Ramblings – Random (12/28/16)

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Hey guys, welcome back!  It’s Ramblings time again.  And yes, it’s another “Random” column this week.  I hope you all have had a good holiday season so far.  The new year is upon us!  And hopefully 2016 doesn’t kill off any more legends before it ends.  This has been a rough year, indeed.  Oy.  Anyway, let’s get on to the meat of the article.

This past weekend, I got a phone.  An Android phone.  Which means that I can play mobile games like Neko Atsume, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, and when it gets warmer, Pokemon Go.  Also, Super Mario Run, whenever Nintendo gets around to releasing it on Android.  First, a quick review of the first two games listed.

Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector is a very “casual” game.  You don’t really “play” it as much as you observe.  See, you have this yard, and the goal is to attract cats to the yard.  To do so, you set out food and toys.  You buy the food and toys using in-game currency, which is fish.  Cats that come by your yard can give you presents in the form of more fish, with which you can buy more toys and food.  You have a catbook where the cats you find are recorded.  They have names, power levels, and personalities.  The catbook also records the number of visits and the top three items they used, as well as the cat breed.

If I understand the tutorial correctly, though, you have to either suspend or close the game for some time before a new cat will come visit.  So it isn’t something you really spend a lot of time playing in one sitting.  You open the game, check for new cats, take a picture of them, manage your catbook, refill the food if needed, buy and place new items, and turn the game off.  That’s really all there is to it.  So yeah, very casual indeed.  But it’s cute.  I love cats, so why not?

Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes seems like a neat game.  I played through the tutorial, and then a little more on my own.  I think I’m at level 7 right now.  It’s kind of addicting at first.  Some reviews on the Google Play Store say there’s too much grinding, and maybe that’s true, but I played it for a good hour or so without realizing that so much time passed.  So I enjoyed it.  Basically it’s a game where the meat of things centers around the turn-based battles found in most JRPGs.  Your characters have health and speed bars.  Once the speed bar fills, it’s their turn.  You select an attack or ability, and the character does it, then waits for their turn to come again.

Fairly simple stuff.  But there’s a collectible card aspect to it where you can purchase card packs using in-game currency.  There are also free packs that are available every ten minutes or so.  You can also buy in-game currency with real money if you’re desperate enough.  Card packs can give you new characters or items like training droids or gear, which you can use to boost your characters.  It has more depth than you might think from your first impressions.  There are also achievements, and completing them gives you items and sometimes new characters.  So yeah, I find it quite enjoyable, at least so far.  I don’t know how I’ll feel in a couple months.

I also tried out Fallout Shelter, but I found it wasn’t really my thing.  In that game, you build and manage your shelter in the Fallout universe.  That’s pretty much it.  Micromanaging people in such games isn’t that interesting to me.  So I ended up uninstalling it.  Neko Atsume, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, and Fallout Shelter are all free on the Google Play Store, and I assume the iOS App Store, as well.

Also on Android, I installed the Crunchyroll app, just to try it out.  Much to my surprise, the Android app has episode lengths listed for each anime.  The website, the PS4 app, and the Roku app don’t have that feature.  I wish at least the website had that.  I especially wish the PS4 app did, but at least if I could check the site and see episode lengths listed, that would be great.  But no, only the Android app has them, at least in terms of the apps that I’ve tried.  I’m guessing the iOS app is the same, and I don’t know about other devices.  But shame on Crunchyroll for omitting such vital information from their site.

Now for something different, I got The Last Guardian over the weekend, as well.  As of this writing, I haven’t played it yet.  Sorry.  I will try to get to it soon.  I really want to play it, but I haven’t had the time.  Been a busy few days.  That, and Overwatch’s Winter event has overtaken my gaming focus as I try to earn as many Winter loot boxes as I can.  Blizzard gave everyone five free loot boxes for Christmas, but you have to open them by January 2nd.  I already opened the ones I got.

Speaking of Overwatch, they added this new mode called Mystery Heroes back in November when they added the Arcade mode and changed some of the Quick Play rules.  Mystery Heroes basically makes it so that every time you respawn, you get assigned a random character.  I find it to be a ton of fun, and has forced me to play characters I never use.  It has taught me how to play as Zenyatta, and that Widowmaker and Hanzo aren’t necessarily as bad as I thought.  The only flaw is that modes in the Arcade don’t count toward your Quick Play stats, and there actually are no stat menus for the Arcade in your career profile.  What a bummer.

I think that may do it for me this week.  As always, check me out on Twitter at @geekdombrandon.  See you all next time!

Brandon Myers

Brandon Myers

The "Rambling Gamer," Brandon has been playing video games since 1988.From the NES to the PS4, he's played almost every major console.While he favors consoles, he's dabbled in PC gaming, and is an avid Linux user.Every Wednesday, he posts his latest Ramblings, which usually consist of video game reviews, best/worst lists, and on occasion a good old-fashioned rant.
Brandon Myers

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About Brandon Myers

The "Rambling Gamer," Brandon has been playing video games since 1988. From the NES to the PS4, he's played almost every major console. While he favors consoles, he's dabbled in PC gaming, and is an avid Linux user. Every Wednesday, he posts his latest Ramblings, which usually consist of video game reviews, best/worst lists, and on occasion a good old-fashioned rant.
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