April 9, 2020

Totally Reliable Delivery (Service)

Totally Reliable Delivery (Service)
    Today I am reviewing the free mobile version of Totally Reliable Delivery on IOS by Tiny Build LLC and We’re Five Games, which released April 1st, 2020. The game is officially posted as Totally Reliable Delivery but I’ve seen it with service attached hence that title of this review. I only played the mobile version, but the game is also available on PC and consoles.
Gameplay: I’ll be honest, it’s fairly straightforward. The game is what I’d call a “whacky physics delivery game” You play a character who works for a delivery service. You can control your character’s movement, ability to grab with left/right hand, ability to lift left/right arms, jump, and dive. In order to load packages into vehicles, you have to lift the package up after grabbing it, hence movement of arms. Occasionally you have to move a lever and grab it with a hand as well. There are delivery package machines that drop/spawn a package for you to deliver and a location to take the package to. Some delivery missions spawn vehicles but you can also find some on the street and you can load your package onto it. Examples of vehicles are pickup trucks, boats, and fork trucks. As you haul the package however you haul it, you may encounter obstacles or physics that delay your delivery or even damage the package. As I was driving down a road, a manhole cover flew up and blew my truck onto its side which also tossed the package down the street. I also rolled the vehicle often by turning, which definitely didn’t help my deliveries. There are also some other tools for fun, like I hit a red barrel and it tossed me into the air from an explosion. I also grabbed a fire extinguisher and flew up the side of a mountain of trash as it emptied its contents. As you complete deliveries you earn currency which you can buy different things in game. 
Paywall: There isn’t much free here, so the paywall is mostly buying the game ($4.99) and the DLC (3 DLCS each $1.99). The free area is a small town and ten missions. You can buy the deluxe edition for $9.99 that has base game and the DLC packaged together. I didn’t purchase it, so I couldn’t confirm if there is much to pay for after if any.
Replayability: For free to play players, there’s very limited replayability here. If you buy the game and DLC, I imagine there would be a lot keeping players coming back. There’s also multiplayer if you have friends playing the game or you could join random games I believe. I didn’t test it though; free players are locked to either hosting games or joining friends. Can’t join a random player sadly. 
Judgement: I have heard this game is very fun on consoles and I can imagine how it would be. On mobile however, I’m not a fan. I’m usually not a fan of whacky physics games in general, but I can understand their appeal. The controls on here however are awful. You have a left stick in the bottom left of the screen and limb control on bottom right. They aren’t responsive and usually as I was driving, the camera would start swinging around randomly and my joystick in the bottom left wouldn’t quite respond correctly. This made turning a vehicle that much harder and it was frustrating. Besides the controls, I also physically got stuck in package delivery slot a few times which was annoying. At least the game offers a respawn function, so you could break free, but it would spawn you a ways away, and also as free goes, this isn’t free. I would like to give it my seal, considering how graphically it looked good, it was relatively polished for an inexpensive game, but it just doesn’t meet the criteria in my book for approval. It doesn’t get my seal, however if you like physics games and have friends to play with, check this out on console or pc. A free to demo is still worth checking if it’s your type of game, but skip the mobile version. 
Reviewed by Nomic on 4/9/2020. Thank you for reading my review. Disclaimer: My opinions are my own, I’m an unpaid third-party reviewer so I’m not bias in any way. 

April 1, 2020

Evil Hunter Tycoon

Evil Hunter Tycoon is a game produced by Superplanet and Retro Arts. I believe it released this year (2020). The brief description from the apple store says it all.

“Become a Town Chief!!
Handle everything starting from Town construction to craft, sale, and training Hunters!”


Gameplay: The game is basically a town management game. Hunters arrive in your town looking for monsters to kill for money and loot. They sell the loot and spend money in your town, allowing you to upgrade buildings, create items to sell (i.e. equipment, bandages, etc.), and organize dungeon raids which become progressively harder as you complete floors. Once the hunters level up a bit, there are three zones that they can hunt; you can assign them to whichever zone you please. If a hunter dies, they can pay gold to your town to be resurrected. There are different classes of hunter (may be more in late game but these are the ones I encountered): Berserker, paladin, ranger, and sorcerer. The classes have units that are considered normal, rare, superior, and heroic ranked stats. Each class has specific class weapons/armor that can be equipped. Your hunters can level, you can also teach them skills as they level up. Since it is a town management game, you can place your buildings where you want however you have a boundary and random obstacles that you eventually can remove through in game currency. Gold isn’t the only currency to upgrade with. Loot that is sold to the town or that you tap on in the monster zones are used to craft items and also build/upgrade buildings. This type of loot is, for example, cloth that can be used for bandages or oranges for drinks for your hunters. There are gems which is the “premium currency” and elementals which seem universal for most items, but they seem to not go far in being used. The elementals require a lot more to craft the most basic items. Most of the buildings are typical and to list them all wouldn’t benefit you as the reader, but generally there are weapon shops, inn, tavern, and a shop that you can request for loot from the hunters. That type of stuff. Most of the time, you’re micromanaging hunters, clicking on them and telling them to go to the shop, once they arrive, you can tell them what to buy. Same mechanics to learn skills, change zones etc… Find the hunter, click, wait, click again, and watch them go back to their target. The game gives you a tutorial type quest line, but it was rather slow to progress, some of the quests were to collect certain items that drop from monsters or watch a hunter kill a type of mob twenty times. The dungeon was alright, pay gold per hunter and watch them walk straight into mobs and then attack, but it was all auto and melee units bunched together to where it was difficult to see their health and damage. The dungeon loot was crafting items, no gold. I would be wrong to not mention guilds in the game also. There are guilds, took me three days to finally join one, they’re request only and I applied for half a dozen open to anyone guilds before one finally recruited me. Once in a guild, you can donate a guild currency that you get from doing bosses and dungeons. That guild currency I believe gets you upgrades, but I couldn’t figure out how to see what the upgrade does, it’s picked by the guild leader so it probably doesn’t matter much on your vote. I’m also told there’s pvp in this game, but I never got that far to witness it.


Paywall: The shop in this game has many tabs. You can buy gems which are usable toward crafting and other tasks, more of a general premium currency. You can use gems and elemental to buy hunter invitations to your town, but there are caps to how many can be in your town before upgrades. There are also packages that give exp boosts and hunters. You can also pay for enhancement stones which I never was able to use one, but I believe it’s for equipment. You can also pay for costumes and pets. Basically this game wants your money and gives you many ways to use it. Prices range from $4 to over $100. Woot! I would say this game is both pay to win and bedazzle. If not to win, then to at least advance in the game significantly faster.


Replayability: This is much like an mmo where the game never truly ends. There’s always something to do, albeit watching hunters do things. There are dungeon floors to raid, there are guilds to get points for, and there are bosses, also supposedly pvp. There are shops to restock, hunters to order to do things. Ultimately, this game is very replayable. It’s not something I want to replay, but if it is your type of game, there’s plenty to watch.


Judgement: I personally wanted to stop playing this game the night I installed it. I was bored right in the beginning. There just wasn’t much interaction, it’s mostly watching hunters do repetitive things and micromanaging them. The very first dungeon “raid” I organized, one of the hunters didn’t show up because he wanted a bandage from the shop that was out of stock. So he simply sat there until I found him, restocked the shop, and he finally joined. There wasn’t a popup where I was looking saying the shop ran out, I simply had to notice the hunter with a thought bubble complaining about it to realize it needed restocked. This wasn’t a one time occurrence either. Furthermore in order to get items for upgrading and crafting, you have to request them from hunters and it was hard to request a perfect balance. I either had too little loot to craft with or too little gold from requesting too much loot. Sure you could watch an ad for gold, but as soon as you did, you had to spend that gold otherwise someone else might sell stuff to your shop before you could. The only way to make money is to craft stuff for them to buy, but you have to tell them to buy equipment. I had high levels running around with starter items because they couldn’t buy anything for themselves. This was a micromanaging hell and honestly I am glad to uninstall it. Perhaps it would be better in the end game, but there are much better games to play than this one in my opinion. This game actually reminded me of a game by Kairosoft called dungeon village, basically the same concept but less micromanaging. Very simplified, albeit not much end game. That game I believe cost $5 on IOS (my platform) and was from 2012. If that’s been updated for the newer operating systems, I’d recommend that as a paid alternative. Evil Hunter Tycoon definitely does not receive a seal from me.


Reviewed by Nomic on 4/1/2020. Thank you for reading my review. Disclaimer: My opinions are my own, I’m an unpaid third-party reviewer so I’m not bias in any way.

March 4, 2020

Dragon Up: Idle Adventure




Dragon Up: Idle Adventure is an "idle game" produced by East side games, in collaboration with IdleKit and night Garden Studio. The game is available on Android and iOS. At the time of writing this I couldn't find the original release date. On the official site the games synopsis is as follows.

Tap your way through the Dragon Kingdom in this colorful and fun animated idle adventure Game!

Collect ALL the dragons and rake in gold coins from beautiful dragon nests to unlock rare dragon, epic dragons and new habitats to expand your kingdom! Once you collect enough coins, feed them to your trusty pet dragon Billy and watch him turn them into amazing treasures.
Game play: The game play (if you can call it that) is pretty strait forward. You are given enough gold at the start of a round (Day per the game) to set up your first habitat for your dragons. As the game is idle, gold will build up in that habitat and can be collected once the counter reaches it's max. As gold increases you'll unlock the ability to open up other habitats to produce gold as well. Habitats can also be automated to collect gold automatically but only after specific perimeters are met. At the top of the screen is a bar that represents the "day's" tasks. once you've met all of the tasks your main dragon can be "fed". To feed your dragon you're taken to another screen where you tap the screen to feed your dragon. I've found that no matter how you tap your screen the dragon will eat at the same consistent rate so there is no way to boost your rewards from eating no matter your technique for tapping. After collecting your rewards from feeding your dragon you start another "day" of collecting gold from your dragons. Each dragon and habitat can be upgraded from obtaining cards. The upgrading is what allows you to automate the gold collecting. 

Paywall: There are four main currency within the game. First is the gold which is earned by the idle processes. Next is potions that are earned from various tasks as well as purchased. You can purchase the potions with the third currency which is diamonds. The Diamonds can be earned as well but is also the only purchasable currency with real world money. The final currency is the cards that can only be earned from the various tasks in the game. This game practices a very predatory economy within the game. Each habitat to be upgraded to be able to automate gold collection requires either your dragons or habitat to be upgraded to a specific point. The only way to upgrade either is with the potions. Potions can be earned but the earning potential is very minimal and most times requires you to watch an in game ad around 30 seconds long. Or you can wait for your free potions every four hours. Either way the amount of potions that will be required far exceeds what you are reasonably given for free. 

Replayablity: This type of "game play" will defiantly keep a person with a specific personality type coming back again and again. As for myself it doesn't hold water. I found that it was a chore to continually log into the game to "play" it to give a fair review.

Judgment: This doesn't even merit the title of "Game". This is the type of game that gets mobile gaming labeled as not gaming by the gamer community. This game does not get the Budget Arcade seal of approval. There are far better ways to waste your time and your phones memory on than this.  



Review written by Scott Taft.
 

December 17, 2019

Dungeon Fighter Online


By Elliot

Before I really start with how this game plays, I think it is important to explain just how much of a pain it was to download this game. Dungeon Fighter Online is available on Steam, so of course that was my first thought about where to download the game. However, it ending up taking three attempts of downloading this game to actually get it to work. Once from Steam, which it turned out that Neople, the developer and publisher, banned my account instantly for some reason. I went to game page on Steam and found that this was a very common problem. So I went to Neople’s actual site, where it took two more times, using two different emails to get an account that worked. Before I even began to play I was already very frustrated, if I wasn’t reviewing the game for the podcast I would have given up. Several days after my first attempt to download the game, I received an email from them saying they suspended my account, and they wanted feedback on what I thought of the game.

Gameplay here is similar to classic 2D side-scrolling arcade hack and slash games. You could almost say it plays out a little like Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, or Battle Toads Double. I say almost because those games of old did side scrolling fighters better than this does. Using the arrow keys for your movement instead of the wasd keys is a huge mistake in my eyes. Instead all the letter keys go toward using your moves. And there are a billion of them. I found myself figuring out which spell would heal or buff my character, mapped that key to something I would remember, and then just pushing random buttons as I played to use offensive spells, they all did damage, so it didn’t matter.
Levels are incredibly linear, there are zero choices to be made here. You fight the monster on one screen, once you kill them you find the door, which is in a random direction (top, down, left or right) but there is rarely multiple choices to make here, maybe when you get further into the game play you see some of that, but didn’t all week.

Dungeon Fighter Online also takes after games like Diablo and Path of Exile. There is a regular leveling mode, and then a hardcore, once you die your character is gone mode. I never once felt the fear of dying, but I guess it does happen. There are a lot of classes to choose from as well, more so than most games like this, and there is usually a male or female version of each. Classes seem unique with unique moves and looks about them. I would be remiss for not mentioning that the female version is not 100% safe for work either.

There was a lot I did not get to experience here. None of the guilds, pvp, or raids. Reading about end game content there seems to be enough stuff to keep you busy. I have read that the end game content can get tiresome quickly, which I wouldn’t find surprising.
I found gameplay to get stale very quickly. I started with the Priest class, played until I unlocked the subclass, played that for a bit before trying a ranged class. I found the range class to just be terrible. I then thought I would try another class, but was only allowed to make two characters a day. I tried a few more classes. They all feel different enough for a bit, but it really is just button mashing.
The story did not engage me either, most mmo type games struggle with this so I don’t hold it against the game.

I found the controls to be terrible. Not being used to using the arrow keys really made for an unpleasant experience, and there was no way you could use a controller with so many spells.
Overall this game is a pass. If you want to do real dungeon crawls go play Path of Exile, it’s free, looks better, and has more content updates.

You can listen Budget Arcade's episode on Dungeon Fighter Online on Anchor, or search for the podcast by name.

Elliot is a part of the weekly Budget Arcade podcast. Find him on Twitter at Elliot_Argues You can also find his other podcast Tessa and Elliot Argue where you find podcasts.

November 21, 2019

Rude Racers


When I was asked to do a review for Rude Racers, I was curious.  I saw that it was based off of Road Rash, which was an amazing series on the Sega Genesis, so I went from curious to intrigued.  Then I played the game and the intrigue turned back into indifference. It was an emotional rollercoaster to be sure, but ultimately I’m glad I checked it out, even though I will most likely be putting it aside for better games in my backlog. 

Rude Racers is a casual 2D combat racing game developed and published by Famous Dogg Studios, and is available on iOS, Android and Steam.  I have an Android phone, and it is free to download on mobile devices, but on Steam it is currently $2. The reviews on Steam were very positive, but I started on mobile since its free.  Though most of my review will cover that version, I did eventually get to download the PC version.

The game consists of you riding an ATV in a race against others, and you race upwards on the racetrack avoiding obstacles and beating off the competition to stay ahead in the race.  In a lot of the reviews I’ve read, they mention the action being “fast and furious” in many of them, but I personally wouldn’t go that far when describing it. Your speed does not change in-race, and it definitely doesn’t feel frenetic most of the time, though you can buy vehicles that have better speed stats.  You gradually catch up with the other racers, and after passing them, they gradually catch up to you. The gameplay modes consist of Seasons, where you earn trophies and money for upgrades to your vehicle, person or weapon, and Quickplay matches where you can play a match for some quick in-game cash.  In the Seasons, there are multiple types of game modes, including races, deathmatches mode, and even a mode where you compete with the CPU characters to knock down the most pizza delivery vehicles, which establishes a bit of variety. Each season is a different setting, but each track still looks and feels the same.  If the game seems too easy at first play, you eventually can choose between easy, medium and hard modes for each mode, each subsequent mode earning more money than the previous one if you win. I was bored playing easy mode and quickly switched to hard mode, which was more my speed. (Pun intended) Each round of the mobile version that you play consumes 1 unit of fuel, and once all of it is gone you have to wait for it to replenish.  Video ads pop up periodically between matches, and you can watch ads to earn extra fuel.

The controls on mobile consist of horizontal movement and an attack button, which is nice and simple for a mobile game.  If you have a small enough phone to hold in one hand, I imagine this game is easy to play. I own a Note, and I don’t have Tony Robbins’ hands so I certainly couldn’t play one-handed.  Still, I like my mobile controls simple in a pick-up-and-play game, and the controls work well for what this game is. The PC version allows you to use the keyboard & mouse or a controller, and the controls remain the same.

Thankfully, there is no “paywall” on the free mobile version, and there isn’t any in-game currency to worry about.  There is a shop available to buy extra cash or fuel for $0.99 or $2 to get rid of ads (presumably only in the mobile version), which is the same price of the Steam version.  Well played, Famous Dogg. I didn’t play the game enough in one sitting for the ads to bother me too much. There isn’t much extra functionality to the PC version of the game that isn’t included in the mobile version, which makes the free version a good way to start, especially if you’re unsure if this game is for you.

When it comes to replayability, this game is more suited to being a casual mobile game than a simple Steam game.  It may even have benefitted as a free web-based online game, but I can understand why the Famous Dogg would want to make a bit of money off their efforts.  When I was a teacher, I certainly would have let my students play this after they finished their work, and I imagine kids would enjoy this much more than adults, though it has a certain appeal regardless. Even though the concept of racing and attacking the others is somewhat violent, I’d still let my 5-year-old play this game and he might enjoy it more than I did.

Final Thoughts:
I’m torn as to whether to recommend this game or not.  This game is a simple race and bash game with simpler graphics, and it gets the job done as a quick-fix game.  I never felt the need to play it for long stretches of time, and it’s not the first game on my phone that I run to when I need a gaming fix.  As a free casual mobile game, you could do worse...but you could find a better one too. Give it a shot, play through the first few rounds and get to the spot where you choose game modes and difficulties and you’ll start unlocking things.  If you’re not pulled in by then (and unfortunately I wasn’t), at least you didn’t shell out a whopping two dollars for the PC version. 

Steam version: 5 out of 10 - it’s fun in small bursts, and may appeal more to younger gamers. Would serve better as a free web-based game for kids, but as an adult I’ll turn my gaming efforts elsewhere.

Mobile Version: 6 out of 10 - It’s more accessible to a wider audience as a casual one-handed mobile game that’s easy to pick up and play.  Not the best game out there, but definitely scratches an itch if you need a distraction.


Written by Gamified Dad

Check out more of his work at https://gamifieddad.wixsite.com/mancave

November 20, 2019

Pokemon Quest




Pokemon Quest has that Nintendo shine. The game looks amazing, on both Switch and mobile devices. The developer nailed the art form. But that is where all compliments end with this game.

You can listen to the episode to hear the myriad of problems this game has. It really boils down to this, there is zero engagement with this game. Almost the entire game can be played on auto pilot.

You can even watch me play the game the first time here and see just how bored I get.

As you can imagine Pokemon Quest did not get the Budget Arcade seal.

November 12, 2019

Unbroken Soul

By Elliot

I have not played a lot of the modern day platformers. Celeste, Limbo, Shovel Knight, Cuphead. When I think of the current platformers those are some of the names that come to mind for me. I haven’t even played the newest Mario game for the Switch.

I have played a lot of the previous generations of platformers. Lot of Sonic (can’t wait for the movie!) Mario, Crash, Spyro, Jax and Dexter, Banjo, just to name some that I liked. So Unbroken Soul interested me when it became our game of the week. I was thinking a mix of old school pixel platform and maybe some Dark Souls learn the fight mechanics. And that is exactly what it feels like to me.

In Unbroken Soul you have nine worlds to travel through, each with four stages and a boss fight at the end of each world. Worlds are different and unique enough, as are the bosses that it does not feel like the same zone over and over. Levels are also not to slow, just about the perfect size for a phone game. Some levels require more skill to traverse, others none at all. I found certain worlds to be kinda awful, requiring pinpoint accuracy to make a jump, or grab a hook. Not every world here was created equally, and the difficulty doesn’t progress in a linear fashion. Some are just harder to get through than others. Same goes with boss fights. I found the second world boss to be hard when I originally got to him. But the last three regular bosses before the final boss I was able to one shot without any issue, go figure.

I found I had more problems with levels, not being accurate enough in my jumps than I did with boss fights. Patterns overall were not too hard to learn, and once you have mastered them replaying a level for extra gold was very easy and quick to do. I hate when you have to die to figure out the puzzle as well. That only happened a couple of times, but I feel like that is a cheap mechanic, basically forcing you to die in order to progress, there was no way of knowing what to do without realistically dying at least once.

I also struggle to play games with screen controls, luckily Unbroken Soul has an answer to that. The recent ios update allows you to use a PS4 controller if the game has built in controls. After beating the game I attempted to try out the touch controls and found it next to unplayable for me in some worlds. Could be that I’m an old man now and I need the tactile feel of a controller, could be the game is garbage without one. I also frequently felt like I was sliding on ice with my character, nothing to crazy, the controls are responsive, but you character moves just a little after you let up on the controls.

Story to this game is weak. Dialogue cutscenes at the start of a level, before a boss, and after you leave the zone. BUT. BUT. also in the middle of the damn boss fights, you’ll get a dialogue scene. And if you die and have to do the fight again, you get the same cutscenes. For a game with little to no story, I could have done without.

I find Unbroken Soul to be a well above average phone game, and an average game in general. While being very frustrating at times, I never really struggled to understand what I needed to do in order to get to the next area, I just didn’t have the pinpoint accuracy it required. I imagine if I was playing with the touch screen I would have given up at some point. Pretty good game for a phone, and at the price tag you get your money's worth. By far not the worst way to spend a few hours, but feels like a time waster than a full fledged game at times.

November 11, 2019

Black Desert Mobile



MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – November 11, 2019 – Pearl Abyss today announced that the free-to-play open-world action MMORPG, Black Desert Mobile, will be launched globally on iOS and Android devices on December 11, 2019. Following an initial soft-launch on Android in seven countries and driving more than three million game pre-registrations, the grand launch of Black Desert Mobile will include new gameplay features and support for nine languages.

To celebrate, all pre-registrations through the official website for Black Desert Mobile will reward visitors with a free copy of Black Desert on supported consoles or PC. Pre-register now on the official website to claim your key to Black Desert on consoles or PC while supplies last: https://www.world.blackdesertm.com/Intro/prereg The Black Desert franchise spans across PC, Xbox One, PlayStation®4, and mobile platforms with over 20 million registered users and availability in more than 150 countries. Black Desert Mobile offers the same fast-paced action combat and detailed character customization that players have come to expect on PC and console, with support for English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese and Chinese Traditional languages. Experience an open-world MMORPG filled with relaxing life skills and more, including:

Character Classes - Choose from five classes: Warrior, Ranger, Giant, Witch, or Valkyrie. Pick from masters of melee combat to those who attack from afar with range, or select a magic-based class for offensive and defensive skills.
Combat - Explore a deep combat system that allows players to experience the same core action of Black Desert on their mobile phone.
Customization - Discover your potential through a detailed character creation system. Design a unique adventurer by choosing from five classes and distinct skill sets to reflect your personal playstyle.
Life Skills - Hone your skills by fishing, gathering, trading, horse breeding, and camp managing your way to riches.
Leveling - Grow your character’s strength with different attributes including Equipment Enhancement, Accessories, the Black Spirit, and various Pets.
In-Depth Gameplay - In-game systems offer an immersive gameplay experience, such as social guilds, weather changes, a real-time marketplace, and environment. Black Spirit Mode, which enables Adventurers to continue their game and get rewards without network connection, even if the app is completely turned off.

Pre-register on the Google Play Store or pre-order on iOS App Store ahead of the global launch on December 11, 2019. For more information about Black Desert Mobile, visit the official website and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

About Black Desert Black Desert is an open-world action MMORPG with cutting-edge visuals and skill-based combat that redefines the genre. Black Desert has the most developed character customization system of any game that is currently on the market. This feature allows users to break out of the norm and make unique characters that truly represent each and every player. Its intuitive controls, beautifully designed world and extensive lore will excite both newcomers and veterans of MMO games and action RPGs. Black Desert has been successfully launched in over 150 countries, is available in 12 languages and has 20 million registered users. About Pearl Abyss Best known for the MMORPG franchise Black Desert, Pearl Abyss is a leading developer in the game industry. Established in 2010, Pearl Abyss has since developed Black Desert for PC, mobile and console. With all their games built on their proprietary engine, their games are renowned for their cutting-edge graphics. The company has three new projects in the works and is poised to continue its growth through 2019 and beyond to maintain its position as one of Asia’s leaders in game development. More information about Pearl Abyss is available at: www.pearlabyss.com.

November 3, 2019

Magic Bricks


By Tessa

I played Magic brick for a couple of days and this is how it went.

This game is really straightforward you use fighters and bricks to protect your king and defeat your opponent. The bricks have special defenses like fire, ice and poison. They are shaped like Tetris blocks and the shapes pop up randomly so you ha e to be mindful of where you put them and how you arrange them. They regenerate after ten seconds. You tap and place them on your board as you go if you place them over one of your opponent’s fighters they become encased for a few seconds.

You get points and coins to build up your fighters and make them stronger. They regenerate after ten seconds and as far as I can tell there isn’t a limit of how many you can use in a match. There are four different types and I guess they do different things but it doesn’t really matter, as they all attack your opponent’s wall.

I wish the game had an option where you could build up your kingdom I love games like that and would probably find this game much more interesting. All the fighters look the same as your opponents you can’t customize them at all which is annoying to me. The game play is just placing bricks and adding fighters then watching said fighters cross the board. It’s kinda boring.

If the game let you customize things and build a kingdom or had a bit more to the fighting I’d give it a higher score. I did however win every match I played so there’s that.

I give this game a 4/10

October 29, 2019

Horrorfield

By Elliot

Horrorfield is a multiplayer survival game released by Skytec Games. You, and three other “people” a term I would use very very loosely, run around a map and attempt to turn on five generators. Those generators will in turn allow you to escape through, what appears to be a garage door, that is powered by five generators. You’re trying to do this while a fifth “player” runs trying to capture the players to lock them up.

Gameplay is fun, at first. You begin with only one character unlocked and as you progress by playing you unlock more abilities for that character, as well as other playable characters. I say it is fun in the beginning, but progress is slow. As you unlock skills, or levels, they are all on a timer. You unlock the ability to create soda, but now you have to wait an hour before you have actually learned how to do so. For quick little matches here and there, this provides a big problem with gameplay. Unlock most characters is at random as well, which I’m fine with, but I just wanted to play as the fat professor Gary, or the foreign exchange schoolgirl Mary. Instead I got Phil, the old moron. You’re dead to me Phil.

Gameplay is fun, until you realize that winning as the rag tag group of misfits is hard. Really hard. So hard that I played for six days in a row and won less than ten times. Luckily, once you level high enough you can play as the monster. Again, that’s fun for a little while, but winning is really easy. Just by camping one of the handfuls of generators I would catch multiple people. Which leads me to believe that I was playing mostly against computers, and dumb ones at that.
You can listen to the episode to hear all the other things about gameplay that I’m skipping out on. The leveling system isn’t good, neither are the skill trees, that take forever, unless you want to use that premium currency. Another two currency game that really takes away from the fun. Or how if you get caught by the monster you have to sit and hope someone comes around to rescue you. And then heal you back up, or you’re still worthless.

It’s not that the gameplay isn’t fun, but stale after a few rounds. This is the type of game that would be best enjoyed in a room of five people all playing together. But changes need to be made as well. This is just too one sided of a game for the monster. This type of game has been done better, and it shows.

NBA now





NBA season is back and with it comes NBA Now a new free to play hoops game on your mobile phone.  What could go wrong?

The biggest NBA video game series, NBA 2k and its closest competitor in a distant second, NBA Live, both feature a My Team, and Ultimate Team mode respectively.  This mode is built around microtransactions. You use real money to buy packs of players to build a team around. To take online and play against other players and/or the AI.  While I don’t really have a problem with this mode, I always thought it just should have been a free to play game that anyone can download. Instead, you pay for the full priced game to play a mode that uses a free to play economy.  This to me is inexcusable. 

With that said, on your cell phone, you can now get NBA Now for free.  It released 10/22 the same day as the start of the 2019 NBA season. In NBA Now you pick your favorite team and you have access to their roster. This is very different than most NBA games F2P modes. Usually you get a couple packs of random players to fill out your team.  So if you wanted to play as Lebron, you would just have to get lucky or fork over some money. I picked the Bucks and was happy to see that All-Star player Giannis Antetokounmpo was available right away, granted these players are not as powerful as you would see in a standard NBA game mode. Therein lies the hook. To build your team up. Either through spending “dumbells” on training, or pulling better players from packs. You also get a free prospect pull every day.  A better star pull every 2 days, and another SUPERstar pull every 5 days. This is a good feature to keep you logging in to the game everyday hoping that your get a player you are ready to dump all your resources in to building. 

You are going to have to rely heavily on boosting stats, because you will not be able to make up for a weak team by just being good at the game.  I know most mobile games have to simplified controls to fit on a touch screen, but NBA Now took control largely out of your hands. 

First thing you do is pay season tickets to get in to the game.  These refresh fast enough, and I only expect the most avid players to run out before having to pay. When the game starts, it immediately simulates the first 3 quarters of the game, then you get to play the fourth quarter. So far I haven’t had it give me an unwinnable situation after the simulation. You can play against the computer or in PVP and I can’t prove this, but I suspect this ‘PVP’ pits you against other players teams, but they aren’t actually playing you.  My only real evidence is that you pick from a list of waiting players and the game just starts. There is no waiting for matchmaking. Again, this is just speculation but try it yourself and see.

I mentioned before the game takes control out of your hands, and I mean it. When the game starts there is no tip-off, again the first 3 quarters are simulated, and there is no tip off to start the 4th quarter.  You do not control the movement of your player, they move on their own. On offence there are three buttons on the screen. Shoot, Pass, and drive to the hoop. That’s it. No digital joypad to move your player around.  On defense it is even more sparse. With just a defend button, and a more aggressive defender button. You can’t control when to attempt a steal or a block. This game made me feel more like a coach yelling at my players hoping they would listen.  When you do shoot the ball, there is a meter that comes up that allows you to improve the chances of your shot being successful. That is the closest to a game this gets. I think if you come into this game as a management sim with light controls you might be happy, but largely I was expecting a better experience.  On a good note, the sound of the crowd is nice and loud and adds to the atmosphere. The graphics, while not great get the job done, but I found the framerate a little lacking on my Google Pixel 3a. Overall, I can’t recommend this. There are some nice ideas, and being able to have my starting team be the full starting 5 from the squad of my choice is real nice compared to other games. The gameplay is just non existent.  What a disappointment. 

Since being on Budget Arcade, I have had to play a lot of mobile games with Scott and Elliot.  I am by far the biggest skeptic of the three of us when it comes to gaming on the phone. I just don't like the lack of tactile controls.  That being said I have played some pretty good games that are able to deliver a good experience with the limited options of the touch screen interface. PubG, Call of Duty Mobile, and Mario Kart Tour to name a few.  I knew there had to be a better basketball experience on mobile than this. 

I downloaded NBA Live Mobile by EA Sports.  Now I know, EA doesn't have the best reputation.  But when I go into something like this, knowing that it is going to be heavy with microtransactions, and coming off of NBA Now, I am very open minded that good times could be had. 

First things first.  This is a video game.  You control your players.  You get to shoot the ball, pass, block, steal.  NBA Live Mobile, at its core, is a basketball video game.  So it’s already better than NBA Now. 

This is EA's ultimate team without having to buy a full priced game to play it. When you start the game you pick a team, but really you're just picking the jerseys your squad will be wearing. You'll open packs of cards to build your roster.

Once you have your team you can play with them in a season, or Showdown mode. Showdown is kind of a multiplayer mode.  You and your opponent play against AI controlled versions of each others teams. Then the total score from each game determines the winner.  It’s fine, but I would have prefered testing my skills against another player.

Season is where I spent most of my time. You play 14 games, then if you win 7 of those you move to the playoffs where you would play 4 single game rounds to win the championship.  The brevity of this season length is welcome. As you play games you win packs and gold to help improve your team. You also gain shards to unlock specific players. Even without spending money you are constantly getting new players and currency to use to build your team. Along with this, you also get free packs daily and weekly you get premier packs to get even better players.  You can also spend gold to get packs. I should also mention you slowly gain the premium currency for free while playing, something a lot of other free to play games do not allow.

When it’s time you play you spend 50 stamina per quarter of play (200 for a full game).  You accrue stamina over time, to bank up to 330, currently I have 655/330. I found this to generally be enough unless I played shorter skills modes or went on a long play session.  You can also get more than the 330 limit by leveling and accomplishing goals while playing. You can of course buy stamina recharges with real money, but I never felt like I needed to do that.  Should you run out of stamina mid game you can save, and complete the game later. This makes NBA Live Mobile perfectly suited for short play sessions as each quarter is just 2 and a half minutes. 

These are a lot other modes I haven’t been able to try, like joining leagues.  

When it comes to having a free NBA game on your phone NBA Live Mobile is miles better than NBA Now.  Live is my go to game on my phone for waiting rooms and toilet time. If your a basketball fan, I heartily recommend it. 

-Jeff (JQueasy)

October 24, 2019

Phase 10: World Tour


By Tessa

I’ve spent the better part of my free time today attempting to play this game, including re-downloading it three times and restarting it multiple times. I got to level five and for whatever reason it would wig out and freeze or not let me move cards or confirm a play. I can’t tell if you play actual players in the later levels yet or not because again I only got to level 5 which is still basically the tutorial. I’m giving up now as I’m tired of re downloading it and deleting it over and over.

Upon further investigation I found that it is a bug, the devs need to fix it as multiple people are running into the same issue.

If they fix the bugs I’d be happy to retry it but as of right now I give this game a 1/10

October 23, 2019

The Last Door

By Elliot

Point and click is not a genre I have a lot of experience with. When I was younger, my dad would come home with demo disks for the computer. If you’re a little older you may be familiar with that, a lot of gaming magazines use to come with a disc full of demos. Some were better than others. I recall when we got a Playstation and it came with one controller and a demo disc. The two point and click games that I played, weren’t actually full games, but demos. One was Freddi Fish, you played as Freddi, trying to solve the mystery of something that had gone missing. I tried to look up which one it actually was, but when I saw the list of game names I couldn’t recall which one it actually was. Let’s just assume they’re all basically the same game. The second one was Putt- Putt Joins the Circus. You play as a talking car named Putt-Putt, and you, just like with Freddi are trying to solve some mystery. In the end you join a circus parade or something along those lines.

I don’t recall enjoying those games, but we did not have a lot of choices on PC back then and I found myself playing them quite often back in the day, before Starcraft came into my life and showed me the video games on PC is where it’s at.
The Last Door and I did not get off on the right footing. I literally spent five minutes trying to kill myself. This really is not a spoiler, as it is the prologue to the game. Point and click games are just not a thing I do often, if ever. I had to click on the rope two or three times to actually have it in my inventory I clicked around for the next few minutes unsure what to do; I knew I couldn’t leave the room I was in, but was unsure what I was doing. I went to the window, nothing. I clicked the chair, it moved. Little did I know I had to click it again. I clicked everything in that dark room. Eventually I clicked the chair again and climbed it. From there I realized what I was doing, hanging myself, so clicking the rafter was simple.

And thus starts The Last Door, a point and click adventure game, developed and published by The Game Kitchen. The music sets the tone, and the opening credits did bring me into the game.

The protagonist here is Jeremiah Devitt, who was summoned to Anthony Beechworth’s house, that’s the man who hung himself in the opening. Strange things are about, and it’s up to you to solve them.

As I said before, I did not get off on the right foot with this game, and that continued into the early game. You walk around, just clicking everything in a room, picking up random things that have no meaning to you early on, in hopes they will come in useful later. I felt very bored in the beginning, there was little story, and in a point and click, that has zero voice acting, that makes it hard to stay in the game.
I eventually got moving, and into the story, from what I could gather from the free to play stuff it really isn’t bad. You’re trying to figure out what this “thing” is that is causing all the problems. There is a lot of back and forth from room to room. Go to the basement, get the hammer, go back to the 2nd floor and pull off the boarded up wall, find a record, take it back down to play the record. Without giving anything away I really enjoyed some scenes, one jump scare in particular was very well done.

Eventually was stuck again. Didn't know what to do with the crucifix. Or the dead Crow I picked up because I could. I figured it out, but a much smarter person could have been done with the first episode pretty quickly.

Overall what your get for free is pretty short. There might be even less to play here than Mario run. Unlocking the games comes with 3 other chapters, and a handful of minisodes, whatever that really means. The story wasn’t bad, but short; it’s hard to really tell how I feel playing this game, half an hour isn’t really long enough to get a good sense, but that is all you have with free-to-play with The Last Door.

Elliot is a part of the weekly Budget Arcade podcast. Find him on Twitter at @Elliot_Argues You can also find his other podcasts; Tessa and Elliot Argue, and Wall Pull where you find podcasts.

October 22, 2019

Asphalt 9 (Switch)


By Elliot

A few words before we actually talk about the game. I do not play racing games. I will play kart games, heck I’ll 100% a Mario Kart game, unlock every character, kart, glider. I’m all in. The racing genre in general just never appealed to me. I did enjoy Burnout back in the day, mostly for the crash into things mode, whatever that was actually called.

That being said, playing a racing game for a week and then reviewing it was already not high on my list. Going in I knew it would be an uphill battle to find enjoyment out of this game, and getting my seal would require Jedi like precision in controls to pass. Anyway, let’s get started.

You would think with a title like Asphalt 9 this could easily be thought of as the 9th entry into a series, and who would blame you for making such a foolish mistake? This is the 16th title in Asphalt, and it spans 21 platforms. Wanna guess the first platform it was on? I had almost forgotten that the N-Gage was a thing until I saw that Asphalt got its start on that platform. If you have no idea what the N-Gage is, do yourself a favor and give it a Google, you won’t be let down. The series started in 2004, I was a junior in high school, and the first time I heard about the series was when Scott let us know it would be the next game for us to review.

One of the ways I can tell that I’m getting old is when I turn on a game for the first time, and there is too much happening on the screen. That was easily the case with Asphalt 9, the moment you turn it on you are bombarded with all kinds of things, none of which make much sense; and then, without warning, you are just thrown into your first race.

I did find the tutorial to be simple and straightforward. Controls are easy to understand, however the game does feel like you are playing one of those old arcade racers, but for all the bad reasons. I felt like I was sliding on ice most of the time, except when I was trying to drift, then it felt like I was rubbing my arms with sandpaper, unpleasant at best. I don’t know if I feel this way because I don’t play a lot of racing games, or the controls for the vehicle just aren’t great. I will say the touch controls that you can use during the menus though are amazing, perhaps the best use of touch controls for menus on the Switch to date. I know that sounds like a joke, and I’m sure there is one to make here, but I am not joking, they are very well done, take note developers, they did something right!

There are five modes to play in Asphalt 9, you start with the basic “My Career” having this game out on mobile before it hit the Switch was actually beneficial to Switch users. There is a lot of content to go through in just the career mode. There are five different chapters, each one has its own cup with anywhere between 5-15 races in each cup. This would take more time than I could get through in a week alone, not to mention the other modes.




Modes unlock as you play through the career.multiplayer, daily events, split screen and quick race all unlock as you play. The funny thing here is split-screen and quick race are the only games you can play while offline, everything else requires an internet connection to work, a big downside in my eyes.

Some races are super short, some are a bit longer. I feel the further you get into each season, the longer races will get. This was something I did not care for. You never really know the length of the race, so when the objective is to win, you do not know how much further to go before you’re done with the race. With that comes another critique, if you mess up once, it's game over for you during that race. It is very hard to overcome one or two simple mistakes in a race and still win. Every Time you do race you expend one of your “gas slots” and you either have to pay with currency to fill back up, or wait until the timer let’s you know you’re good to race with that car again.

The graphic though are fantastic, even in handheld mode, I think the game does look very pretty. Does suck up the battery juice real fast, so if you are going handheld prepare for that.

Overall game play is pretty good, if not great.

Have I mentioned how much I love the touch screen controls? Seriously phenomenal.

The main problem is the exploitative nature of this game. The stamina style system, and “premium currency” crap that takes away from the fun game play. There is also a very fast mountain to climb in order to stay competitive in races, the longer you stick with Asphalt 9 the longer the grind becomes. All of that alone would cause me to not give this my seal, but you throw in the need to be always online to enjoy most of this game is just the icing on the cake. Because of all those reasons this is not getting my seal of approval. Maybe think about adding shells to the game play next time?

You can listen to our episode on Asphalt 9 on Anchor, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Elliot is a part of the weekly Budget Arcade podcast. Find him on Twitter at @Elliot_Argues You can also find his other podcasts; Tessa and Elliot Argue, and Wall Pull where you find podcasts.

October 21, 2019

Asphault 9 (Mobile)




-Overview

Asphalt 9: Legends is a racing video game developed by Gameloft Barcelona and published by Gameloft. Released on July 25, 2018, it is the ninth main installment in the Asphalt series. In comparison to previous entries, there are several new and improved features, such as a prestigious car lineup, new control schemes, including the autopilot mode called Touch Drive, and race modes, and the reimplemented "shockwave nitro" from Asphalt 6: Adrenaline. The graphics are also considered significantly improved compared to its 2013 predecessor, Asphalt 8: Airborne.

Unlike the switch version there is only four different play modes Special Events, Daily Events, Multi-player and Career. Also all modes require an internet connection unlike the two switch modes that did not. The main difference is also the controls. Touchdrive is the default on mobile, and to be honest is quite easy compared to using the switch controller. Your driving decisions are limited to do I swipe to the left to pick up this bottle of nitro or do I swipe right to hit this ramp? You can also activate your nito boost or hit the "drift button" during turns. With this simplistic approach you don't have to be good at driving games to come out on top of the race. Just have your car upgraded and get enough boosts and you win every time. I cleared parts of the career so much faster than on console. There is a way to turn off the Touchdrive and then you control the car via turning your phone like you would a steering wheel (I did not try that). After playing on mobile with the touchdrive I decided to go back to the switch and try it out. It's exactly the same and allowed me to pass levels that I was having trouble with. Unfortunately that wasn't covered in our episode.

-Paywall

The mobile version has the exact same paywall as the switch but with one minor change. There's the ability to watch ads to get "packs" as well. up to 3 per 24 hours. This makes leveling your cars even faster than the switch.

There isn't too much difference between the two versions and has about the same replayablity value. It is to be noted that the mobile version is about 8 months ahead of the switch version with updates. So items that are available on mobile are not yet on the switch.

-Scott

October 19, 2019

Theme Solitaire

Theme Solitaire is a game in which players can play cards to easily collect resources in order to build their own themed tower, using fairy tale characters. Theme Solitaire is free to download on Google Play and the App Store. The following review is by Tessa.

I played Theme Solitaire for a few days and this was my experience.

First off, it wasn’t exactly solitaire, you get a stack of cards and then several cards on the board that are either facing up or turned over. You have to get the cards off the board by flipping up cards either one higher or one lower. Later on down the line they add in ice which freezes until you match, only then can the card be matched again and taken off the board. The next thing they add is a bomb, you have to match it in three turns or it explodes. You have a set number of cards to go through and once you get done you can pay 2500 coins to get five more; I’ve never done that option as it doesn’t seem worth it. If you flip a card without meaning to you can pay to flip it back I have done this a couple of times as it’s not too expensive.

The object of the game is to earn gems to build different fairy-tale rooms in a tower. I have finished Alice and wonderland and Snow White. I’m now working on Rapunzel. You have a choice when you build a new floor. I’ve only built three floors so I’m not sure how many they have to choose from or if the choices come back around if you don’t pick them.

This game is right up my ally as fairy tales are my favorite thing, however the game play is not great. It’d be better if it was actually solitaire but it’s just matching cards. The ice just gets annoying and the bomb isn’t nerve racking at all.

You earn gems and coins with each game you play, you use the coins to enter the game and the rubies to build with. There are also rings you can earn but I’m honestly not sure how you earn those. There is a timer on each game and if you finish the game within that set amount of time you get a coin bonus at the end. The entry fee goes up every level but you get the coins back at the end plus bonuses for time and for doing multiple plays on the same card. I think it’s kind of silly because you pay so much to play but then immediately get it back at the end. It cost 20,000 coins to build a new floor. I’ve only built three so I’m unsure if that price goes up at the end or not.

You also uncover artifacts as you play you use these to craft different items. I’m not sure what exactly these items are used for maybe I’ll learn if I play more.

Overall the game is just ok, it is a bit addictive as I love to build stuff and I love fairy-tales but those aspects don’t make up for the boring game play. It is a good way to spend five minutes and it doesn’t have a set amount of lives so you can play as much as you want. I am undecided if I’ll keep it on my phone or not as I like building the tower but it’s still kind of boring so we’ll see.

I give it a 4/10

Tessa is from the podcast Tessa and Elliot Argue, you can find it on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Follow her on Twitter at tessie_paints.

October 17, 2019

Pixel Path

-Overview
Released on October 17, 2019 Pixel Path was developed by Supersonic Software and published by AppyNation. Pixel Path is a free to play game available on iOS, Android, and Amazon appstore. Pixel path is a puzzle game with the goal being unlocking pixel art.

-Gameplay
The board for Pixel Path looks similar to a completely solved stage of Mine sweeper with open areas and blocks with numbers scattered around. Each number has the same number to match it to. Starting on one of the numbers you have to drag your finger along a path that uses the same number of boxes that the original number has on it to the corresponding number. The original and last box both count as one number each.So for example if you start on a two you'll drag to a two directly next to the first because the first number counts as one box and the second number counts as another box. A three would require the first three a blank box and the last three and so on and so forth. Each of these numbers is also color coded to create a sort of "paint by numbers" that ends in a pixel art image as the goal.

-Paywall
The game requires you to have "keys" to unlock levels and as you progress you don't earn very many. there are however points when you do earn the "keys" you have the option of taking the amount of free keys or watch a sponsored video to gain more of the "keys". I imagine the farther you get though the more likely that you'd need to purchase more keys so I'm going to rate this as a pay to progress. There is also a "gold" currency within the game and so far it's only been used to erase moves that you've messed up on. I image you can also purchase that if you run out as well but at the time of writing I hadn't reached that point.

-Judgment
The music was relaxing for the first 15 to 20 minutes of game play but then got repetitive. There was only the one song as well and was a trance/space music esc song. Game play was simple to learn and didn't pose too much challenge at the level I was playing at. The pixel art is great on the main pages but the art that you "create" is a bit lacking and most times you can't tell what the image is unless you look up above the image where it says what it is and you get that "aha" moment. I don't foresee it getting much harder either. Over all it was an enjoyable experience but I don't see a whole lot of play coming from this game. I recommend trying it out but I don't think the re-playability is there even with over 300 puzzles and more to come.


Below is the description from the site of the producer of the game

Paint the paths to reveal the picture! A beautiful pixel puzzle that anyone can play.


An all-new challenge from the creators of PICTURE CROSS and PUZZLE PAGE.

Pixel Path takes moments to learn – simply touch and drag to link together each pair of squares with the same number and colour. As you solve each puzzle you’ll build a mosaic picture, and reveal part of a larger animated scene.

Pixel Path‘s puzzles are grouped together in Puzzle Books, each themed after a popular tourist destination (along with some more fantastical settings) all illustrated with beautiful original pixel art.






Starting in Paris, France, your path will lead to lost jungle temples, the bustling streets of New York, the Great Wall of China and even the depths of the ocean! Where will the adventure lead next?

■ Over 300 puzzles with many more to come
■ Unlock puzzle books themed around exotic locations and adventures
■ Reveal beautiful animated scenes
■ Use hints to easily find and correct mistakes
■ Stunning pixel art brings the world of Pixel Path to life!

Pixel Path is free to play, but contains optional paid items to unlock content more quickly.




-Review by Scott