you’re a human character who has come to a town (or in this case a camp) as the new resident. You get your own house (or camp site) to decorate and call home, and then spend your time building relationships with the other residents who are all anthropomorphic animal people.

The game ultimately boils down to collecting, fishing, or catching things to trade, sell (for Bells, the in-game currency), and give to NPCs. You use those bells, and in this case items you get for trading to other creatures, to make items or buy items you’ll use to decorate your camp. Decorating is a big component of the game, so if you’re anti-Sims and can’t stand the idea of putting up fences, laying carpets, setting up a couch, tweaking that lamp so it looks just right… then this is most definitely not the game for you.

A big part of Animal Crossing for me has always been accumulating wealth. I like to fish, shake trees for fruit, catch rare bugs, and ultimately become uber wealthy and have everything.

For the first time, Animal Crossing is free and works microtransactions into the game. It also introduces a non-contiguous world, whereas the game has typically been about running around to visit all of your neighbors in more of a Star Dew Valley type setting.

I don’t love driving (clicking a spot on a map and loading into that small location) as much as I like the open areas of past games. I’m also not a fan of how small the little areas feel to me. I like the “world” or playable area being a bit larger, and in Pocket Camp it’s just not.

Microtransactions are right at home in Animal Crossing due to its real-time gameplay. There has always been a real time element in Animal Crossing because of its use of the system clock, so naturally making you wait for things or lettting you spend “Leaf Tickets” to speed things up just makes sense. I don’t love it, but I would expect nothing less from Tom Nook.

I’m playing on my iPhone X, and the game is gorgeous looking and already very optimized for the device. I played for about an hour straight and my battery did not make any noticeable dip.

In general, it’s all still too early to say just how nefarious the microtransactions are in the game. Clearly we know they’ll stand in your way of having everything, but to what degree I don’t know.  I’ll post an update if I become disenchanted with the whole process.

If anyone wants to add me to your friends, my friend code is: 17319166186

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

I was traveling and super busy this past week when Animal Crossing Pocket Camp had its proper announcement during the Nintendo Mobile presentation.

I like Animal Crossing games. I'm a sucker for their cute, sim-like, decoratingness. I've played them on handheld systems in the past, and always seem to find a certain relaxing pleasure to the series.

I've been a fan of the idea of bringing games like this to smartphones for years. I think it's long overdue for Animal Crossing to get a proper insallment, and I think we're way past due for a real Harvest Moon game too.

Anyway, let's check out Animal Crossing Pocket Edition.

"Some amenities shown require giving up your entire life extensive game play"

I found the disclaimer on the second video rather humorous. You know when there's a disclaimer like that on a video it means "good luck."

The gist of the game:

  • You're the new camp manager responsible for making the place thrive by decorating and attracting friends to visit
  • You can do all the familiar animal crossing things like harvest fruit, fish, decorate, buy, interact with villagers, etc
  • Looks like multiplayer is a thing with people visiting
  • In-app purchases will obviously net you rare items

I have high hopes that this means we might see Animal Crossing come to Switch, but AC has definitely found a home on mobile devices.

Iron Marines: Mobile RTS Game

We're starting to see a lot of really, really cool games coming out for mobile devices. I recently picked up Iron Marines which came out on September 14, 2017, and have had a blast. 

Overview

Iron Marines is a RTS/Strategy game with some minor 'defense' or 'tower defense' feel to it. It's made by the same people who made Kingdom Rush, which is another one of our favorite mobile games.

There's not a lot of story here. You're commanding the Iron Marines with one of 9 heroes trying to beat 14 Campaign Missions and 10 Special Operations. Each mission grows in complexity requiring more thought and strategy of how to overcome the challenges.

You'll command everything from simple marine-like infantry up through mechs and and all sorts of special weapons to get the job done. Defending your base is done with various towers, and will be necessary since the enemy seems to constantly bombard your base.

There's an obvious sense of Starcraft meets Starship Troopers vibe throughout the entire game.

The video above was taken when I was only an about an hour of gameplay in and on the 5th mission.

How It's Played on Mobile

Each unit/set of units can be moved by pressing your finger and dragging to where you want them to go. This works pretty well, though at times I do wish I could move multiple units together. There's also no attack-move (A-click), so you'll want to be careful not to send your units walking through a blockade of enemies. You can still tap your unit then tap an enemy to attack them directly.

Building units and buildings are pretty simple. You simple click the pad where a tower goes, or the base where you build a unit, and tap to build.

In general the game poses quite a challenge for me. I started losing and having to try again around mission #5. In fact, I think I spent over an hour trying to beat this mission because I would get to a point where the enemy just overwhelmed me.

You'll need to find a healthy balance of offense and defense, and use abilities and powerups to your advantage.

Upgrades & Skills

Each hero has a set of skills that can be upgraded as you level them up and play them more. Additional abilities can be purchased in a skill tree that offers choices for upgrades to make you feel more powerful as time goes on.

You can also buy what I consider power-ups which act as special bombs you can drop or mines you can lay -- things to help turn the tide in a bad situation.

Cash Shop

Despite being a paid game, there's still a cash shop. You can buy in-game currency and specific heroes. I haven't felt a need to buy anything yet, but the options are there. Currency seems easy enough to earn, especially if you're willing to go back and play some levels or take on the challenges in the Special Operations.

thumbs-o-up

Time played so far: 6 hours

Price: $4.99

Overall, I recommend Iron Marines for anyone who enjoys the RTS/defense type games. There are plenty of missions to justify the sticker price, and if you're look me you'll curse the game on more than one occasion because of the challenge some levels present.


Between the various units you can build, heroes you can play, and upgrades you can purchase, Iron Marines definitely scratches a RTS itch in a mobile kind of way.

Pros

  • check
    There's plenty of content to play through including missions and challenge mode.​​​​
  • check
    There's plenty of challenge here and you'll have to replay some missions more than once.
  • check
    Upgrades and skills provide at least some sense of progression, though only a little.

Cons

  • minus-circle
    I don't like having to pay to unlock more heroes after buying the game for $5.
  • minus-circle
    I wish there was a way for units to attack-move.
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