Tag: Mobage Inc »
The Drowning, DeNA and Mobage's first-person shooter with the intuitive touch controls, is out today!
We've been keeping an eye on it for a while now, actually. Our official review is inbound, but in the meantime why not download it and try it for yourself? See what all the buzz is about and all that?
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
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I’ve haven’t played many sports titles on iOS with good reason; like fighting games, the gameplay is all dependent on latency. For developer Mobage, Inc., the solution for translating fast-paced hoops to the non-buttoned platform is to remove the ability to play basketball all together. Instead, we are left with a situational analysis app, an almost coaching approach, where every player action is dictated by the statistical probability of its outcome. From passing to shooting to playing defense, each action is a timed decision where players must choose the best course of action to score a bucket.
The way Showstopper sets up this grand experiment is placing a 5-member squad against an opposing team in league play; the catch is that I didn't actually play but rather governed the team of stars. After the opening tip, it is up to me to decide the actions of the team ,as every two seconds the players pause and I am given five seconds to decide whether to dish the rock or shoot the pill. This may seem to be a lengthy process but as each game takes less than three minutes to complete, I am hungered, like looking for seconds on Thanksgiving with none to be found. Upon loading the first match-up, my first thought is, “this is different." However, by the tenth league game, I'm sure that I'm not enjoying the basketball portion nearly as much as the collectible card game (CCG) component.
Did I utter basketball and CCG in the same sentence? That I did. How Mobage came to the conclusion to unite the two is well beyond me but what I do know is that it feels compelling enough to stick with (even if basketball gameplay is non-existent). At the conclusion of every match-up, the standouts from my team level up and continue to gain xp that translates into new abilities on the court. So, instead of continually shooting jump shots right under the basket, new window options of “layup” or “dunk” appear at my coaching disposal. Customizations are also the rave, as new gear equates to in-game attribute bonuses. With the gamut of CCG depth for such a simplistic sport, I could not help but imagine what could have been if this type of CCG were layered onto a different genre.
Is Showstopper Basketball a great sporting experience with excellent b-ball gameplay? Absolutely not. Is it worth a glance to imagine what cool CCG and sports could possibly become on iOS? Absolutely.
While all the little kiddies are out gathering candy - assuming they aren’t out on the East Coast because that would be fairly dangerous given the current circumstances - it can be tough figuring out what the rest of us can do with our time. Sure there might be the odd Halloween party and there’s always sitting around waiting for trick-or-treaters. But what’s a person to do with their downtime? Why not take to the App Store and sample a bunch of new Halloween content that’s just been added to a number of DeNA titles?
Blood Brothers - The most recent “gather creatures and strengthen/evolve them” game to come from Mobage is having a special Grave of Kings event. Players can nab some event-only familiars (complete with jack-o-lantern masks) until November 1st. Or until the special raid boss event ends. Which will also be on November 1st. So yeah.
Deity Wars - Starting now and continuing through October 31st players will be able to participate in a special live event to try and earn both rare cards and the expected Halloween-themed in-game items. Nothing like mixing a few ghosts and goblins with gods, right?
Fantasica - Guard your dreams! A bunch of Halloween nightmares have been let loose and players must band together to fight them off. The special event runs through the 31st and will give us all the chance to win some special loot and cards. I feel like I should reinstall this just so I can ogle the new characters because I love the artwork so much.
Kingdom Wars! - Get your hands on some limited time Halloween Edition Dungeon card packs and hopefully bring a ghost, witch, or other nightmarish monstrosity into the ranks. “Mwahahahahaha!!!” and all that.
My Monster Rancher - Rather than focusing on special event monsters (although there are those, too), My Monster Rancher is tossing lots of special prizes and costume items into the
pot cauldron. Witch hats, pumpkin heads, and more await!
Ninja Royale - This Halloween a bunch of vampires chose the wrong ninja to try and snack on. In addition to the special themed drops a special jack-o-lantern clan, CARVER, has been added. Seriously though, of all the human prey to hunt why would vampires want to go after a ninja?
Pocket Planes - We’re all familiar with ferrying bitizens back and forth to earn some cash. We’re also accustomed to hauling a bunch of the little pixel people and their gear to special destinations for specific purposes. Now we can fly lots of ghouls, candy, and whatnot around until the 31st. Let’s make sure these bitizens have a Halloween they’ll never forget!
Rage of Bahamut - Granted I’m used to special events in this CCG but I’ve yet to take part in any that were holiday themed. This time it’s going to be the Manor of Illusions, complete with plenty of special items and cards to earn. I suppose it’s time to start stockpiling more cure waters.
Tiny Tower - Not even Tiny Tower is safe from the horrible spirits roaming the App Store. Granted the ghostly costumes have been available for bitizens to wear for quite some time but now there’s a special Halloweed-themed mission to complete. And you can dress them up and start haunting your tower’s floors now through the end of the month.
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Mobage has developed a bit of a “thing” for freemium collectible card games lately. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just that there are a lot of them floating around now and it can be difficult to figure out which ones to stick with. Of course everyone already knows how I feel about Rage of Bahamut, but while it will always be my number one I feel confident in stating that Fantasica sits right next to it as number two.
Card collecting and enhancement is still the primary focus with this new Mobage title, but the formula has also been significantly tweaked in places. After the basics are covered in the tutorial players are given clearance to do whatever they wish, be it questing, training, fighting, and so on. Questing in Fantasica is like a simplistic game of tower defense: Enemies pour in and must be dispatched before they reach the exit, which requires placing characters along the path and putting their abilities to good use. Training is more of a simple lottery-style mini-game that has the player’s chosen leader character walking down a straight path, killing enemies to earn experience and finding treasure chests with cash or new characters along the way.
Unlike many other freemium games of this type, all actions aren’t tied to specific meters that refill over time. Instead, everything other than Training is tied to countdown clocks. Completing a quest of any sort initiates a cooldown phase, ranging from one minute to an hour or more, that can either be waited out or instantly refreshed with special items. I still haven’t decided how I feel about this method, but it seems to work pretty well all things considered. I’ve yet to get to a point where I’ve run out of things to do. It’s easy for me to get hung up on all the little elements that make Fantasica feel like more of a game than a browser-based affair, but I want to make sure I give the artwork and character designs their due. In short, they’re spectacular. And with good reason; it’s all been penned by Hideo Minaba. Yes, that Hideo Minaba.
As impressed as I’ve been with Fantasica I’ve still had a few issues with it. Mostly it’s that the menu interface is a bit busy which makes navigation a pain. I’m also not a fan of the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen since it forces me to actively search for my ally list, among other things. There are also certain concepts such as how defending against attackers works that aren’t communicated clearly at all.
I have to admit, despite the perplexing UI, Fantasica is a solid free-to-play. One with actual gameplay in it, no less. It’s too soon to tell whether it will surpass Mobage’s main juggernaut, but it’s certainly poised to make an attempt.