Thursday
Oct132016

Puzzle Monster Quest Review

Puzzle Monster Quest, for the iOS, has had me hooked since the day I got my hands on it. Now it might have been the simple fact that I'm a sucker for RPGs with a puzzle component to it, or maybe it was the fact that coupled with that was a free price tag. In this game you will be creating a group of creatures/monsters/heroes to battle through different levels, special events, and group activities. 

You will get to level up your party to make them stronger, and eventually you will have the chance to see some of them evolve into an even stronger version of themselves. Now there is a catch with the leveling and evolving and that is that you have to sacrifice other creatures to accomplish the tasks. You will also notice that you have a limited amount of space that you get to work with when it comes to the number of creatures you can have in your inventory at one time.

Now the interesting thing is that your hero also gets some love from the leveling up and evolving mechanics in the game, but this time it doesn't take sacrificing creatures. You will be able to create weapons, armor, and helmets to better your character. Each of these items can be leveled up and/or evolved. To accomplish these tasks you will have to use ingredients that you have collected through your adventures in the game.

There is a lot to like about this game, you do burn energy to take on areas, and there isn't a set number of energy needed to complete the levels, so you'll have to keep an eye out for that. There's also the daily quests, tasks to complete, and the daily sign in bonus that will definitely keep you coming back at least for a short time to rake in some of the low hanging fruit. 

The battle mechanics work like this, you will have your character on a grid with different colors on it. You will then draw a path of like colors around the board, once you've gone as far as you can you will simply lift up your finger and your hero will walk the path. Now you must be wondering what about the creatures in my party, well if the color you are walking on is the same as one, some, or all of the creatures in your party they will walk the path as well doing damage along the way. 

Speaking of damage, there are several different types of damage found in this game, you will do damage simply by walking by an enemy, but if you walk enough in one shot you can unleash a special attack, this also applies to your creatures. So I think it's pretty obvious you're going to want to try to find the longest paths and walk them so you can unleash true power. There's also one other thing, you see as you are moving around the board you're also accumulating color points and if you have enough of a color you can unleash a special attack, or a creature can unleash a special attack. The best part about this is that each creature and your hero have a separate collection pool. So if you have a bunch of fire creatures and you walk along a red path all of them get the same amount to fill up their gauges and when one uses their special it doesn't affect the others.

I will say this, it does require an internet connection, so there's not going to be any playing of the game if your connection sucks. That being said, this is a fun game, there are TONS of different types of creatures, there are different special events that will unlock special creatures and ingredients for you. Actually, every time you complete an area you do get a random selection of creatures, gold, and ingredients, so don't think that the only way to get stuff is special events.

Here's the deal, if you like match-3 games with RPG mechanics and a ton of different party customizations to play around with, and the chance to find ultra rare ingredients or creatures, you will eat this game up. I have to say that for me personally, it is a bit difficult to play energy based games, but this is one of the few that I feel like I'm getting my money's worth. This game gets a 9.2 out of 10

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Monday
Sep262016

Primal Legends Review

This free-to-play game, Primal Legends, with in-game transactions, brings the match 3 mechanics to an RPG environment. You will control four of 50 different characters, that you will unlock throughout the game, and it is these four that will bring you to victory, or have you crushed. There are 200 levels of questing that you'll take on, many of which have different scenarios needed to complete the level. There are also levels that have more than one wave to take care of.

Graphically I love the look of this game on my iPhone, the setup of the town, the map of all the levels, the character design, they all look great. This is a gorgeous looking game. The issue is that this game isn't just about looks, does this game have the innards to make it an amazing game, and to be honest it's mostly swings and misses. 

One of the biggest problems is that these levels are one and done, sure you can play them again, and maybe try another configuration of heroes to see how they work together while not trying to tackle the latest level and getting your ass handed to you. I do love the fact that you can play until you just run out of want, but I'm going to be honest, I usually had to stop playing either to wait for the latest free treasure chest to unlock, or because I was going to throw my phone through a wall in frustration.

A core mechanic of this game is leveling up your characters, to do that you have to gain a certain number of points for specific characters to then spend money on them (in game currency) to level them up to their next powerful iteration. The thing is that you can only get these buy either using the coins in game, or hoping that you get a treasure chest that contains a certain number of them. 

Now you do get treasure chests for the first time you beat a level and the level of that chest or type of chest depends on the level you just beat, and a little bit of luck. You then collect chests and once you have 6 spots full you have to wait for one of them to open. This requires time unless you want to use crystals, that rare currency that the developer is going to want you to use your real money to buy. This is another reason why you'll take time away from the game.

There is a PvP element to this game as well, but I never really play it a lot. One reason is that I didn't seem to quickly find opponents when I was playing early on, the other reason is that I usually suck when facing a real opponent.

So here's the deal, this game, which is free-to-play, is probably better suited as a pay as you go game. Personally, this is the only way that I can even imagine having fun with this game. It kills me because I love the look of this game, I'm a sucker for pitting RPGs and match-3 mechanics together, but it just doesn't quite work as a whole in this game.

There's also the fact that no matter how strong your characters are your opponent is going to be able to do things quicker. Out of sheer frustration I counted the number of a certain color collected that I needed to pull off a special move, and then I also kept track of my opponents. Every single time their number was always much lower than mine and for some reason there were many times where magically they were able to fill right back up again and do the same attack causing me to just want to throw in the towel.

I'm really sorry but this game isn't one for me, and I don't know if this game is going to be for anyone who isn't willing to put some money into this game. This is a pass for me, and it gets a 5.1 out of 10.

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Sunday
Sep182016

Zealeus plays Eternal Senia

Eternal Senia is an action RPG, developed and published by White Priest.  Video gameplay from yours truly:

From the "about this game" on Steam:

I believe that gaming should not be anything complicated or difficult, 
but a relaxing and pleasure experience. 

Therefore, I designed this ARPG 

battle system which requires no attack button to play. 
The simplicity brings a fluent and interesting gaming experience. 

Eternal Senia does indeed fit this description.  Most importantly, though, is it's just fun to play.  While it's a pretty simply game to play, it keeps the right balance of simplicity and making the game engaging.

Combat takes place by simply moving towards your enemies on a grid arena to attack.  You will unlock some special abilities for enhanced attacks.  There's also a major and interesting storyline to get wrapped up in.  I rather enjoy the boss fights in the game.  The add the extra challenge to the game, but are also scripted enough to create a pattern players can figure out.  Again, fun combat with some challenge, but not to the point where it's frustrating.

Now, that's not to say you don't have to think while playing.  As enemies get harder, you can't just RUN RAMBO into combat without any stratgey.  Enemies will start deflecting your attacks, have specials, etc.  There are also puzzle aspects to open up the next area.

It's also worth nothing Eternal Senia is 100% free.  No DLCs or microtransactions!

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Thursday
Sep152016

Rooms of Doom

 

Rooms of Doom an iOS game from Yodo Games that puts you in the role of genetic experiments that are forced to survive room after room for a mad scientist looking for the perfect minion to help with his mission of taking over the world.

The rooms you will face all have a unique aspect to them that will cause you to utilize the tap mechanism in different ways. In some rooms tapping is needed to jump, in others it is needed to swim, and in others still it is used to close your parachute to dodge fireballs. Each time you successfully survive 3 rooms you will see an increase in the speed and difficulty, have no fear though, you will also get a bonus room that if you get through you will have access to lots of coins.

You see, you were not meant to immediately beat the labyrinth set in front of you. Your mission will be to collect coins and points to unlock further content. With the coins you will be able to create new minions as well as new versions of the minions you already have. With the points you will be able to unlock new rooms, or upgrade those rooms to allow you get to better coins, and add new wrinkles to that section.

It does take a while to get used to the game, but there is something about the game that definitely keeps you coming back. There are challenges that if you complete will give you extra coins, sometimes these challenges are relatively easy, other times you are really going to have to work for them. If a minion is defeated there is a timer that starts and when it ends the minion is revived, so you're never going to truly lose any of them. There are those with special abilities that if used correctly will help you get through some of the rooms even if you make a mistake.

If you are looking for a fun game that presents a challenge, and rewards success, this is definitely a game that you need to put on your iOS device. There is one more thing about this game, it is FREE, so go get it today. This game gets a 9.1 out of 10.

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Monday
Sep122016

Reigns

 

Reigns is a choose your own adventure game where you simply swipe left or right to make important decisions about your kingdom:

Resulting in a conversation with the good doctor...

There are 4 factions at the top - Church, the people, your army, and money.  Let one of the 4 factions get out of hand from your choices (notice the little bubble at the top where I'm swiping indicating that faction will be affected by my choice)...

And you are suddenly on your way to a short reign...

For $3, Reign is a solid, fun purchase that I definitely recommend.  Balancing your choices to make sure none of the 4 factions bottom out is a fun challenge.  Though you will start to see the same cards during multiple playthroughs, your choices will alter which cards come up next and there is randomization in cards so it's not too repetitive.  You also unlock more cards as you go down different decision trees.  Oh, and you can talk dogs.

Here at Altered Confusion, we tend to be fans of quality games requiring an initial purchase to play that don't nag you for constant in app purchases or DLCs; Reigns fits in quite well here!

Reigns is available on multiple platforms, including iOS (the version I played), Steam, and Google Play.

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Tuesday
Aug162016

Gleam Review

 

The humans have destroyed the world, and have subsequently died off, all that is left is debris and destruction. Actually, that's not completely the case, you see there seems to be some plant life that has actually survived and it is with your help that these plants might have the chance to survive, if only they can get enough light. 

In Gleam, by Hiker Games, you get the chance to help plant life come back to earth. You will use swiping motions on the screen to cut the crystals down to size so that the light can be reflected down to nurture the plants. Now before you worry too much you will be able to see how the light will refract by keeping your finger down on the screen so you can do fine tuning of your cut. Even with this fine tuning, there's no way of promising you're going to get that "best solution" on the first try, this is definitely a game in which you are going to have to keep coming back to the levels to see if you can get that better score.

Speaking of scores this game is on a 1 to 3 stars system. You receive at least 1 star if you are able to complete the level, if you find a way to do it within a minimal amount of moves you get 3 stars. My experience is that as long as you have some understanding of the game you're probably going to find yourself with mainly 2 stars. There is a very important element to the game that will have you replaying levels, even if you really don't want to and that is the unlocking of the next areas. Some games get this mechanic wrong by asking too much from the user, but I feel that this game actually gets it almost perfect. Can I get through many of the areas, and have to play a couple of levels over again to challenge my way of approaching certain issues but not make it feel like I'm unfairly being forced to do something? That's exactly how this feels in the game.

Now there is something that I do have to point out about this game and that it is free for both the iOS (what we reviewed it on) and Android. That point did not go into my review of the game, the reason is that no matter the price point it still has to be able to stand on its own, and I believe that this game does just that.

I like the fact that not only are there challenges to each level, and some extra mechanics thrown in such as the button to own doors, or the red light having to be cleansed through a white crystal before it hits the plant, but each level doesn't feel like its being repeated just for the sake of having more levels. Each level presents a different challenge, and sure there are some levels that are easier than others, and I did find that there isn't a constant increase in difficulty, but there was definitely a couple of levels that I easy defeated and then right afterwards would face one that took me a while to figure out.

This game is something that as a puzzle solver you're going to want to have it in your collection. There's something about this game that definitely makes you want to keep going back to the levels to get those 3 stars. There is that sense of accomplishment and NOT the sense of relief because the game is too damn frustrating. This is a solid game, get it now, thank me later, and it gets an 8.9 out of 10.

 

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Monday
Aug082016

George: Scared of the Dark Review

George is just a lonely ghost who doesn't really know who he is, but there's something that might answer his question if only he can get to the lighthouse, and find out who lives in the small cottage. In this platformer/runner game, George: Scared of the Dark, you will be taking on the part of George, you will have to dodge enemies, collect skulls, and survive each of the 10 levels to get the whole story.

Graphically I found that the game looked great. You don't need flashy graphics in this game, and the color scheme and look just seemed to fit. I enjoyed the look of the enemies as well, although after retrying a level over and over again, you start to REALLY hate that specific type of enemy.

This game is procedurally generated, what that means is that you'll never play the same level twice, even if you are retrying the level. Now in most part there isn't an issue with this method in the game, however, when you get further in the game this method starts to backfire. Now understand that this is meant to be a difficult game, and so there's definitely going to be many retries per level, but the thing is that some of the retries are based solely on no-win situations. The reason I say this is that there are certain times where you're not going to be able to dodge the enemy or projectile and so you're going to be forced to be okay with the outcome.

Now I mentioned enemies in the game, and there are quite a few of them, some MUCH more dangerous than others. You will quickly be introduced to the Yellow Blobs, and they are going to make life interesting for you because they are either going to jump in place, charge at you, or do a combo of both. Then there are the rolling eyeballs, by far the most mundane of the group, all you have to do is time the drop of the eyeball and be ready to jump over it. There's also zombie hands, that actually are about on par with the eyeballs, and as long as you time it right, they're not even going to beat you. The bats, on the other hand, are going to take some skill as not all of them will awaken, and when they do, they are going to try to come right after you, so timing is beyond key, but if your timing is a little bit off you're going to find yourself restarting the level. Finally, we have the knives, and this is probably the most menacing enemy/projectile in the game because the chance of no win scenarios is higher with these. There are two different knives, a rotating cleaver and a flying steak knife. I believe they are trying to aim for your current location, but with the runner factor of the game there are times where you have no choice but to either get cut in half or fall to your death.

I mentioned that this is a runner game and that means that you are constantly running from left to right, which means that you'll have to always be aware of what is ahead of you be it enemies, skulls, or jumps. This means that you're going to have to lean on the controls of the game. As this game was played on the iOS that means that you're going to be relying on touchscreen controls. You will tap to jump you can swipe forward to speed forward, and you can swipe back to back flip and sometimes go backwards a bit. Here's the issue, the jump mechanics are the only thing you can count on in the game. There are times where the swipes don't actually register or register in a way that causes more harm than good.

An example of this is in the flying knife level where you're going to have to backflip a lot if you're going to find any way of potentially navigating past those knives, however you're going to find that sometimes the flip takes you back, sometimes it's ignored, and sometimes you go flying back on the flip. Actually, this applies to the speeding forward mechanism as well, sometimes you don't really leave the ground when you speed forward, sometimes you speed backwards, and sometimes, I'm guessing because the swipe wasn't EXACTLY left to right, it does nothing.

I stated that there are 10 levels to this game, and to be honest, I feel like that is too few. You have so many features/ideas/monsters/etc. that appear in this game, and most of them are quickly used and then forgotten. If that's the way it was to be developed why have all the different enemies and such in the first place. It feels like the developer thought, "hmm, this could be cool," and then immediately forgot about it on the very next level design.

At the end of each level that is a skull that will tell you a story, or at least attempt to, I'm not really sure what it's talking about, and if I want to read what was said again I've got to run and successfully beat the level in its entirety to get a second chance. There's also the fact that there are sometimes where the text on the screen seems to appear for too long and other times where it's a little bit short. I can only assume that the developer decided to have a constant amount of time no matter the character count, and there's also no way to advance the text pass when the game wants it to change.

Now here's something that I'm going to have to say I'm just nitpicking at, and hell, maybe people think I've already been pretty nitpicky with what I've said so far, but this is how I see games. Unless something has changed this game actually doesn't meet the required criteria for being a game on a mobile device. When the device receives a call the game is to pause and upon returning from the call the game should present you with a pause screen so that the user is prepared to continue. This game does indeed pause when a phone call comes in but when the call ends, it goes right back into the game, and since it's a runner game 99 out of 100 times you're going to be restarting the level, even if this is the furthest you've gotten through that specific level.

Alright, so let's get down to it, is this game worth a spot on your iOS device... It could be, there's something to this game that is entertaining, but there is a lot of frustration that is caused as well. I'm going to say it's a 50/50 type of recommendation to you, the reader. I'm going to give this game a 5.7 out of 10.

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