Unlike Words With Friends, which is fairly constant, my Carcassonne playing has slowed right down lately. I think I’ve only got one game on the go right now, but I finished a brilliant game over the weekend.
I was feeling fairly confident at the mid-game stage, but near the end of the game my cunning opponent closed off some castles and put his peeps to work in the fields. With one straight road piece left, the game would hinge on who got it. If he got it, he could neutralise my largest field, if I got it I could make sure his peep was wasted.
I got it, right near the end of the game.
I still wasn’t sure who would win. If you’ve played the game, you’ll know that there’s nothing more tense than watching the numbers tick up once all the tiles have been played. I watched, I held my breath, I won by one solitary point.
It’s a brilliant game, ported to the iPhone with great care, so why am I not playing it much? There’s a simple answer. It requires a huge amount of concentration and planning. It makes your brain work far more than something like Words With Friends, where it’s hard to plan more than a move or two ahead. In Carcassonne you’re constantly watching what everyone is doing, trying to play the odds, making important decisions almost every turn, thinking through the whole game. It wears me out. There’s only so much I can take.
Angry Birds didn’t take up as much of my weekend gaming time as I’d expected; the remaining levels fell easily on Friday evening. That’s three stars in all of them now.
I’ve been looking into getting the score-based achievements, but I’m really not sure where to pick up the extra points I need. I have a feeling I’d need to gather a few hundred here, a thousand or so there, and just keeping chipping away. I may be mad enough to three-star everything, but that extra step feels like it might be going a bit too far.
Now, the original point of this blog was to write about every game I played, every time I played it. That hasn’t happened. Games I play on a daily basis or ones I only play for five minutes tend to get left out unless I’ve not played anything else. That makes things manageable, but doesn’t give a true picture of what I’ve been playing. Today, therefore, I’ve decided to write about every game I played at the weekend, even if it was only briefly, to give some indication of the breadth of games I actually play, even if every single one was on the same platform.
Let’s start off then, with a game I think I’ve probably played every day for over a year now.
Yes, it’s the trusty old Words With Friends, which in terms of price-per-hour must rank as the best value game I’ve ever paid money for.
Nothing amazing to report – although a friend did beat me in stunning fashion by getting a seventy-two point word in the dying moments of one game – but I still keep on playing. I also played a few moves of Words With Pirates, too, but that joke’s wearing thin now.
Oh, hello. If you’re reading this blog because, shite as it obviously is, it at least talks about iPhone games, then you’ll probably want to wander over to Podgamer, which is a proper site written by real games journalists who actually explain about games and and can write properly without resorting to endless sentences that just go on and on without pause and, most of all, don’t just slap down a screen shot and say, “I played this game, you shoot stuff, it’s all right I suppose.”
Anyway, the bulk of play time last night was taken up with Angry Birds, as you might expect. It’s just more of the same old stuff, but that’s definitely good enough for me. I love Angry Birds. It’s like Peggle in that you need to use your brain to make a shot, but then have to rely on luck after that. This is a problem for some people, but not for me. I consider my options and my current strategy, I line up my bird, I let go, I hold my breath… and sometimes I growl and sometimes I cheer. It’s a good job the Restart Level button is so easily accessible. It’s a brilliantly-designed piece of software that acknowledges its possible frustrations and does its best to neutralise them.
However, last night I encountered a bug, the first that I can remember. Take a gander at the screenshot below.
Just looks like the end of a level, right? Well, no, because it didn’t. The big bird there just wobbled about in a hard hat and never disappeared. I waited for at least ten minutes and eventually had to restart the level. It was especially annoying as I’d just got a new high score, but karma kicked in and within two minutes I’d soared past that score and got 120,000.
I’ve got three stars on over half the new levels now, but the remainder are proving tricky. I’ll get there, though. There are Game Center achievements at stake now, after all. Oh, and talking of Game Center, the little graph next to each set of levels showing how well you’re doing against the rest of the world? Genius, absolute genius.
Oh! Oh! One more thing. I played the game with sound last night, for possibly the first time. Those bird noises are deeply annoying, aren’t they? Also, the crashing noises don’t sound like my head thinks they should. I think I’ll stick with blessed silence from now on.
Right, this is a pirate-themed clone of Oasis, which I played many years ago. Well, maybe calling it a clone’s a bit harsh, as there are quite a few differences, but it is heavily reminiscent of the earlier game. Still, Oasis isn’t out for the iPhone (just the iPad), so there’s no competition on the platform.
It’s a turn-based game where you uncover a map and try to get as many defenses as possible put together before your turns run out and the pirate ships attack.
I’ve only done the tutorial and a couple of real levels so far, but it does what it’s meant to do. If you’ve played Oasis you’ll know whether this is for you or not. If you haven’t, well, it might be worth taking a chance.
This is probably where I should write something in more detail, but this isn’t a reviews site, just quick notes about games I’ve been playing. Honestly, even if I wanted to write a detailed review, I’ve not played this enough to do so.
The best thing to do is to come back later (or subscribe to my RSS feed) and see whether I keep playing this or not. That’s the only really good guide to quality for this sort of game.
Another update, another map, but a big change for CoD: Zombies.
The new map in this update is free, which makes a change from previous maps. Also, all the previous maps are unlocked whether you’d bought them or not. I’ve no idea why, but I’m not complaining. (Unlike Internet rage-kids, who think that the months of pleasure they got from the DLC maps have somehow been obliterated by them now being free, or something. I don’t understand the logic, myself.)
Anyway, the new map appears to be huge and very difficult to properly defend. I like that. Danger and variety, the spice of life.
Angry Birds has had another big update. How better to mark my 1,000th iPhone post?
There’s retina display graphics (which aren’t any good to me), Game Center support and, mostly importantly, another set of fifteen new levels.
So far they seem to be following all the rest of the levels in this episode by relying heavily on the big red birds, but that’s understandable.
Here’s to another 1,000 iPhone-related posts in this blog – and maybe I’ll still be playing Angry Birds then.
Today’s tip, always have some torches visible from your spawn point so you know which way to go when you respawn at night.
Always helpful when you’re running for your stuff, but I don’t think it’s going to help me today, as I was swept down a river into the darkness and only knew I’d been killed by a skeleton archer because I happened to have the sound on. (Which is very rare, believe me.)
Argh! Urgh! Was having great fun with Texting of the Bread last night when a big boss appeared and my phone went vibration crazy. It was horrible. The noise stabbed my brain and I could feel my arms vibrating for several minutes afterwards. Hideous stuff.
So I went into the options and looked for a way to turn the vibration off. Guess what? I can’t find one. It’s possible I missed it, but there’s no way I’m playing the game again if it’s going to do that every time a boss comes up.
At midnight tonight the juggernaut that is FIFA 11 will hit the App Store. I’m not going to be able to get the 360 or PS3 version, but might get this one. One problem, though – it’s 858MB in size. That’s the biggest game I’ve seen on the iPhone by quite some distance. If I’m going to get then I’m going to have to clear some space.
I don’t know what to delete, though. I’ve got some big games on there – e.g. Dodonpachi Resurrection, GTA: Chinatown Wars, Street Fighter IV – but I don’t want to get rid of them. I’ve pared down my music collection far too much already. I’ve long since stopped carrying photos and videos around with me.
One rather large game I do have that I’ve barely played in Madden 11, so I thought about deleting that. That would be less than half the space I need for FIFA, but it’d still be a big chunk.
I thought I better play it before deleting it, though, as I’ve hardly played it since I bought it. (In a sale, luckily. I didn’t pay full price.)
So I started it up and went for a quick game as the Texans against the Titans. (The Texans didn’t quite exist by the time I left Houston, but they had been named before I flew away from the city that had become my home, never to return. That’s a whole different story. Also, remind me to tell you about (T)Ed Miliband and the Sunday Sport some time.)
Here’s the thing. Madden 11 is a fantastically slick and exciting game. Sometimes I feel like a spectator, granted, but even then I’m glued to the tiny screen. When the Titans intercepted a pass in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, stealing my chance to win, it hurt.
So maybe Madden 11 has to stay. Oh! If only I had a 32GB iPhone! Curse me for thinking “I’ll never need more than 16GB, don’t be silly!”
Tough decisions lie ahead. Of course, maybe FIFA 11 will be rubbish. That’d help.