Video Game Review: Boom Beach (Phones & Tablets)

*Written in 2014.

Since having to finally give up on Windows Phone due to no new devices and lack of development, I ended up not going back to the Evil Apple and instead went Android for the first time because the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge looked like an awesome piece of hardware. It is, by the way. Amazing, actually.

Getting back on an OS that actually has a lot of stuff being developed for it was a welcome change. I forgot what it was like to have a lot of good quality games on my phone. The most addictive, by far, has been Supercell’s Boom Beach.

I’ve played this thing for countless hours now and it is one of the few games that I have actually spent money on, as far as in game currency. For me, that is a pretty big deal. Usually, once these free games start needing money in order to advance through them, I lose interest and then go on to play another.

Now I get that this money generating scheme is how these developers stay in business and initially the software is free but it is still irritating. You see, I’m still of that old school gaming generation though; the one that pays for a game and expects it all to be there.

Typically, I don’t like waiting for a timer in a game to hinder my progress. I don’t mind that so much with this game. Although, I’d still like it to be speedier.

The graphics and animation are great. The game really is pretty slick to look at and with the fun factor pretty high, it is a rare gem in smartphone games. Plus, the whole point of the game is to blow shit up – a lot of shit.

I actually need to hurry up now and finish this review, as I have to go check on my gunboat, which should be upgraded to Level 8 by now.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: Other Supercell games.

Video Game Review: Transformers: Earth Wars (Phones & Tablets)

Transformers: Earth Wars is a real time strategy MMORPG. It’s kind of like Boom Beach but with Transformers characters, which immediately makes it superior. I also prefer the playing style of this game, even though I was quite the avid Boom Beach player for a year or so, at one point.

One thing that actually makes this a more fun experience than games like it, is that upgrading doesn’t seem to be as much of a resource depleted/time consuming hassle. I’ve progressed at a speed that has helped to keep me engaged and invested. I’ve now gotten to the point where some upgrades take a few days but you can upgrade up to five things at the same time. Plus, getting material isn’t as painstakingly difficult as it is in similar games. You can get building materials pretty quickly in battles and since you can upgrade your characters fairly quickly, acquiring more materials is pretty easy. I often times find myself with more materials than I need.

On the flip side, when your base is attacked by other players, it isn’t as catastrophic to your progress as it probably should be but I like this. Maybe those similar games could learn from this one, as not getting pillaged for your essential materials keeps you moving forward at a swift pace instead of constantly getting close to an important upgrade only to get hit by an attack and pretty much finding yourself back to square one. That is actually what eventually turned me off from Boom Beach, as I was stuck in an endless limbo.

Transformers: Earth Wars is a well balanced game for its style. You have to work at it but you are rewarded at a pace that is acceptable and keeps you wanting to play. The events and the alliance aspects of the game are also well crafted. It’s the first time where I’ve played a game like this and I wasn’t in an alliance that needed me to be engaged 24/7. That’s hard to do when you have a life. This game gives you a good mix of events, war and regular play, which is important if you need to battle for materials.

Rating: 8.5/10

Video Game Review: DragonSoul (Phones & Tablets)

*written in 2016.

Per Blue did a fantastic job with their game DragonSoul. It is one of the most addictive phone games I have played.

I should state that it does exist in that freemium format, as in its free to download and play but you’ve got to spend money if you want to advance at a quicker pace. I’ve spent some money on it but not an arm and a leg and I’ve progressed pretty rapidly. Also, you are rewarded with your purchases through their pretty sweet VIP program. Besides, what phone game isn’t freemium anymore?

The game has nice graphics and good character design. The mechanics are solid and the fights are pretty entertaining. Additionally, the game really benefits from a very leveled system of game play. Per Blue has done a pretty great job with updates and staying on top of issues and constantly improving their product.

Another thing that makes this pocket RPG great, is that Per Blue is constantly introducing new aspects to the game all the time. There are the standard quests, the elite quests, expeditions, the Crypt, the Temple, the Mountain, daily challenges, boss battles, the Fight Pit, the Coliseum and the newest awesome addition, the Guild War. The game also offers up a variety of shops with a multitude of items to help on building your characters.

DragonSoul also boasts, at this time, close to 40 playable characters. More have been introduced each month that I have played the game, which means that there is always something to do and a character to work on. If Per Blue keeps this up, they could have a game that goes on forever.

If you are looking for good and simple RPGs, this one does the trick. All the options and game types might seem overwhelming at first but once you start playing, everything is pretty easy to handle and manage. There isn’t a steep learning curve and things stay pretty straightforward. This definitely isn’t one of the hundreds of overly complex RPGs out there, many of which aren’t free.

Rating: 7.5/10

Video Game Review: Friday the 13th: The Game (PlayStation 4)

*I played the PlayStation 4 version. The game is also available on Windows and Xbox One.

I was a bit late to the dance on Friday the 13th: The Game. Honestly, I’m not big on online multiplayer stuff, as I’m an old school gamer and like to work alone; I don’t need a bunch of people holding me back, I can fly on my own!

So because of that, I was holding out for the single player mode to be released, as it was announced some time ago. Annoyingly, it has been delayed and delayed and well, it still isn’t out… half a year later. Therefore, I was growing impatient and being that I’m a big fan of the Friday the 13th franchise, I figured I’d just take the plunge. Plus, I downloaded this on Friday the 13th and it’s October, so I figured I’d celebrate by killing camp counselors.

Unfortunately, I had problems with the game from the start. More than half the sessions I played, dropped due to connection issues. I tested my connection, it was fine. I also fired up some other games and they ran smoothly. I’m not sure if it was the Friday the 13th servers themselves or if there was just a lot of traffic bogging things down, due to playing this on Friday the 13th and it being the day that the physical copy of the game was released, alongside updates of new maps in the game.

I didn’t get to play as Jason until my fourth session. As cool as I had hoped it would be, I enjoyed playing as a counselor more.

To break it down, each game has eight players. One player is Jason Voorhees trying to kill the counselors, the other seven players are the counselors, who have to try to survive until the session time runs out. Counselors can also attempt to escape to safety or take on the ultimate challenge and try to kill Jason – good luck with that!

My biggest problem with the game, other than the connection I had, is that the controls are overly complicated and clunky. The way the controls are laid it, doesn’t make a lot of natural sense. The game is ambitious with giving you special abilities and whatnot but it makes things more difficult, especially without the game having a proper hands on tutorial. It isn’t a game that you can just jump in and play, there is a learning curve that just makes things kind of frustrating for those who want to jump in and have fun. With the connection issues, it made the experience even more frustrating.

Plus, you jump into a game with experienced players. Experienced players who don’t have the patience for some halfwit trying to figure things out for the first time. For a latecomer to the game, you’re just thrown to the wolves and it isn’t a fun experience.

The first time I grabbed a counselor by the throat and was ready to murder the crap out of her, the connection dropped. Then when I was a counselor and was finally confronted by Jason, the action mechanics just didn’t respond well. Most of the time, I survived the game and didn’t even see Jason. Maybe I have great stealth skills that carried over from years of playing Metal Gear games.

When I got to play as Jason again, the action mechanics of the game just felt like a mess. I’d hack and slash like a crack-addled maniac but I’d barely hit anything. Half the time I tried to chop down a door, the hit wouldn’t register. Everything just felt awkward and alien and I’m a guy that has played games since the time I could pick up an Atari 2600 controller. I’ve played a plethora of games on every single system that has ever come out and when it comes to gaming, I’m a completist, so I have my mileage.

I really wanted this game to be great and to live up to the hype surrounding it but it just doesn’t cut the mustard. I’m going to give it a go a few more times and see if something clicks for me but I’d much rather play the original NES game from 1989, which is also, still more terrifying.

Man, I truly wanted to love this game.

Rating: 5/10