Android · games · silliness · stupidity

Various screencaps from Android apps & Google Play

Most of these are heckling Google Play reviews or app descriptions and pointing out silliness in games.

More screens coming soon~! XD I’ll probably do another post though.

Android · annoyances · games

Tiny Farm update

It’s been a week since I first started playing one of Com2uS’ money-eating, wait & play games. As mentioned in an earlier post, I typically avoid these kinds of games since I know how they work; many things are cheap and have low wait times at the beginning, but as you expand your farm/building/town/street/whatever, wait times grow exponentially and the costs to purchase anything with in-game currency will skyrocket. ¬†Of course, making the virtual money necessary to afford such purchases may take several hours to several days unless you use a credit card.

If you think about it, it’s an ingenius business model since it exploits people’s impatience and desires. ¬†Sadly, I believe such exploitation ¬†is here to stay because players are giving developers the message that they’re fine with giving them money over and over just to maintain a virtual playground. ¬†After all, 99 cents for 1000 pieces of gold is doable, right? ¬†Everyone with some sort of job or allowance can afford that. ¬†But 99 cents x 50 purchases is $49.50! ¬†Is the game actually worth that much? ¬†Obviously, it is to some people. ūüė¶

Anyway, back to the real reason for this post!

My main purpose for trying out Tiny Farm was to see how far I could get without using my credit card to buy any coins or bells (the two virtual currencies). ¬†I didn’t really set any conditions for my experiment but since I’m currently out of a job, I was able to give my farm quite a bit of attention every day.

Usually, during the daytime, I would almost immediately react to every push notification about animals that were ready to grow. ¬†This, along with all the planting and harvesting I was doing, allowed me to get to level 13 in a week’s time. ¬†Maybe with some better planning & decision making, I could have even gotten to level 14 or 15.

About the crops, I would mostly plant cotton or wheat which grow in either 30 minutes or an hour respectively. ¬†Cotton gives 200 coins per hour while wheat gets you a return of 135 coins. ¬†(For cotton, you’re spending 1200 coins per hour to get 1400 coins. ¬†:/ With wheat, it’s 45 coins for 180 coins in an hour.)

At night, before heading off to bed, I’d plant some crops that would take either 10 – 12 hours to grow. :3

Along with constant field work, I’d also make my rounds on the world map to visit all the folks that I’ve added as “friends” to get some hearts, gold, and experience as well as spreading some love around. ¬†So far, I got 20 farms surrounding me. One thing I noticed is that I seem to be restricted to how many farms I can get visiting rewards from. I suppose Com2uS doesn’t want players exploiting this method to stock up on hearts and money. ¬†They want YOUR money after all.

So here’s what the farm looks like. (The image sizes are actually reduced here. ¬†Click on them to see their full size!):

My tiny farm after 7 days
I sold some chicken and sheep to afford the leghorns and some other stuff. My goal is to fill the farm with nothing but cute, dotty-eyed animals! The alpaca is next on my list! >:3
My tiny farm in 7 days - right side
Nothing of interest on this side but I wanted to show it anyway. XD

In terms of  mastery, I only have the sheep, brown sheep, chicken, and brown chicken maxed out.  The black sheep and black chicken are at 3rd and 2nd Mastery level respectively. I have completed the collection of those animal types though. ^o^

I currently have a ranger out looking for an alpaca but he won’t be back until Wednesday since …

Tiny Farm - Ranger out to look for an alpaca!
It'll take over 62 hours to get a cute little alpaca~! I don't have 32 bells or want to buy 32 bells so I'll just wait. ūüėÄ

I’ve completed all the farm and animal objectives up to the “Breed 2 pigs” and “Buy 1 firewood”. I don’t particularly care for these silly “missions” since the rewards are hardly worth it.

Other observations:

  • There are level restrictions for anything that will generate money, hearts, or experience. ¬†For example, if you want to increase your fields, you have to wait until level X to buy another patch. However, you can use bells to instantly buy one. ¬†Of course, bells are “special currency” which can only be obtained in-game through special conditions, offers from Tapjoy, or via a credit card purchase.
  • The Tapjoy offers are mostly laughable since a good number of them only give you 1 or 2 bells in return. 1 or 2 bells are great for instantly growing crops or animals but if you actually want to buy useful stuff like fields or animal certifications, you would need to pretty much take up every single free app offer. Ambitious folks could make use of signing up for subscription-based services like Netflix to get more bells though.
  • More than 95% of the purchasable items are simply decorations to make your farm “look more like a farm” and therefore pretty damn useless.
  • A good chunk of the purchasable aesthestics can only be bought with bells.

All in all, I think I’ll stick with Tiny Farm until it gets way too damn expensive to buy animal certification — i.e. increase population amount by 1. ¬†It costs me 24,250 coins right now which is manageable. I’m pretty sure it’ll increase to at least 50,000 coins for the next one though. ¬†Of course, I may even get bored of the game before I manage to obtain enough funds to get the next few animal certifications. :E

games · iOS

Fantasica

Fantasica iTunes product page
Fantasica iTunes page

Read about this social game while going through some older posts at Andriasang.com today. ¬†It’s described as a simulation roleplaying game but in reality, it’s a peculiar mixture of tower defense and super simple one-touch automated RPG.

The game starts off with a brief tutorial that allows you to select a single random unit which comes in the form of a card. ¬†I think you can then draw a few more units. (I can’t remember clearly. ^^;;) ¬†And finally, it tells you to select a unit to be a leader character. ¬†Er, oh yeah, there are different types of characters like fighters, archers, and magic users. ¬†Not all units are human either since I’ve drawn monsters too. ^^

A Fantasica unit card
Ramza!?

The tutorial then continues with the tower defense gameplay mode by teaching you the basics of selecting a unit and placing them in a highlighted area.  Each unit has a cost and every stage gives you a fixed amount of unit points to start off with.  The points regenerate as you play the stage.  Also, you can only place a certain number of units on the gameplay field.  If you have any leftover space (and some available points, I think), you can select characters from other players to assist you in your battle.

The other gameplay mode has stages where your leader character runs northward along a very long dirt path. ¬†It seems the point of it is to collect certain unit cards. ¬†You can also level up your leader this way though. ¬†Anyway, along the path, he or she will encounter monsters or chests where you can get new unit cards. ¬†It seems that random characters from other players will pop up too? I’m not sure about this though.

Of course, there are many other things to do in the game such as trading cards with other players, fusing cards to strengthen characters, buying and selling cards + items, sending friend requests, and more.

One big gimmick about Fantasica is that both gameplay modes as well as obtaining new cards from the Gacha menu require some sort of points which limit how much you can do during a single gaming session. ¬†I believe the gameplay ones replenish after a while but getting new cards require either points obtained in the TD or RPG modes or by purchasing them with real money. :/ ¬†There seems to be like 3 sets of points too. X___x ¬†In a way, it’s¬†reminiscent of the Stamina & Friendship Points systems from¬†Puzzle & Dragons.

I should note that this game requires one to register with the Japanese Mobage social community. ¬†The registration isn’t difficult but they require personal information like your gender, birth date and¬†blood type (I wonder if all Japanese social networks ask for this. 9__9). ¬†Oh, and even if you don’t live in Japan, you’ll be forced to select a prefecture before you can finalize the registration process. ¬†If you’re hyper sensitive about allowing the public to know about these things, you’d best not even bother with the game. ¬†Or, you can quickly load up your Mobage home page after you finish registering so you can hide the info through the privacy settings.

Fantasica is available globally (I believe) but the US link is:¬†http://itunes.apple.com/app/id506604550?mt=8¬†The game is also available on Android but since I couldn’t install it on my tablet, I have no idea if it’s available for phones outside of Japan:¬†https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.mbga.g12007722.mktapp

The official site can be seen here. ¬†It’s Japanese only.

Oh, despite the fact that the product page on iTunes says the in-game languages are English and Japanese, 99% of the game is in Japanese. ūüėõ ¬†The English bits only come in the form of unit names and stuff.

Android · annoyances · games

Forgotten Tales: Tips and Rage

Edit on August 30th, 2012: This post was done way back in April when the game was still wholly incomplete and new. It had an immense amount of balancing issues and required insane amounts of grinding for levelling and money. As subsequent updates pretty much didn’t address a lot of the issues I’ve pointed out, I’ve since uninstalled the game. I have no idea how things improved or degraded with the recent updates nor do I care since I’ve given up on Forgotten Tales.

I recommend people to read the comments that other players left for more up-to-date guidance.  The developer has also made a forum so you can check there for hints and information on bugs and such: http://forgotten-tales.boardonly.com/

——–

While on my quest to find fun and engaging Android games to play, I came across Forgotten Tales¬†which seemed decent from screenshots and with a near 5-star rating from 80+ users, I figure it was worth a shot. ¬†But after some quality time with it,¬†I’m finding it difficult to understand how in all hell people could give the game anything beyond 2 or 3 stars. ¬†I take it they’re all just masochists with really low expectations. ¬†Here’s my experience so far:

WALKTHROUGH OF THE VERY BEGINNING + TIPS

It’s not difficult to figure out the controls although I can’t fathom why anyone would want to play the game on the default speed. I always have it at double speed because everything moves so dreadfully slow to me. (I’m using a Galaxy Tab 10.1.) ¬†At first, the game really did seem decent. ¬†I tried out the little dungeon that was southeast of the Forester and took out some skeletons. ¬†I freaked out a little that they could move so much faster than my character but after 2 or 3 battles, I managed to jet and get out of there alive. ¬†Your character regenerates health automatically so I had him stand around for a bit. ¬†Once the health bar was back in the green, I travelled southwest to Kedington Village.

An odd thing about the NPCs (non-player characters) in this game is that, although you get the little speech balloon icon if you move your cursor over them, they have NOTHING to say! Even more strange is the fact that these NPCs can disappear from the area all together if you return at a later time. Anyway, the only ones that will even acknowledge your existence are the ones that have a little question mark icon next to them.

The first character I spoke to was a man standing around in the southwest part of the village. ¬†He gives you the quest to deliver a message to his brother, a gravedigger, in the southern village/town of Ashdown. ¬†Shouldn’t be too difficult, right? ¬†RIGHT??? (Oh yeah, at some point, you can talk to the woman (possibly a hooker?) in Kedington. ¬†After you do your thing with her, you get 25 XP or something.)

Unfortunately, unless you a) did some grinding with the skeletons in the aforementioned dungeon to get enough spoils and money to afford armor and a better weapon, and b) you save like crazy, there’s a very good chance that you will DIE on the way there. ¬†For one thing, the highway bandit (the guy with a green cape) can overpower you easily if you didn’t beef up beforehand. ¬†You may also run into the ever-so-terrible-predicament of being attacked by a giant mob of spiders, wolves, and more highway bandits all at the same time. Although this is not a common occurrence, spiders DO frequently come after you if you’re within the vicinity of the signpost north of the guardhouse near Ashdown.

Forgotten Tales
You don’t want to get into this situation when you’re level 1, travelling alone, and armed only with a wimpy sword.

Oh yeah, there’s a party member with my character in that screenshot. (The member = the other guy with a giant grey oval under him.) I’ll get to this in the next paragraph. XD

In Ashdown, I ran into some random guy that wanted to join forces with me to take out some mean orcs that took over the mines in the east. Cool. A party member! Maybe I won’t have to worry so much about dying all the time now. ¬†Afterwards, I chucked the letter at the gravedigger and it was off to the mines for orc hunting.

Alas, after about a minute of slashing, the one orc I encountered at the mines still wasn’t dead. Instead, my character was the only one taking damage. That’s when I decided to simply reload the bloody game.

So now, all I’m doing is running around and grinding because it takes 300 XP to get to level 3. I only mention the experience because enemies that I can actually kill only give around 2 XP. ¬†All I can hope for is that they drop gold or things I can sell. ¬†I’m not sure why wolves keep dropping their “fungs” because all they do is take up space in inventory as you can’t sell them.

Forgotten Tales: Wolf Fungs
I think you mean fangs. And are these needed for some eventual quest because I can’t sell them or use them in any way.

THE RAGE

Forgotten Tales is a definite work in progress. At the moment, it has extreme balancing issues and a terrible lack of direction for players. I’m all for open world games and exploration but I also like to be able to SURVIVE in them. ¬†It’s actually kind of puzzling why it was released to the public in its current state. It would make a bit more sense if it had the word “BETA” slapped onto the end.

Back to the topic of survival, see the red-headed asshole in the screen below?¬†You try and take him down at level 2 with default equipment, or hell, even the first armor “set” and a Sabre AND with your faithful companion from Ashdown by your side. Good fucking luck.

Forgotten Tales: Bloody Bandit Guy
This enemy should NOT be so close to the second village.

I’ve played my fair share of Western, Japanese, and Korean RPGs — both single player and massively multiplayer online — and generally, there’s something known as game progression. ¬†Typically, you can’t access areas with enemies that you can’t handle due to level, capabilities, etc. until you fulfil certain requirements like advancing the plot. ¬†I’m not entirely sure there really IS a story in Forgotten Tales but regardless, it ignores any sort of logical continuity and allows you to innocently wander into these particular areas.

To add insult to injury, these said areas are immediately east AND west to the goddamn fucking SECOND village.

In order to take on the enemies, you essentially either need to level up — which takes forever due to the low experience points enemies give — or grind until you have enough money to afford better equipment. ¬†Speaking about equipment, here’s a hilarious screenshot:

Forgotten Tales: Expensive shit in the second village
What is up with the prices of the armor?

This is from the shop in the SECOND village. I take it there aren’t many settlements and such in the game so this place probably doubles as “the town that’s before a late game dungeon” as well. At the pace the game is going at, I can tell you that it will be agony to even rack up 1000 pieces of gold.

Another annoyance is that NPCs don’t repeat dialogue nor speak to you again. Some of them do if you return to them after you finish the request they made. ¬†However, if you just so happened to accidentally click out of a conversation because enemies started swarming you while you were talking to someone, you won’t ever know what the hell the person was chatting about unless you reload the game.

Finally, random enemy mobs. It’s not like I’m fleeing from monsters and then running into another group of them. My party is simply walking along the cobblestone path and then BAM! Monsters from literally all directions just come out of no where and charge directly toward it. ¬†As mentioned before, this isn’t something that happens often but the fact that it can still happen is kind of frustrating and shouldn’t even be a possibility.

Android · games

Dragon Tear (JRPG on Google Play)

Note: Please don’t ask me guide or walkthrough-type questions because I have a HORRIBLE memory so even if you ask where to proceed from a certain point in the game, I probably won’t be able to help you. ^^

For some time now, I’ve been looking for games for my Galaxy Tab 10.1. While there are certainly a lot of games on Google Play, there aren’t many that look interesting to me. ¬†It seems that most of the ones I want are only available for folks in Japan. ¬†Well, it’s either that or device incompatibility. :E

Just recently, mmgames put a few of their RPGs on sale. ¬†Like Kemco/Kotobuki Solutions (makers of RPG Alphadia¬†and¬†Symphony of Eternity), mmgames seems to love slapping premium prices onto their apps. ¬†I’m not quite sure why because they’re not spectacular by any means. ¬†Perhaps some of them are ports of renown cell phone games or something. ¬†Who knows? ¬†Anyway, I picked up one of their run-of-the-mill RPGs called Dragon Tear.

Since I’m mostly illiterate to Japanese, some of the following information could be incorrect! ¬†The story seems to revolve around a teen named Enon and his dragon friend, Toa. ¬†The game ¬†begins several years in the past with a young Enon encountering ¬†an injured Toa in the forest near Enon’s hometown. ¬†For some reason, they become friends but because dragons are feared and considered evil creatures and such, Enon keeps the discovery and the friendship with the dragon a secret.

For the next few years, Enon continues to visit Toa (who took up residence in the forest) but one day, a group of bratty kids (I think, I can’t remember if they were adults are not. XD) from ¬†town discover Toa and try to get rid of him. ¬†Enon comes to his friend’s defense but — and this is a little iffy since I kind of rapidly clicked through the dialogue XD — somehow gets severely wounded by the group that wanted to kill the dragon. ¬†At this point, Toa saves Enon by giving him some of his blood which, I believe, is actually some contract of sorts. ¬†I’m not sure if Toa explains it but somewhere along the way, it’s mentioned that humans that receive a dragon’s blood gain incredible strength and powers.

So something happens (^^;;) and the gang of bullies freak out and brand Enon a monster and run back to town.  I suppose, since Toa has been discovered and could no longer stay in the forest, Enon decides to leave with him.

Their journey together eventually gets them involved with the evil empire that’s apparently been partially responsible for all the destruction dragons have been causing. ¬†In fact, it seems like the empire’s trying to create an army full of super humans by infusing soldiers with dragon blood. ¬†Well, at least that’s my interpretation of the events I’m seeing in the game. :3 ¬†If anyone else is playing the game and is fluent in Japanese, I’d really appreciate corrections and more information about the story. ^^

Anyway, Dragon Tear itself plays like those old school NES RPGs such as Dragon Warrior so there are no stupid fetch or hunting quests that are so rampant in mobile RPGs these days, and there’s no convenient auto-mapping feature. (I kind of wish there was one because I got lost in the Forest of Eternity a few times. XD)

The game has a rather strange equipment growth system where weapons and armor increase in strength as you attack and get attacked. ¬†The odd thing about is is that it gets me confused as to when I should be buying new equipment. ¬†I mean, equipment can either have a slow or quick growth rate so if I’m using a weapon with a low base stat and slow growth rate, should I stick with it to max it out? ¬†Or should I ditch it and buy another weapon that has a higher base stat and fast growth? ¬†I think it would have been better if the game actually showed you what an equipment’s maximum stat was so that it would be easier to make the decision of whether or not a piece of armor or weapon should be scrapped.¬†Oh yeah, the selling price of the equipment also increases as its stats grow.

I do believe that armor only grows if the character wearing it gets hit. I’m actually running into a bit of a problem with this right now. XD You see, Toa’s permanently armed with some red dragon jewel or something so he’s an exception to equipment growth. HOWEVER, enemies seem to love picking on him. This means that he takes the brunt of attacks which deprives the other characters of armor growth! >:E

Here’s a random battle screenshot. I took it after Toa got attacked. XD (The text mentioning the amount of damage taken wasn’t finished yet. ^^)

Dragon Tear Battle
Stop picking on Toa!

The strange thing about battles is that there isn’t any option for Enon to invoke some super powerful dragon power move or something. ¬†However, during an event scene, he did seem to have powered up so he could punch some enemy dragons. ¬†(Not entirely certain WHAT he did since the sprite animations are so simple. XD) ¬†But since triggering the dragon blood or whatever knocks him out for a few days, I guess it’s a good thing the option isn’t there. ^.^

Android · shopping

„Āļ„ĀĚ„Āé„āď„ĀĆŚ•Ĺ„Āć„Āß„ĀôÔĹě! ‚ô•

Pesoguin is a super adorable fictional Japanese character that’s a baby emperor penguin! ¬†(See official site at¬†http://www.pesoguin.jp/english.html) ¬†I recently discovered it while randomly poking around at the Google Play store. ¬†Most of them are either small utilities like the clock and battery apps but there are mini games as well. ¬†I ended up¬†downloading a few of the free apps and even purchasing the full version of the Pesoguin Battery app. Unfortunately, it seems like there aren’t any apps for Apple devices. ūüė¶

According to the official Website, there was even a comic series on Yahoo! Japan as well as plush toys! ;;o;;~! I wish I found out about this character a few years ago. I’d love to get the toys. I bet they’re only available via auctions and such now. ;__;

Anyway, here’s an example of Pesoguin widgets on my homescreen (or whatever it’s called on an Android device):

Shown above, from left to right, are the Pesoguin Talk, Pesoguin Sakura Dance, and Pesoguin Battery 3D Full ver. widgets. ¬†For the Talk one, the speech balloon will show the penguin’s most recent tweet (mostly in Japanese as it only knows 3 English phrases. :P) although he’ll say more things in English if you give him gifts from the widget’s menu. :3 ¬†He’ll also “physically” react to the gifts too. ^o^

Here are some screens from the battery app! XD

For the battery widget, you can make Pesoguin spin by tapping on him. ^^; ¬†You can obtain achievements (listed in the menu as Honor) based on the total number of revolutions he does. XD After a certain number of turns, you get a title. ¬†See next screencap for the first few of the silly Engrish titles! ūüėÄ

Oh yeah, Pesoguin’s expression changes based on the battery life left. ¬†For some reason, only¬†the last few screenshots from the Free version shows you all 4 facial expressions. ¬†I love the look for the 1 bar left one.