Fun with Card Battles – Animation Throwdown

Genre:  Card
Platform:  PC and Mobile

I discovered a game a few days ago that has suddenly consumed the majority of my time.  I have played almost 24 hours since.  This game is Animation Throwdown, available on Steam or as a mobile game.

This game combines things I really enjoy – a good card battle game, adult swim (or Fox’s Animation Domination) cartoons and comedy.  The game contains card sets from the following cartoons – Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, Bob’s Burgers and King of the Hill.  I am very familiar with all but Futurama, but I have seen it and at least know the basic characters.  I am regularly chuckling while playing this gem.

You play with your typical card-battle rules.  Each card has a damage and health number.  Each one of these numbers can be enhanced by combo cards, but you will have to research the majority of the combos.  This can take anywhere from 1 to 24 hours, depending on the grade of card you are researching.  The higher-level combos are well worth it.

There are several different game modes as well.  There’s a guild rumble, quest line (adventure mode), arena and challenges.  There is enough content to keep you busy for a while.  You can also upgrade your cards as you play and recycle cards that you don’t want to keep.  As of right now, you can only have three decks at a time.

The game is free to play, but it tries hard to get you to pay to advance quicker.  I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t suckered in once.  If you like any of these cartoons, even if you have never played a card battle game, please check this out!  You will likely have a fun time.

Steam

I have featured some fairly obscure games on my site, and you may wonder how I find them all.  I have one word for you – Steam.  What is it?  It’s a service which works with thousands of developers to feature their games for you to buy.  The store interface is great, but what really stands out is their recommendations.  They really tailor to your previous purchases and you can customize the tags included in the search.  You can see customer reviews, similar games, videos and screenshots.  You can build a wish list of up to 50 games and follow many more.  When one of the items on your wish list goes on sale, they’ll email you.  There are many free games as well.

They also arrange “discovery queues” for you, which is where I find most of the obscure games.  They pick 11 games for you, and you can say whether you want to follow it, add it to your wish list or are not interested.  The queue gets smarter as you go.

Steam Store

Steam is more than just a store, though, it’s also a way to keep your PC games organized.  Every game that you purchase from Steam is listed in your library, which you can categorize however you see fit.  You can also add non-Steam games to this library as well.  If you’re not a Steam member, I would strongly recommend it, as this is where all of the best PC gaming is these days.

Chey’s Top 25 – #4 – Diablo 3

Genre – Dungeon Crawler
Platform – PC

It has taken me a very long time to write this article.  Every time I go into the game to get some screenshots, I end up playing for hours and forgetting about the screenshots.  I already have Diablo II on my top 25, but Diablo 3 takes my number 4 spot.

I have been playing this game since day 1.  It did some things well and some things not so well.  Blizzard has made some major changes over the years, usually for the better.  In the beginning, there was a player market place where you could sell in-game items for real money (or for in-game currency)!  I made a whopping $13 way.  Many argued that this made the game unfair.  I found it a new and thrilling element to the game.  A couple of years in, they removed the auction house.  In doing so, they really upped the quality of crafted items, which made the reliance on super-rare drops less, which ultimately made the game more enjoyable.

Another thing that I was disappointed about was the skill tree, or lack thereof.  Instead of highly customizable skill trees, there are a handful of skills that you can pick from.  You can go into an advanced mode, which allows you to put any skill into any slot, which helps a bit, but I still miss those skill trees.  After you hit level 70, you start to gain Paragon points, which allow for some further customization, but I would still like to see more.

Another thing that was changed was the inventory.  Diablo has always been about the loot, and they greatly improved this in Diablo 3.  Items, no matter their size, only take up one inventory block.  The runes are a thing of the past, but items are still socketed and there are many different sets of armor.  In a more recent update, they rolled out ancient armor, although I still have yet to see one.

Screenshot007

The story is solid.  The graphics are great (check out some of the screenshots below).  If you have the expansion, you can pick from the following classes – monk, witch doctor, wizard, crusader, barbarian and demon hunter.  I’ve played each one up to level 70, but my favorite, by far, is the monk.  I also enjoy playing on hardcore mode, which means that when you die, it’s game over.  As you progress through the story, you can choose followers to join in your quest.  They are actually useful and have different abilities.

I would say ignore the negatives that you may have heard about this game and try it for yourself.  It’s a lot of fun and you’ll likely get sucked in!  I have played over 600 hours on my main monk alone and I keep going back to it.

 

10m play

Genre:  Match 3 with RPG elements
Platform:  PC

I just discovered 10,000,000 yesterday on Steam.  I haven’t gotten much accomplished around the house as a result.  I need to do my taxes, balance the checkbook, do a load of laundry, vacuum, start planting my garden, mow the lawns, etc etc.  But no, instead 10,000,000 has sucked me in all day yesterday and today.  In fact, it took me over an hour to write up this post because while getting screenshots, I ended up playing it more.

That should be reason enough for those of you that like match 3 games or casual games to go out and get it.  You are an adventurer stuck in a dungeon and you can earn your freedom by scoring 10,000,000 points.  This isn’t a quick task.  I played through the entire game in about 7 hours, but I started over immediately after completing it.  You start in your home dungeon area, which consists of some rooms and a bed.  You unlock the rooms and upgrade them as you go.  In these rooms, you can upgrade your weapons and armor.

Before entering the dungeon, you are given three tasks, which award you with either gold or experience, both necessary for upgrades.  The game play itself has you at the top of the screen, meeting monsters or loot chests along the way.  You only have so much time to play, and you can eventually get upgrades or food items which allow you to extend that time.  The longer you’re in the dungeon, the higher your score.  The monsters get tougher, but you rank up, which increases your score multiplier.

There’s not much more to this game than that, but it is super fun.  Check it out on Steam or on your mobile device!

Oldies But Goodies – Number Munchers

Genre:  Educational
Platform:  PC

I came in to school at a great time in history.  Home computers were newly affordable, which meant that they had a couple of them in schools.  They began using games as teaching tools, and we were learning while having fun and not even realizing it.  One of these early games that I remember is Number Muchers.  There were several “Munchers” games after that, but this was the first.

You played as the hero, the number muncher.  I’m not sure what you were trying to save and I don’t think there was much of a story behind this game.  Anyway, it was your job to “munch” the numbers (press the space bar) that fit the category at the top.  It typically focused in number multiples, but sometimes it would be prime numbers and other varieties.  The Troggles attempted to foil your plans for heroism.  They were cute monsters that were trying to eat you.  Every time you moved a square, they moved a square.  They started out pretty random, but on later levels, they had some AI and made the game more and more difficult.

I remember this game very fondly.  So much, in fact, that I just bought a Number Munchers t-shirt.  You can still find this game online in various forms.  If you want to play the original, you can find it on abandonware sites and play it using a DOS emulator such as DOSBox.  It’s a blast from my past and I’d be interested to know how many of you also played this game in school!

Genre:  Hidden Object
Platform:  PC

It’s election day here in the US, and things are looking grim.  As a bit of social commentary, I’d like to share a fun game which I feel is appropriate for my mood.  In Papers, Please you play as a lowly checkpoint worker for your government, the country of Arstotzka, reminiscent of iron-curtain Europe or the USSR.  Your job is to inspect the paperwork of people that want to enter your country.  Your life depends upon your performance.  The more people you process, the more money you make, which means your family can afford to eat for another day.  You’re screwed if anyone gets sick, and you’ll really start to feel the pressure as you watch your wife or children slowly starving to death.

This game really does bring about some ethical dilemmas for which there are no clear cut answers.  Do you help the secret underground or the lady that is just trying to see her daughter?  Or do you stick tight to your duty and deny all without proper documentation?

I call this game a hidden object game as I’m not sure how else to classify it.  You have an instruction booklet to refer to.  The documentation gets more and more complicated as you play.  You have to have a really sharp eye to be good at this game, thus the hidden object aspect.  Eventually, you’ll get to start body scanning for hidden weapons.  I made it through an entire month of the game at one point and that was really tough.

This game is very unique and a lot of fun.  It can feel a bit heavy if you let yourself get wrapped up in the story, which I did.  Check this one out!

Casual Game Spotlight – Slingo

Genre:  Bingo/Slots
Platform:  DS, PC

Slingo has been around for a long time.  I think I first played it in 2009 or so, possibly earlier.  I would definitely call this a casual game, as you can pick it up whenever you want and quickly put it back down (if you can).  This game is all over the place now – I have a DS game, it’s on Facebook games, there are stand-alone PC games – and there are many different versions of it.  I’m going to focus on Slingo Quest for the Nintendo DS.

It’s fairly easy to sum up this game – it’s a cross between a slot machine and bingo.  You spin the reels at the bottom, and then select the numbers in your Slingo card that match.  Get a standard bingo pattern (minus four corners) and you get points.  Slingo adds in other objectives that vary from card to card as well.

It’s a simple game, but it is a lot of fun and I recommend it for anyone looking for a quick time waster.  There are times when you need to play more than one card at a time, and I love these games:

slingo-1

It’s more challenging and fun.  If you’ve never played Slingo, try it out.  I am fairly sure you’re going to have fun!

Oldies but Goodies – Sim Tower

Genre:  Simulation
Platform:  PC

The Sim games have been getting some love (and hate) on my site lately.  It’s usually love.  And Sim Tower is no exception.  I think I found this game by accident in Walmart one day and bought it.  I loved SimCity, so how could I go wrong with another Sim game, this time about a tower?  I couldn’t!

This game was a lot of fun and gave you a lot of different options to customize your tower.  You can still find this game online, by the way, so if you haven’t played it, try it out!  You started with an empty plot of land and you started by building your lobby.  Easy enough.  Next, you built your second floor.  And some stairs so people could get up to that floor.  Now you pick what kind of dwelling you want on your new floor.  Hotel rooms?  Office space?  Condos?  It’s up to you, but keep an eye on your cash flow!  (Hint, offices in the beginning).

As your tower grows up, the challenges get greater.  By far, the most constant challenge is elevator strategy.  You are only allowed a certain number of elevator shafts per tower and if you reach over 50 stories, things really start to get interesting.  You’ll be dreaming about pink and red people and elevator capacities and which floors to set the cars to while idle and WAAAAH!  I actually still think about this game every time I am waiting for an elevator and imagine myself turning pink.  Before you know it, your simple tower looks like this:

sim-tower-bigger

This is a great game and I strongly recommend you try it out.  It’s got a bit of humor in it as well and the replay-ability is quite high.