As game executive Bing Gordon famously put it (about) in 2010, "This is the most promiscuous app audience in the history of mankind".
So this is the weekly diary of a promiscuous gamer, who this week has been very, very promiscuous, indeed.
1. Adventure Town (Supersolid)
This cute city-builder and RPG battler always gives you something to do, and there’s no harsh grind either. Still, there’s not much incentive to spend (or grind hard) because there’s not a strong upgrade path of any significance. I really like playing it for all those reasons.
2. Heroes of Honor (Nonstop Games)
I been becalmed in Heroes of Honor, at the stage of ungrading my castle to level 6. After realising I’m was never going to grind out the soft currency required, I’ve spent hard currency (125 gems) to set off the process - 10 hours to go.
More concerning, however, is the upgrade path to hiring a third hero - which requires the conversion of 2,500 common gems; something you can’t buy outright. That’s going to be a lot of grind.
3. Dungeon Keeper (EA)
While Dungeon Keeper is a slow game to play if you don’t spend cash, the upside is when you’ve finally completed various digging operations, you get the satisfaction from the wait and the anticipation. This week, I’ve been finally moved my gold treasuries to more secure locations in my dungeon. I am happy.
4. Royal Revolt 2 (flaregames)
I really, really like Royal Revolt 2. The gameplay and monetisation is seemlessly integrated and not in a way that makes you feel like you’re spending to overcome frustration, but that you’re spending to become more powerful and better in the game. The graphics and user interface/experience are also very good.
5. Frontline Commando 2 (Glu Mobile)
Haven’t played it this week.
6. Boom Beach (Supercell)
Thanks to its single build path, unless you’re spending cash ( or hard currency) from the off, Boom Beach is a frustrating game to play. It’s even slower than Dungeon Keeper; at least you could buy additional builders in that.)
From this point of view then, it will be interesting to see how the game’s initial success in terms of downloads translates to a core audience which is happy to convert cash for time. On that basis, it may prove to be more niche title than Clash of Clans.
7. Star Wars: Assault Team (LucasArts)
Seems like a typical card-battler albeit with the Star Wars IP. Not sure how much that adds.
8. Game of Thrones: Ascent (Kongregate)
A better combination of game and IP than Star Wars: Assault Team, this is a pretty complex resource management title, and not being a Game of Thrones fan, there’s a steep learning curve for me from both elements.
Installed #1: Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff (TinyCo)
Clearly taking a page out of EA’s The Simpsons: Tapped Out, this game is tries to monetise hard and early (you only get one builder for free, the second costs you $2.99), but it’s also really fun and very well integrated with the characters and phrases from the TV series.
The character tasks and animations are freakin’ sweet etc etc. I will be playing this a bunch in the coming weeks.
Installed #2: Heroes of Atlan (WeMade)
I’m not usually a fan of Asian RPGs, but not only does Heroes of Atlan have a decent tutorial (so I can understand what’s going on), it also has a relative lightness of touch that very few of this type of game can pull off.
Installed #3: Trials Frontier (RedLynx/Ubisoft)
Haven’t played much of the Trials series previously, but this is a great-looking game, with what seems like lots of characterisation around the basic motorcross racing/tricks gameplay.
Installed #4: Wind-up Knight 2 (Robot Invader)
The second game from ex-Google man Chris Pruett, this a 2D gameplay auto-run platformer in a 3D world that requires fast fingers. Not sure that touch buttons are the best way to go, but it looks great, and is light on the IAPs.
Installed #5: Adventure Quest: Battle Gems (Artix)
A simple match-3 RPG - think Puzzle & Dragons but western and simpler - I’m surprised how much I’ve ben playing Battle Gems. Maybe that’s because it’s a pretty simple game, but it does its thing in terms of providing easy gameplay that you can build more complex tactics around. Nice.
Installed #6: Lionheart Tactics (Kongregate)
As the title suggests, this is a turn-based tactics RPG. Graphics are neat - cell-shaded - and as well as the main Quest mode, there’s also a head-to-head Arena mode. Plenty to explore, in other words.
Installed #7: Word Explorer (AppyNation/Jon Hare)
It’s been over two years since I first saw this game, so I’m looking forward to finally playing it!
Installed #8: Little Alchemist (Kongregate)
I still don’t really understand card-collection/card-battler games, but the cute and easy style of Little Alchemist looks to be something even I can understand, especially the nice way you can combine different cards to come up with weird combinations, which reminds me of Doodle God.
Installed #9: Lightbringers: Saviors of Raia (Frima Games)
In many ways, this is a typical free-to-play hack and slasher, albeit one that sacrifices graphical quality and smoothness of control to put hundreds of enemies onscreen. There’s also a real-time 4-way co-op multiplayer mode. Whether the game has more legs than being a cool tech demo remains to be seen.
Uninstalled #1: Honor Bound (Juicebox)
I didn’t enjoy this enough to spend any money, and so got stuck in a hole because of the lack of ability to generate gold. More surprising, though, is that you have to unlock the ability to fuse characters, which is typically a given in any game inspired by card-collection gameplay.
Uninstalled #2: Battle Quest: Rise of Heroes (DeNA)
A nice attempt to do something different with the 3D endless runner - in this case make it an RPG with combat elements - but there isn’t anything really compelling about this in the long run.
In Play: 16
To Be Played: 1
To-date 2014 'Life Time' Value: $18.95