As you can see in the screenshot there, I made it to MR24 last night in Warframe. I haven’t been posting much lately, though, as the game’s settled more or less into a comfortable routine for me, so I haven’t been taking screenshots, and nothing really out of the ordinary has been happening that sticks in my mind and makes me go “oh, I should blog about that.”
On top of that I actually got a bit bored of Warframe for a few weeks and more or less just logged in daily for the login counter, then logged right back out. Oddly, what got me back in was watching a streamer who recently picked it up and seeing his joy in the game reminded me of how I’d felt when I started it too. I say “oddly” because I’ve never really watched streamers before, always having the attitude that I’d rather play the game myself than watch someone else play it, but not this time. Such is life, no?
BTW, I’m not sure if this is a bug or intended, but in the MR24 test if you let the things kill you and re-spawn, you come back with your Amp weapon which you don’t initially get. Having that makes it a lot easier from that point forward.
I’ve finished the planet map for Eris, have 1 spot left on the Kuva Fortress, and still have those 2 last spots on Sedna to finish up, and then I’ll have the full star chart completed. After that, it’s all about the waiting for the Fortuna and Railjack expansions to come out.
There’s still plenty of stuff I can do though — I’ve still got 3 frames and 2 archwings to rank up, several archwing weapons, and about 30 or 40 standard weapons still, so I’ll easily be able to hit MR25 once I get around to all that. I am not yet max rank with the Ostron or Quills in Cetus, and I could use some arcanes. I’d like to finish unlocking all my waybound focus slots eventually as well. I’m about halfway there right now. I’m also semi-sorta planning to get all the syndicate mods and items for all 6 syndicates. I’m at positive standings with 4 of the 6 right now, and plan to eventually start swapping around sigils so that I can bring the final 2 up into positive territory, while still maintaining positive standing with their “enemy” ones as well. That will take a bit of doing, I think, but I also think it will be worth it.
I’ve done a bit of Civ5, a bit of Stellaris, and I even joined the alpha (well, the email says alpha, but in the game there’s a button that says beta, so… I dunno) for “Survived By” which is a sort of Gauntlet-like top-down “kill the hordes of enemies” game with retro-looking graphics. I never really like Gauntlet much, so I don’t know if this will do anything for me, but… we’ll see.
I also installed and tried out Path of Exile. It bugged out the moment I created my 1st character. The very 1st thing you’re supposed to do it pick up your starter weapon from the ground. Everything says “left-click it to pick it up” but I couldn’t do it. The mouse never registered it. Couldn’t click on the item itself, nor on the text of the item. Nothing worked. I could click on the NPC next to the weapon and talk to him, but without being able to pick the weapon up I couldn’t leave that area. I’ll try un- and re-installing it to give it another go this weekend, I think.
I’ve also started up Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms. There’s really no game there — it literally plays itself. And yet, it’s somehow oddly compelling. How weird is that? There’s really nothing to say about it, since it plays itself, but it somehow trips that Skinner Box trigger for me.
I backed Fractured on Kickstarter, and it looks like it met its funding goal with less than a day to go, so I’ll be trying that out if/once they release it. I had good luck with the Shadowrun game I backed a few years ago, so hopefully this studio will do well with this game too.
On the mobile gaming front I’m playing 2 versions of the same game — Marvel Strike Force and Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes now. They’re by 2 different companies, but they are functionally identical. They’re simple turn-based team-fighting games where much of the battle is won or lost simply by the characters you choose to make up your team — to the point where a lot of co-workers who play them (which was how I got started too) will simply use the auto-battle feature for the actual fights, as there’s not really much need to pick the right skill at the right time on the right target. Sure, you can play manually and do that, and in the Strike Force raids that’s actually a good idea, but for the most part it doesn’t really matter much. They’re an amusing diversion for 10 minutes a few times a day, but they’re pretty much fluff, not anything I’d seriously get into, I don’t think. I fell in to that rabbit hole with Astronest, and while I was still enjoying that game when I uninstalled it, I’ve also never missed it either. I think these 2 games will be the same. One day I’ll simply be “done” and I’ll uninstall them and never look back.
In other news, FFXIV is having a “4 days free” comeback promo running until August 2nd. I’ve still got it installed, and my daughter’s been bugging me to play that again, so I’ll probably hit that up this weekend too. Maybe see if I can’t try out the new dungeons and catch up on the MSQ. We’ll see.
So that’s where I’m at right now. Happy gaming out there!
In my quest for new ways to waste time with my Android phone I’ve recently found a puzzle game by the name of Tangram Moment. Created by H.Jin and free to download from the Android Market, this app is a version of the popular puzzle known as Tangrams.
In Tangrams, the goal is to use seven geometrically shaped blocks called tans to recreate a given design. Some designs, like the one in the image above are easy while some are quite tricky. Tangram Moment has been recently updated to include over 450 designs which are arranged into categories and are progressively unlocked as you complete them.
It’s nothing new, but it’s well done in that the controls to rotate and move your tans are very smooth and the puzzles offer a good mixture between simple and tricky. It scratches the puzzle itch I’ve had lately, and it’s good for when you have a few moments and want to do something to relax. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a puzzle to work through on their phone.
Today we have a rapidly expanding and pretty popular puzzle game available on Android called Alchemy, created by Andrey Zaikin (Blog mostly in Russian) Alchemy is a simple concept puzzle game that has surprising depth once you dig into it.
Alchemy begins as a black screen with four icons representing the four elements, Earth Air Fire and Water. For example, dragging your starting Fire icon onto the Water icon makes Alcohol, while dragging your Water icon onto the Earth icon makes a Swamp. Doubletap in a blank area to get a new set of four elements and you can combine Air and Earth to make Dust, or Fire and Air to make Energy. By combining these you make ever more complex items, eventually making Life and Man, as well as fun things like Vampires, Frankenstein, Walking Trees and 1UP Mushrooms!
Dragging an icon to the ? symbol will give you information about it (usually a Wikipedia link) and combinations that create or use it. When dragging an icon the + symbol becomes a trash can you can use to discard excess icons and unclutter your workspace. Tapping the + opens a menu listing the elements you’ve created which you can use to bring one onto the workspace as an icon without having to recreate it from the basic four. On the list of your unlocked elements ones marked with a red * are end line creations that can’t be used to make anything new.
The joy in this game comes from deducing what combines to make something, and in the current version there are 300 elements to puzzle out. I have to admit I am still under 150 elements, but really enjoying jumping back in with a clear mind and trying new things when I have spare moments.
If you’re looking for a puzzle game with an interesting twist then give Alchemy a try! It’s a free download on the Android Market.
This week I’m highlighting another tower defense style game for mobile phones that I’ve been spending time with when I can sneak a level or two. This one is called Void Defence, by Craig Hart (funqai.com). It puts a spin on the usual tower defense game by not involving roads or chutes, instead enemies come at you through the void.
You control a ring with twelve positions for towers, initially all empty. Enemies start in the center of the circle of which your ring is the circumference and move in a spiral position until crashing into the ring and taking your lives. You have the choice of six types of towers to use in your defense, which range from light damage rapid fire towers to towers that chain damage among several ships with each shot to towers that deal heavy damage and have a change to ‘reap’ enemy lives to add to your own but are very slow firing. All towers can be upgraded for range and statistics and also have a setting for target preference; either closest, highest health, lowest health or fastest enemy within range.
As you progress in levels the enemies have progressively more health and are worth more cash when killed. This is a game that has no end, it is a test of your strategy and survival to see how far you can go and points you can earn. Every eight levels you reach a checkpoint, from which later games can be started and the enemy resets to the slowest type (with ever increasing health). My record is 50, at which point the enemies have well over 100,000 health.
You have some assistance in your struggle, though it is random and forces you to make the best of what you are given. Every other level an enemy will spawn that when killed gives you a one use power to pass a tough level; these include freezing all enemies on screen, bombing the onscreen enemies to explode within a few seconds, doubling the range of all your towers, doubling the damage of all your towers, increasing the point value of enemies and increasing the cash value of enemies. When you pass an 8 level checkpoint, an enemy spawns that gives you a bonus that can be extra lives, extra points or an increase to the interest rate paid at the end of each level.
This interest rate is where your strategy becomes important, as it is the way to survive at higher levels of play. Any unspent cash gains you interest at the end of each level, so you are rewarded by being thrifty with your upgrades. The rate begins at 6% but can increase with the bonuses you get as you play. Planning a strategy to make your money work for you is essential to reaching higher levels in the game.
Ultimately this one is an achiever style game, as your reward for your well executed strategy is always a painful death and a points score. But the strategy elements and improving upon my play have kept me interested through all the levels available in the demo version. If you’re interested in something a little different and fun then try this one, I bet you’ll like it.
If you follow me on twitter @Kasul you may know that I recently upgraded to an Android phone. Android, like the iPhone and the iPod touch has a store that includes many free and buyable applications to run. Being a gamer, of course that was the first thing I looked for.
I enjoy many types of games on console and PC, but for gaming on a phone I tend to look for turn based or strategy games. The phone platform is poor for twitch games, making slow reflexes slower and anything that requires rapid movement frustrating. It’s personal preference I guess. Lately I’ve been really enjoying two tower defense games and I wanted to highlight one of them.
The game is called Bubble Defense, created by Second Gear Games. It is more whimsical in theme than most of the tower defense games I’ve played but is very strategic in play. Here your enemies travel along predefined paths that you put your towers alongside. Each map has multiple routes for enemy bubbles and limited spaces for your towers, so choosing what to place and when to upgrade is important. The game is paused while you place towers in between enemy waves, and the next wave begins when you wish it to.
Enemy bubbles come in several different varieties, and most when hit will turn into a bubble of the next lower color. So orange medium speed bubbles, become yellow slightly slower bubbles and finally green slow ones that pop with one hit. There are frozen bubbles immune to normal shots until hit by a flame tower, and black very slow bubbles that become white lightning bubbles; these zip by at hyper speed and in turn become three orange bubbles when popped. Most deadly are red devil bubbles, that take several hits and fire back, destroying your towers. Quick replacement is a must when facing these.
It is a fun game, and though placing towers can be frustrating on the touchscreen the action is paused in between waves to compensate. You have four types of towers available for use; single shot towers, towers that fire in six directions, the forementioned flame towers that act as normal single shot with the added ability to thaw frozen bubbles and warp towers that send bubbles back to the start of the path. Each type has two upgraded levels available to buy that improve both range and rate of fire.
Bubble Defense is a representative tower defense game with some twists that looks good and plays quickly. An average level is 30 waves and normally takes a half hour. If you’re looking for something to play on a lunch break or bus ride I would recommend it.