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Tag: Card, Board, & MahJong
- If the Toy Story movies taught us anything, it's that toys have minds of their own. It might be more than one step from free will to organized tower attack and defense drills, but Toy Rush skips everything in-between and gives us toys battling toys with a collectible card game element thrown in for good measure. It's as zany as it sounds, yet it'll have you sending toys to their doom by the dozens without even batting an eye.Toy Rush manages to nail the balance that many games seek but can't find: it makes its core mechanics simple to learn but challenging to master. Each toy in your collection is represented by a card, and when you are on the attack, you simply drag cards onto the starting point of the level in question and watch your playthings go to work.
- Maybe it would be different if I had grown up in Asia, but mahjong isn't the first thing that comes to mind when pondering what would make a good mobile game for the whole family. Crazy Labs obviously thinks slightly differently than I do, which explains why Tip Tap Monsters is exactly what I just described. It uses inviting graphics and an intuitive interface to give it broad appeal, but not everyone will be crazy about the double-fisted monetization system.If you're not familiar with mahjong, it's outside of the realm of this review to explain it. Suffice it to say that it's a tile-matching game that was born in China many years ago, and it's been turned into video games many times over.And yet, maybe not ever like this. Tip Tap Monsters replaces the tiles with cute, rectangular monsters, distinguishable from one another by things like color and the number of eyes they have. They're animated too, blinking while they wait to be selected and jumping up and down when they've been picked as part of a match.
- I've already written about how much I love Hearthstone. I talked about how the game is a ballet of mathematic interactions glazed with Blizzard's trademark visual flair, production values and the World of Warcraft aesthetic. I probably said something about how the free-to-play elements are balanced with in-game currency that accrues at just the right speed to keep you from ever feeling obligated to spend real money.I've admittedly fallen off my daily quest schedule quite hard in the months since Hearthstone's official release out of beta, but now it's on iPad. Now the game has changed.Except that it hasn't, really, which is a good thing. It's a fantastic thing, as Hearthstone was already a fantastic game. The transition to a mobile platform hasn't changed that. In fact, it feels rather like the game has come home.
- There was a time - let's call it "the nineties" - when Solitaire was seemed like the most popular PC game of all. Not because people loved it, mind you, but because it was free and came bundled with Windows. Still though, people grew to love it. As a classic card game that we're all familiar with, the "just one more game" pull of solitaire has always been hard to avoid.Despite its popularity, solitaire went years before it got a truly decent upgrade. Plenty of gamemakers had tried, mind you, but it took Big Fish Games to really hit on a winning formula. Combining elements of golf and cards, the original Fairway Solitaire debuted back in 2007 and has since been followed by a litany of releases. You probably know it best by its second iteration, which became something of a cult classic after its port to mobile devices back in 2012. If you've played either of these, there's a good chance that you already know that Big Fish + solitaire is a winning combination.Fairway Solitaire Blast is the latest release in the franchise, and the first that's built from the ground up with mobile gamers in mind. In fact, at the time of this writing, it's a mobile exclusive.
- I imagine a fair number of people were of the "oh great, another Star Wars card game" opinion when Star Wars: Assault Team was announced, and I can't say I blame them. But while it does make use of a few unfortunate monetization techniques, it's actually not a bad time. In fact, it's kind of clever.As with most Star Wars games these days, Assault Team just can't seem to avoid using notable characters from the movies. On the one hand, as a fan of the franchise, I think it's about time to start exploring the expanded universe a bit more (or even create new characters entirely). But on the other, I can see why LucasArts would want to stick with the names most of the general public will be familiar with.It all starts with Han Solo finding himself trapped on a Star Destroyer and fighting his way to freedom. As he blasts through teams of Storm Troopers during the tutorial missions, he'll start to round up a decent team of fellow prisoners - as well as reunite with Chewbacca of course - and then it's on to the game proper.
- My brother and I were born only about 17 months apart. As such we usually went to the same schools, played with the same friends and watched the same shows.We also look a lot alike. Obviously we're not twins, but those meeting us for the first time often assumed as much. Even today people confuse us, or just refer to us by our collective last name. Our similarities meant we rarely fought, except to distinguish ourselves from one another.We expressed our distinctiveness in the language of GameBoys. Of course we each had to have our own - not just because sharing is definitely not an option, but because they had to be different. They were different colors (mine teal, his purple), we had different carrying cases and, of course, different editions of Pokémon.
- Collectible Card Games can be tough to balance, mechanically. If things are too easy, players will get bored. If it takes too long to accomplish goals or build up a formidable deck, they'll get frustrated. Deadman's Cross seems to be trying to hit that sweet spot somewhere in the middle, but ultimately it misses the mark. And in many ways, it's basically just Guardian Cross with zombies.You assume the role of a run-of-the-mill survivor during the zombie apocalypse - one who follows the government's instructions of staying indoors a little too closely. After three months of isolation (three months!), you finally decide to step outside. Of course the world is a wreck. Zombies, referred to as "Deadmen," are roaming around everywhere and society pretty much doesn't exist anymore. At least not in the same way that it used to. The only way to survive in this world is to pick up a gun and start blasting… and then recruit the defeated Deadmen as your own personal army. I swear I'm not making this up."Your time playing Deadman's Cross will mostly be spent by completing jobs in order to progress and earn special items. Jobs are mostly split between wandering through hallways, hunting Deadmen to add to your collection, and having card duels with anything that moves. There's also an arena where you can indirectly battle against other players' Deadmen in an attempt to earn even more fantastic prizes.Deadman's Cross is, as I've mentioned, incredibly similar to Square Enix's previously released Guardian Cross, but many of those similarities are actually its biggest strengths. Managing your horde is pretty simple and painless. You can feed unneeded Deadmen to more powerful ones in order to level them up, and it doesn't take long before you'll have a sizable force at your disposal.
- On the list of animated shows I'm glad my daughter likes so I have a plausible reason to watch more of them myself, Adventure Time is right at the top (Littlest Pet Shop, in contrast, is last). So it's with great delight that I report that Card Wars - Adventure Time does right by the show and is better than most mobile card battle games, held back only a bit by its unnecessary two-pronged monetization.Fans of the series probably already know that Card Wars is a real thing in Finn and Jake's universe, kind of their own version of games like Magic: The Gathering. What you play in the mobile game is pretty darn faithful to what we've seen on screen, right down to some of the creatures and buildings, as well as "flooping the pig" — flooping being this game's version of tapping to activate a card's special ability."The biggest difference is that Card Wars - Adventure Time doesn't take that long to figure out, despite Jake's warning that there are lots of rules. Each battle has a setup phase that has each player lay out four landscapes on his or her side of the board. Creatures can only be played into their corresponding landscape, except for rainbow cards that can be played anywhere.Only one creature can be played at a time into each of the four lanes. All of them have varying mana costs to play, plus values for attack and defense. The other types of cards are buildings, which buff the creatures in their lanes, and spells, which have a variety of effects. The Volcano, for instance, wipes out everything in its lane on both sides of the board.