Questland embodies most of what I find is wrong with mobile games today; Good production values, interesting core systems - sometimes, but ultimately a bunch of timers, resources to buy and spend for incremental upgrades that almost don’t matter and a gameplay experience that involves a lot of busywork for not much fun. I tried to get into Questland and see if there was anything in there, but it didn’t take me too long to stop trying.
I don’t usually do this (console game reviews), but I feel like I have something to say about TSA:NMH, a game that I was anticipating greatly. A game that meant so much to me as a Suda51 fan that I had bought the special deluxe collector edition from europe and I planned on buying the normal edition to have it at launch as well. I knew this wasn’t going to be No More Heroes 3, but controlling Travis Touchdown as you went through a bunch of different game worlds seemed like a cool proposition. Ultimately, TSA is a deeply disappointing title, both gameplay and story-wise and playing it frustrates me to no end. This review can’t be spoiler free, so beware.
Idle Empires is a run of the mill idle game with an interesting (?) story conceit and a grin sense of humor. Although it has a few ideas here and there to break the monotony of idle gameplay, there wasn’t enough for me to stay engaged with it more than a few hours. The game’s reliance on very costly upgrades paths with few immediate effects and the general starting curve of revenue generation combined with the ticking revolution clock made this a weird mix for me.
Exception is a puzzle game based around programming where you control a fleet of robots and must accomplish certain objectives like defeating all enemies or moving a robot to a certain point. The type of puzzle programming in question here is all about setting triggers and actions in order to react to the condition of the level. I had a very limited time with it because I felt that the puzzles had a very small solution set (unlike programming) and I had to look at many answers on the internet and even then I couldn't figure out -why- they worked. A few interesting ideas bogged down by the lack of support and kinda bizarre engrish text, then.
The Guides is an iOS puzzler that I haven't spent much time with. It was just too difficult and frustrating to use at times. While I appreciate the straightforwardness of the game's presentation and type of puzzle, I didn't have fun at all with it. Build around a series of logic puzzles, Vignettes has you try and decipher layer upon layer of mysteries in a series of screens that have only a vague link between them; Not letting you appreciate each mechanic of the puzzle long enough before moving on to something else.
Swipe Casters is barely a game; it is an okay core mechanic slapped around in-app purchases, weird systems and one-note gameplay. The idea to trace glyphs in order to deal damage to enemies is fine, but when that's all there is to it, when all the game does is pile on more difficulty on the glyph tracing and when the upgrades feel pointless and not fun, it feels more like a tech demo than an actual game. I tried to have fun with it, but I left sorely disappointed.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is an okay version of Animal Crossing for mobile devices. It's not great, but it's not catastrophically bad either. I fell off it pretty quickly because what was there didn't catch me enough to keep me away from my 3DS and Vita, it's a campground simulation game where you collect fruits, bugs and fishes to give to animals in order to level up their friendship and get more stuff to decorate your camp with. The interactions are minimal and even if the whole package is well presented and isn't THAT different from mainline Animal Crossing games, the differences were enough to leave me uninterested.
Dandy Dungeon has a somewhat neat core mechanic of puzzle-rpg that is heavily bogged down by free to play mechanics and unnecessary cruft. There is a good idea in there about planning paths for your character to take and defeat all enemies, but I think that it would've been a better product with a premium price and more balanced mechanics. I had -some- fun with it, but in the end it could've been way more enjoyable than what it was.
TurretZ is a weird mix between twin stick shooter, idle game and tower defense. I'm not sure which of these genres this game is supposed to be, but it isn't very fun. You have a planet in the middle of the screen with a whole lot of enemies around, and the planet rotates while auto-firing with various weapons, after you defeat a bunch of enemies, a boss appears. Defeat that boss, and you get to the next level, which is almost identical to the previous one. The planet is tough to control, your weaponry is unreliable, and progression is extremely slow, I didn't enjoy TurretZ much.
Inexistence is a platformer RPG that didn't do anything for me. I've found it too difficult and I've found that it didn't offer me enough customization or options in order to defeat the challenges in front of me. I feel like I've gave it its fair shot, but couldn't muster enjoyment out of it. On the positive side, I liked the graphics and style of the game.
There is an interesting nugget of an idea at the core of Puzzle Box, a game where you place colors on a grid to complete pixel-art like pictures, then complete platforming and other puzzle-like challenges on them to get coins and progress to more levels. All of its game modes could've been tweaked to make them more fun and new mechanics should've been added to make the game not feel stale. As-is, it's not a really good game, I was intrigued by its core concepts, but quickly lost interest.
Asymmetric is a neat idea executed in a frustrating fashion. At its core, it's a simple puzzle game where you move two characters on separate fields. When you move one, the other does the opposite. This create puzzles that should be interesting in theory, but I've found it very frustrating in practice. You can fail non-stop and it can become irritating to plan ahead for each levels. Furthermore, the game even gives you the complete solution if you get too stuck, which I have used too many times. You can almost do it on every level. I didn't have a great time with Asymmetric.
Dex is a cyberpunk RPG adventure game with platforming elements that tries to combine lots of cool things but fails at integrating everything into a compelling package. Shoddy combat, frustrating hacking minigame that comprise a big chunk of this universe, weird storytelling set in an unpleasant setting didn't help me get into it enough to keep pushing past everything that frustrated me, so I gave up quite quickly.
TESO:TU is a poor MMORPG experience, while it could've worked as a single-player Elder Scrolls product, the attempt to make it catch on the MMO craze brought a bag of problems with it and its also the reason why I've played it for the strict minimum I could and probably won't play it ever again. Its core systems are confusing and poorly implemented, the game's balance is terrible and there is tedium every step of the way, while interesting stories are told in what seems like an afterthought, especially for a product in the specific genre of grinding, looting monsters and participating in multiplayer adventures.
Survive in space is a mess on many levels. It's core gameplay isn't too bad but gets hamstrung by weird decisions, it's side systems of progression and upgrades are confusing at best and the game has some UI and tone issues. It seemed neat at first glance, but after playing it for a while, I realized I wasn't having any fun with it and had to stop. I'm still looking in my quest for good arcade space shooters with RPG elements, but Reign of Bullets was much better.
Tap Smiths is just boring; It's a game where you make items by tapping alternatively left and right on your screen and then after a while your day is over and you go sell these items and make some money with which you buy upgrades for your hammer, anvil and other tools. Then you rinse and repeat, with no apparent changes in the things you are making, how much you are making, and how much money you get at the end. That's why I've found Tap Smiths boring, there's no challenge, no progression and no real goal.
I have not much to say about LOUD on Planet X, it wasn't a game I enjoyed at all, so I didn't play it more than what I felt was necessary to get a grasp on it. It is a music-based tower-defense game where you tap to the beat of the music to attack aliens, using special items and more powerful moves when appropriate. The main issue I had with it is that I disliked every single track of music they had, which is really bad for a music-based game. So that really soured me to the whole thing. I also was a bit confused about the timing of taps, sometimes it followed beats, sometimes I felt like I was just tapping willy-nilly, still hitting the mark. Maybe this game will be more suited to your musical tastes, but it sure wasn't to mine.
Crucible Mode is the first DLC for Grim Dawn, a game I have enjoyed very much. A battle arena for this ARPG where you could - according to all documentation I've seen on it - start with a fresh level one character? That sounded like a good idea! That being said, I was sorely bummed by it, even if I gave it the time to try and see if there was any enjoyment to get out of it. Sadly, there wasn't much. Bad design decisions made the core concept fall flat for me.
I wrote a huge review and Chrome crashed as I hit save?! Thanks chrome.
Because of plenty of reasons, TCTD isn't a game I've enjoyed, don't buy it. These reasons include a boring story, boring gameplay, convoluted systems, too few interesting side activities, a huge world for no reason, forced multiplayer and forced online. That'll teach me not to save more often.
I can't say I enjoyed my time with SUPERHOT, which is a bummer since I really thought that the length of the game was indicative of how polished the end result would be and of how refined the gameplay was. I didn't find the time mechanic to be particularly interesting, nor the surrounding framing device, so there wasn't much in that game for me. It might be a bit reductionist, but I fear that SUPERHOT might be almost any shooter with a variable time scale.