There are all too many “clone” games out there on our phones. Runners, puzzles, driving…each the same just a different flavor. So it’s nice to see a game that isn’t exactly new but it feels fresh, and sometimes that’s enough.
You can file Nimble Quest in the “I wish I had thought of that” category. Based on one of the oldest PC games, Snake, Nimble Quest feels familiar while being brand new at the same time. Instead of just trying to avoid your own growing tail, Nimble Quest turns snake into an arcade game that feels like an RPG without actually being one.
You start by selecting a character from your standard issue RPG list…knight, wizard, archer, etc. The one you select will be the “head” of your snake. Then just swipe to control direction and watch your snake of characters attack baddies on the field while at the same time collecting power-ups and coins. As you destroy bad guys, they’ll drop power-ups, coins and even new heroes, which are then added to lengthen your snake.
There are a good number of levels to conquer in Nimble Quest, of which I can’t yet get beyond the first stage of hell. You’ll fight baddies that range from simple spiders and rats to hardcore black knights and self-healing maidens. You can upgrade your heroes using your gems and you can guy extra power-ups with coins. Of course, you can simply lay down some cash to buy more but you can get pretty far in the game without the in-game purchasing.
While the theme for Nimble Quest is medieval, I can totally see a long future of clones that are created using different styles…sci-fi, warfare, kid-friendly. Although if the makers of Nimble Quest were smart they might have thought of that and offer those as in-game purchases as well…but as of yet it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. I could even see some licensed versions of the game. Imagine a theme with Final Fantasy characters, or Pac-Man or something.
I’m still playing Nimble Quest after a week and in my book that makes it a game worth your while…especially for free.
Slayin’ is another mini arcade game that I actually bought prior to playing because there is no trial version…but my one dollar gamble paid off because Slayin’ is a pretty good time.
What caught my eye when checking out Slayin’ in the app store was the screen layout. The giant space dedicated to controls is something I loved seeing in a world of games that make control input complicated or otherwise hidden in overlays. Slayin’ actually gives more screen space to the controls than the actual game screen. I commend the developers for managing to create a game that fits inside a tiny space (on a tiny screen) and doesn’t make it feel like a pain in the butt…or my eyes.
And speaking of controls, Slayin’ only has three inputs…left, right and a button. You take the role of a knight (to start) and have to move left and right slaying a bunch of monsters. You don’t even have to attack, you just run into them and the job is done. Thus the challenge in Slayin’ is just staying alive by means of dodging, jumping and strategically upgrading your character. As you would expect, killing monsters results in coins that you then use to buy upgrades as you progress through the levels. Your character levels up pretty fast as you defeat more and more monsters. Once you reach the level limit you’re presented with a boss battle and then you move on.
One nice “feature” about Slayin’ is the fact that you don’t continue. When you’re dead, you’re dead, making you start over from the beginning if you want to play again. In our world of check points and game saves, this might sound like blasphemy but I for one am happy to see this type of mechanic brought back because it’s the only way I believe you get good at a game. After a week of playing Slayin’ I can confidently say I get a little bit further each time rather than just getting lucky.
Beyond the nice pixel graphics and easy controls, Slayin’ presents a lot of mini-quests that keep you playing beyond what you probably would otherwise. I’ll admit this game can feel a bit thin after a bit but the on-going quests have kept me coming back. There’s also a tavern where you can use your coins to unlock characters and customize your interface a bit. Naturally, there are also in-game purchases. So far, Slayin’ is a dollar I don’t regret spending.
Tekken Card Tournament
I’m a big fan of the Tekken fighting franchise. It was the first video game my wife and I bonded over, long ago before we were married. There are a dozens of fighting games out there, from Mortal Kombat to Street Fighter and my fighter of choice has to be Tekken. So naturally anything that has “Tekken” slapped on it gets my attention, especially a mobile game that isn’t really a fighting game.
Tekken Card Tournament is a fighting “card” game that is not unlike many other card games that ask you to build a deck and then take on opponents and attempt to out-strategize when you play your cards. In this version of Tekken you pick your fighter of choice – although I was very disappointed that Hwoarang is not in the list – and then you sit through a long tutorial on how to play. I’m not going to fault Namco for providing a detailed tutorial but I admit that I skipped it after the third screen. In essence, Tekken Card Tournament is the best version of “War” you’ve ever played.
You have three choices each turn – Strike, Focus or Block. Strike attacks, Focus adds a card to your hand and Block…well…blocks. And naturally if you bring your opponents health down to zero you win, and vice versa. The 3D graphics are about on par with your PS2 and look good for what they are but to be honest, they’re not necessary and don’t really add anything to the game. And just like when you’re playing real Tekken against the computer, you always feel like it’s cheating by knowing what you’re doing, and that feeling is doubled in a turn-based card game.
I was excited to see a Tekken mobile game but Tekken Card Tournament just fails to live up to any the name. Of course, I don’t believe a true fighting game would work on a touch screen either so I don’t know what else you could do with Tekken. Given the platform, a card game was a good choice but it just doesn’t last…thank goodness it’s free to try.