October 29, 2019


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)


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.


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.


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

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.

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.

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.

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

October 15, 2019

Call of Duty Mobile

By Elliot

It was during my sophomore year of college that the Xbox 360 really started to take off. The original Xbox was still around, but most of my circle of friends had moved on from the previous generation of consoles to the 360 era. I don’t know how it was for you, but for me and those around me we all had an Xbox 360. Playstation just didn’t grab our eyes. Games like Halo had come in and changed how I played games. Halo parties, where we would take 4 Xboxes and link them together to play 16 player matches of Halo quickly became a normal Friday night. It was magical, groundbreaking, and an excuse to spend all of Friday night at a friend’s house.

Then Halo 2 and with it Xbox Live. If you were around during that time, I don’t need to tell you how game changing that was. If you weren’t, just look around you now. Online gaming is what it is today because of Xbox Live and games like Halo 2. Gone were the Friday nights at a friends house. Here to stay were the long nights, next to the blue glow of a screen with a headset on, talking about how garbage the person on the other end of the microphone was; and what you wanted to do to their mom.

Online games got better too, and quickly. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was one of those games. Just about everyone had that 4th Call of Duty game. My roommate and I would find ourselves coming home from class in the evening, logging into our school’s internet. On campus we were able to play with anyone else that had a 360. Hours upon hours would be spent playing Modern Warfare with other people who lived on campus.

Then came games like World at War, Modern Warfare 2 (the best in the series), and Black Ops. Each one bigger, and arguably, better than the last. And like anything, when you release a new version of the same thing year after year, you get diminishing returns. Unless your Apple, people will still buy the same phone every year, whole sucker being born everyday with that one, I guess.

It’s to the point now where most people don’t even bat an eye at the new Fall release of Call of Duty. I haven’t really noticed them the past few years. There are quite a few shooter games out these days, the most popular ones seem to be battle royales. I’ve moved on from my college days, and with that my love of the shooter has dwindled, and Call of Duty is no longer on my gaming radar.

That was until this year, and a new free to play version, Call of Duty Mobile (COD Mobile) has been released. Releasing on October 1st of 2019, 24 days before the actual “big” release of this year’s main game, a remake/reboot/rehash of Modern Warfare; it’s here to tide you over till then. And to be honest, I’m kinda sold on it.

I don’t think shooters work well on mobile phones. I even have a hard time with shooters and controllers. Once you make that switch to PC it’s hard to argue that shooters can be better on anything else. Disagree? I don’t care, your opinion is invalid, because I am not capable of rational thought. Is anyone even reading this? Let me know.

Booting up the game was pretty simple, and much like other games of this nature you are immediately greeted with a login screen, please connect to social media before playing, so we can spam posts into your feed in an attempt to trick your friends into playing as well. Also, agree to our terms of service, it’s legit, and I’m sure they’re not collecting data to sell to other companies…

After all of that you go right into a training mode. I was playing on an Iphone 8, so not the biggest screen, I found the type to be a little small, maybe it’s my age, but I just kept pushing the button the game highlighted, trying to get through the tutorial. I know I’m poo pooing on it but the tutorial really was simple, and effective. One of the things I do like about this game is how they handle the controls. You can be basic, which is what I went with, after all I am basic. This mode does the shooting for you when you have someone in your cross-hairs, you use the left half of the screen to move your character forward/backward, the right half to move the cross-hair, almost like having two analog sticks. It doesn’t matter where you put your finger on the screen, as long as it’s on that half of the screen, it will work. And, it works well. I would play more mobile shooters if this was the method they used.

Like most of these types of games, it is filled to the brim with micro transactions, loot boxes, and battle passes. I COD Mobile has this in spades, no exception here. I don’t know what I can say that would be new to add to this discussion. Not a big fan, I get games need to make a profit to justify their existence. It’s here, it’s pretty standard, in your face, constant barrage as you are just trying to play. No one really likes it, I’ve said enough.

There is a battle royale (BR) mode here as well. I did not play the last Call of Duty, Black Ops 4, but I know there was a BR mode to that as well, and it was well received for the most part. The one on Mobile requires you to reach level 7 in order to partake, makes sense, learn a little about the game before you actually go in. Level 7 took almost no time at all to get to. I found the battle royal not as fun as the normal run and gun death match. The BR took too long, and it really seemed as though I was always playing against the computer.

At least on initial release I found that I was playing against the computer more often than against actual people. It was very noticeable when I was playing against people vs the computer, I usually lose when playing against other people, I’m a terrible old man. My team would clean house when we were playing against the computer, and it took away from my fun, I could care less about being able to beat some bad AI.

You can add you friends, and there are clans that you can enjoy. Playing with your friends isn’t hard to do, and does add to the enjoyment. The voice chat isn’t great, but for a mobile phone game it is better than some other options. Thankfully there were not a pile of nasty teenage boys screaming, the only time I heard people talk was when I was playing with friends.

Like most mobile games, ads are everywhere. Every time you log back into the game you are bombarded, and of course the buy button is three times the size of the close button. I found it bothersome, but not surprising. I could easily see how a child, or manchild could click the buy button by accident. User beware.

Overall for mobile first person shooters this is the best one I’ve tried. But let’s not forget that this is a FPS on a mobile phone. This just isn’t a genre that belongs on a phone. If you must, then have at it, but I would rather spend my time on other games.

You can listen to our episode on Call of Duty Mobile 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 8, 2019

I Love You, Colonel Sanders!

By Elliot

Let’s get some things out of the way before we get too deep into this. I have never played dating sim or visual novel before jumping head first into I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator. I have been interested in trying out Doki Doki Literature Club, because I’ve heard there is a lot more to it than what is seen on the surface, and I’m sure at some point we will get to it on Budget Arcade, but that day is not this day.

I am very familiar with the Colonel. I have partaken in his cuisine on several occasions. I know KFC has been trying to make Colonel Sanders a mainstream icon, making him the focus in their commercials, changing the actor that plays him every now and again, just to keep people talking. I also assumed that I Love You Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator was in the same vein, basically a giant commercial for KFC. I’m not wrong, this game is that, but is there an argument to make that there lurks just a little more to it than surface level ads for mashed potatoes. Or an attempt to trick me into believing that coleslaw is edible food for humans. No one wants that stuff, please stop trying to convince people otherwise KFC. Let's find out together.

Spoiler alert, it's not.

From the start you can tell there isn’t much in the way of options. You can control the volume settings, and put the game into windowed mode, but that is about it. With that in mind, I just clicked new game and it began.

Let me show you the first line from this game. “You sleep softly as the morning sun casts a warm glow through the window of your modest student apartment”. Most of the game’s dialogue is the same kind of fake poetic nonsense that you see here. You start off waking up and getting ready for your first day of culinary school. You are attending University of cooking School: Academy for Learning. Yep, that's the name of your school. Let that sink in, and they say the whole thing, multiple times. The school is well renowned for their famous “3 day only semesters”. That’s right, I Love You, Colonel Sanders! follows your entire culinary school career, from start to finish.

You play as protagonist who you name, and you are heard but never seen in game. What gender could you be? That's for the played to decide. The game follows an extremely linear path. Occasionally after a handful of back and forth dialogue you are allowed to make a choice, or you are asked a question and given a few choices to make. It would seem that almost none of them really matter. You can choose who your best friend is stuck partnering with for a cooking project, and she eventually starts to date that person, or you are given a quiz, where if you answer incorrectly the game is just magically over and you can either start back over from that chapter, or just give up entirely. So either you give them the response they want, or you try again.

Along the way you make several friends, your best friend, no name given there, your two rivals, Aeshleigh your main rival, yes it’s spelled that way, yes, they mention how awful that spelling is. Along with Van Van, a robot who's name I have already forgotten, 30 minutes after playing (literally just finished and I can’t think of it) Pop, who’s real name is Bob, but he reads his name tag upside down, it’s borderline that KFC is making fun of a certain type of person, another student who no one remembers his name, your professor, a talking dog named Sprinkles. And of course, you love interest Colonel Sanders. The only other cast members are the Spork monsters that show up here and there. You can say what you want about the game, but the cast of characters are colorful and unique.

Over the ten chapters that take place you will spend your 3 day semester competing in events, taking pop quizzes and ogle at Colonel Sanders. Like I had mentioned earlier you occasionally are allowed to make some choices, the results don’t really matter, the game makes you start over if you don’t answer correctly. Luckily there are a handful of auto saves in this very short game.

Throughout the game you will either help create well known KFC meals, or be introduced to them by the love of your life Colonel Sanders. Here’s another quote from the game. “Colonel sanders lifts a large bucket above his head. It’s contents glimmer in the light”. He has made fried chicken, and the entire class acts like this is the second coming of Jesus. You learn about the Colonel’s history, his love for eleven herbs and spices, and his dreams of opening up a chain of chicken restaurant.

Other events happen along the way, the funniest is when one of you classmates dies from eating poisoned octopus prepared by another student, and the now ghost student wants you to avenge him. Not much else to really talk about. There’s a dark book of cooking magic that tempts you into cheating your way to success. A cooking showdown takes place at the end, but it doesn’t really matter.

I found the art to be well done. Characters do circle back to the one of a handful of poses, but they look good, are funny when they need to be. The music was also pretty great. It fit the mood, whether that was falling in love, or the heavy metal of the cooking competitions. The game looks well, controls are fine, if you can really even call them controls, you basically click through the dialogue.

Again, I have not played a single visual novel or dating sim, but I have to think this is super bare bones. There really isn’t much here beside the occasional funny joke. The dead kid stuff was pretty funny, turns out he’s not really dead, just wants you to remember his name, which when you think of the lengths he goes to in the game it is kinda funny. Most of the jokes miss here though. It was way over the top and missed its mark, if there was really even a mark to be made.

Not to spoil anything, but your last assignment for school is to “get your groove on” at the end of the semester dance. Everyone is happy and you may, or may not end up with Colonel Sanders, either romantically or as a business partner.

Is everything in I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator a commercial for the new Famous Bowl they just came out with that combines mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, chicken, and cheese, in either a regular or spicy flavor? Yes, yes it is. Will you have fun on your way to discovering that? No, no you will not.

You can listen Budget Arcade's episode on I Love You, Colonel Sanders! 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 podcasts; Tessa and Elliot Argue, and Wall Pull where you find podcasts.

October 2, 2019

Pokémon Masters

By Elliot

I have played a lot of Pokémon games, since the beginning. In my older years I have gone away from the series as a whole, I’ve never touched Sun or Moon, mostly because I was busy with other games, after all the formula doesn’t change often so if you’ve played one, you’ve played most. I find the anime is hard to watch as a 32 year old man. My wife Tessa and I have played a good deal of Pokémon Go from time to time, finding enjoyment in the raiding, and special weekends they have occasionally. But I’m not here to talk about game but Pokémon Masters.

When Masters was announced I was initially excited for a new Pokémon game on the phone. I thought if they could harness the fun parts of Go and bring it to a new game with better combat, and a few tweeks then sign me up. I waited patiently for the game to come. After a while Nintendo said summer 2019. So I waited. Then, 26 days before Fall, Pokémon Masters showed up. And my hopes of a better Pokémon phone game than Go were dashed pretty quickly.

Don’t get me wrong there are things that this game does right. Combat being a big one in my eyes. Standard combat in Pokémon games is typically one on one, Pokémon vs Pokémon, mano-a-mano, I don’t know how else to say 1v1.. Masters does things a little differently. Battles here are three on three. More is happening in combat here than in your normal Pokémon game. More to keep track of, more choices to make, and it works. For example, you have to highlight which Pokémon you want to focus on, and when you do that their “bar” levels up faster than the other two. Moves have a cost to them, so the higher your bar the higher the move you can have the Pokémon perform. So there is some logic in which three Pokémon you chose to do battle with, which order you put them in, and which one you focus on during the fight, but being able to switch in between the three once battle starts.

Combat is an issue with Pokémon Go, I found myself comparing the two games constantly the week of review. It’s hard not to, not a lot of Pokémon games on the phone, but they are worlds apart in my eyes.

Story is a big difference. Go has absolutely none, zero, nada. Like throwing a hot dog down a hallway, big empty void. Pokémon Masters has to much, way to much, just story everywhere. More story than I would ever care to have in a game that has almost zero voiceover work. I do not want to read all that story. And I know I’m saying the word story, but that is a strong term here. The story is very basic, the “character stories” are even worse than the main story to the game. It feels like fluff here, filler with no substance, you are better off googling some Pokémon fanfiction if you need some story, might even find more enjoyment in doing so.

Like just about every phone game these days you find a gacha system in place here. This one is no different. One of the things that I am liking in the new games, almost all the Nintendo ones give you this, is the percentages on the chances to get characters. I know almost all the other “real” countries require this now, and it’s a shame we don’t in America, but I like that we still have it here in the game. It helps, I guess, to know how horrible my chance is to get Blue and his Pidgeot, it’s almost zero. Thanks for keeping my hopes low Nintendo, you didn’t disappoint.

A sticking point that really upset me here where the characters and Pokémon that were available to possibly unlock. In the game they call them sync-pairs, because you unlock a trainer and their Pokémon. Like Brock and Onix, Misty and Starmie. There are 64 pairs you can unlock when the game was first available, I’m sure that number will change as the game ages. For example Nintendo kept promoting the game before release by showing you sync-pairs that would be in the game, like Blue and Pidgeot, or Red and Charizard. But, get this, Red isn’t in the game at the time I’m writing this. Perhaps the only pair I felt like I wanted above all else, and you tease me with him not even being in the game. You cut me Nintendo, deep.

The week we played this game on the podcast I was able to look beyond all the things that I disliked to see a Pokemon game I wanted it to be. I felt that if I would just keep playing it would become that game that I really wanted it to become. I was blinded by the shiny of the game. It does look polished, which I feel is almost the worst thing. The combat is really well done, but just about everything else around it is not fun. I’ve played the game a handful of times since our first week, but I do not have any intentions to play much more. Sadly this game is not worth the investment, in either time or money. Not to mention that if you want to sink money into this game, there are plenty of ways to do so, and it is not cheap.

Not a lot of traditional things about Pokémon in Pokémon Masters, and for once, I think that is a shame.

You can listen to our episode on Pokémon Masters 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 1, 2019

Mario Kart Tour

By Elliot

There are few game series that hold the magic in my eye better than Mario Kart. My first system was the SNES, and one of the first games I specifically chose to buy was the original Mario Kart. I recently was able to replay that game thanks to the SNES games that were put on the Switch. Jeff warned me not to try and relive my youth when it came to Mario Kart, and of course, I did not listen. Honestly I’m glad I didn’t shy away from replaying the game, I fell in love with it all over again.

I’ve played every version of Mario Kart, 8 probably being my favorite. I refused to purchase the game again when it came out on the Switch, I am somewhat of a Nintendo Fanboy and actually loved my Wii U, so I’m going to need you to go ahead and come out with Mario Kart 9 there Nintendo. In the meantime they have given me Mario Kart Tour for the phone.

First off, let’s talk polish. Overall I’ve been impressed by all the games Nintendo has put out for the phone in terms of look. They all look legit, and they all look like Nintendo games. They don’t always hold that initial shine, but it is certainly there.

Booting up for the first time, and I was in shock. It looked like Mario Kart, but on the phone. That feeling did not last though.

Get this, there is no accelerator, there is no brake to this game. None. A racing game without either of those two functions, are you kidding me.

Handling is awful. At first. You slide your finger one way or the other to drift, or steer. Not all at once though. The only way you can drift and steer at the same time is if you enable tilt controls. Tilt controls! I’d rather hear Jeff talk about Auto Chess for an hour. Back in the days of Mario Kart 8 you couldn’t talk to people directly in the online chat, you had to use small catch phrases, that Nintendo provided. My favorite catch phrase was “I’m using tilt controls!” so stupid.
I say at first, because once you’ve played a handful of games you get use to it. The auto accelerator isn’t too awful, the drifting isn’t too hard to learn. Annoying, but not impossible, and after a while I didn’t give it much thought. Complaint number one, the controls.

I had zero problems winning my first game. I thought, man, I haven’t lost my touch with Mario Kart, and then I learned that I’m playing against the computer. Online play is “coming soon” whatever that truly means. But it is deceiving, because the people you are racing against have unique names, even names in Japanese, so they want you to think you’re playing real people. Complaint two, it’s not a full release of a game.

There are 20 racers to unlock, 19 karts, and 11 gliders to be won in a gacha style of unlocking, again, the normal for phone games. As you play the game you level up each racer, kart, and glider. But there is a limit on how much you can level in a day’s time. Frustrating beyond belief, and a huge turn off. Just as you are getting in a groove you can still play the game, but no longer level up for that day. Complaint three.

You can listen to the podcast to hear about gameplay, replayability, and what the pay wall is all about. I will say this about what paying gets you, essentially their gold pass. The price of the play pass, which is $4.99 a month is a joke it unlocks a few addons, and the 200cc races, which is a let down to someone who is playing these games without putting money into them. You will not get $4.99 a month worth of enjoyment here, plain and simple. If you have that kind of money, go buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you will enjoy it, and find it has far more replayability for that price. Price point for the gems seems to align with most phone games, not great, kinda awful, but it’s there, and it is the new normal. The price point for the pass is robbery. Complaint four.

But having said those awful things I really do like this game. I had a lot of fun, and I didn’t spend a dime all week, or felt the need to. I feel like this is a Mario Kart game, for the most part. Certainly worth your time, maybe even worth a few dollars, maybe to try out the gold pass for a month at least, just to see.

You can Listen on Anchor to this episode.

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.