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Video Games

Mini Metro Review

At some point several years ago, I decided that most mobile games were not worth playing. Filled with micro-transactions and dumbed down brainless tappers, there just hasn’t been much on the mobile market that appealed to me as an experienced gamer looking for something with more substance. I’ve had a change of heart recently, as I noticed that a lot of the indie games I had wishlisted on Steam are on Google Play as well. Not only that, but they’re often less expensive on Android. Because of this, I’ve actually been enjoying mobile games for the first time. Mini Metro is one of the first mobile gems I have recently found since making this transition to gaming more on my Android phone.

Mini Metro is a puzzle game about building a train or subway system. Cities appear as generic shapes on screen, with passengers popping up next to each station as corresponding shapes. The shape of the passenger tells you where they need to go. It’s a brilliant system for a puzzle game. Mini Metro is loaded with strategy and fun. You can play in real-time, speed up the pace of the game, or even pause it. Except when in extreme mode, the game can be paused and tracks can be moved around, even after they are placed. Each week you are given upgrades such as new locomotives additional lines (new color) or interchanges (stations with a higher passenger capacity). Each game of Mini Metro goes on as long as you can survive without one of your stations becoming overcrowded.

The game works well on my Nexus 6P Android OS phone with absolutely no problems, and I bet it would work just fine on older devices. The visual graphics are simple, yet satisfying. The interface takes a little practice on mobile, especially when you’re in a game with a lot happening on-screen. All that being said, this is a fantastic puzzle game that is completely worth your money, even even at full price. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Board Games, Video Games

App Review: Tokaido

Tokaido is a game I’ve been hearing about for some time, but I have to admit I just didn’t understand why it was getting so much praise. The art of the physical board game although pretty, just didn’t really speak to me. So instead of picking up the analog version I decided to spring for the digital app.

For around $3 on Google Play or iOS you can get this amazing digital version of the acclaimed board game. If you haven’t played Tokaido, you play a traveler making their way across the Japanese countryside, purchasing souvenirs, meeting new friends, painting various panoramas, working on farms, stopping at inns and eating their food.

Travelers move in a line, stopping at the various locations. Except for inns, where everyone stops, travelers cannot occupy the same location. The player moving can move as far ahead as they like, skipping locations, but this opens up extra spaces for players moving after them. Tokaido feels like a race that doesn’t reward players for moving too quickly.

Nearing every location gives you points in some way- whether that’s by collecting a set (panoramas), a majority (donations to the temple), eating food, or collecting gifts. Still, the game does have some interesting decisions and works very well as an app.

The best part about the app version of Tokaido is the presentation. Instead of just graphically recreating the board game, the game uses its own 3D models and effects. The result is a wonderful app that, although playing like a strategy board game, invokes feelings of playing something like to The Sims. Although for some people the style of strategy and gameplay of Tokaido may not be the most exciting, the presentation and personality of this app is completely top notch and will likely appeal to just about anything. I give it a huge recommendation: a 9 out of 10

Video Games

Overwatch: One of McPherson’s Local Favorite

Quite a few local PC gamers in the McPherson area have been playing Overwatch by publisher Blizzard since it released in May of 2016 last year. Although I haven’t played it myself yet as I am not much of a PC gamer, it definitely looks intriguing and it’s only a matter of time before I pick it up myself. Overwatch is definitely proving that it has the depth and balance to stand the test of time. One of our local players, Brad, shared this video with me the other day. It is an interesting watch!

 

Video Games

The Roguelike genre and Darkest Dungeon

Note: This post was previously published as a column in McPherson Weekly News (www.mcphersonweeklynews.com)
If there’s one major fault with a lot of newer video games it’s that many of them are too easy. Does anyone remember games like Battletoads and Mega Man? These games from the past were excruciatingly difficult, with only the most patient and determined coming out victorious. Some say video games contribute to the dumbing down of society. I argue that easy, brainless video games are the leading contributor.

Not the case with newer Roguelike retro throwbacks such as Faster Than Light (FTL) or Darkest Dungeon. Rogue-Like is a term that gamers 25 years ago might laugh at. Before game saves, there were save codes. I’ll explain “save codes” for your kids because most of them probably have no idea what I’m talking about. You see, there was this feature in old video games that forced you to write down a code. When reentered, that code would load your saved game. Kids today would just snap a picture with their cell phone but back then (I can say that because I turned 30 this year) we had to find a piece of paper to write down the code. Then your mom would clean up the basement and unknowingly throw your paper away, making you almost want to cry because you were super close to almost beating the final boss. Or your dog would eat the piece of paper and you would wait patiently until you got the piece of paper back and had to clean it up a little to read it. Just kidding- that never happened to me but you get the idea. But even before save codes there were games with no save feature at whatsoever. When your character died or you lost, you simply lost and had to start all over. You didn’t mind your mom telling you to get off the gaming system because you were just horrifically eaten by crocodiles because you didn’t time your jumps right. You were so frustrated that you wanted to quit…for now. You’ll be back later and next time you’ll make that crocodile jump.

Fortunately for masochistic gamers like myself, there are modern Roguelikes. Recently I began playing Darkest Dungeon (DSD). DSD is a turn-based RPG in which, you guessed it, go into dungeons and kill monsters and nap loot. Not an incredibly unique them, I know, but what makes DSD unique is the high difficulty and the inability to load your game to go back in time and prevent a party member from being killed. Granted, more party members come to your hamlet on a stage coach every week that can be recruited. But once a character dies, they’re dead permanently. Fans of Final Fantasy or Paper Mario will feel right at home with the tactical, turn-based strategy and Role-Playing Game elements, but Dark Souls aficionados will appreciate the unforgiving, brutal nature of Darkest Dungeon. If you’ve got an extra $25 lying around in your Paypal account, I highly recommend picking it up on Steam or the Playstation Store. Check out my first video of DSD gameplay below: