Thoughts on SEGA Heroes

Within the last couple of weeks, SEGA released a new game for mobile devices called SEGA Heroes and as I had pre-registered for it on Google Play, I was notified that it was available. I enjoy match-3 games that incorporate other mechanics into them — titles such as Puzzle Quest or Ironcast have entertained me for countless hours. Having something like this on my phone is a boon because I can play in my downtime at work or when I’m out of town. I did try a game similar to this one earlier in the year called Legend of Solgard and though it was entertaining for a time, it had some severe time gating that slowed progression down to a crawl and I just couldn’t keep doing it. SEGA Heroes on the other hand, seems to have found the right balance between accessibility and making money via RMT. The game is also interesting because they are doing something in the vein of Nintendo, by slamming characters from all of their unique IPs into one game.

Like most games, it starts you off with a tutorial, where you’ll meet Ax Battler from Golden Axe, and a character from a Sonic the Hedgehog game, while learning the mechanics. It’s match 3, and each color corresponds to a character’s color. So if you match 3 blue gems, you’ll cause Ax Battler to attack in this scenario. There are a bunch of heroes though, but they all fall into one of four colors: Blue, Red, Yellow and Green. There is a fifth color, purple, which fills a bar and each time the bar is filled you get bonus attack damage and some bonus effects on your abilities. Each hero has a basic attack for matching 3, but if you match 4+ you will create a star gem on the board, and when you match that the hero will use their “star skill” which is more powerful. Additionally, each character has a bar underneath their picture, and when that fills you can tap their photo to use an ultimate attack.

You’ll unlock various heroes as you progress, and there are various sorts of progression in the game. Each time your account levels up, you can also level up each hero for some gold. Each hero is made up of “shards” and finding those shards in the world or buying them for the shop is how you can upgrade a one star hero into a two star and so forth. Some heroes are considered common and some epic. You can also upgrade their individual star skills and ultimates with reagents found in the world (and the shop).

Speaking of the shop, it’s pretty straight forward. You can buy chests and bundles and the in game currency (gold) or the RMT currency (diamonds). You can buy hero shards and reagents, and you’ll get some free chests each day. As you level there are other features that start to open up. Besides the campaign, there is a PvP arena, and events where you can earn more reagents/shards. There are a couple more features I haven’t opened yet as I’m only account level 13, but I would assume some are more difficult challenges. One mode is called survival so I imagine that to be endless battles until you die. Whatever the case, there is enough varied content here and characters from IPs I love that I’m engaged for the time being.

Overall it’s a fun little title and I have enjoyed myself with it. It might actually stay in my regular phone rotation, or maybe I’ll burn out on it, but I’d recommend check it out if you enjoy match 3 games!

Torchlight Frontiers: Alpha Report

The weekend before last I was invited to an early Alpha test for Torchlight Frontiers. This Alpha invitation came along with an NDA, but it was only mentioned that you couldn’t post pictures or video of the game, but they didn’t say I couldn’t write about it, so here we are.

I jumped in on that Saturday and got down to business. As of now, there were only two character classes to choose from, a mage type and a melee class that is a steam punk robot of sorts. There was the first “frontier” to explore, this one dealing mostly with Goblins. Apparently each of these frontiers will feature different mobs but also different sorts of resistances you’ll need to success, and this is where their “horizontal progression” stems from. You’ll have to gear up differently for each frontier, which means you’ll have to have different gear sets for each area of the game. Or so that’s how it’s been presented thus far.

Graphically you can tell this is still a Torchlight game, though it does seem to be more of a hand drawn art style rather than a low poly one like the original two games. I liked the look of the game, the areas were interesting and there was a decent variety of mobs. There were plenty of other people running around killing things too, and this feels like the closest thing to Marvel Heroes that we’ll have now that Marvel Heroes is gone. I wasn’t a huge fan of that particular title, but I did play it a bit and it has that same feeling of playing alone but having a bunch of other people running around the same area do similar things. I imagine there will be grouping and public events too, but we’ll see.

Server stability was the only real issue I had. When I would run into others there was some lag, but it wasn’t anything too terrible. I honestly don’t know if it was the server or my Internet, so I’m not going to knock them for it.

My overall opinion of the game is that it looks solid, but I didn’t really put that much time into it. I’m sure in further Alpha tests there will be more to check out. I didn’t really care for the classes on offer and hope that there are some more interesting ones next time. I did like the idea of your own fort where you can get new vendors and things so you have a home base of sorts. This would be optimal for storing all of that gear you’ll need for different areas of the game. It would be nice to have guild functionality as well so that you could meet up with friends and do things together with your base as a starting point. I’m sure we’ll see more developments as time goes on, but for now it looks like a promising title.

TWR: Ultimate Masters Spoiled

Ulitmate Masters releases early next month, and it was just recently spoiled. When we first found out about the set, there was some community backlash because of the increased price point, but we have already seen lower than MSRP pricing for box pre-orders at LGS and online retailers. They also spoiled the box toppers which I showed off earlier in the month. That sneak peak of the set was enough to color me interested, with some amazing reprints coming and simply too many good cards that I’d love to get copies of. However, with the ridiculous $300+ price tag for a box, I figure I’ll only buy a couple packs and then buy singles as the reprints should drive the price down on some of the better cards.

People figured out that because the 3-booster blister packs were being sold at box stores like Wal-Mart and Target, they could actually buy the same 24 packs for a lesser price than buying a box, but then they would miss out on the box toppers. I’m in love with these new super art cards but I can’t justify the expense so I’ll likely never have one. I’m okay with this, and am going to roll the dice on a few packs just to see if I can make my money back. Anyhow, the rest of the set is public information now, so there’s a few cards I wanted to highlight that weren’t given the box topper treatment. Despite the fact that there are some multi-colored and hybrid mana cards in this set, none of them are particularly good so I skipped those. Let’s take a look.

Colorless and Land:

Holy shit! Phyrexian Altar hasn’t been reprinted in a long time and is a great card! I really wish they would have reprinted Mana Crypt instead, but this is a damn good artifact as well. Eldrazi are getting some love too, with this set containing some of the best Eldrazi along with a couple of their tribal spells. These aren’t great for every deck, but if you want an Eldrazi theme or a good finisher, they can work great (mostly in EDH). The couple of lands I highlighted here are also interesting, one essentially being a ashnod’s altar but provides black mana, and the other is a land that replaces itself if it happens to hit the graveyard, which is pretty cool.

White:

The Wall of Reverence is a shoo in for lifegain decks but would also be a nice add for Arcades, where it becomes a nice beefy attacker and will also keep our life total high. Heliod’s Pilgrim is a nice tutor in the right decks, and Containment Priest will fuck over token decks. Cool utility.

Blue:

 

I didn’t see a lot to love in blue outside of these two cards. I’ve been wanting a Glen Elendra Archmage for some time but it’s a bit pricey at the moment. Counterspells on creatures are a nice touch and it’s a wizard to boot. Dig through time is just a nice spell all around, especially if you can cheat its mana costs — I have one in my Jodah deck for this reason.

Black:

Black had a strong showing. Buried Alive and Entomb are the two best graveyard tutors for decks that want this effect. Unburial Rites works right along side them to allow you to cheat big fatties into play on the cheap. Shriekmaw has been a staple for some time now, especially in decks with recursion. Songs of the Damned was a surprise for me, but I actually really like it for big mana mono-black decks.

Red:

Gamble is red’s only solid tutor, and copies of it are still in demand. Anger is a nice haste enabler for decks that need it. Seize the day is another extra combat card, but these are nice to have when playing red.

Green:

Fecundity is a nice enchantment for sacrifice themed decks. Card draw is always a good thing. Ditto ramp, with Kodama’s Reach being one of the best (alongside cultivate). It’s not expensive but still a great card. I’m happy to see Pattern of Rebirth here too, as that will slot right into my Karador deck.

Overall the set looks great. I won’t be able to buy as much of it as I would like due to the higher price point, but fingers crossed that I’ll be able to get something good out of the packs I do pick up. Then singles will round things out. Good stuff to look forward too, for sure!

Quick Thoughts: Iron Crypticle and Sunless Sea

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a while, and since I’m not ready to share some of my opinions on more recent titles (I’ll have posts for Fallout 76 and the Torchlight Frontiers alpha soon) I figured this was a good time to find something in the draft folder and post it. Honestly I don’t remember exactly when I picked up these two titles, but they were on sale at some point on the Playstation Store for a couple bucks each so I thought I would try them out. Sunless Sea was something that came out on PC first and I had thought about buying it a few times, but happened to catch this sale. Iron Crypticle is a low-budget indie game that just happened to appeal to me via its gameplay loop. Let’s dive in.

If you’ve played any of the twin-stick shooters or rogue-lites of the past decade, or even if you enjoyed games like Gauntlet, you will probably like Iron Crypticle. The game has a story premise but it doesn’t really matter. The main gist of it is a top down arena, set up as a series of rooms, making up a dungeon of sorts. You have the twin stick action, as one would control movement and the other controls your fire. There are some special abilities and limited ammo weapons but that’s really what you have to work with. Each room will contain a set amount of monsters that increase in difficulty as you progress. It doesn’t seem to have a permanent progression that lasts between games so I guess it’s not really a rogue-like, but it still feels similar enough. At the end of a dungeon you will face off against a boss, and then move on to the next level.

There really isn’t much more to it, but i like that they’ve kept things simple and it works despite that simplicity. If you can get this on sale for a couple bucks like I did it’s worth the diversion.

Sunless Sea has been out for a while as I’ve mentioned, and apparently at some point there was some DLC released, which has been since bundled into one package. This is supposed to be a captain’s simulator, but set in a lovecraftian world. It boils down to a bunch of menus to tell the story, give you missions, and present other random events. Most of the time you’ll be clicking through these, and then you’ll set sail to do stuff. It’s very sandboxy in this regard, where you get some breadcrumbs and can follow those or just do whatever the hell you want.

This one is supposed to have progression where certain things carry over to the next session, your captain’s memoirs if you will. It’s not an action packed game but is intriguing nonetheless. I’ll have to put more time into this to give it a proper review, but so far I’ve been interested to learn more.

That’s all I have for today. Have a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow if you’re in the States.

By The Numbers: Week 12, 2018

Another heartbreaker last Thursday. Coming off of a short week, the Packers flew into Seattle and started off with a dominant performance. Three things changed the game. Crosby missed one kick early in the game which would have meant a tie at the end of the game. Then, there was an incomplete pass by the Seahawks that was challenged resulting in the pass being deemed a catch, which ended up leading to another “catch” that McCarthy should have challenged and didn’t. This resulted in what would be the game winning touchdown. Also, who the fuck punts on 4th and 2 when you have one of the best QBs in the league and a hot running back? Anyway, what’s done is done. I wouldn’t say we’re out of playoff contention just yet, but it’s not looking so great. Let’s grade last week’s picks:

Packers 28, Seahawks 21
Cowboys 21, Falcons 17 – Correct
Bengals 27, Ravens 21
Panthers 24, Lions 13
Titans 30, Colts 16
Buccs 21, Giants 20
Texans 20, Redskins 10 – Correct
Steelers 27, Jaguars 20 – Correct
Cardinals 13, Raiders 10
Chargers 31, Broncos 23
Saints 35, Eagles 21 – Correct
Bears 27, Vikings 23 – Correct
Rams 30, Chiefs 27 – Correct

6-7 on the week, my worst score in weeks. This brings my season total to 92-78. A couple more bad weeks like this and I’ll drop below .500 again. Well, let’s see if we can do better next week:

Bears 27, Lions 21
Redskins 28, Cowboys 24
Saints 35, Falcons 21
Ravens 30, Raiders 14
Jags 21, Bills 10
Panthers 26, Seahawks 23
Bengals 28, Browns 7
Patriots 31, Jets 17
Giants 20, Eagles 10
Buccs 24, 49ers 21
Chargers 23, Cardinals 13
Dolphins 28, Colts 21
Steelers 31, Broncos 30
Packers 27, Vikings 21
Texans 24, Titans 20

Fingers crossed for a better week, both here on the column and for my team. If we can just finish out the game without a penalty that costs us the win, we should be able to beat the Vikes like we really should have back at the beginning of the season. That tie should be in our win column, and 5-5 does sound better than 4-5-1, but I’ll take 5-5-1 after this week. Go Pack Go!