Game Quicky: Mini Metro (Android) ~ Transported Over There

header.jpgOfficial website

Mini Metro is a game I own twice. Once on Android and once on Steam. Truth to be told, I’m mostly playing the Android version. I play this game quite meta… Since I play this game mostly on the train to work. Yup, playing a public transport sim on public transport. But is it worth your time to play it yourself? Let’s take a look at this game in this game quicky. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the article and/or the game in the comment section down below.

Positives

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The game is so simple and easy to understand, there is no tutorial really needed. You need to draw lines between the stations so the right shaped dot can go to the right shaped station (the white and bigger figures in the screenshot).

The UI (user interface) is amazing! I love how the menu system is set-up as a sort of poster you find in the subway system.

The visuals of this game are kept really simple and clean. This way I can focus more on the gameplay. Also, I love there is a day mode and a night mode. There is only a visual difference between the two modes. It’s like the “dark theme” in various Android apps. Speaking of the visual design, you are able to “move” lines so you can make your network more visually pleasing.

The screenshot feature is lovely. This way you can make your own screenshots to share. Since the game is randomized each and every time, this is a fun way to share your most amazing moments in the game.

The game is really addictive to play. When I’m waiting for the doctor or the train, I play this game on my tablet. While this game could be played on phones, I think it’s more fun to play on a bigger screened phone or a tablet. This game is really challenging as well. I have almost finished all the maps, but I’m stuck at the last three maps.

At first, you think that 16 levels aren’t that much. But you can play each level in 3 modes. And not only that, you can keep playing these levels after you have beaten the goal to advance to the next level. Also, each gameplay mode offers a new style of playing. You have a normal mode and a hard mode. In the hard mode, you can’t erase tracks. And the 3rd and quite recently added mode is an endless mode.

This game gets bug fixes and new options very regularly. Oh, and before I forget this game got recently a new gameplay mode. The endless gameplay mode!

Negatives

Mini-Metro-4.jpgI have to go real nitpicky to find negatives for this game. So, here are the negatives of this game.

In some maps, I don’t like the color combination of the lines that much. Some colors don’t fit each other in my opinion. But, while playing, I don’t mind that much.

In the Android version, I miss a feature that’s present in the PC-version. And that’s a way to remove a line completely from the map to redraw it. That would be extremely handy.

When you have more than one line arriving in a station, it’s sometimes difficult to select the right line. In some cases, I had to try three or more times before I was able to pick the right line.

Sometimes, it’s confusing to understand why an empty train doesn’t pick up any passengers and rides to the end first. I have seen this happening more than once but it doesn’t happen all the time.

This game is way too cheap. Seriously, I see this as a negative. This game is worth more money than the developer is asking for it! I would gladly pay double to play this game on Android.

The only real negative in this game is the soundtrack. Maybe it’s just me, but the soundtrack in the Android version is nothing to write home about. I even think that there aren’t more than 3 tracks present in this game. And if I remember correctly, there is more music in the PC-version. Yet, the music present is pretty good and is nice to listen to. I think that more variation would help the game a lot.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a great time waster for a real cheap price, look no further than Mini Metro! It’s one of the best games I have ever played on Android.I can’t recommend this game enough.

The game is almost perfect in my eyes. The fact that I had to nitpick to find negatives for this game tells a lot. If you like puzzle games, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game and give it a try. Casual game fan? Play this game too! Seriously, it’s a fun game.

In any case, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this! I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Score: 90/100

Game Nostalgia: My past with casual games

Arpegi BackWhen I was younger, I used to try and recreate popular games. I made a Pac-Man clone and a BreakOut-clone is a sort of drag-and-drop engine. It was rather easy and required almost no programming knowledge. I was inspired by the various games I played from Popcap, GameHouse or Reflexive Entertainment. Yeah, I played casual games and enjoyed them a lot. Being a gamer doesn’t mean you need to play hardcore games all day. Today, I almost spent the whole day watching my favorite TV-series and playing casual games. So, let’s dig up a few games off my past and let’s talk about them. Are they any good or are they just games for the gamers who take gaming not that seriously? Let’s dive in! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion about the games and/or content of the article. 

Casual games aren’t real games.

Let me be clear on one thing. The games I played in the past where games from the developers of Peggle, Plants vs Zombies, Dinner Dash, Cubis 2, Luxor and others. The issue with these games are that they can be produced rather quickly. I’m not saying that they can be created without a lot of effort, but when I saw how quick some publishers could publish the games… It was kinda scary. Once I saw a game becoming really popular in the summer and the sequel dropped around the holidays at the end of the year.

I think the crowd for these games is a different crowd then the games I play now-a-days. But there is one thing that these games do that other studios should take a lesson from. They created a version of the game that you could play for 60 minutes. When your 60 minutes where over, you got a screen where you had to purchase the game. The big thing here was, you were allowed to play the full game without any major restrictions. This is how you should create a demo for these kind of games.

In my eyes, they are real games that we can play when we feel like playing a game but don’t feel like playing a big budget game. Or in-between releases. I’m even happy to see that some games hit mainstream and got accepted by the hardcore community. As a personal sidenote, I feel I float somewhere in that middle zone. I play a lot of different kind of games. The main thing I care about is to have fun with my games. They deliver on that without any doubts. In any case, I think I made my point. Now, let’s take a look at 2 of these games I played in the past and I’ll tell you why I think they are worth playing.

Games, games and more games.

Dream Chronicles

Dream_Chronicles_1_LogoBack when I still made YouTube videos I played this gem of an adventure game called Dream Chronicles. When I discovered this game, I was highly into dreams and their meanings. I believe that a dream can try to tell you a story. It can also be a tool to help you process an argument or something else (un)pleasant that happened on that day.

The story in this game is what took me off guard. It started out like a “already heard, already done” story at first, but nearing the middle of the first game and certainly in the sequel, that completely changed.

This game series is one of my favorite games in the casual adventure games genre. I highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to play a relaxing adventure game with interesting puzzles and a thrilling story.

One negative, one huge flaw in this game is that KatStudio’s and PlayFirst (the developers and publishers of this game) … well, it went a bit bad. It’s not exactly clear why but the ending of the 5th game became rushed and awkward. It opens up so many doors to a 6th game but it got cancelled.

Puzzle Inlay

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This game is created by a few people. It was created in a puzzle lab. In this game you have to fill a figure with certain blocks. You get them at the bottom. The fuller the that bottom becomes, the worse it is for you. You get a few powerups like a hammer or a wand that changes all/several blocks to usable blocks.

I got hooked on this game a lot, so I played the sequels and spin-offs. The two I played the post were Adventure Inlay and Magic Inlay. These games offered a bit more then the original. Puzzle Lab did a really good job with those.

In Magic Inlay, you have final bosses. Most of them mess with your tray or with your already placed blocks which made for some quick thinking moments.

In Adventure Inlay, the game offers a bunch of different game modes that change up the gameplay quite a lot.

Honestly, I recommend Puzzle Inlay to the big puzzle fans. If you love puzzle games, this is one you should really check out, it’s a relaxing puzzle game that will entertain you when you are waiting for that next big puzzle game to play.

Conclusion

Well, I have a bunch of games I still want to talk about. But because I haven’t played them in such a long time, I didn’t include them in this article. So, I’m not planning to write a sequel on this article but rather take a look at the games I still want to talk about in a game quicky. I want to take a more in-depth look to Magic Inlay and Adventure Inlay even.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this look in my past. I would love to hear from you guys which casual games you tried. Did you enjoy your experience? Did you compare them to the big budget games? Actually, that’s an idea for another article. How “good” are casual games compared to the big budget games.

In any case, I hope to welcome you in another article on my blog. But until then, have an amazing day!

Game Quicky Review: Adventerix (Android) ~ Old yet new

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So, this month will be filled with GBA goodness. But let me start with a quick article about an Android game I was asked to review. I had to push the review back and back because I was busy and I had other articles planned. In any case, I think it’s time to give this a honest review. But because this is a small game, I don’t think it can have a full blown 1000-ish word long review. That’s why I do a quicky on this. With my new format 🙂

Google Play Store link

Before the start

I have this thing in my personality… The thing is that I’m quite polite. So, I wanted to thank the developer to give me this chance to review their game. While my critique / review can rip some games apart, I always try to do it with respect for the developer.

They gave me a review copy of this game and they told me that they were a small indy company working together on this game. Because this is their first game they wanted to make sure it’s good so that they can do these kind of things in the future.

The good

ss (2014-10-09 at 08.05.07)This game is rather nicely put together. It’s quite clear that this game had a lot of care and thought put behind it. For a couple of people, the quality is pretty nice. The gameplay is also quite unique and are fun to play with.

It’s exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a Tetris-ish puzzle game.

The “meh”

The music that plays in the background doesn’t put the right mood. It plays some Scottish sounding music. This doesn’t put you in the mood of playing a sort of Tetris game at all. At least in my opinion. At least it isn’t a cheap Tetris remix and they created original music. It deserves a “meh” because it isn’t really fitting.

Visually, the game looks and plays quite nice. But the enemy design just looks silly to me. The small alligators just don’t click with me. Maybe they should change it to the natural enemies of the frog? That way you can sneakily educate players on frogs.

The bad

In every level you get one additional hit, for some reason. But you can’t see if you used up that hit or not. That is pretty lame.

Also, sometimes I wasn’t able to move my Tetris pieces just right. Because there isn’t a tutorial, it isn’t clear how to move the Tetris pieces around.

Guys, it’s quite nice to show you my score, but could you please just show a highscore list then? Since now the score is just kind of there, serving no purpose.

Conclusion

So, if you ask me, this game is worth it. While it’s not perfect, it’s quite enjoyable to play. The price isn’t wrong too. For one buck, this is something that you won’t regret buying.

I have a good feeling that the developers of this game are going to add more levels and content so, about the current short state of the game… I’m totally not worried about it. The advice I’m giving them is that the game needs some additional polish. I think the best idea is to do that while you release new levels. Otherwise it might get stale to others.

Anyways, I think I’m going to leave it here for this quicky. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed. The next article will be my first in the GBA month. So, get hyped.

Score: 4/5

Game Quicky #001: Catlateral Damage (PC) ~ Still in Alpha

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Welcome to my new series! In this series I’m going to write (short) articles about a game, mod or experience which I wanted to talk about. This will mostly contain in development games, mods for Minecraft or SMF or simple experiences that make you as a person richer. I have no clue how frequent these articles will be so if you want more frequent articles of these, drop me a comment. Oh, this might be a great series to revive my Android games series. Remember those? Anyways, let’s dive right into Catlateral Damage. 

Official site

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So, I got a tweet from a friend over at ButtonSmashersBlog of this game. Yet, I have played this game before. Thanks to his reminder, I wanted to write an article about this silly game. In real life I’m known to delay things. A prime example is this article. I started writing the introduction at mid February and now I finish it around the start of March. Being busy isn’t fun.

So, what can I say about this game? Well, for an amazing graphically beautiful game, you are the wrong spot. This game isn’t that. It’s a game where you play as a naughty cat… And for some readers, please get your mind out of the gutter. Thank you. This cat throws everything on the ground.

Your goal is to get a certain point value in a certain amount of time. Honestly, I haven’t beaten it. But some friends from Arpegi have beaten it.

I’m truly curious where this game is going to go when it’s fully released. I hear myself dreaming about more rooms and music. That would be awesome.

For now, this game is free. And I really recommend it as a sort of time killer. And if you are a YouTuber, an easy video. And I haven’t anything more to say about this game. I will keep an eye on this game and when it’s more developed, I will surely write a first impression.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the introduction to my new series. Catch you next time.

Rant #005: Modern gaming never grew up.

Thanks to my girlfriend for making this for me.
Thanks to my girlfriend for making this for me.

Let’s face it. The modern games makes the current gaming market a totally different market. You can’t deny it, it’s simply a fact that games lately are getting easier and easier and that you can’t go without a tutorial, even for an easy game. People always go nuts about the graphics and some things no longer matter for them. Is this current gaming market still as good as the old gaming market? Are retro games truly better or is it something else? Let’s rant!

Retro games are better!

Many claim that the original Mario is still better.
Many claim that the original Mario is still better.

Many gamers that are around the age of 20 or older will tell you that games of their childhood where better then the current games. Some will even stick with those good old games and play them even to this day, they are the so called retro gamers.

But if you ask younger gamers, they are going to look to games from 10 years ago and go bashing on the graphics or other things. Saying that they are old and actually saying they suck.

To make a long rant short, you can easily say that it’s a generation thing. Older people grew up with the old Mario and since it holds so many childhood memories, they say it’s the better game. Newer games don’t give that feeling of nostalgia that makes them prefer the newer games above the older games.

Yet, there are also gamers who always think the newer games are better. Graphics, gameplay, story telling… everything gets improved.  But what’s a better game? Surely, it’s personal preference. If I like to play older games, I’ll say that the older games are better. But it can work the other way around too. In addition to that, you need to look to the “quality” of the games too. Are the games actually good for that time period? Or are they garbage?

Flaws of the modern games.

Yearly we get a new Call Of Duty. Yup.
Yearly we get a new Call Of Duty. Yup.

Modern games aren’t perfect. Not at all. The biggest issue I have with them is that they are mostly focusing on the graphical aspect rather then the gameplay. Also, in one of my previous rants, I talked about how many modern games actually hold your hand and tell you what to do. There is no exploration in a game.

Straight or a limit amount of paths are the norm. Games with an open world like for example Zelda always have a certain way to stop you from progressing without an item. This way they manage to make the game extremely linear without you even realizing.

A big example for ranters to talk about is how the Call Of Duty campaign gets shorter each year. The game is a multiplayer game without a doubt. You basically buy it for being able to go online. One of my best friends was a fan of the series but got annoyed by it’s latest entries where his hand was hold for him to finish.

It would be stupid if we didn’t mention the fact that most gaming companies go milking the cash cow. If something sells, they make more of the same to get even more money from our pockets. Let’s take the cheap example of how many Mario games are sold. It’s an easy mascot that kids recognize and buy.

What mostly makes me worry is the lack of creativity in the current gaming world. Outside of the indy developers we barely see new creative work. It’s always the same thing and it the sequel the work out the flaws of the original, but it’s mostly the same idea. Or they cut out on things like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity.

Let’s talk about the systems for a second. Give me one system that can’t run DVD’s or play your favorite music. The Wii & DS couldn’t do that, unless you illegally modified them. Modern gaming platforms are more aimed to the general multimedia lover instead of a gamer. This makes that games need to be aimed for a wider group so they can’t be too difficult.

Flaws of retro games.

Good old Metroid.
Good old Metroid.

One major issue is that some games are way too difficult. The infamous 1 hit death is a welcome example here. Also the fact that there wasn’t an internet to look for walkthroughs or cheats, makes games more difficult. Like some gamers say, when you couldn’t finish a game back then, that’s though luck for you.

In addition to that, there were many games that had cryptic area’s to make the game more difficult. In Zelda II – Adventure of Link for example you need to pass through a wall to finish one dungeon. Or Death Mountain, it’s a maze beyond belief.

Also, games were pretty fragile. Saving worked with an internal battery in the cartridge and when that one ran out, it’s no saving for you. Also when there was dust in the game’s connector pins, you had to carefully blow in the cartridge to make it work again. When the connector pins broken, your game was broken too.

Also the games where more flawed back then. The games where more buggy like the famous cartridge titling glitch. But I can’t count on one hand anymore how much internet memes are created because of the faulty translation of games. “All your base are belong to us.” is a very popular example.

The internet, a knife that cuts both ways.

A generic picture to fancy up the article.
A generic picture to fancy up the article.

If I had to point out something that is good and bad for the gaming community it’s the internet for sure.

The good thing is that indy developers now have more tools to release their work. If they make a website and do some promotion on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube for example; they are set. Another good thing is that (big) companies can now easier support their costumers. They can make FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on their website so that their Q&A (Question and Answer) staff doesn’t have to answer the same question over and over again.

Yet the internet is such a bad influence to games as well. Walkthroughs are such a welcome invention. But I can’t deny that I have finished some games with a walkthrough at hand. Above that, the internet is filled with spoilers. If you are tired of the game and you want to know the ending, you can simply look it up. This defeats the purpose of finishing a game.

Oh, and don’t worry, I’m going to talk about it. The amount of hacks and cheats in a game that you can download on the internet. An aimbot for shooters or a X-Ray for Minecraft. It all exists. And people enjoy using it online. And it ruins the experience for gamers that want to play the game legit. Abusing bugs, I can live with that. But using wall hacks or other things makes my blood boil.

I have to admit that after finishing a game, I messed around with programs a lot that made my character jump higher or that I had unlimited ammo. It’s fun to do once to see how the game is made and how things work. But if you try to finish it for the first time, a lot of the fun is taken away.

Spoilers are also everywhere. If you play a game alongside with one of your favorite YouTubers, the comments are filled with things that will happen in the game. Bye bye thrilling game.

Modern games never grew up.

It’s nearly “pick your poison”. Both games have flaws that make me go nuts. Old games can be too difficult and new games can be too easy or unpolished.

Thankfully there are exceptions to the rule. Some games actually aren’t that bad. Some old games can also be extremely easy. But in my eyes, modern games never grew up to a new gaming level. Many improvements are made to the graphics but does that make for better games? I truly don’t know and I will surely touch upon this subject again. But for now I’m going to leave it here. Thanks for reading and until next time.

Review #002: Minecraft (PC) ~ Virtual Lego’s with a twist.

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Link to the game’s site.

Under which smooth stone are you sleeping if you never heard about Minecraft or Lego? This game exploded on the indy game scene and it’s the big hit of today. With over 10 million copies sold on computer and mobile devices, many many positive reviews, this game has to be good. I play it myself nearly daily and went to MineCon last year. But wait a minute, am I actually playing a good game or a messy torturing? Let’s look at the blocky world of MineCraft and let’s check how good the game actually is. 

The graphics suck? No, they look retro!

minecraft-castle-ruinsMany rant video’s how say that MineCraft sucks will tell you that the graphics suck. Or that it looks bad. The defenders say that the game looks retro. And while the game looks indeed retro, it gaves more the impression of Lego blocks in pixel form to me.

Honestly, this game can’t be reviewed in graphic style. Yes, you can comment on the vanilla graphical looks, but there are so many texture packs which can change the look of the game that it’s impossible to review the graphic side of the game. And I’m not counting the mods to make the game look like “HD” and all the shaders.

If I needed to rate the vanilla graphics, I would praise it. Since all recent games actually go for a realistic look, this game stands out with it’s blocky and pixelated graphics. The vanilla look has never really bored me and I actually barely play with a texture pack. Saves me the trouble of updating it whenever the game updates. Also, I am a retro gamer so I feel right at home in this blocky world.

I don’t get why people bash so much on the graphics of MineCraft. They give me the impression that whenever something doesn’t have proper fingers, the game looks ugly. The people that mostly hate MineCraft are the people who like shooter games. It’s silly how their reviews are always negative. They aren’t really objective and they rip the game apart. As the MineCraft addicts praise the game. Anyways, I’m repeating myself here. Let’s continue.

Goal of MineCraft

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Another big complaint is that the game’s story line, wait, what story? Well, the thing is that in MineCraft you make the story yourself. The game is a sandbox game and has virtually no limitations. There isn’t even a goal in MineCraft, as there is never a real goal in simulation and sandbox games.

The developers can give the player a goal. Like in the Sims, you need to keep your Sims happy. In MineCraft, the main goal is Survival. If you play in the Survival Mode that is. You also have the creative mode where you  get all the blocks handed to you.

In the survival mode, you could mine ores, make a farm, build a home, fight mobs… You can do a lot. Exploring the randomly generated caves is in my eyes a lot of fun. There is actually many things to do in MineCraft, too much to talk about in one review.

There are people on the internet who always make new games within Minecraft itself. Minecraft isn’t going to get boring quick. You have PvP games, Survival games, shooting games, CTF…. With MineCraft you can always make a goal or find a goal to spend countless hours within the game.

The combat is actually a limited part of the game. You can fight mobs, where I think the skeletons are in 1.5 a bit too strong for my liking, and you can fight players. Your only weapons are a sword and a bow. You can enchant your weapons with various enchants, but different weapons in vanilla would be welcome. Thankfully there are mods who add more weapons when you need it.

On the subject of mobs, there are way to few enemies to fight. You have your explosive dude, slender man copy, dead archer, spider and zombie. Let’s not forget the mutated pigs, the siverfish, blazes and ghasts. That are all enemies in MineCraft. You have two bosses in MineCraft, one is the Ender Dragon, the other is the Wither. Both give you a challenge if you don’t have good enchanted equipment. But with the enchanted equipment the battles can be a breeze. The Ender Dragon gives you loads of XP when killed and the Wither gives you a Wither Star to create beacons.

So much to talk about

minecraft-snapshot

It’s obvious that this review isn’t complete. And it never will be. The game keeps updating and changing. Which is a lovely thing. New blocks are added, new mobs, new ways to play the game and bug fixes. The game can be very buggy and very complex.

Things I haven’t talked about in this review are the different dimensions for example. There are at the version of writing this review only 3. The End is the worst of them all. Other things I haven’t talked about are Redstone, multiplayer, custom maps, skins and various other elements.

I have been praising MineCraft for the whole review now, let’s get to the negative side of MineCraft.

The AI of the passive mobs are sometimes a joke. The villagers are a great example. They give so many Youtube LP’ers so many trouble that some even rage when they need to work with it. Trying to get an passive animal to follow you is annoying and sometimes very irritating. If you go too much blocks down or when you are in a crowed area, the animal can loose you and just do what it wants.

MineCraft asks a lot of your computer. It’s coded in Java but on computers with a bad graphic card the game can lag and often have frame drops. It’s playable but with tiny render distance, the game gets a whole lot less fun quickly.

Online, there are way to much hackers. It destroys the fun for people. Griefers, raiders and various other trolls are on servers and sometimes bullying people. It breaks the game and really makes some people sad. Myself included.

Installing mods was difficult, but with custom launchers, it’s a breeze. I’m not going to go in depth about mods since otherwise we will be here for six other reviews.

My final point in this game is about the music. It’s amazing. But it barely and rarely plays. It’s a bit sad, if only an option existed where you can get the music playing non-stop.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Amazing freedom. 

+ Has so many things to can you make come back multiple times.

+ Very cheap: 20 bucks.

+ Pretty game.

+ Very customize-able.

The bad:

– Herobrine is still in the game.

– The AI of the passive mobs needs to improved.

– The game can sometimes be very silent.

Results:

Like I already said, I can get talking about this game for ages. I try to keep my reviews around this length and I know that I have skipped over a lot of the game elements. The mods that expand or change the game, the various online servers, online mini-games, the big community… Or even the big yearly event MineCon. I went to MineCon in Paris last year, video’s are on my Youtube channel. 

Let me know in the comments what you guys think about this review and MineCraft. I enjoy it, very much. But it’s not perfect. Thanks for the updates Mojang and the great game.

Score: 90/100