Backlog Beatdown chapter1

Published on June 7th, 2013 | by Ethan

10000000, Kingdom Rush and Guacamelee

Being forced to outside of the house as the school year ended made tending to my game backlog a bit difficult. Luckily, I still have many handheld and mobile games to play, but with two new Humble Bundles coming out over the last week, my net gain has been in the negatives. Mobile games have been a huge time waster for me, but at least I have been engaging games that can be actually beaten.

10000000

Cost: Free

Status: Completed

Time to beat: 4 hours and 13 minutes

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It may seem impossible at the start, but this room will make your brave little runner juiced up!

Last week, 100000000 was free on the Amazon app store. As an Android user, I was unaware this critically acclaimed game was even released on Google’s platform until checking the daily free app. I found myself entranced by the simple ingenuity of matching blocks to defeat monsters. There are a few games like this already on the market – the Puzzle Quest series comes to mind – but mixing endless runner and match three together gives an unparalleled sense of urgency.

10000000 continually pushes scoring 10,000,000 points to beat the game. At the beginning it’s an impossible task, but as the player runs further they grow more powerful. There are RPG elements, albeit boiled down to the basics, which encourages players to take another swing at it when they would normally be discouraged to continue. Unlike most puzzle games where I hit a wall of diminishing returns on my score, my score continually rose. Even if it’s more reflective of my time put into the game than my actual skill, it is still satisfying.

Excellently designed for a mobile game, each run can take about three minutes before the player is killed making it perfect for standing in line. On top of that, the progression makes it enjoyable for even longer play sessions. The problem with long play sessions: they reveal exactly how short the game is.

Kingdom Rush

Cost: $1.99

Status: Completed

Time to beat: 6 hours and 5 minutes

Besides the gameplay, the art style is a joy to look at as well.

Besides the gameplay, the art style is also a joy to look at.

Android users don’t have a comparable application such a Game Center that iOs users get to unify all of their games together. Recently, Google announced Play Game Services as their attempt to make gaming on Android more accessible. I was excited to test out the cross platform play, the cloud saves and leaderboards Google promised at their I/O conference. Desperate to try new offerings from glorious leader Google, I bought one of the few games that integrated Play Game services that day, Kingdom Rush. Unfortunately, the game services features were nothing more than achievements. Cloud saves and leaderboard were nowhere to be found. Disappointed, I decided to play the game and I discovered one of the most addicting tower defense games I have ever played.

It took awhile for me to figure out what set Kingdom Rush apart from the hordes of other tower defense games currently on the market, but the main aspect seems to be the interactivity and sheer difficulty of the game. On Normal difficulty it is a very challenging game. The setup is the most important part and sometimes the game will throw a curveball half way through that will poke a hole in your initial strategy. It’s discouraging, but also gives the player a glimpse of hope when they realize where they went wrong. Every time I wanted to jump back into complete it. Most tower defense games are just a matter of waiting, but Kingdom Rush gives the player access to a couple of spells to cast on each wave of enemy. This keeps the player invested and on their toes, similar to the sunlight in Plants Vs. Zombies, while most tower defense games just have the player wait until it is over. Unlike many other tower defense games, progression also continually drives the players. Stars for good performance give the player a reason to go back and perfect past levels. What a great little game that I stumbled upon.

Guacamelee!

Cost: $11.99 (Playstation Plus)

Status: Completed

Time to beat: 6 hours and 20 minutes

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The humor doesn’t always hit the mark, but it’s usually charming.

I have been craving for a game to play on my Vita for a while now. Guacamelee! is more of a console game, but I wanted to see how a game made for the big screen would translate to the smaller one. Turns out – for the most part – very well. Besides the sometimes-small text, I would think that the game was made with the Vita in mind. Thank Drinkbox studios for making cross play such a breeze and the lack of extra shoulder buttons noticeable. Guacamelee! is one of the best titles of the year due to its level design, art direction and engaging combat.

The gameplay and the frequent appearance of Chozo statues took me back to the days of playing Metroid: Fusion on my Gameboy Advance. I would be whipping out my Vita to pump up the power of my Luchador and give him the ability to unlock new areas to explore. Near the end the bosses and enemies became a bit of a drag by always putting up a shield that required a massive amount of hits before it was broken. It wasn’t as much fun as taking out dozens of enemies at a time, but it wasn’t too big of hassle. Overall it was satisfying experience and money well spent with some neat exploration puzzles that any fan of Castlevania and Metroid would appreciate.

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Next week I plan on playing more of the 2013 version of Tomb Raider. From what I hear it’s one of the best games of the year, but I am only about half way through it. So far it’s enjoyable, but more on that next week!

Added to backlog:

Rocksmith

Injustice

Poker Night 2

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

TellTale Bundle

Humble Bundle 8

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About the Author

Ethan Having long been an avid gamer, Ethan found his niche in the PC gaming market, while still occasionally dabbling in the medium that got him into gaming, consoles. Usually, he finds time to play his Xbox 360 and occasionally will dust of his Wii for a bit to play with friends and family when he isn’t found locked in his room playing shooters and strategy games. Follow him on Twitter: @ethanhawkes



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