I'm back from my 4 day business trip to Seattle -- forgot to mention I would be gone. I missed SoCal quite a bit. All that wet stuff falling from…
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
Gameplay 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. (more…)
I've had the same iPhone 4 since 2010, and I'm finally looking to make an upgrade. I've never felt the desire to be the type of consumer to upgrade my…
I had an interesting conversation at work the other day. A few of us are really into video games so we occasionally slip into casual conversation about which console is our favorite or what old video games we wish we could play again. I don’t know how we started, but the conversation turned to Pokemon and then to handheld gaming.
One of my co-workers, who is very open about not being knowledgeable at all about video games, asked, “Is the Gameboy still around?” I gave him a 30 second history lesson on the evolution of Nintendo’s handheld systems — how Sega’s Gamegear didn’t last, The Gameboy became the DS, etc. He then asked, “Do people still buy handheld gaming consoles today?” A question like that comes as a bit of a surprise because those us who game know that it’s still a huge market, albeit a struggling huge market in the last few years.
We then got talking about the iPhone (iOS 7 just came out) and the following statement was made:
“I don’t need a gaming console. I would never buy one. I have an iPhone.” (more…)
Admittedly I didn’t know a whole lot about the game going in. I saw a trailer and skimmed over the Kickstarter page along with a few other articles. What I thought was going to be a deep and satisfyingly was instead shallow and broken. I honestly can’t believe I chocolate-rabbit’d myself so soon after writing that. I suppose I have to take partial blame for expecting too much. Wait… No, no I really don’t. They essentially promised as much in their Kickstarter campaign. Anybody who sunk any substantial money into Star Command must be fighting waves of nausea.
Visually, the game is great. They did a fantastic job with the pixel art and the aliens and ships are fascinating to look at. They obviously went for a Star Trek feel and I think for the most part they nailed it. Unfortunately it just all goes downhill from here. The combat, ship, crew, and diplomacy (or lack thereof) mechanics are all bad. They really are. I probably shouldn’t make sweeping statements like that but I honestly can’t think of a single redeeming feature among them.
The entire game is based around tokens. Win a battle, get tokens, spend tokens on upgrades or crew. Good luck being able to afford anything, though, when you have to constantly replace your crew. Parts of your ship also use different types of tokens to dodge attacks and fire special weapons. The problem is that you not only need to wait for the rooms to charge up, but then you need to spend a token. Unfortunately you can only hold 2 tokens of each type at a time. After that you have to generate tokens, introducing an additional timer into the mix. The same is true for shield regenerators, etc. It’s a completely stupid and broken system. I just don’t understand why they created, essentially, 2 different usage timers. It would have been great if they just let you buy and stock ammo, but there’s none of that. Read on. (more…)