Promiscuous Gamer

Comparing Kim Kardashian's frocks while unlocking Quagmire's silk leopard skin undies

Comparing Kim Kardashian's frocks while unlocking Quagmire's silk leopard skin undies

As game executive Bing Gordon famously put it (about) in 2010, "This is the most promiscuous app audience in the history of mankind".

This is the weekly diary of a promiscuous gamer....

1. Dungeon Keeper  (EA)

[Spending to-date: $4.99]

After seven months of play, I have finally completed my defensive masterpiece, which means that enemies can only attack my base via one route.

Now I have to place every single weapon I can build on that inbound route. (And finally work out how to attack other bases successfully.)

It's fun, of some sort.

2. Boom Beach  (Supercell)

The more I play Boom Beach, the more I wonder why. Defending your base doesn't enable the same creativity as Clash of Clans, (no walls) so I don't bother.

The offensive gameplay is dull and repetitive and there's a lack of interesting units to unlock.

It's time to spend some gems in Boom Beach

The only good thing about this realisation is I've made the decision to start using up my reserves of hard currency to see if anything more interesting actually does happen in the game. Nothing so far...

3. Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff  (TinyCo)

The Comic Con update sees the arrival of Patrick Stewart to Quahog, as well as the ability to collect the new Blam! currency, that's used to unlock themed costumes and buildings.

It's Patrick Stewart

So while the gameplay in Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is typical tap-and-wait, the rewards in terms of new content - I've just unlocked Quagmire's leopard skin silk underwear - are always interesting, at least if you like Family Guy.

4. Trials Frontier  (RedLynx/Ubisoft)

Still making progress in this beautifully-presented motorbike stunt racer.

5. Hearthstone  (Blizzard)

Haven't played this week

6. SlingShot Braves  (Colopl)

Haven't played this week

7. PAC-MAN  (GREE/Bandai Namco)

Haven't played this week

8. Dragons: Rise of Berk  (Ludia/Dreamworks)

Given this is based on a kid's film, I've been surprised both in terms of how long it takes to understand how Dragons: Rise of Berk actually works - you unlock and level up dragons who collect fish and wood for you - and just how restrictive it is to do anything fun.

Not fun, but expensive

A lot of time has been spent adding obstacles to make it expensive in terms of in-game resources - as well as wood and stone, you need a certain number of Viking workers to complete tasks - to complete anything, making this a frustrating and/or expensive experience for kids who want to unlock the top dragons.

This stinks of F2P game design circa 2012, which means it stinks...

9. League of War  (MunkyFun/GREE)

Making the card collection mechanic more friendly for the western audience, I've been enjoying League of War, although less so the more I play.

The one good thing Asian card collection games do is overwhelm you with the variation of cards to collect and decks to build. After a couple of weeks, however, it appears that League of War is offering me the same tanks and armored vehicles just with different - and rather idiotic - names.

As for the gameplay, that's not really evolving either. Apart from one anti-helicopter-focused mission, my basic army load-out has pretty much swept all before it.

10. Wartune: Hall of Heroes  (Kabam/Hoolai)

Haven't played this week

11. Outernauts  (Insomniac)

Haven't played this week

12. Age of Wind 3  (Deemedya)

Despite my wild enthusiasm for this game during my offline holiday, back in the real world, I'm stuck on a level that I can't complete and don't have the time to grind the currency required.

Installed #1: Kim Kardashian: Hollywood  (Glu Mobile)

[Spending to-date: $4.99]

Given the game's commercial success, it's become de rigueur to argue that Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is a great game, at least relative to other games targeting the female teen audience.

I'm not so sure, however. While the production quality is excellent, the game itself is lacking. All you do is repeat the same 'tasks', which involve getting to the correct location and then tapping on actions, which use up more action points than you actually have. Then you wait around (or pay, although they are very expensive) for more action points.

Striking a pose in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

Spending $4.99 didn't accomplish anything more than completing one task. I didn't feel I'd got value for money.

Where the game is much better is integration of social media; both in terms of its mixing of fake and real Twitter accounts, and the ability to 'date' your Facebook friends. Of course, for the core audience, the best bit is likely to be the avatar dressing elements, although most of the decent clothes are very expensive hard currency purchases.

Indeed, the more you play, you more you realise everything in the game is very expensive or time-locked, or both. Maybe Glu is just gently parodying the celebrity lifestyle.

Installed #2: Super Battle Tactics  (DeNA)

A nice little game from DeNA Vancouver, which has you building teams of four tanks that you unlock and upgrade. Each tank has a range of six attack values, one of which is randomly selected in each battle round - much like the rolling of a die.

Super Battle Tactics - does what the title suggests

Using your action points, you can influence the battle by selecting actions such as re-roll, special targeting or super attacks. Different actions use different numbers of points.

Nothing too complex then: I'm guessing this will likely lack longevity.

Installed #3: Godus  (DeNA/22Cans)

Playing the tutorial, it's easy to see why Peter Molyneux's first F2P game has received a raspberry from the critics. It pretty much does everything he called out EA's F2P reworking of Dungeon Keeper for doing.

Indeed, perhaps Godus is ever more disappointing as you get given god-like powers, only to have their use limited by the lack of in-game resources. As often happens, I'm not sure that the core game design of Godus matches the F2P mechanic chosen.

Installed #4: Spellfall  (Backflip)

Another week, another match-3 RPG, although in the case of Spellfall there is a freshness to the experience. For one thing, it's a hybrid involving a very limited number of match-3 moves within a turn-based battle mechanic. This means you have to focus more on make multiple combos, as well as building up your special attack meters and uses attacks that the enemy is particularly weak towards.

Matching for magic

This is all combined with a neat F2P system that uses your character's health as the energy resource. It recharges over time - typically 30+ minutes - and you're always given the option to spend in-game currency or a direct cash purchase to refill. Looking forward to playing more of this.

Uninstalled #1: Heroes of Honor  (Nonstop Games)

In some ways, I'm sad to be uninstalling Heroes of Honor - a game I've put a lot of time and no money. (Unlike King, which just bought Nonstop Games for up to $100 million.)

Yet, despite the months, I've been becalmed recently partly because I'm in the dreaded mid-range and won't spend any money, partly because the gameplay is very slow and repetitive, and mainly because I just can't get enough resources together to do anything new.

This situation isn't helped by the fact that the many updates to the game's resource system have been totally confused. What started out as a 1 hard, 2 soft currency system now has 1 hard currency, 3 three currencies of which two have three subsections, plus an additional resource and a five-layer orb system.

Currency complexity in Heroes of Honor

Still, if nothing else, Heroes of Honor has taught me about what I now call secondary currencies. Oh, and it also has a percent fill system for the soft currencies - something else I've been tracking. So it may not have been fun recently, but it has been educational.

Uninstalled #2: Royal Revolt 2  (flaregames)

I've been playing Royal Revolt 2 about as long as Heroes of Honor and have enjoyed it much more. But I think now is the time to uninstall and spend time playing something new, although I might still return and check out the promised big update .

Uninstalled #3: FarmVille 2: Country Escape  (Zynga)

In many respects, FarmVille 2 is a very interesting F2P game, particularly in terms of how Zynga structures the social interaction and gifting as well as the secondary currencies.

I'm not sure the gameplay is particularly engaging however.

Uninstalled #4: Soul Calibur: Unbreakable Soul  (Bandai Namco)

Really. Why was this game released in the west. It's so Japanese in every regard as to be unplayable. It's also over 500 MB in size.

Uninstalled #5: Metal Slug Defense  (SNK)

Demonstrating the 'coincidence' of game design, Metal Slug Defense uses exactly the same gameplay mechanics as League of War. You have a base and an automatically rising meter of resources which you use up as you tap on units which then leave your base and head toward the enemy base.

Of course, the USP in this case is it all happens in the Metal Slug universe; not one I particularly love.

Weekly recap
Installed: 4
Uninstalled: 5

In Play: 16
To Be Played: 0

Spending: $4.99
To-date 2014 'Life Time' Value: $38.92

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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