Costume Quest

Costume Quest

Summary

Costume Quest: Trick-or-treating
Trick-or-treating

It’s Halloween and you are trick-or-treating when a monster shows up and kidnaps your twin. Go around the neighborhood collecting candy and costumes, making friends, and battling monsters to try to get your sibling back.

Review

Costume Quest is cute and great at adapting the theme of Halloween to an adventure game. The story and dialogue are funny… however, the gameplay gets boring and repetitive quickly. The combat system is incredibly simplistic. Each costume has a basic attack and a special attack you can use every three turns.

It’s nice to have a game kids and adults alike can play on Halloween, but don’t expect much from it.

Costume Quest: Battle system

You might like this game if you like…

  • Halloween
  • Turn-based RPG battles
  • Costumes and candy
  • Fighting monsters

Want to play?

$0.99 on Steam (on sale 90% off) | $4.99 on iOS | $14.99 on PS3 and Xbox 360

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

TUG Early Access: Alpha 0.8.2

TUG is an open-world sandbox crafting game that I funded on Kickstarter. It’s been a while since I last played it, so I wanted to see how the game is coming along. TUG is in early access, so of course the game is still very much a work in progress.

TUG: Stone furnace

Current version (Alpha 0.8.2) feedback

TUG: Smooth caves
Smooth, curvy caves

The good:

  • The world is large and fun to explore, with many different biomes.
  • Crafting is interesting and complex.
  • When mining, it leaves smooth, curvy caves that look a lot more natural than mining large voxel blocks.
  • Goats!

The bad:

  • Still no tutorial or tooltips, but the wiki is helpful (especially for crafting).
  • Controls are a little wonky and unintuitive.
  • There is a 3rd person view (press “x”), but it doesn’t seem as usable as 1st person.
  • Shortcut bar only has 4 slots.
  • No character customization yet.
  • Fires don’t last long enough.
  • A saber cat ate me. :'(

Version 0.8.2 trailer

Want to play?

$19.99 on Steam | $9.99 (for now) on Humble Store & developer’s website

Epic Fantasy Battle 4

Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is another game I picked up during the Steam Summer Sale.

Epic Battle Fantasy 4 Logo

Summary

Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is a turn-based RPG adventure game. The game is light-hearted and funny, with the story revolving around Godcat, the patron goddess of cats.

You control four characters, which are customizable to fit your play style. You can pick and upgrade their skills, armor, weapons, and accessories to boost the stats/abilities you want. The game has a heavy focus on elemental damage, so you switch gear and abilities semi-frequently to counteract your opponents’ elemental biases.

Epic Battle Fantasy 4 Battle
Fighting a battle

Review

Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is a pretty good game, especially for the $2.99 I picked it up for during the Summer Sale.

The map is a grid of over 100 different screens. To prevent the player from wandering into areas beyond their difficulty, there are obstacles (rocks, tree stumps, broken bridges, etc.) that the player can only get past by unlocking the necessary items (hammer, axe, ladder, etc.). I thought that was a smart way of handling that problem within the game world.

Epic Battle Fantasy 4 NPC
Chatting with an NPC

Regarding gear, I liked how the gear you acquire doesn’t become obsolete with new gear. Each piece of gear is good in some situations and not good in others. Because of this, there is no ultimate gear set and you need to switch out your gear to suit the current situation.

For being made by one developer, Epic Battle Fantasy 4 has a surprising amount of depth to it. It has an interesting combat system, mini-game puzzles, tons of achievements, a great soundtrack, and a large amount of content. It’s funny and fun and kept me entertained for hours. My biggest critiques are that the highest resolution is 1280×800 and that it doesn’t have controller support. If you like RPGs, I recommend giving it a try.

Want to play?

$11.99 on Steam or play a free demo on the developer’s website

TUG Early Access: Alpha 0.5

A year ago, I helped fund TUG, a multiplayer open world sandbox RPG, on Kickstarter and I just got my Steam Early Access key! Since it’s in alpha, it’s pretty crude right now, but it’s fun to see how it’s coming along.

Current version (Alpha 0.5.3918) feedback

TUG Bamboo Forest
Bamboo forest

The good:

  • The procedurally-generated worlds are pretty neat and varying.
  • You can interact with the environment and use resources to craft tools and weapons.
  • Multiplayer support!

The bad:

  • There isn’t a tutorial or tooltips yet. I figured out how to gather resources on my own and eventually figured out how to open my inventory (by pressing “E” for some reason), but crafting is not at all obvious. Thank goodness for a helpful wiki! 🙂
  • The drain on hunger felt excessive. My poor little character kept starving while I was figuring things out.
  • No 3rd person camera view yet, from what I can tell. It’ll be in the finished game, though. Hurrah!

Overall, I think TUG has a lot of potential and I’m really excited about it. They have lots of really cool ideas (like characters that change and grow based on their diet and how you play them) and I think the finished game is going to be awesome.

Early access trailer

Want to play?

Get early access to the game + the full game at launch for $9.99 on Steam.

10000000

10000000

10000000 is a hybrid RPG/Action/Puzzle game that combines match 3 puzzles with fighting monsters and improving your character’s gear and skills. You wake up in a prison and the goal is to score 10000000 points so you can escape.

Gameplay

10000000: Dungeon
Running a dungeon

Move rows and columns to match tiles while your character runs through the dungeon battling enemies, opening chests, and unlocking doors. There are several types of tiles and each have different effects when you match them:

  • Swords/Staves: physical/magical damage to the enemy you’re fighting
  • Shields: defense against enemy attacks
  • Keys: unlock chests and doors
  • Backpacks: chance at getting an item
  • Stone/Wood: gain some amount of that material (used for repairing and upgrading the castle)

Because of the different matching effects, you really need to pay attention to the board and what your character is doing or you could waste a good damage effect when you’re supposed to be unlocking a door. I like that twist on the classic match 3 game, because you have to plan and save your combinations. You still need to act quickly, though, because the game is time-sensitive.

10000000: Upgrading
Upgrading my weapon

You can also have up to 3 items at a time, which you get from backpacks and chests. They can be used at any time to do things like transform some of the tiles into another tile or give you more time.

At the beginning of each dungeon run, you’re also given objectives to perform a certain number of matches, acquire a certain amount of resources, etc. When you complete the objectives, it rewards you with resources.

Between dungeon runs, you can upgrade your character with the resources you’ve earned. Wood and stone are used to repair and upgrade rooms in the castle (blacksmith, trainer, staffmaker, etc.). You can then spend your gold and experience to upgrade your gear and skills in the rooms.

Review

I bought 10000000 when it was on sale for 99 cents earlier this month and I started playing this morning. I’ve played primarily on my tablet so far, but I also briefly tried it out on my phone (it looked and played the same as on my tablet).

10000000 is a clever combination of match 3 and dungeon crawler and the result is a fun game that’s well-suited for mobile devices. It also doesn’t have ads or require any special permissions, so that’s a plus.

Want to play?

$1.99 on Android and iOS | $4.99 on Steam

Stonehearth: Alpha 1

Lasy May, I helped fund a sandbox strategy game called Stonehearth on Kickstarter. A co-op multiplayer RTS RPG with town building, crafting, and epic battles?!? Yes, please!

Stonehearth workers sitting around a fire

They released the first Alpha release (Alpha 1) this week. The game is pretty basic and a bit buggy right now (as is to be expected with an alpha) and there isn’t a way to save your progress yet. Nevertheless, it was fun to play around with it and get a feel for the game. It didn’t take long for my workers to lose interest in building their house, stop following my orders, and gather up in a big pile, though! Yay bugs! 😛

Stonehearth: Setting up a base camp
Setting up a base camp
Stonehearth: Crafting menu
Crafting menu
Stonehearth: Worker pile-up
Uh oh! Worker pile-up!

If you want to play Stonehearth yourself, you can visit their store to pre-order the game (September 2014 estimated release date) and get access to the alpha.

Terraria Announcements

Two exciting things happened today for Terraria:

1.2 Release Date

The long-awaited 1.2 PC update will be released on October 1st (source). Possible upcoming features include waterfalls and fountains, paints and dyes, more types of ore, a minimap, new biomes and monsters, a revamped character menu, and a plethora of new weapons and decorative items.

Terraria Demo - Getting Started
Getting started in the Terraria demo

Terraria is available on Android

Although the official announcement probably won’t be until tomorrow, the mobile version of Terraria is now available in the Google Play Store. You can demo the game for free, but you need to pay $4.99 to unlock the full game (which lets you save your progress, customize your character, etc.).

I played around with the demo briefly on my tablet and it seems to work pretty well on a touchscreen. There are joysticks on the left and right that control movement and tools/weapons. Accuracy can be a little tricky sometimes, but you can zoom in and there’s also a zoomed-in view thing that helps. There was a glitch with the sound, though, where it stopped playing partway through the demo. That seems to be a common problem, so hopefully they’ll fix that soon.

Terraria Demo - Crafting
Crafting menu in the Terraria demo

From what I can tell, it seems like the mobile version is really close to the full game, not a dumbed down version – though I did hear that there is no hard mode.

Get it on Google Play

Terraria

After seeing tons of recommendations for Terraria online, Nick and I bought the game during a Steam sale last year. We finally got around to playing it this weekend and we’re hooked. 🙂

What is Terraria?

Terraria is an action-adventure RPG game that is more or less a 2D take on Minecraft. You create a character and then you explore, dig, craft, fight, and build in your own unique world. It also supports multiplayer, so you can play with your friends either online or via LAN. Terraria is available on PC and, as of last month, also PlayStation and Xbox.

Exploring the world
Exploring the world

What makes Terraria great?

Terraria is a sandbox game, which means it’s open for you to explore and play how you want to play. If you like swinging swords or throwing shurikens, you can do that. If you prefer to be a caster, you can focus on mana gear and use magic weapons. There aren’t classes, so you can switch it up anytime. You can choose to build amazing structures or spend your time exploring or fighting bosses… or all of the above!

Terraria has plenty of content to keep things interesting. There are lots of biomes (environments), 9 bosses, a handful of NPCs, tons of enemies to fight, and random events like blood moonsgoblin invasions, and meteorites.

A few other things I was impressed by in Terraria are water flow, lighting, and AI pathing.

What would make Terraria better?

Creating a character
Creating a character

I didn’t care for the character creation screen. It’s essentially a long list of things you can change the color of (from hair to clothing items). It’s a lot of back and forth between different screens adjusting RGB values.

The first time playing can be rough. A couple people I know tried Terraria only to be confused and turned off by the initial experience.

This one’s just a minor thing, but it would be nice to have some idea where the other players are when you’re playing multiplayer. It could be arrows on the screen indicating direction (like in Salem) or maybe it could be an item like the Depth Meter or Compass.

Oh, and ladders. Platforms are awkward. 😛

Overall Thoughts

I totally recommend picking up Terraria, especially if you’re a fan of Minecraft. I’m pretty hooked on it right now and I love exploring the world and coming across new things all the time. Plus, the Purple Phaseblade I got last night is pretty sweet. 😛

Playing with our new Phaseblades
Playing with our new Phaseblades

Terraria is also supposed to be getting a big update (version 1.2) in the next month or two, which I’m excited about. There’s a list of update spoilers in the official forum.

Shroud of the Avatar Announcement

This morning, Richard “Lord British” Garriott (creator of the Ultima series) announced a new multiplayer fantasy RPG called Shroud of the Avatar. A recording of the live stream is below:

The game is being backed by Kickstarter. The $10 “Guilt Pledge” made me laugh:

If you ever pirated an Ultima game or used an exploit to grief other players in Ultima Online, here’s your chance to repent! For your $10 donation you will receive a clear conscience and Lord British’s undying gratitude.

Here are some of the highlights of the game (taken from the Kickstarter page):

  • Classless character system
  • Player housing in villages, towns, and cities
  • Crafting system that avoid busy work
  • Meaningful PVP that also minimizes griefing
  • Scene-based encounters

Shroud of the Avatar is going to be a multiplayer online game, but not an MMO. You can also play it single player/offline. It’s planned to work on PC, Mac, and Linux, but potentially also on mobile devices:

Interestingly, I now play more hours on mobile than I do on desktop, as is true for many gamers! As a result, one of our “Stretch Goals” is to develop Shroud of the Avatar so it can be played in some form on mobile devices as well. (source)

The game is estimated to be released in October 2014 and there will be a closed alpha and beta. The alpha is expected to be available in December 2013. If you want early access to the game, be sure to contribute to the Kickstarter. If you’re quick enough, you may even get one of the limited “First Responder” rewards, like I did. 🙂