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.
Postknight is an idle game where you fight across sidescrolling 2D maps as a young Postknight - a knight that delivers mail - by killing a bunch of mosters. The game is pretty simple, although maybe not idle enough and the barrier of free-to-play limits gets pretty rough after a while, but I enjoyed the bit that I’ve played. It’s not my favorite idle game of all time, however.
H3H3 Ball Rider is a mobile arcade game where you control a ball going through some levels by hurtling yourself forward via a stream of sweat. Most of the game is trying to get the highest score in each level, although there are special events where you are timed. You continuously lose energy - which can be recovered by following trails of small orbs which are always laid out on the critical path, but you ultimately get hit with obstacles and miss orbs and lose; There are power-ups to help you along the way and you can equip upgrades to help you. Ultimately I grew bored with the lack of variety in gameplay and the so-so controls, so I didn’t get very far.
Minesweeper Genius is a real neat small puzzle game loosely based on Minesweeper. It includes picross-like mechanics where you know how many ‘bombs’ there are in a row and a column. I completed the whole game since I liked it so much and while I thought there was something weird about the progression and the special tiles were a bit too similar in many ways, I had a ton of fun and the music was stuck in my head for ages while I was playing it.
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is a strange idle game that has an interesting core gameplay concept - leveling heroes and moving them around on a hex grid to maximize their killing potential and survivability - bogged down in microtransactions and weird systems outside the main gameplay. I think that I completed one (1) quest before calling it quits, but it could’ve been more since that world map was so confusing. Ultimately there are some good things in ICotFR, but not enough to keep me hooked.
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.
Severed is one of these grand gaming experiences that could be enjoyed on consoles - and it is on Switch after all - but available on your iPad. This is a double edged sword. On one hand, it’s a fully featured -hardcore- game with enough content to last you a long while, deep enough mechanics, an interesting style and a cool soundtrack to boot, on the other hand, it’s not exactly the kind of experience you’re used to on your iDevices. If you only get a few minutes of play here and there during your commute you might have a weird time but if you manage to give this game the time it deserves, it’s just great! After catastrophe strikes your family, you set to find them in strange locales armed with a sword, fighting in first-person encounters by swiping at enemies and solving puzzles.
Konami Pixel Puzzle Collection is a game much like Picross - a style of game I simply adore - where you solve puzzles by filling lines and columns using numbers as clues. In this perticular version, you solve puzzles related to Konami characters and games and as a free product, it’s great. You only have to see ads after each puzzle, which isn’t too bad, and there is a timer on ‘boss’ puzzles which seems like it would make it take forever to go through them all, but otherwise I really recommend it.
Despite it’s extremely generic name, Crafting Idle Clicker is an okay idle game that caught my attention for an okay time. At its base, CIC is an idle game where you build nodes that produce resources which are then used to craft other resources or end products. You sell these things to buy more expensive nodes, which are in turn worth more money. You keep doing that while resetting your workshop to gain more levels, money multipliers and blueprints. It’s a fine idea for an idle game but after the luster of trying to optimize profits and production went off, there wasn’t much more in there to keep my attention.
Missile Cards is somewhat a deck building game, somewhat a missile commander-like, but overall is more of a game of chance and strategy where you place cards in order to prevent hazards from hitting your base. Armed with a deck full of weapons, powers and hazards, you must clear out the deck in a few maps in order to win. Objetives are to be completed as well if you want to progress to the next map, and you can upgrade your base and buy some cards with XP and collected resources during matches. I really, really enjoyed this game.
Pokemon Quest is an official free to play mobile Pokemon Company game where you explore an island using a pack of pokemons that run around and defeat enemies automatically. By doing so, they find items to equip and food to cook in order to attract more pokemons for your roster. You can customize your base camp, complete quests and achievements and more. I think it's well made but I got stopped by an energy timer the moment I started really getting into it, which soured my opinion a bit. Combine that with the extremely simple and borderline boring battle system, and you have an okay game that won't steal any mainline franchise pokemon fans.
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.
Dawn Of Crafting is an interesting game where you craft your way through a tech tree by using various tools and combining elements to create different recipes. You need energy to do pretty much everything, so you have to gather food and craft it into better food items. It's a neat little game that I would've played way more than I did if it had been a full paid product and not a free to play game with hooks to make you spend money into figuring out what you need to do to progress through the main quest. It's a bit grindy but otherwise it was really fun!
Vignettes is a neat little puzzle experience where you rotate objects around and poke at them in order to find more objects, mainly by mimicking the shape of other things with them. Ultimately, the goal of the game is to find all objects and it doesn't wear out its welcome. I had a ton of fun going through the whole thing and I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
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.
Splitter Critters is a neat puzzle game where you try to move aliens on a map so they get to their spaceships by avoiding hazards and moving around platforms. To do so, instead of controlling anything directly, you can just swipe around the screen to cut it and move the different pieces around, doing so makes characters follow various paths. It’s a really cool puzzler and it kept me engaged for most of the game.
Taps To Riches is a neat little idle game where you buy businesses and tap on houses in order to generate money (in order to buy more businesses and upgrades in order to generate more money) filled with subsystems that make it interesting to come back to the game every day. Even without spending a single cent, I had fun with TTR and while all systems didn't work perfectly for me, I still wasted a few days tapping along.
Bounzy! is a neat iOS game where you shoot balls, breakout-style, at enemies coming toward your wall. If they make it, you lose health and eventually lose the map. In order to defeat increasingly powerful foes, you need to upgrade your projectiles and acquire new spells, like a poison effect or piercing shots. You also can use more powerful spells like meteors and electricity a few times per map. All of these systems are okay and the core gameplay of Bounzy! is actually really good, the problem is that you are drowned in ads, micro-transactions and gameplay balance obviously skewed towards taking forever if you don't spend money on the game.
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.
AdVenture Communist follows in the style and concept of Adventure Capitalist, a game I have reviewed a few years back. An idle game that's trying to do some things differently, I had some fun with it, but I lost interest quickly. It's a very pyramidal game; You have basic resources like potatoes and ore and you have production resources like farmers and miners. You need to spend farmers and miners in order to get other production resources that create farmers and miners automatically, which you then spend to get another layer of resource that produces more producers. It's a neat idea, but I hit a wall of not being able to upgrade fairly quickly, so I stopped.