Mobile Mini Reviews

I’m sure most of you are thinking, “WTF, Izlain doesn’t do mobile games!” and for the most part you’d be correct. However, there have been a few titles over the years that I have enjoyed, most notably Star Wars: Tiny Death Star. Typically I prefer the depth of PC/Console games and can’t be assed to get involved with the mobile scene, but with advancements in phone/tablet technology it’s hard to avoid noticing that mobile gaming is making strides to compete with other markets. Many of these types of games have been ported over to the PC via Steam, but Windows 8.1 (and I’d assume Windows 10 will follow suit) even has the mobile market built right into the operating system, allowing for hundreds (thousands?) of games to be downloaded for free. Of course, there are also paid games/apps as well, and just because a game is “free” doesn’t mean it is free of pay walls and whale bait. Regardless, I have spent some time with various mobile games over the past few months, and I’ve collected a few of them here to go over briefly with you. Many of these titles are available on multiple platforms, but keep in mind that I own a Windows Phone and PC, so that’s where I’ve played most of these. With that said, let’s get on with the reviews!

Plants vs. Zombies 2
played on: iPad
available on: iOS, Android

pvz2

Plants vs. Zombies is a franchise that’s been around for a long time. I enjoyed the original game on my PS3, but it has become available on nearly every platform. The original spawned other games like Garden Warfare (which is quite fun) along with a sequel, which is currently on iOS and Android, two options not normally available to me. A couple of months ago my girlfriend (yeah, that happened recently too) picked up an iPad and as such I took it upon myself to peruse their catalog of games to try ones that I can’t try elsewhere. This game was one of those titles, and it’s a blast. If you enjoyed the original, you’ll like this one, as it adds several layers of depth that the original lacked. For instance, there are more varied types of plants, plant food, and other resources you can use to gain advantages. The story mode seems to be a hell of a lot longer that the first game as well. It runs great on the tablet and the touch controls feel good. The only downside is there is a cash shop, where micro transactions allow you to get the upper hand a little bit faster. It’s unfortunate, as the predecessor included everything for the asking price, but since this game is free the developers have to make money somehow, and that seems to be the way of the world these days.

Fallout Shelter
played on: iPad
available on: iOS

Another title that is currently exclusive to iOS, Fallout Shelter was revealed recently at E3, and I managed to check it out within a few days. Overall it plays very similarly to Tiny Tower (and Tiny Deathstar) but has a few more interactions that make it stand apart. Plus, it’s in the Fallout universe and that’s pretty cool by itself. You’ll spend time building new rooms, assigning workers to produce food and power, and eventually send some of your peeps into living quarters where they will bump uglies and creat more vault dwellers for your growing colony. You can also send people out to explore the wastes, where they might bring you back some loot. There are micro transactions here as well, but mostly just to get around the time walls. If you just let it do it’s thing and check on it periodically, you’ll get the same experience without dropping any bottlecaps.. er, money.

Microsoft Mahjong
played on: Windows Phone
available on: Windows, Windows Phone

For quite a while I’ve owned a Windows Phone (I’m actually on my second, but that’s a story for another day) but I didn’t own an SD card for it until about a month ago. Before that, my phone was filled up with pictures, videos and music, so there wasn’t really room for games and I didn’t try many. Having that SD card installed meant the freedom to download as I pleased, and that’s really where my experimentation with the mobile gaming market got started. This one I downloaded on a whim the other day and was pleased with the result. Not only is Mahjong a great time waster, particularly if you’re stuck in a waiting room or at your mom’s house with nothing better to do, but this version is free and runs great. It does seem to be somewhat limited in that there aren’t that many puzzles to work through (at the time of this writing I’ve beaten them all) but they are randomized so each experience is different. I’m sure most of you know what this game is, so there isn’t much else to say. One thing I did note after playing this game though, is that because it’s a Microsoft made game, the achievements that you earn while playing will carry over with your Microsoft account, where ever you might access it. For instance, I was playing Halo at my friend’s house on his XBOne, and achievements I’ve earned via the phone and the now defunct Games For Windows Live showed up. Kind of neat.

Chess Time
played on: Windows Phone
available on: Windows Phone, iOS, Android

chesstime

I picked this game up on a whim because me and my old roommate used to play Chess together quite regularly, and as we now live a hundred miles apart, this is the next best thing. It mimics the play by mail version of chess, where you have at minimum one day to make your next move. Games can take weeks at this pace, but most get sorted out in a day or two, provided your opponent is keeping up. Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard chess game. My only complaint is that it eats battery life like crazy, particularly if you leave it open or continue to open it to check for new moves. You can play with friends (you do have to set up an account) or other random opponents, and it even gives you a rating that fluctuates as you play.

Trivia Crack
played on: Windows Phone
available on: Windows Phone, iOS, Android

triviacrack

I was introduced to this game by a friend, and next thing I knew I started hearing about it everywhere. Since then I’ve played games against many people who own the app, including random combatants. It’s a basic trivia game with various categories, with each question earning you credit towards your next crown. Get 6 crowns (one for each category) before your opponent and you win. Aside from the straight forward question answering, you can also issue a challenge to your opponent where you both answer a series of questions and bet one of your crowns against one of theirs, with whoever is crowned the victor gaining that crown that was bet. It seems there are some cash shop options but I’ve never bothered with it (allows you to skip questions and probably more but I never really paid attention) and still managed to have some fun with it.

Puzzle Breaker
played on: Windows Phone
available on: Windows Phone, iOS, Android

6_puzzle_breaker

After having picked up Ironcast not too long ago, I sort of got onto a match 3 meets RPG kick. As such I started looking around at the mobile marketplace to see what kind of options they had. The first game I found was Puzzle Breaker, and though it’s very simplistic, it does have some of those elements I was looking for. There are a bunch of levels on the world map, and each level consists of a battle against various creatures. You have a hit points bar, and you match gems to attack enemies, while they attack you every so often. Overall the gameplay is a bit lackluster, as there are multiple colored gems but you aren’t required to match them in any particular way, nor do they seem to have different effects among them. Honestly, I probably didn’t put enough time into it to figure out all of the nuances, but it struck me as a half-assed cash grab. I’d skip this one.

Dungeon Gems
played on: Windows 8.1
available on: Windows, iOS, Android

dungeongems

Dungeon Gems is a little more convoluted than the previous game, but definitely makes up for the shortcomings of Puzzle Breaker as well. Similarly there is a world map, and each location is a battle between you and the enemy, however each level is a series of battles rather than just one.  You’ll also match gems to perform attacks, but the gems’ colors actually mean something. Where the real meat and potatoes portion comes in is the fact that there is a huge pool of heroes that you’ll be able to add to your team, all with different colors (that correspond with the gems you’ll be matching) and different skills that you can activate with AP. You can also upgrade those heroes and there are social networking tie-ins that allow you to recruit other player’s heroes for that level as a helper. Overall it’s the same general type of gameplay, and there’s the typical cash shop stuff where you can buy heroes and upgrades, but it’s definitely more entertaining.

Dungeon of Slyn
played on: Windows 8.1
available on: Windows, Windows Phone, Android

I was curious to see if there were any decent roguelikes for mobile devices, and this was on of the better ones I could find. Dungeon of Slyn is a basic dungeon crawler that is a graphical version of popular Ascii roguelikes such as Angband/Moria/Rogue. For free, you get access to three classes and from what I can tell, the whole experience. For $3 you gain access to two more classes, but I can’t tell if there are other benefits. If you enjoy games of this ilk, and hand-drawn style graphics, you’ll like this one. Plus, it’s something closer to a PC experience that you can take on the go, so why not?

Star Wars Commander
played on: Windows 8.1
available on: Windows, Windows Phone, iOS, Android

Let me start by saying I have never played Clash of Clans. Let me also state that I watched a video of Clash of Clans gameplay before I make the following statement: Star Wars Commander is Clash of Clans with a Sci-Fi skin. Somewhere along the line someone decided it was a good idea to port classic RTS and base builder games to the mobile market. I agree, this would be a good idea except for the fact that the majority of mobile devices are touch screen, so this results in a simplification of concepts, to the degree that there really isn’t much “real-time” in the strategy. Basically, you’ll build a base, go on missions, and do some PvP. The story missions are basically building you up to do the PvP, and you’ll go attack various bases and outposts and when you win you get some more currency with which to upgrade your base. Eventually when you do attack a real person, you either cream them and take their resources or get killed and waste yours. The same goes for the vice versa scenario. I also read several reviews from December of last year that make it seem as though your progress could be lost when they do patches, so play at your own risk. It seems like it could be fun, but at the same time I’d rather be playing Civilization or Starcraft.

Age of Empires: Castle Siege
played on: Windows 8.1
available on: Windows, Windows Phone

Another clone of the same type of game, but with a low fantasy setting, similar to other Age of Empires games. It actually really reminds me of Age of Empires Online that was sunset last year, so it’s probably using resources from that game to compete with Clash of Clans. I failed to mention this about Star Wars Commander, but both of these games have the same cash shop policies. Buildings and units take time to build and train respectively. You can pay with each game’s currency to speed this process up, or wait until it’s completed. Similar to most Facebook/browser/mobile games, time walls are the biggest way to get you to pay, as you either have to wait to play further, or pay some real life cash to get through things faster. Overall this game looks great and feels polished enough, but I don’t know how much time I’d actually spend on building a base just to have someone come along and destroy it. I enjoy PvP that takes levels of skill, and this doesn’t feel too skillful.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
played on: Windows 8.1
available on: Windows, Windows Phone, iOS, Android

This is by far the best looking game on this list, but that could have something to do with the fact that I played in on the PC. I haven’t played a good racing game in years, and this one actually is a lot of fun. It combines some elements of progression with high speed racing, complete with some cool effects and locations. You start off with one car, but can buy more with in-game currency or RMT, and you can play through the normal events or race people in multiplayer. There’s also customization for the cars and performance upgrades as well, though I was able to complete a handful of races without doing anything to the base car, so being a good racer helps. I should also note that if you do play this via the Windows app, you can use a controller to play and that made a big difference I’m sure, as I assume it’s more difficult to play on a tablet or phone. I recommend this one to anybody who enjoys racing games.

Prime World Defenders
played on: Windows 8.1
available on: Windows, Windows Phone, iOS, Android (and Steam for $10, but why?)

Last one for today, a tower defense game called Prime World Defenders. This game is free on all mobile devices and through the Windows app store, but for some reason is $10 on Steam, and from what I read that is an outdated version. So yeah, do yourself a favor and get it for free. If you enjoy tower defense, you’ll like this game as it follows the general formula. Where it tries to differentiate itself is through the use of a CCG system where you earn cards from beating missions. I suppose that’s not really much different though, because most TD games give you new towers as you progress. Hmm. Well either way there’s a skill tree you can progress through along with magic that you can utilize to get out of “oh shit” situations, but otherwise the game doesn’t stray too far from the tenets of the genre. I’m not big on TD, and I only tried it to see what was different about it. It is pretty though.

So that’s all I have this time around. I think I’ll be poking around the mobile marketplaces more in the future, so expect something like this again eventually. Til then.

#mobilegaming #minireviews

Tiny Death Star: The Bux Bug Fixed

At some point yesterday, I was on my phone and noticed that I had an app update pending via the Windows Store. Upon further inspection, the patch was for Star Wars: Tiny Death Star. I was skeptical at first, having already reported more than one bug previously, and having already seen a patch for the game that didn’t fix either bug. Well to my pleasant surprise, the new patch 1.0.1.4 fixed the “Bux Bug” that countless people had experienced. How a bug so glaring could be allowed to go on for a month is beyond me, as the bug affected the microtransaction currency. At least they finally got around to fixing it.

No more negative Bux!
No more negative Bux!

With the patch, there was also a Christmas-y event, where decorator droids (see the black multi-armed thing above?) randomly appear in your elevator so that you can decorate the levels of the Death Star with Christmas lights. There is a new interface (top right hand side) where you can get an announcement for the event, along with quest progress. After reaching a certain amount of levels decorated you can receive rewards, part was gold, the next level was a Holiday Boba Fett that will visit the Death Star, and the last bit was a level added on to the Death Star. After that, you get 1 Bux for each level decorated, and I have done nearly all of them, as the droids appear pretty frequently.

Holiday Questing
Holiday Questing

Don’t waste your Buxs summoning the droids, they come quickly. I decorated almost all of my 20+ levels in one evening. The other bug I had encountered was the 30 Bitizens bug, where the Emperor’s quest to have 30 Bitizens move into the Death Star wouldn’t complete despite having 30 residents. That bug is still in effect, as I still had 30 Bitizens when I came back to the game, and the quest still hadn’t updated. But now I had Bux available to skip it, so that’s what I did. I suggest you do the same, as earning Bux is a lot easier when you aren’t negative to begin with. I have yet to try and reproduce the Bux bug again, but I am going to try and do it again the same way I did before to see if it it truly fixed, or they just gave me a set amount of Bux to make my meter positive again. More on this as it develops/I find more bugs.

The State of the Game 11/12-11/18

I’ve had a more social week, I didn’t do quite as much gaming as usual, mainly due to my birthday landing on the 14th and a few other occasions where I had company or went out. Still, I managed to play my regular standby games, and tried out a few new ones. Too many sales have been going on lately, and as such I’m always finding games that are super cheap and worth playing, or at least super cheap. This isn’t good for my backlog though, and it’s been a couple of months since I played a game to completion. My playlist this week was: Awesomenauts, League of Legends, Beyond Good & Evil, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Cloudberry Kingdom, Faster than Light, Civilization Revolution, Kingdoms and Lords and Pocket Army.

Mobile

As I mentioned in my last post, the “Bux Bug” in Tiny Death Star killed the game for me. As of patch 1.0.0.18 that came out a few days ago, the bug isn’t fixed so I’m not playing. I ended up downloading some more mobile games trying to find a replacement, and this was no easy task. Most mobile games on the Windows Marketplace are pretty bad. There are Xbox games that actually have achievements and whatnot, but as a pretty anti-xbox gamer, that really doesn’t interest me. I’m mainly looking for something that I can play for a few minutes and feel like I’ve made some progress, and then come back to it later. TDS was awesome for this, as when I came back a couple of hours later, my game had progressed without me. These types of games are in short supply. I downloaded Civilization Revolution which is a port of the console game of the same name. This wasn’t free though, only a free trial. From what I played I enjoyed, but it really didn’t sell me. I don’t want to spend money on a game on my phone… it just doesn’t feel worth it. Next, I downloaded another strategy game called Kingdoms and Lords. This game plays more like a social game, but also similar to the Heroes of Might & Magic games. You have a plot of land and must build various structures to accumulate resources. When you enter combat with your soldiers, it becomes turn based and sort of whack-a-mole-ish. Social features include visiting your friend’s plots of land, and fighting other players. It seemed interesting enough, but felt as if it would be better played on a tablet, as the menus are a bit on the small side on my HTC 8x. Lastly, I tried out another game called Pocket Army. This one seems to be the winner. It’s a series of battles that play our like Swords & Soldiers type games, except you also control a main avatar. Your trained soldiers (clubmen, swordsmen, archers, etc) run straight at the opposing army and hack at each other til someone dies. You control your avatar in the same fashion, but also gain abilities that you can use to turn the tide in your favor. Experience and loot is rewarded after each battle. In between, you can get side quest battles done, or upgrade/purchase more troops/spells/etc. This game is simple enough that I can play for a few minutes and accomplish something. It is also fun enough that you get into the “just one more battle” state of mind after playing for a while. Out of all of these games, Pocket Army is the one I would recommend checking out.

PS3

Awesomenauts:
Awesomenauts has stayed in my steady rotation since I got back into it a couple of months ago. I am still trying to run through all of the prestige levels, and am currently on my 7th. I have had some recent success, where I have climbed the leaderboards from the high 3000s to the low 2000s. My rating has also creeped over 15k. I’m in 2nd place overall on my friend list (Built4Sin82). My roommate (kaznski) had been ahead of me at some point, but I have leap-frogged him even though I’ve played quite a few less games. Proof is in the pudding:

WP_20131119_002

Sales:
Last week’s Playstation Plus sale saw me spending $8.75 on three games. 2 out of the 3 games were released earlier this year, and the other is a classic PS2 HD remake that I finally got around to buying. The games: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Cloudberry Kingdom and Beyond Good & Evil.

Gunslinger is an arcade-y FPS that is set in the Wild West. I haven’t played too many FPS games in this setting, and as such it makes for a slightly different experience — even if it’s in atmosphere alone. I only played through the first couple of missions, but it was fun to just run around and blast people… I haven’t been playing any FPS games for quite a while. Feels like a game that will be easy to finish.

Cloudberry Kingdom is a rogue-like platformer. This seems to be a bit of a trend recently. Like Spelunky (the most similar game I have played recently) you run through a series of random levels in an attempt to grab up treasure (in this game it’s gems) and not die. The levels aren’t randomly changed when you die, but are supposed to be randomly generated each time you play through the game. I completed 60+ levels and they are short and sweet, but the difficultly ramps up as you play. Variables that can be added in affect how your character controls. Sometimes you’ll get a double-jump, sometimes a rocketpack, other times you’re tiny. Still, the game breaks down to running and jumping — good timing is key. It’s fun to play here and there, but there’s no lasting appeal. I will probably play through the game and uninstall.

Beyond Good & Evil is a PS2 game that I owned and loved. I’ve always looked at the HD update and wanted to buy it, but never did. This sale gave me a reason to, and I remember now why I loved the game in the first place. It’s a 3D adventure game, and it really stands on it’s own. With it being such a long-standing game I’m not going to say anything else about it, if you don’t know what it is I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff written about it elsewhere. Worth owning for sure!

PC

League of Legends:
I earned enough IP to purchase a 4800-tier champion this week. I decided on picking up Vayne, as she is the only ADC from that tier that I don’t own, and because she just seems so damn good. I don’t play her regularly, but I think with some practice I could do pretty well with her. I also had some RP lying around, and picked up one of the Harrowing ward skins permanently (now I own 3 ward skins) and another skin for a champion I have fallen in love with as of late: Shen. Here’s the splash art:

The Doctor has arrived
The Doctor has arrived

Faster than Light:
I absolutely love this game. I have heard commentary around the web, but it really doesn’t hook you until you play it yourself. I was gifted a copy of this game via GoG.com (Good Old Games), and as such also opened up an account there. This account also came with some free games, though I haven’t really played any of them. I was really paying attention to their DRM-Free Fall sale, but each time I checked in on it, the game on offer was one that I wasn’t interested in. I have a rather large wish list through the site, and will probably throw money at that in the future. Playing all of the old Black Isle and Bioware games is on my to-do list. All of that aside, FTL is a great game. The randomness of each encounter and the ability to die and have to start over again without feeling upset about it is what makes it a gem. My first run ended in the first sector due to oxygen systems failure (and door systems failure). My second run ended in combat with some alien race that really kicked my ass… this time I made it to the 2nd sector, but getting all the way to the end of the game feels like it will be a challenge. I’m sure I’ll have more on this game to come.

That’s all for this week.

Tiny Death Star: The Bux Bug and more

Update: As of 12/17/13 version 1.0.1.4 has been released and the negative Bux bug has been fixed. 30 bitizens bug is still active on my phone however.

As I previously mentioned, I had been playing Star Wars: Tiny Death Star religiously. It’s the first game I actually played more than for just a few minutes on my phone. Nothing ever really caught my attention, and despite really being a game about nothing, SW:TDS was keeping me hooked. Until I ran into a problem.

I had been keeping my levels fairly balanced, but was currently wanting to build a new imperial level. When you add levels, the game randomly picks one of that classification for you, if you want to unlock a specific level, you can do so at the cost of 1 “bux.” Due to the fact that the imperial levels are for crafting items, there was a side quest (not a mission from the Emperor, rather one of the crafting quests from Vader) to build a communications level. As such, I wanted to utilize the level selector, pay my bux and get the level I wanted so I could craft a new item and gain more coin for completing the quest. I had just saved up for a long period of time to buy the first upgraded elevator, and that was making the game less monotonous. The game had other plans however, and after having created that new communications level, I suddenly had -29 bux:

What is this??
What is this??

I did some searching around the web, and apparently this isn’t something that is a bug only on windows phones, or my particular model of phone, it’s apparently affect the game as a whole. Most people triggered the bug in the same fashion as me, but others reported it happening in other instances. I assume that Disney is aware of this fact, as just yesterday I had to patch the game, but the bug hasn’t been cleared yet. I have a feeling that even if they were to clear up this bug, that I will have to restart my game anyway, but if I can do so without fear of losing everything all over again, I just might do it. The game really is that addictive.

There’s a secondary potential bug, in that it feels like a bug to me, but some people are saying that it’s working as intended. There is a mission from the Emperor that asks you to move in 30 bitizens. I hit the 30 bitizen mark even before the negative bux bug hit me, but I thought that maybe it was because I didn’t have them all employed. Once all 30 were employed and the quest was still not giving me my reward, I looked around and found that I was not the only person with this problem either.

This is fishy...

From what some people were saying, the quest starts the count once you receive it, meaning if you had 25, you would have to hit 55 bitizens before the quest would clear. Other people are stating it’s a bug. Whatever the case, I can’t skip the mission as it requires bux, and earning more bux takes away from the negative, but who wants to earn up 29 bux that do absolutely nothing for you? And to hell with buying something that a little patience will get me. So until the game is fixed, I’m not playing it anymore. What a shame!

Because of  these unfortunate events, I decided to see if I could find some other games that were worth playing. I ended up downloading a trial version of Civilization Revolution, which is a watered-down version of the Civilization series most of us know and love. I also downloaded Kingdoms and Lords, which is being advertised as semi-new, and appears to be a similar civ-type concept. I haven’t tried either game just yet, but I will be reporting on those by Tuesday.

I should also mention that my birthday recently passed, and I was gifted a copy of Faster than Light, via Good Old Games. More to come on that title as well.

The State of the Game 11/5-11/11

This week I split my gaming time up between three different platforms. No, I haven’t purchased a new system, I still only have my laptop and PS3, but I finally found a mobile game that I’m playing religiously on my phone. This week’s playlist was as follows: Star Wars: Tiny Death Star, Awesomenauts, Dragon’s Dogma, League of Legends and demos for How to Survive and CastleStorm.

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
This is the first time I’ve reported playing a game on a mobile platform, and for good reason. My first smart phone was an Android, but was an older phone and didn’t have the capabilities to run the better games. My new-ish smart phone is on the Windows platform — the HTC 8x. It is powerful enough to run new games, but the Windows store isn’t quite where the Android market is. As such, there really hasn’t been any games that I wanted to play, besides ones that cost more than I was willing to pay for a mobile game. I never wanted to pay for mobile games mainly because I never really play games on my phone, but also because I was always stuck in the mentality that I wasn’t earning achievements by playing them. I’ve moved away from that mindset, and as a result have found a truly engaging game. SW:TDS is a city building game, but rather than building a city, you build a Death Star. I love Star Wars, have been falling in love with retro gaming, and though I never was a huge fan of sim-builder games, I’ve played my share of them. This game combines so many elements that I can enjoy, but can be played in short increments, or for hours at a time. It doesn’t require you’re attention all of the time, because when you stop playing, the game persists. When you come back to the game at a later time, you are greeted with this message:

This was after a short break
This was after a short break

The fact that the game persists without your actions is a great feature, as I can just come back to it when I know certain timers are going to expire. Levels of your death star are all dedicated to certain functions, but the vendors have to be stocked, and stocking takes time. Selling takes time as well, so leaving for a time rewards you with larger chunks of credits. The stores have to be employed, so housing must be built for employees, so they in turn can sell your wares. Imperial levels are built so that supplies can be crafted/researched/what-have-you. All the while the emperor is giving you side missions, and Darth Vader is ordering you to gather materials. Aside from some button pressing here and there, an easy to use menu system adds to the depth, but really the most action you get to control is the elevator:

Up or down? Weeee!
Up or down? Weeee!

Despite the simple graphics, interface and overall premise, SW:TDS is a fantastic game, and it’s completely free. I’m sure it’s available on Android and iOS as well. Microtransactions are available in the form of the secondary currency, bux. You can buy bux with real-world money, and those bux can help you to move things along faster. But if you’re patient, you can just take a break from the game and things will complete themselves. I have been patient and don’t intend to buy virtual currency. I’m just curious now if there is some sort of winning parameters, or if it becomes endless. I have 13 levels as of right now, and there hasn’t been any indicator of limitations or a victory sequence. More on this to come, I’m sure.

Awesomenauts:
The only notable occurrence in this game was that I prestiged again, for the 7th time. Aside from that, I had one superb game, and I’m gonna brag:

Team PWNED
Team PWNED

As you can see, I dominated all categories in the scoreboard (K/D, Minion kills, Towers destroyed). My team didn’t die a single time, their team didn’t even destroy a single tower.

Dragon’s Dogma:
I have much too much to say about Dragon’s Dogma to fit it into this post. Great game from what I’ve seen so far, but I really wish you could play multiplayer, rather than just being able to use your friend’s main Pawns. Oh well, perhaps there will be a sequel with that sort of option. The game comes with a built-in screen shot software, so I have a picture story to tell that I’m going to push into another full post. Look for that this week.

League of Legends:
Season 3 officially ended yesterday. As I already mentioned, I promoted into Silver tier. As a result, I was rewarded with these items:

Silver Border and Icon
Silver Border and Icon

Aside from the Season 3 Silver Summoner’s Icon and the Border on my profile, there will also be a Silver border around my character on the loading screen. Also, a new ward skin to add to the collection:

Add it to the collection
Add it to the collection

I’ve mostly been playing ARAMs since I reached my Ranked goals. I did play a couple of games in other modes, and also earned a couple of the new Harrowing Summoner’s Icons:

Icons galore
Icons galore

The top row depicted here are all icons that I have earned, below that row are the default ones. From left to right: Season 3 Silver, Vilemaw and Statue from Harrowing 2013, Lissandra clan from ARAM release, and the last one is from the Lunar Revel last year, though I don’t remember how I earned it exactly.

CastleStorm Demo:
This game is basically a mash up of different physics games and reminds me of Swords and Soldiers from Ronimo (the guys who made Awesomenauts). Basically you control a turret that shoots various ammo, and you are trying to destroy an opposing force’s castle before they destroy yours. They send soldiers, so can you. You can send your general to the front lines and use him to combat enemies. Destroying their castle turns into an Angry Birds style fling and smash. It was interesting, but nothing that I would want to buy. Ideas that work on their own don’t always work when mixed together. This feels tacked on.

How to Survive Demo:
The idea of an Action-RPG that is set in a different setting besides High Fantasy is rare indeed. Rare enough that I can’t think of another one off of the top of my head. Maybe the original Fall-out, but that was still turn-based. Anyway, the game looks gritty like Path of Exile, but is a modern setting, and there’s Zombies. As much as I have loved Zombies over the years — I watch the shows/movies, read the comics, play the games — it is starting to become tired. There’s shining examples of how the concept can be used to create a great show/game/movie, but for every good example, there’s another ten games with zombie themes that are awful. This game isn’t exactly awful, it has elements that I can enjoy. It just doesn’t have personality, and that keeps me from feeling immersed. Try the demo before you buy it.