Android Games – Let’s start playing on my phone again.

It has been quite some time since I wrote an article with short reviews of Android games, has it not? Lately, I have been focussing on the bigger games and I haven’t given the smaller games some time to shine on my blog. Also, when I was talking about a smaller game, I wrote a longer article on it instead of a short review. But, since I’m currently working on bigger articles and I didn’t want to skip this week, I decided I wanted to bring this series back and start talking about a few smaller games I have been playing on my phone lately. So, let’s start talking about smaller Android games and let’s take a quick look if they are worth your time/money. Also, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section with your thoughts and opinions on the games and/or the content of this article.

ProgressBar95

Steam versionAndroid version

For those who don’t know, I’m 28 years old, and I also have a day job. This day job is being an IT admin in a big art secondary school (high school for some) here in Belgium. My work days are filled with solving problems that teachers and students have, improving our IT infrastructure, developing our website… Apart from that, I’m also a big fan of old tech and I love messing around with old computers and technology.

So, when I came across ProgressBar95 on the app store, I downloaded the game right away. And I fell in love with it right away. The game keeps true to its tagline that this game is a “hypercasual UI game”. The main idea of this game is that you are a progress bar that needs to catch dropping squares to make the progress bar progress. Blue and light blue are good ones, orange are errors but still help you in progress. Pink detracts from your progress bar, so you can get rid of orange squares if you want.

Depending on how well you do, the amount of points you get to unlock various upgrades to your computer. The higher your level, the more difficult this game becomes and the more points you can earn. This game also works with lives, but if you run out of lives, you don’t have to wait a certain amount of time for them to recharge and try the game again.

So, the interface of this game is top-notch. It nails the ascetic of being a computer amazingly. For example, to toggle sound on or off, you can press the sound icon in the bottom right of the computer. If you click the “EN” of the language toolbar, you can switch languages. It also has a colorblind mode, cloud saving, multiple game modes and one of the best ways to handle microtransactions I have seen.

The different gameplay modes I have played so far is a sort infinite runner Wolfenstein game and a “dodge the red numbers and get to the bottom of an Excel spreadsheet”-game. They add so much variety to the game and I love going between them if I’m bored with one game mode.

The biggest recommendation I would give to you is that you buy the extremely cheap “no-ads” package. Overall, the ads aren’t annoying but the game improves so much without forced ads. Now, if you look at the whole shop, you might think that this game is a “pay-to-win” or a money sink. But, no. You can pay to unlock all other levels but 99% of the stuff in the store can be earned easily in-game by winning levels or doing side quests.

It’s clear that this game has a lot of love put into it and I have a hard time finding anything negative about this game. Apart from this game being extremely niche and the game being a little boring for extend playthroughs… But yeah, I honestly would recommend this game to all my other retro gamers or people who are into computer science. It’s an amazing and refreshing experience.

Score: 5/5.

Word Lanes

Android store

So, when I’m in a waiting room or have some time to kill, I love playing small games. Especially when they are puzzle games like word searches or connect the dots to give two examples.

In Word Lanes, you are presented with a grid of letters, and you have to find all the words that fit the clues at the top. Each letter can only be used once and the letters have to connect horizontally or vertically to be used in a word.

This game is rather relaxing, and it’s a great way for me to unwind. I also love how the game is fully translated into my native language. The only complaint I have about that is the fact that as a Belgian person, I always have to struggle when the hint is talking about something from the Netherlands. But, I always report them with a handy report feature after you solved a clue. With this report feature you can report typo’s, wrong clues and things like that.

I’m also on the fence about the microtransactions. You earn coins to use the hint features after beating a level, but I feel I always don’t have enough. Thankfully, you have these daily rewards and saving them up is easy then. Honestly, I just think that the prices of the power-ups are a tad bit too high.

But hey, that’s a minor complaint. Since this game has so much enjoyment to offer and the ads aren’t THAT intrusive and only play between levels. Also, quite frequently, I have an option where the ads are disabled for one day. This is amazing and actually makes me consider buying the “no ads” package since I got a free trial.

Score: 4/5

Reigns

Android store

Way back in 2017, I wrote an article about Questr. A game that has some “Tinder” style gameplay while being a questing game. Now, that game was more about adventuring while you created your party with a sort of Tinder app. In this game, the main feature of Tinder of swiping left to reject or right to approve, is set into a “choose your own adventure” game.

Reigns is published by DeveloperDigital and is so close to be amazing, it’s painful. The gameplay is quite addictive, and I love taking decisions as an immortal king on how my kingdom should progress. The atmosphere, sound effects, music and visual design is amazing. It really pulls you into the game and I love playing the game but…

It’s way too easy to take a decision. It’s too sensitive. I had several moments where I was choosing between two options and just because I hit the edge of one side a bit too much, the game decided for me. And not only that, my phone doesn’t have physical buttons anymore and quite often, I had the game deciding for me just because I swiped down to see the time or see my latest notification.

There is also no “message log”. So, when you put the game down for a moment, you can’t see the history of what happened. And if I want to change the options during gameplay, though luck. The menu only appears when see the progress between kings.

This game has a lot of amazing elements like having to balance your four powers and the various twists and turns certain decisions and pathways can take, but it has various rough edges, I fell so mixed about this game. Maybe the PC version of the game is better, but I feel like this game works best as a mobile game. But, I feel like the mobile version just got a few rough edges. For example, I had to look up a way to reset your progress in the game. It turns out you have to hold two fingers on to have the reset screen to show up.

Yet, I advise people who enjoy adventure games to give this game a go. But be warned, the mobile version has some rough edges. But, for the low asking price of this game and the amount of content in this game, I can say for a fact there is a LOT worse out there. And I’m also so glad that this amazing concept got a few sequels as well… So, I know what to play next on my phone.

Score: 3.5/5

Wrapping up

I’m so glad that I gave this format another go and revived it. It allowed me to talk about three Android games I wanted to showcase on my blog, but I didn’t have the time for or wasn’t able to write a good enough “long” article about. I think I’ll revisit this format more often in the future and maybe also use it when I play small games on Steam, Switch or other platforms.

Then again, with my busy lifestyle and the backlog of games I still want to cover, I can’t promise how frequent I’ll write articles like these. I also challenged myself to be brief and short in this article and I had the urge to keep writing about these three games. So, if you want a more in-depth article about one of these games, let me know in the comments.

So, with that said, I want to thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in a future article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

NekoJonez’s December 2020 Update

NekoJonez176p_(long)We are in the final days of 2020 and my lord, what a year it has been. I think it’s high time to talk about my plans for 2021 and the future in the form of an update article. What has been going on in my personal life and what will the future bring? Well, let’s dive right into the updates!

Personal updates

Let’s start off with the personal updates. First of all, I have to bring the news that my car broke down after 10+ years of service. I bought myself a Citroen C3 in red. I’ll post pictures on my Twitter when it arrives next month. While I could get it serviced and fixed, the cost of the repair would be way higher than the value of the car if I would sell it today. So, that’s why I decided to purchase my very own car. The car I was driving was my mother’s old car which my sister and I used to learn how to drive.

Now, this car became my car when I moved to my apartment. Yes, I’m now living on my own. Honestly, I don’t live alone since Troy moved in with me. Currently, he is sleeping in one of my spare relax chairs while I’m writing this article. He keeps me company while I’m playing games, researching, writing articles and doing stuff in my apartment.

In earlier update articles, I talked about me starting my dream job last year. A year ago, I started working as an IT-admin at an art school. This is a dream that came true since I always wanted to combine my passion for technology and education and the fact that it’s in art secondary school is just an amazing bonus since I see so much great art that’s being produced by our students.

Currently, I’m doing this job full time. One of my bigger projects is revamping the website of the school, being a first line support for tech issues, automating and optimizing processes and many other things. Now, this means that a lot of my time and energy goes to my job that I love doing. I’ll talk a bit more on what this means for my schedule later in this update article.

The final personal update I can give is that I’m doing a tech clean-up. What I mean with that is that I’m upgrading everything from a better monitor and equipment to play (retro) games to throwing away things that don’t work anymore or don’t have any purpose being stored in my drawers.

For example, I tried to install Windows 98SE recently on an IBM PC I had laying around. Sadly enough, during the installation I discovered that the sound chip was broken. I don’t have the expertise nor do I have the knowledge to fix motherboards. On top of that, due to some malfunction in the case, one of the IDE cables decided to melt to the power brick and part of the motherboard. Yeah, that computer is dead now.

I’m also throwing out old spare laptops that I kept for spare parts. I did recover some laptops to give to students who don’t have the money nor the budget to get their computer. That way they could follow the classes during the COVID lockdowns. But some devices were too old for that, so they go to our local tech recycle center.

Now, in terms of upgrades I got myself a new computer monitor for example.  Currently, I’m using the ASUS TUF Gaming VG27VQ and as a second monitor I’m using an Iiyama Prolite GE2488HS. I’m considering upgrading my Iiyama monitor but on the other hand, I use this monitor since it has a VGA port I can use for my retro computers to play older games on. But I love the curved nature of my new Asus monitor and the high refresh rate give the games I play on it such a nicer experience.

Currently, I upgraded my router to an Asus ROG one and the additional security features it gives me in my next work are just amazing. And for obvious reasons I won’t be talking about how I set-up my network. Something I’m going to talk about is that I upgraded my Asus Zenfone 3 to an Asus Zenfone 7. And let me tell you, what a difference it makes. The Zenfone 7 is one of the best phones I ever used, it helps me to do work on the go and the battery lasts me such a long time it’s crazy. I also upgraded my TV and printer. Living alone is such a great experience. Now, I have total control over my network and devices to the extend I want.

With that said, I think it’s high time to shift the focus over to the updates in terms of my blog and what the future will bring in 2021. Since it won’t be a surprise that the remaining articles of this year will be my top 10 games of 2020 and the games I’m looking forward to play in 2021. Of course, it’s possible that I finish an article on a game and/or a developer request in the meantime and publish it.

Blog news

I turned 27 years old/young this year. That means, I have been blogging for 10 years this year. Yes, I started my Dutch blog that preceded this blog in late 2010. I rebranded myself in 2013 to this English blog and I haven’t stopped since. I haven’t done anything special since I really didn’t have the time nor a good idea to celebrate my 10 years in the community.

Maybe I’ll write something unique and special next year or when I hit 10 years of blogging on this blog but only time will tell. Since I can’t promise I’ll be able to write weekly anymore.

Due to my focus on my job and me living on my own, that means that the time I have to play games, research them, write and edit my articles is rather limited. I honestly thought that I wrote way less articles this year compared the to previous years but color me surprised that I wrote almost 52 articles this year when everything will be said and done. Granted, I wrote close to 90 articles last year but I publishing various press kits this year so I think that number is a bit inflated. Also, I put a lot more work and effort into the articles I write compared to last year.

So, I won’t promise that I’ll be able to write an article every week in 2021. I won’t be able to promise that I might be able to write more than one article during my vacation times. From a personal experiment I found that not forcing myself to write weekly and trying to push out an article in a weekend create a not-so-good article in the end.

Does this mean I have a more loose schedule? Well, I haven’t fully decided on that yet. Honestly, I don’t really think that will be case at this moment in time. I think you might see less articles when my personal life gets quite busy like when my acting group can restart after the COVID lockdowns and when things get quite hectic at work (like when we have an open school day).

I also want to do more community events in 2021. I felt that I missed a lot of amazing collabs and events in 2020 due to my busy personal schedule. So, if you are organizing a blogging community event, feel free to tag me on Twitter, DM or mail me. When I can fit it in my schedule I’ll.

The last thing I want to give you guys and girls an update about is the Pokémon Retrospective Collab. At this moment, we have 12 writers (including myself). We also have found a name for the collab. The name that we currently have agreed upon is “Creator’s Catch” and the current publishing date will be the 27th of February. That would be the 25th anniversary of Pokémon Red & Green in Japan.

Now, if you are still interested in joining this collab, there are still some spin-offs open. At the moment of writing, the Rumble series, Trozei, Puzzle, PokePark amongst one time spin off games are still open. Feel free to hit me up if you are interested in joining and join our lovely collab.

Oh, I’m forgetting about one thing. And that are the updates to the old articles. Currently, I’m updating these old articles whenever I have the time and feeling like updating them. As stated before, I don’t want to update these articles with new content, I only want to fix up grammar and spelling mistakes, broken links and images. But, they will be less of a focus of mine. It’s like keeping my overview pages up to date. I still have to work on those…

Phew, that has been everything to update you guys and girls about. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

First Impression: Accident (PC – Steam) ~ Let us Learn About Saving Lives

Steam store

For those who do not know yet, I work as an IT Admin in a big art high school (secondary school) in Belgium. Also, I have a lot of games in my PC collection that are part of the “edutainment” genre of games. So, when Duality Games offered me a free press copy of their newly released “Accident” game, I was extremely interested. As usual, the developer asked me to give my full 100% honest opinion, so that is what you are going to get in this article. So yeah, does this game hold up while being reviewed by somebody who is working in the education sector for 7 years now? Let us find out and let us find out if it is fun to play as well as a game. Personally, I want to find something out as well from you, the reader. I want to find out what your thoughts and opinions are on the game and/or the content of this article so feel free to leave them in the comment section down below.

Reviewed version: Build 1.05

Let us Learn About Saving Lives

In this game, you play a nameless person who is working for a nameless company that started a new project called “Roadside Heroes”. In this VR-experience, you are set in the shoes of a person who encountered a traffic accident and it’s to you to make sure that the people in the accident make it out alive.

In terms of story, this game is a bit lacking. Since it’s unclear if you are working for a game company who is working on a VR-game about traffic accidents or if you are a part of your police training or if it’s for the emergency workers or if it’s part of a recreation program for reports and journalists… It is all a bit vague. On one hand, this can help to insert yourself in the game and make the story whatever you want but on the other hand, I felt a bit disconnected from the game since the story didn’t immerse me. (Now, I am going to completely ignore the fact that the store page gives more story since I mostly focus on these articles on what is told to the player through the game itself.)

While writing this article, I was asking myself: “Should this game even have a good story?”. And this is a tricky question to answer. For reasons I will explain later, this game can be a perfect teaching tool to help people what to do in the event of a traffic accident. It can also be a great “shock game” for people who feel that traffic laws are only a suggestion. So yeah, in that case, the fact that this game does not have a too in-depth story is a good thing since it does not get in the way of the actual intention of the game.

Most of the story is being told through your phone on your desk. After completing a case, you get a text from Mark telling about the next case. A neat detail in this game is that the clock on the mobile phone matches the real-time of the system clock.

In terms of writing, this game is decent even for a “lacking story” (which again, is not a negative for this game for the reason I explained earlier). There is some minor voice acting and voice work but most of it is nothing special to write home about.

So, this game starts off with a tutorial case. In this case, you learn the basic operations and mechanics in this game. It teaches you the controls and the steps you should take during the other cases. The tutorial is a little bit hand-holdy, but I noticed that this only happens during the tutorial since you are mostly on your own during the other cases. You do have objectives to complete, but it is up to you to find out how to complete these objectives with what you learned during the tutorial. So, let us dive right into some cases and start saving lives.

Teaching tool?

Each case starts the same way. You drive towards the site and you call the emergency services. The reason why I feel like this game can be a great teaching tool is that in various moments, a non-intrusive box appears on the top in the middle of your screen with the reason why you would do such actions in real life. For example: “Turning off the engine will stop the chance of engine fires in real life.” This can be very helpful advice and maybe save lives in the real world. This is not the only occasion that this happens.

This game can teach you a lot of things but there is no backend for the teachers. So, there is no way to see how your students reacted or if they had to redo certain cases or how they failed… Honestly, if this would be added to the game, it would make this game a very powerful teaching tool for those traffic lessons. But teachers can be creative and maybe this can be used in group work.

Before I ramble too much about that, let us put the focus on reviewing this game as a game. This game has been localized in different languages. You can play this game in English, French, Chinese, Polish, German, Spanish, and Russian. Since I know some French, I tried this game in French and I can tell you that the translation is done extremely well.

So, what do you have to do in this game? Well, you play the role of the guy or girl who was the first person that intervened when the accident happened. You must call the emergency services and provide first aid to the victims if needed. After that, you must piece together what happened and why the accident happened.

There is something unique about each case. In one case, you are knee-deep in the Russian winter, and in another case, you are in the extremely hot desert. If I have to give a genre to this game, I would say that it’s a puzzle game since you need to find out what the right steps are to finish the case with the least amount of deaths. Sadly enough, when you did not provide the correct aid and somebody died, it is game over.

On one hand, I dislike this mechanic and on the other hand, I don’t mind the mechanic too much since you can rewind time at any moment to redo a certain part in case you can do it better or faster. When you press “R”, you can rewind time to a previous decision point. The longer you press “R”, the further you go back.

Sadly enough, this means that there is only one way to complete each case. I silently hoped that this game would have worked with some sort of rating system where you could see if your actions saved the most lives or were the best way to handle the situation.

The whole package

If you look at the credits of this game, most of this game is created by Paul Dyvel apart from the music and the 3D art in this game. I must be honest, for the result is rather impressive. Let us first talk about the controls of this game. Thankfully, I was able to rebind them since this game does not recognize the keyboard layout “AZERTY” from Belgium and France… But that is a nitpick I have in almost every game.

Sadly enough, I do have to complain in terms of the controls. The first complaint has to do with putting out fires. I feel that this is a bit too pixel perfect. I had to redo the tutorial several times because I was unable to put out the fire. I honestly do not understand how to put out the fires since there is not enough feedback to the player in my opinion to tell them if they are actually putting out the fire or missing it completely.

The second complaint is about CPR. It took me a while to get into a correct rhythm for the chest compressions but when I learned that the heart rate graph is a nice indication to get in the correct rhythm, I didn’t have problems with chest compressions anymore. But here is the most annoying issue. It is the breathing mask and its controls. You must drag your mouse up and down. But that dragging up and down… Well, I know I have a small mousepad, but I almost must drag it all the way up my desk. It is a bit much. Also, as soon as you let go of dragging up, you must restart that breath… It is a bit too finicky. Apart from those two issues, the controls are quite responsive and easy to learn.  

Let us talk about the audio-visual design. In this game, the music is created by artists over at SoundStripe.com. It is extremely kind of the developers to list in the credits which artists were used. But I am unable to track the actual tracks down. It is a shame since I really enjoy listing to the tracks, and I would love to hear more from the artists. In terms of sound design, I think Paul did a very nice job. I have to say, I highly recommend that you play this game with a headset since it enhances the sound design and the music so much more.  

Something else I would like to talk about is the difficultly of this game. This game rides that fine line of being too easy and too challenging. Some scenarios are a bit too easy in my opinion. The scenario in America was over before I knew it while the two other unlocked scenarios were trickier to finish.

It is time now to talk about the visual presentation of this game. This game looks amazing for being created by such a small team. The models look extremely detailed and they are nicely animated. I love that there is some attention to detail like the chest slightly moving when you check if the victim is breathing or not.

It pains me to say that in some cases, I noticed that some corners were cut. For example, the textures for the clothes look less detailed than the other parts of the game. Another example is the car mirrors, it is quite clear that a less detailed version of the road is playing in it.

While this game has high attention to details, there are a few mistakes in terms of details that can break immersion. For example, the Wi-Fi symbol on the phones while there is no Wi-Fi access point nearby. Or the fact that the kilometers per hour do not make any sense on the dashboard of the car, I have even seen it go into the negatives several times during the Russian case. And let us not forget to mention that you can enter cars while holding victims without an issue.

Thankfully, these are small little things that are not a big deal breaker in terms of immersion and gameplay. Since overall, the atmosphere and the visual design of this game are good. The environments like quite real and apart from what I mentioned above, I barely have any complaints or suggestions to improve.

This brings me to the final part of this game I want to talk about. And that is the UI. There are a few things I would like to say about the UI. Overall, the UI is pretty good apart from several minor issues that give the game an unpolished feeling. Let me give you a few examples. Granted, some of these examples are visual issues combined with UI things.

Number 1: the “return” button can clash with the feedback button. This results in being able to return from the accident screen and opening the feedback screen.

Number 2: the feedback screen is strange. You do not get a message if your feedback has been sent or not and you have to select a thumbs up or down when you want to report a bug…

Number 3: you are unable to open the pause menu during the rewinding of time.

Number 4: there is no “reset to defaults” button in the video settings of the options menu.

Number 5: the credits text is a bit hard to read. Speaking about the credits, they do not wrap. So, you must scroll up to restart them. And the strange thing is, that this does not always happen… Sometimes I can easily read the credits. I think it depends on the resolution.

Number 6: when you complete a case, the complete sticker appears over the name of the case. Making you unable to read it.

Number 7: you are unable to skip the intro to each case.

Number 8: you are unable to scroll in dropdown menus.

Number 9: you do not get an error message when you try and double-bind keys.

Number 10: you are unable to save during a case. You must do them in one sitting. But after finishing the case, it autosaves.

So, in general. What do I think about this game? Well, I honestly think that this is an enjoyable game and a nice concept. I think it would be a shame if this game does not get more cases or some sort of a sequel. Thankfully, there are high hopes for that! Since this game is in early access now. There is a demo version available but reading from the reviews, that’s less polished than the final product.

Would I recommend this game? Yes, I would. I think this game is a great adventure/puzzle game that also teaches you several things about car accidents. While the game takes some liberties on how to save people, the game always tells you when the game and reality conflicts. Also, each country works quite differently… But that is a whole other can of worms where I do not have the right knowledge and specifications to discuss. So let me say this, always call the emergency number when you come across an accident and ask what you should do and follow their instructions. 

So, I am quite curious about which improvements this game will get when it is in its final state. There are going to be more cases, tweaks, and improvements. If I have the time, I will write a follow-up article and review this game but for now, I have said everything I wanted to say about this game. So, with that said: thank you so much for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

 

Personal: What’s on my phone

asus zenfone 3 max.jpg Product page

About a year ago, I wanted a new phone. My first smartphone was a Samsung, which was my 2nd and 3rd smartphone as well. I always wanted to try a different brand and since I bought an Asus Zenpad 8S in 2016 for my birthday, I wanted to give the Asus Zenfone a try. I’m quite content with my Asus Zenfone 3 MAX. I have the 5.5-inch version, so it’s quite a big phone in my opinion. So, a while ago, there was a tag challenge in the tech community to tell your audience what you have on your phone. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I still want to do it. So, here we go. Also, I invite other bloggers to do the same thing. What is on your phone? If you write an article about it, feel free to tag me on Twitter or link to this article. Or feel free to leave a comment here as well. 

Mini review

So, before we go to the main event, I first want to give a mini-review on the Asus Zenfone 3 MAX. What are the things that I love and dislike about the phone? I have been using this phone for a year now. If you want to read up on the specs of my phone, you can read it here on gsmarena.com.

There are a few things I dislike about this phone. If you use the screen at max brightness and either WiFi or 4G, the phone’s battery drains quite fast. Lowering the brightness helps quite a lot to save battery. Another thing has to do with the call quality. Sometimes the microphone doesn’t pick up my voice too well and the other end doesn’t hear me, but if I reposition the phone a bit, that fixes the issue. Another thing I dislike is that buttons like home or back aren’t backlit. But, that’s all I really dislike about this phone. While other reviewers would find other things wrong with it, I really like this phone and it fits my needs perfectly.

So, what are the things I really like about this phone? It’s my first phone with a fingerprint reader. This makes life so much easier. More on that later. Another thing I really like is how this phone seems to get frequent updates to the latest version of Android and all the latest security patches. I prefer the ZenUI over TouchWiz any day of the week. The camera on the phone is really good for family pictures in my opinion. But, the biggest factor for this phone is that it’s priced at 250-280€ and you get an amazing phone for that price.

What’s on my phone?

Now, what’s on my phone? Quite a lot actually. I nearly always carry my phone with me since it’s a handy tool when I need to look up something quickly or snap a quick picture of something I need to remind myself of.

Since I’m rarely at my desk at work, I always have my phone with me. So, they can call me whenever there is a problem. Also, I love listing to music while walking and I use my phone as an old school music player. So, my music app is one of my most frequently used apps.

First of all, I won’t talk about every single app that’s on my phone. There are quite a few games I have installed on my phone for when I’m in a waiting room or have some time on the train and the batteries of my 3DS or Switch are out. I’ll only talk about the apps I placed on my home screen since those are the apps I use the most.

Whenever there is an app I use often, I place it on my home screen. If I stop using it frequently, I remove it from my home screen and replace it with something else I use frequently.

Screenshot_20180930-145935.jpg

This is my first home screen. This screen greets me when I unlock my phone. For obvious reasons, I won’t show how I unlock my phone. On the left of my main home screen is the Google Assistant/Google Now. This way I can catch up with the latest news of the subjects I’m interested in. On the right, there is a 2nd home screen with additional apps. More on that later.

At the bottom, I use the classic vanilla apps. From left to right, you have the dialer, my text messages, a button to see all apps, Chrome, and my camera. On top of my home screen is a big clock with the date displayed. Besides that clock, I have the messenger app. I talk quite often to friends over messenger and if I want to share a link, Messenger is the easiest way. Underneath that, you have the Play Store. Each morning, I update all my apps and check the store if there isn’t anything interesting that I could review on my blog.

Then, you have three rows of 4 apps each. The first row is my calendar, my finder app, Discord, and Dropbox. The calendar app is Google Calendar. I use this app often to remind myself of things I need to do. I put more than just my appointments or birthdays in my calendar. Things like: “Article day”, “Write the time for the final project”, “Write a piece for collab” or “Release of thing X” are things that appear in my calendar as well. Appointments have a red color and things I need to do have either blue or yellow. Blue if it’s something I could delay and yellow if it’s urgent or if it can’t be delayed.

The file explorer is the one that comes with Asus’ ZenUI and I love it. It gives me Windows-vibes and it’s really great to use. Whenever I download a file, I can quickly find it with this app. When you open it, you can select to view all images, videos, music, documents… on your phone or just explore the phone. An amazing feature here is that I can set up a wireless method of accessing the files on my phone. When my phone and the device I want to access from being connected to the same network, I can wirelessly access the files on my phone. It creates a link I can visit and I see the same thing as the file explorer app. This app saved me various times.

I use Discord to talk to other bloggers and friends from over the whole world. I’m also part of some servers where game developers look for bloggers to promote their games. If you want to add me on Discord, just shoot me a message over Twitter. But, an app I use really frequently as well. I actually have Dropbox Pro, since I use this as a backup method. I have close to 500GB stored in my Dropbox. Everything from files I need for work to my final project is in there. So, I never worry too much about dying hard drives or losing my files. I also use the Photo Sync feature of Dropbox. This feature saves all the pictures I make with my phone in my Dropbox so I can use them directly on my computer or all the other devices I connected to Dropbox.

In the second row, we find Instagram, WordPress, YouTube, and WhatsApp. I do have an Instagram profile, but don’t frequently use it. I enjoy browsing Instagram to see what my friends are up to. If you can’t guess why I use the WordPress app, well, I use it for checking and fixing things on my blog on the go. So, I’m quite a big fan of YouTube. I love watching tech channels, retro gaming channels, game development channels and various other channels relating to creating things. The final app on that row is Whatsapp. I mostly use that app to keep in contact with my family or my theater group. That’s all I use Whatsapp for.

The final row on my main home screen is the row with the most used apps on my phone. Twitter, since I’m quite active on Twitter. Outlook to check my mails and “Nationaal” is the app I use to check the train schedule to get from and to work. I know that I skipped an app. That’s “Pulsar+“. In one of the firmware updates of my phone, Asus removed the quite excellent ZenUI music app. So, I searched high and low for a great music app on the Play Store. First I used Pi MP3 Player, but I started to run into issues. For some reason, no apps wanted to update on my phone after I installed that app.

Not too long after, I found Pulsar. I liked the app so much, I actually bought the premium version. It includes additional themes and some neat additional features. I can’t recommend this app enough if you enjoy listing to music on your phone. It’s one of the best apps I have used in a while.

Screenshot_20180930-153105.jpg

So, on my 2nd home screen are the apps I use less frequently but I want quick access too. Let’s start with the first row. This has the Facebook app, the UEFA soccer app, a weather app, and the Nintendo Switch Online app. The weather app, AccuWeather, is an amazing weather app. It’s quite accurate in my area and I use it to check if I need to take an umbrella on my walks or not. I use the UEFA soccer app since the soccer app of my local sports channel doesn’t have the UEFA Nations League tables built-in. I use the Facebook app since I dislike the website on mobile and I find that it was quicker and easier access to certain features. And finally the Switch online app, I use that app for if I want to voice chat during online Switch play.

The next row has the Steam app, for when I want to check the Steam Store and to have an additional layer of security for my Steam account. Besides that, the Easy Banking app is the app I use to check my finances. Then, you have the Sporza Soccer app. I use this app to follow my local soccer league and to see what the Red Devils, our national soccer team is up to. And Bancontact is used for quick payments, once you set up this app, paying for the doctor goes so quickly.

Oh, before I continue, quick side note. If you are American, I mean football when I say soccer. That said, let’s continue.

The next row has my gallery. When I need to show a picture of somebody. I find the way that the gallery app sorts pictures better than how my finder app sorts them. Besides that, you have the calculator app. Strangely, this is one of the only apps that doesn’t have its name translated in the ZenUI to Dutch. It such say “rekenmachine”. Oh well. It doesn’t bother me that much. Then, you have the Maps app, I use it as a GPS. And finally on that row, you have Imgur, for quickly uploading pictures and since I love this website.

The final row has the Telenet Mobile app. This app is from my ISP and I use this app to check on how much mobile data I have left. Besides that, you got Reddit. I have periods when I get very addicted to Reddit and go on the site a lot and there are moments I rarely visit the site. The final two icons on that row are the Patreon app and the Grumpy Cat game.

I use the Patreon app to check on posts the creators made that I support on Patreon and the Grumpy Cat game is just one of my favorite games on my phone at the moment.

You might notice that I leave one row empty. This row is my temp row. On this row I place apps I just installed and I want to test or if a developer asks me to review them. So yes, that screenshot might be a teaser for an upcoming article. Whenever I tested them or wrote the article, I usually remove them from my home screen.

A few apps that I want to mention that aren’t on my home screen are:

Ringtone Maker – MP3 Cutter – One feature I miss from Samsung is that when you select a song as a ringtone, it searches the best part of the track to start the ringtone. This app solves that and I can even choose from where start my ringtone.

Datasize Explorer Pro – Whenever I’m running low on space on my phone, I use this app to check which apps take up a lot of space and I should remove or clean the cache of.

WiFi Analyzer – If you are a techie or a networking person, this app is a must on Android devices. It helps you to visualize WiFi to help you troubleshoot issues with WiFi.

And all the other apps, outside of games, are apps from local stores here in Belgium or the Netherlands I use to shop or to buy my retro games from. Or your typical apps that almost everybody has like Shazam. And a few apps I don’t think are worth mentioning.

So, that was quite a lot. I’m quite curious to see which phones you guys have and for what you use it and what apps are on your phones. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. It was something different from what I usually do, but next time I’ll get back into gaming stuff. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

(12+) Waifu Fight: Dango Style (PC) ~ Featuring Priom

waifu-fight-logo.png

Official website

Some time ago, the developers from Waifu Fight Dango Style asked me to take a look at their game. So, today we are going to take a look at it. But, I wanted to do something special. I asked my friend Priom to also take a look at this game. He wrote his review over at Arpegi forum. I advise you to read his review first before you continue to read my article. So, in my article, I’m going to quote his opinion and then write mine. So, we are having a “fight” of our own. Before I try to force out a joke too much, let’s get right into the review of this game. Note, that I have put “12+” in the title. Since some visual elements aren’t for younger audiences. But, hey. Enough stalling. Let’s go reviewing. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of the article. One thing, I have to stress that this review isn’t a paid review!

Note: This game is still under development. So, the things said in this review might have been changed if an update gets released. We both played Alpha v2.18 for this review. 

Do you want to meet the developers of this game? They are going to be attending these cons: Corpus Christi Comic Con in Texas on 22nd – 23th July and San Japan X in Texas on 1st, 2nd and 3rd September.

Continue reading “(12+) Waifu Fight: Dango Style (PC) ~ Featuring Priom”

Game Quicky: Game Dev Story (Android) ~ Still Updating

GameDevStory.pngWikipedia article

Before I started this blog, I used to write my reviews in Dutch on another blog. On that blog, I reviewed this game. Since I started this blog, I was convinced that I reviewed this game, but it turns out I was wrong. So, that’s why I’m going to review my first ever game I bought for my smartphone. Game Dev Story, I don’t remember how I found this game, but I do remember that I played this game for hours. But, what do I think about it? Let me tell you in this article. I have chosen for a game quicky since this game doesn’t have much else going on besides the basic tycoon gameplay. In a game quicky, I list all the things I like and don’t like about the game and then write a conclusion. So, as usual, feel free to write a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Introduction to the game

In this game, you are the boss of a game development studio. You choose what your team works on, a new game, a console or a contract. You also choose which employees work in your company and what training they have. You are also in charge of the advertisement campaigns. Each year you can attend GameDex (which is E3) and each year there is “Best Of” awards show.

This game is released for Android, iOS and in the summer of 2015, a Windows Phone port has been made. There is a Japanese version created for Windows computers. More details about the game can be found in the Wikipedia link at the top of this article.

The bad

GameDevStoryScreen.png

In all other Kairosoft games, you have more than one save slot, but in this game, you only have one save slot. So, if you want to restart your game without losing your almost finished studio, tough luck.

The music is pretty good, but there isn’t too much music in the game. That’s a darn shame since the music gets repetitive quite fast.

There is a lot of downtime in this game. There is nothing else to do when your team is working on a game or on a console. Besides managing your advertisements and training your team members, there isn’t a lot to do. But, the game is paused when you are in the menus…

On my phone and tablet, the words sometimes cut off unnaturally. This happens when the word doesn’t fit on the screen. It’s a detail that annoys me to no end. I don’t see this happening in other games from the developers, so why this isn’t fixed in this game… I don’t understand.

I think it would be interesting if you can split your team in two and give them separate tasks. For example, one part works on a contract to earn money and the other part works on the new game. That would make the game more interesting.

I haven’t tested this too much, but I think this game drains a lot of battery in some cases. One time I fully charged my tablet and I played this game on the train to work. It was the only app running in the background and my WiFi and such were all off. After my workday, my battery of my tablet was almost drained. But, it doesn’t happen every time, since a week later I tested the same thing and my battery was at 95% then. So strange.

The good

GameDevStory Screen2.jpg

This game can be challenging if you make too many risks. Sometimes I got lucky with my reviews and sales, but other times, I paid attention to what combinations worked and made my money that way.

This game is fun in short bursts but is really addictive in my opinion. I had play sessions of this game that took over 2-3 hours without a break. I’m so happy that this game has an autosave since I would forget that this game has a manual save button.

This game has some random elements, so the replay value of this game is very high. I have replayed this game several times and I enjoyed each and every playthrough.

The writing and humor in this game are amazing. There are a lot of pop culture references and some are really funny. I’m not going to spoil them but if you know a bit of gaming history, you will enjoy the humor as well.

Visually, this game looks adorable. It has the Kairosoft charm all over it. This game was my first introduction to their games and I don’t regret it. If you enjoy this style of gameplay, you will most likely enjoy all their other games.

The demo of this game provides the first years of the full game. But, the full game is rather cheap. I bought the game for 3€ and you get your monies worth!

There is a screenshot button built in the game that you can let it share with your Twitter or Facebook accounts. That’s such a neat addition to the game.

It amazes me that this game is over 10 years old but still gets updates from time to time. The last update was 25th April 2017.

Conclusion

This game is an amazing casual game. If you enjoy tycoon games or just enjoy games in general, I really advise you to give this game a go.

This game isn’t perfect. It has same flaws, but hey, who knows what future updates will bring. Maybe new gameplay mechanics get added and make the game more interesting.

But, I honestly advise you to buy the full version since it’s so worth it!

That’s all I wanted to talk about in this game. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this 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: 4/5

Rant: Tetris, mobile versions and the dreaded square block

Tetris is one of my favourite games ever. It’s a practically perfect game. You can play it for hours or just for ten minutes. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and simply brilliant. Everyone knows Tetris. Only mention the name, and the soundtrack will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Now you’d think a game like this would be great for mobile platforms. There’s a plethora of Tetris clones on the Google Play Store, but looking through all of them, I can’t seem to find a good one. I must’ve downloaded fifteen different versions. Either they take up 50 to 100MB (Seriously? For Tetris?) or they play horribly. Most of them use a poor algorithm that doesn’t randomise the blocks well enough and/or often give the same blocks three or four times in a row. That, or they speed up way to quickly.

Tetromino - screenshotThey often don’t show what block is next, have horrendous controls or just “feel” wrong. The “best” version I found so far is called Tetromino, but it’s a looooong way from perfect. Putting that aside and talking about the game itself right now, I abhor the square block. Some people hate the Z and S-shaped blocks, but I don’t. You can rarely actually use the square block and when you do, most of the other blocks can deliver the same effect. Often, when given the square block, you have no choice but to create holes. And I HATE holes.

Android Games you should try #3 – New phone

gooleplaySo, it has been quite some time since I wrote an entry on my blog about Android games but since I got this new phone, Samsung Galaxy Ace 3, I started play a ton of Android games again. Now, it’s time to write a new entry in this series. Time to revive it from the dead. So, because it has been quite some time, I think I have some explaining to do. In these articles I talk about several Android games that got me hooked or were fun to play. But these games are casual games that don’t have enough content to make a fully fledged review. So, I short each game extremely shortly, give you a rating and a download link. And as a cherry on the pie, all the apps are free and I try to have as less ads as possible. So, yeah. Anyways, when you have suggestions for games I should try out, feel free to say it in the comments. But for the rest, I invite you to leave a comment about this article and or your thoughts of the games or one of them. 

New things in the series

Alright, before we start the actual listing of the games, I have a few new “rules” for this series. First, I will list these under “Game Quickies” and “Game Review”. Since it’s kinda both, it’s a quick review of a game. But it’s not really a full “game quicky” since I talk about more games then 1.

Another change I do is that I’m way stricter towards the quality of the games. What I mean here, is that the game needs to be addicting and fun. In other words, I’m going to try to avoid the clones of Bejeweled and games like that.

Also, games that require constant internet connection or accounts, have a smaller chance. Unless there is a benefit to having an account.

And the games need to be free! It’s possible that I list a demo on here but the demo needs to have enough content to be enjoyable. Games that allow you to play only a few levels for free and promise an overload of levels if you pay won’t appear on this list!

Oh, and games that require Facebook or any other social media… Oh heck no! I hate them so much. I don’t want to recommend you games where you possibly have to spam your friends for lives or spam your wall. Forget it.

So yeah, that’s a heads up before we start. I think I might have been a bit too strict on the games for this article, but hey, sometimes some quality control is good.

#1: Mine To Escape

unnamedThis game is quite fun, yet very flawed. I finished this game in the course of a day or three. I’m quite sure that you’re able to finish this game in one very long sitting.

First, the negative things. The fact that you need to do things one by one makes you swipe your phone like crazy when you want to sell eg 10+ iron ore. Also, this game has only one planet. So, it’s quite short. Once the addiction kicks in, you are nearly finished with this game.

The good is that this game is challenging. You truly need to keep an eye on that oxygen. Also, sometimes ores are hard to find.

And it’s fun. You literally tap your time away. It a game like Minecraft, were you just tap one more block before you stop. While some people would find the one and only song quite annoying, I didn’t find it that. I rather enjoyed the music. But truth to be told, this game could use various tracks.

Score: 3.5/5

#2: Choice of the Dragon

ss (2014-04-20 at 10.09.09)Besides cats, I’m a big fan of dragons. Besides that, I’m quite a big fan of visual novel and adventure games.

This game tries to revive a genre thought dead. The adventure “choose your own path” genre. Basically a RPG but with lots and lots of text.

But here is the twist though, you are a dragon AND there are extremely different playstyles. Sweet no?

Don’t I have your interest just yet? Oh, you can play this game with your own music at the background. What do you want more? What, text? Deep story? Yes, this game has this!

The writing is amazing. It’s almost you are reading a book where there is somebody talking to you when the main character, in this case you the Dragon, decides the actions.

I have two complaints. The fact you can’t choose your own name and the words used might confuse non native English speakers.

Score: 4.5/5

#3: 1001 Attempts 

1001Attempts

This game, yes please! If my memory serves me correctly, this game is ad-free! And it’s big fun! This game is simple, stay alive as long as you can.

This game is easily to learn but hard to master. Each time you pick up a jewel, the game gets more difficult. It throws more and more projectiles to you and it’s not so easily to follow all the action going on.

This game doesn’t waste time with unneeded things. You can easily jump straight into the game and play as long as you want. This game is highly addicting. Since you have that “one more try” feeling.

I have no complaints about this game. So, worthy of a download!

Score: 5/5

#4: Hoplite

hopDo you want to play a simple 2D rouge-like adventure game? Well, you are in luck! This game is just for you then! This is also a puzzle game.

One word of warning though, this game isn’t easy. If you aren’t careful, you can die quicker then you can say your curse words.

But it feels so rewarding when you are able to beat a floor and move on to the next!

What I like so much about this game is how simple yet deep this game is. There is a lot of strategy involved to it.

Maybe with a bit of shame, I have to admit that I haven’t gotten further then the 5th floor. Tell me in the comments how far you got.

I haven’t found anything negative about this game. So, it gets the full 5 stars!

Score: 5/5

Closing words

This article has seen multiple versions. Now that I finally have my finished version, I’m glad that it’s done. I have added and removed a lot of games. I think that I tried at least 50 games for this article. Don’t worry, there will be new games I recommend in the future.

Leave me a comment which is your favorite game I recommended here. Or have you played one of these games before? Or which game looks interesting? Anyways, grab your phone and start playing. Oh, and if you have suggestions, please drop them in the comments as well. Maybe I’ll add them to one of the future articles in this series.

NekoJonez Update Blog April 2014: Let’s look at the future

1gXjAIt has been quite some time that I spoke to my readers directly. It has been since the 10th of February when I announced I wanted to go on a hiatus. While I have some exciting news, I have some sad news as well. I would love to do these more often. I’m even planning to do an update blog each 2 weeks. Who knows. Anyways, in this blog I’ll talk about what happened and what’s going on for my blog and my website. In that way you don’t have to scroll through a ton of tweets to be up-to-date. (While it stays the best way to have the latest news from me.) So, yeah, let’s start.

To hiatus or to not hiatus.

Alright, through some magic I was able to write more articles then I thought I could. While I have written way less then before, I think I did a great job to maintain my blog. And thanks to my buddies over at ButtonSmashers, I don’t think my blog will be dead when I’m too busy to write an article.

My main goal is one article each week. While I’m still on a hiatus, I try to win time with different stuff. Like for example, my streams will be way less frequent. With that time, I write more articles. Also, I start writing articles in advance to make sure I have content ready for the upcoming week(s).

Some people may call me crazy but almost 100% of my free time goes to my website and blog now. In study breaks I make notes of what I could write an article about. But don’t worry, I relax as well by watching some TV. Sadly enough, it’s hard trying to keep up writing creative articles each week while having an extremely busy life. But writing and working on my website is what actually relaxes me.

So, from now on, take this hiatus with a grain of salt. What I mean with this is that it’s quite possible that nothing changes. That I have a new article for you guys each week and that I stream here and there. But if there is no content of me or when there is content from other people, don’t panic. It just means then that I didn’t had the time for writing that week.

What’s making this cat so busy?

So, why am I so busy? Let me explain that to you. First of all, college asks a lot from me. I have to write various assignments, study 14 exams AND create a lot of things. For those who don’t know yet, I’m studying to become a teacher in elementary schools. In my country, that means for children from the age of 5 till 12. I have done a lot of work in my Easter break already, which ends on the 22th of April,  I don’t not quite done with everything. But I’m close.

Secondly, I’m planning a move of my blog. Yes, I’m planning to possible move my blog to the server of my forum. This will have a huge advantage for me. That way it’s easier to link my articles to my forum and I have more features to play with. But I’m not quite sure.

The third thing that is keeping me so busy is my forum. I have done some big updates to it recently but there are some plans to update it even more. Most of the plans are mainly behind the screens. This will make the forum run faster and more efficiently. But there will be some updates for you guys as well. So, come on by. Make an account and start posting without problems. Since some time now, there is no admin approval anymore.

Also, I have some things in my personal life to take care of. They are private so I won’t go sharing them on the internet. But they are nearly all family related.

Changes in my life

In the course of the few months I haven’t posted an update blog like this, there has been quite a lot of changes. I honestly don’t remember everything I should mention in this update article.

One of my previous articles already mentioned it, I think it was my Alan Wake American Nightmare review, I had to fix my numbering of my reviews. I stupidly made some mistakes so that my numbering was off by 2. Now it’s all correct. So, no more issues there. For the people who linked to my articles, don’t worry, the URL’s didn’t change.

Another update is that I got a big chance. I was allowed to write for a company about gaming violence. I was first a bit unsure if it was actually real. So, I researched the company and the game. And as it turns out, it’s actually quite real. I’m thrilled when a company asks me to write for them but to avoid scams and such, I do research. I want to know for sure that I’m telling the truth and not lying to you guys.

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I have a new phone. I have a Samsung Galaxy Ace 3. While some people who recommend me a different one or say that it’s not a good one… Well, I honestly disagree. I find that this smartphone fits my needs perfectly. I’m quite glad that I got it.

And to wrap up here, I did quite a lot of work behind the screen of my blog and my forum. I’m trying to update all old information to the latest information and I try to make sure everything gets the content correctly. Yeah, tons of works have been done.

Before I go to the next, and last, part of this article, thanks for all the support you guys gave me. It truly motivated me to continue with this blog and with my studies. So, thanks to you guys, I’m finally able to close some unpleasant chapters in my life and live quite happily. Thanks for that!

Future plans

What is planned for my blog? Well, if it hasn’t been published already, an article about video game violence. Check it out, it’s quite surprising.

While I have deleted one draft of a creepypasta that I wrote, I’m actually planning to write a few new ones. Oh yes, I have quite some idea’s to write some creepypasta’s and some might be not game related.

I’m planning to revive a dead series of mine. I wrote some time ago about Android games you should try out. Since I’m playing a lot on my new mobile phone (to get used to it), I have found some games that I want to cover here.

Soon, I’m planning to write a new game quicky where I return to the first game that a developer asked me to review. Has it been updated and so, for the better or for the worse? In that same article I might also talk about the other game that SkyJoy asked me to review. Super Kid Cannon has been released worldwide, so it’s time to take another look at the final version.

I’m also in a podcast or two with the ButtonSmashers. As soon as they are posted, I’ll post or reblog the link here. So you guys can listen to it.

Last but not least, I have some games that deserve an article. I’m making a list of games that I want to review. But honestly, I want to write about something different as well. I mean here, articles about gaming in general.

So, I think that’s all. Thanks for reading this quite long update. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this. So, see you guys next time!