Yes, yes, I’m only posting about Carcassonne today because I won a game against a few people. You got a problem with that? It’s my blog, I can do what I want. Y’all don’t me! I can do what I want! I’m grown!
So, this got an update that addressed the control issues. It’s much better now. I started a level I’d been stuck on and breezed through it. I’m not even sure what’s changed, exactly, all I know is that it’s a lot easier to aim shots.
Unfortunately, though, I’m now stuck on the next level. There’s some scaffolding and I need to destroy it by hitting a barrel of explosives. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get my cannonballs to reach it, however I aim. I’ve no idea what to do now.
The iPhone version’s finally been updated with the coins and boosts of the Facebook version. (We’re talking about Blitz here, obviously, rather than any of the other modes. We can ignore them because they’re rubbish.) It doesn’t make a huge difference to the game, but I still lost half an hour without blinking after starting up the game to check the new stuff out.
It may look modern with stylish comic book graphics and short, sharp cut scenes. It may have global leaderboards.
But don’t be fooled.
This harks back to the brawlers of old.
Remember the days of the Vikings, when boys would be tested on Double Dragon and Final Fight before they could put on their horned hats and sail off with the men to rape and pillage?
This game harks back to those times. It sweeps its way from the snow-covered lands of the north, with pure white backgrounds, sharp black lines and splashes of crimson blood. A game with a snarl on its face, an axe stained with the blood and gore of a thousand men in its hands and a half-eaten leg of roasted pork shoved down its shirt.
Sat by a campfire it beckons you closer, tells you a story of a man waking up in chains, masked men all around. It rises to its feet, invites you to fight. You punch and kick and it seems to fall back under your assault. Then it smiles. A terrible, leering grin lights up its face and its eyes glow with animalistic cunning in the firelight.
And you’re on the floor. It pulls you back up to your feet, then sends you flying again. You get some blows in, but not enough, never enough.
This game will hurt you, like games used to. It’s not your friend. It’s not interested in whether or not you see all of its story. It’s not a cinematic epic that will adjust the difficulty if you’re struggling. (There are two levels of difficulty, Normal and Hard. Normal is hard. Hard I don’t even want to think about.)
All this game wants to do is be like its heroes, those coin-guzzling arcade machines of long ago. It’s an old-style brawler, nothing less, nothing more.
Expect to be tested.
Oh, yes, overblown, overwritten hyperbole aside, it does have concessions to the modern age. You can choose any unlocked level to start on and you can skip the cut scenes. And, as you can see, it does look very nice indeed.
It’s not perfect. For one thing, it might not be very fair – but if you’re worried about that, this isn’t the game for you. There’s also an odd issue with the joystick graphic sticking sometimes, so it looks like you’re pressing a direction when you’re not. Confusing at first, but a purely cosmetic issue. Just put your thumb back and everything’s fine.
If you’re scared of a bloody nose this isn’t for you, but I’ve been thrilling to the nostalgic feel of the game. It reminds me of days spent hunched over the rubbery Spectrum keyboard and shovelling my last ten pence piece into a cabinet in a seaside arcade.
Maybe it’s not fair. Maybe it’s not elegant. Maybe it really is just the gaming equivalent of a thug dressed in furs. Sometimes that’s enough.
Seems like a standard match three, but ruined by graphics so colourful and jiggly that they gave me a headache after three minutes or so of play. No, really, the game actually made my head hurt. So, yeah, maybe there are hidden depths to the gameplay, but I’m not going to be finding out; I deleted the game after two attempts to play it. At least it was free.
Okay, so I complain about this. It’s too reliant on starting position, the victor becomes clear a long time before the game ends, etc. So, then, why was this the only game I played last night, eh?
New graphics! Balancing! You start in the shop with money to spend!
A PAUSE BUTTON YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY!
Most notable, though, is the new save feature. You can spend coins on saving your game – the further down you save, the more it costs. This adds a new layer of strategy and means you can avoid the early stages of the game. I wasn’t sure at first, thinking it might break the roguelike purity of the game, but I think it’s a good addition. It’s not always possible to save – or wise – so it adds more to the game than it takes away.
Oh, and there’s a free Lite version out now, if you’re intrigued, but don’t want to spend any money.
Fucking Strategery. It’s the most annoying name ever. Almost impossible for me to make my fingers type it. “That’s not a real word!” they scream at me as I try to force them to do my bidding. I suppose I’ll get used to it eventually.
Stretagy. Strategy. NO! Strategery.
Typing it takes an eternity as I peck out the letters one by one, with much thought between each one.
Horrible, horrible “word”.
Anyway, it’s Dice Wars and would probably work better on the iPad’s big old screen than it does on the iPhone’s tiny little viewing window. Starting position and luck seems to play more of a role than any… strategy – oh for fuck’s sake, it’s ruined my ability to type the word strategy now! – but it’s just as addictive and wasteful of time as the game it ripped off.
I played the Lite, I bought the full version. I don’t exactly regret it, but I whenever I play I just feel like I should be doing something more interesting, like playing another game entirely. I think it’s that the choices aren’t that interesting and really just boil down to how fast you choose to try to expand. Maybe I need to play with manually-placed armies.
This is very interesting. (Possibly.) I played a fair bit of Gravity Hook last night and really felt like I was getting better at the game, but didn’t get anywhere close to my high score. What’s that about?
Well, here’s an interesting little feature.
If you lose all your chips and are forced out of a game, you can see the screen below.
As you can see, it lets you carry on playing at the current table. A nice little feature, I suppose, for when you’re kicking yourself for going all in with a pair of Jacks, or something.
Except, if you choose to buy another chance, you don’t pay with your in-game dollars, but with real money – the second chance costs 59p.
You can also buy extra in-game money with real money, though I really can’t fathom why you’d want to.
Helps explain why they can give the game itself away free, though.