Bardbarian

Bardbarian

Summary

Move Brad the Bardbarian around the battlefield, dodging enemy attacks while your units fight for you.

Review

Bardbarian is a fun and simple casual game. It is very polished with great art and goofy characters. I played it on my computer, but it would probably be a great mobile game, too.

Bardbarian gameplay

You might like this game if you like…

  • Dodging enemies
  • Unlocking and upgrading units
  • Magical lutes made out of war axes
  • Tower defense

Want to play?

$2.79 on Steam (on sale 65% off) | Free on Android and iOS

Monster Loves You!

Monster Loves You!

Summary

Play as a monster in this interactive story. The decisions you make affect your personality, as well as the relations between monsters and humans.

Review

Monster Loves You! is cute, but better suited for kids than adults. There isn’t any challenge and the game is pretty short (although you can play through it again to go for different endings).

Monster Loves You!

You might like this game if you like…

  • Role-playing as a monster
  • Biting things
  • Making decisions
  • Cute cartoon art
  • Interactive stories
  • Collecting human artifacts

Want to play?

I played the game on Steam, but it’s also available on mobile.

$9.99 on Steam | $0.99 on Android & iOS | Pay what you want in Humble PC & Android Bundle 13

Lifeline

Lifeline

Summary

You are Taylor’s only contact after his/her* ship crashes on an alien moon. Help Taylor through life or death decisions as the text-based story plays out in real time.

*I said his/her because Taylor’s gender was intentionally left ambiguous. I personally imagined Taylor as a guy because he made me think of Mark Watney in Andy Weir’s The Martian.

Review

For a few days, Taylor and I shared a bond. Whenever Nick asked what I was up to, I usually said something like, “I just helped Taylor find a generator!”

Lifeline decisionsThe game plays out in real time, so you won’t hear from Taylor while he’s sleeping or busy doing something. You just have to cross your fingers and hope he’s okay. With other games, waiting between playing is frustrating and annoying, but with Lifeline, it adds realism. It takes about three days to play if you respond to Taylor regularly.

After you finish the story, you have the option of going back in time and making different decisions. You also unlock “fast mode,” so you can skip the waiting time if you want.

Taylor died the first time I played. And the second, third, and fourth times. It wasn’t until I went back to the very beginning of the story and changed a few early decisions that I found a happy ending for Taylor.

I liked Lifeline a lot. It is engaging and suspenseful. Buy it. 😛

My criticisms are that you are limited to only 2 choices per interaction. Sometimes I wanted more options than that. Also, although Taylor usually listens to you, he’ll sometimes argue with you or ignore your suggestions altogether. This is realistic, but on Day 3, Taylor is going to the peak regardless of any choices you make.

You might like this game if you like…

  • Text-based games
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Choose your own adventure games
  • Space exploration
  • Sarcastic characters
  • Suspense and horror

Want to play?

$0.99 on Google Play & iOS (currently on sale)

Squishy the Suicidal Pig

Squishy the Suicidal Pig Title

Summary

Your goal is to die in this puzzle platformer so that you can join your parents in pig heaven.

Review

Squishy the Suicidal Pig Screenshot
Broken screenshots

Disclaimer: I’ve only spent half an hour playing this game.

When I first launched Squishy the Suicidal Pig, I was surprised by how small the window was (960 x 540 pixels) with no option to change it. The only setting was to stretch the game to fullscreen; there weren’t even audio settings. I couldn’t even use my mouse to navigate through the menus. Then I tried to take a screenshot via Steam’s built-in screenshot functionality, which didn’t really work (see screenshot on right). All of that plus a semi-hard-to-read font and misspellings like “basicly” make for a game that is severely lacking polish.

That said, I think Squishy is a pretty clever concept because the goal is not to survive, but to die. The puzzles are well-designed and challenging and I like the bright, colorful art.

I’m not sure what I paid for this game, but it’s currently on sale for $0.33. At that price, it’s worth picking up in spite of its flaws. You’ll even get some of your money back by selling trading cards.

You might like this game if you like…

  • Puzzle platformers
  • Killing pigs
  • Frequently restarting levels
  • Unforgiving obstacles

Want to play?

$0.33 on Steam (currently 67% off) | $0.99 on Google Play

Morphopolis

Morphopolis logo

Summary

Find hidden objects and solve mini puzzles as you go through a colorful insect world, transforming into a new insect with each chapter.

Review

Currently on sale for only 24 cents, I picked up Morphopolis without really knowing anything about the game. Colorful art, positive reviews, and trading cards I can sell to recoup the cost of the game? Sure, why not.

Morphopolis is pretty short; the 5 chapters took me 1.5 hours to complete. The art is gorgeous and probably the game’s biggest selling point. The gameplay itself isn’t unique; it’s a hidden object game with a handful of puzzles thrown in. For what is intended to be a relaxing game, though, the insects’ slow walking speed really hurt the experience, because it was frustrating to move between screens.

Not a bad game, but not a great one either. Worth the 24 cents.

Morphopolis

You might like this game if you like…

  • Hidden object games
  • Beautiful, colorful art
  • Mini game puzzles
  • The world of bugs
  • Machinarium
  • Slow-paced, casual games

Want to play?

$0.24 on Steam (on sale 95% off) | $3.99 on Google Play and iOS

AdVenture Capitalist

If you like idle simulator games like CivClicker and Cookie Clicker, you’re bound to like AdVenture Capitalist.

Summary

You start by owning a single lemonade stand and work your way up to donut shops, hockey teams, and oil companies. Increase your revenue by buying more stores and upgrades. Hire managers to run your businesses for increased efficiency.

AdVenture Capitalist

Review

AdVenture Capitalist
Hire managers to run your businesses

AdVenture Capitalist is very similar to other idle “clicker” games, but with a capitalist theme. For how simple these games are, they’re surprisingly addicting. I installed AdVenture Capitalist and before I knew it, an hour had already gone by. Derp.

You might like this game if you like…

  • Cookie Clicker, et al.
  • Optimization
  • Idle simulator games
  • Collecting virtual currency from virtual shrimp boats
  • Free-to-play games
  • Capitalism

Want to play?

Free on Steam, Google Play, iOS, and web

Lionheart Tactics

Lionheart Tactics logo

Summary

Lionheart Tactics is a free-to-play tactical RPG for mobile devices that was also recently released as a web browser game.

Collect heroes and battle your enemies on 3D battlefields using turn-based combat. Upgrade your heroes’ skills and gear to improve their performance. There are currently over 30 classes (paladin, sniper, valkyrie, bombardier, etc.), which can be promoted from recruit all the way up to legendary.

Lionheart Tactics battle

Review

I’ve been playing this game for about half a year now, because it’s the type of game I get easily hooked on. It’s mildly amusing, but the battles can be pretty repetitive.

Lionheart Tactics is a free-to-play game, so they have a premium currency (crowns), which can be purchased with real money, but are also slowly earned in game. Crowns can help you acquire new heroes, upgrade existing heroes, and instantly heal your heroes, but they aren’t necessary to play the game. There is also a coin currency, but it is much more easily attainable in game.

Like I said, the battles can feel repetitive, especially after you’ve been playing for a while. The game gets frequent updates, though, which helps keep things interesting. There are limited time events for holidays and the introduction of new character classes, which usually come with store sales and daily battles that reward prizes.

While there are guilds and the ability to battle “other players,” Lionheart Tactics is pretty much a single player game. Guilds are mostly useless from my experience and when you battle “other players” in the arena, their heroes are controlled by AI — not by the other player.

Lionheart Tactics has its flaws, but it’s a pretty good mobile strategy game. There is a wide variety of character classes, each with their own skills to use in battle. The 3D battlefields make the game interesting. I really like how part of the strategy is where you position each of your heroes on the battlefields, especially because some classes give/get bonuses to/from nearby heroes.

Lionheart Tactics hero menu

Yes, all of my heroes are named after characters from A Song of Ice and Fire. 😛

You might like this game if you like…

  • Free-to-play games
  • Turn-based combat
  • Tactics
  • Upgrading your characters

Want to play?

Free on Google Play, iOS, and web

Another World

Another World logo

Summary

Another World is an action/adventure platformer that was originally released in 1991.

Review

Here is a record of the ~15 minutes I played this game.

Another World
Wow, I look stoned.
Another World
A professor who drives a Ferrari, huh?
Another World
This cinematic is painfully slow. Dum dee dum…
Another World
Press action to continue?! Wtf is action?! *Pushes all the buttons* Okay, it’s Ctrl.
Another World
Wait, I just saw this part. So did I die? Oh yup, I guess I so, because I can swim to the surface. The transition from cinematic to playable was not at all obvious.
Another World
Damn, it won’t let me walk off the cliff. 🙁
Another World
Could I walk any slower? (Found out later you can run if you hold Ctrl)
Another World
Ouch, a worm thing cut my knee.
Another World
Aaaand I guess I’m dead. Bad worm.
Another World
Do I have any other controls? Doesn’t look like it.

I learned that you could get past the worms by jumping over them, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to jump over all of the worms in the second screen of worms. I could get past the first one fine, but the second and third worms kept slicing my knee open. 🙁 I wasn’t interested in this game anyway, so I gave up.

You might like this game if you like…

  • 25-year-old games
  • Dying over and over because you cut your knee
  • Games whose only instruction is to “press action” after you die without giving any indication which button that might be.
  • Retro graphics

Want to play?

Another World is apparently available on a multitude of platforms from desktops to mobile devices to consoles. Here are just a few options (I played on my PC via Steam):

$9.99 on Steam | $1.99 on Android | $3.99 on iOS

Best Books & Games of 2014

Happy New Year! Here’s a list of my favorite books and games of 2014. The items within each category category aren’t ranked; they’re chronological.

Books:

Flowers for Algernon
Flowers for Algernon
The Martian
The Martian
A Man Called Ove
A Man Called Ove
Kindred - Cover
Kindred

Games:

Dominion
Dominion
Portal
Portal
Epic Battle Fantasy 4 NPC
Epic Battle Fantasy 4
Hearthstone
Hearthstone

Hearthstone for Android

Remember how I was just talking about how Hearthstone would be coming for Android soon? Today, it did. 🙂 Er, well, yesterday. But it was only available in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand at first. Now it’s available in the US, too!

Hearthstone for Android

The game looks and plays the same on mobile as it does on PC. It’s just a bit sluggish, at least on the 2013 Nexus 7. I’m sure Blizzard will have performance changes in coming updates, though.

By the way, it will only work on tablets with screens 6″ or larger for now.

Google Play link: Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft