Florence

I finally played Florence this morning, and yeah, as everyone has been saying, this is such a wonderful little game. It feels more like an interactive story/comic than a game, but whatever you call it, it’s a joy to take in, with superb visuals, storytelling, and music. Certainly one of the best mobile game experiences out there.

Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition

I only played it for an hour just now, but I already think I prefer this to the proper Final Fantasy XV (which I didn’t finish, but played over 20 hours). First off is that I really do like the cartoony look, and it makes the lead characters much more palatable to me — in the proper FF15 game, I thought the world itself was fantastically rendered, but I never could get into the main characters, with their Japanese idol boy band look. The combat itself is pretty simple, but still fun — and I wasn’t a huge fan of the combat in the regular game anyway (felt too chaotic, and so I never felt like I had a good control of what was happening). Again, I’ve only played an hour, so we’ll see if I actually stick it out (and end up paying for more, since the early game is free), but for now I find it quite enjoyable.

Reigns: Her Majesty

This has quickly turned into one of my favorite mobile games of the year. I enjoyed the first one, but I feel like this sequel is really superior, with a mix of terrific writing and a few little extra gameplay elements that get added to the choose-your-own-adventure base. Well worth getting.

PechaKucha of the Day

I’m so happy to see this come out, a PechaKucha app! It’s a super simple idea, to have an app that shares a new PechaKucha presentation each day, and having played with it for a bit, it does just as advertised, with minimum fuss. I especially like the portrait images used for that day’s presentation (you can also scroll down to watch previous presentations). Give it a download, it’s free! And here are more details form the latest PechaKucha global newsletter.

Shadowverse

First off, yes, this is absolutely a Hearthstone clone, but one I’m really getting into. Produced by the makers of GranBlue Fantasy (and I think it’s set in the same world) what initially grabbed me more than Hearthstone is the fact that it has a campaign, and also just the general art of the game – I’ll admit to not being a huge fan of Warcraft’s cartoony fantasy world. As far as playing, yes, it’s incredibly similar to what you’ll have experienced in Hearthstone, but with a few slight differences here and there that although I can’t say necessarily make it better, do make you strategize a bit differently. Since it’s free-to-play and I’m still new to it, who knows if I’ll soon get to a point where it won’t be fun unless I start buying card packs, but for now I’m having quite a bit of fun playing it.

Hidden My Game By Mom 2

One of my favorite games from last year was the mobile gem Hidden My Game By Mom — it’s true, just check my favorite media of the year list — and I’m so happy to see that a sequel has just come out. Like the first one, it’s free (with ads), and so no reason to not give it a try. It’s a fairly simple hidden object game, but with fantastic art and a funny as hell setting.

Dragon Quest II

So yeah, after playing through the first Dragon Quest game, I couldn’t wait to play II, and so that’s what I’m doing. So far (a couple of hours in), I’m enjoying it as much as I did the first, and it’s nice to be building up a party (although I didn’t mind at all playing solo in the first game). I’m also playing it on my iPhone, which I really feel is a great way to play these. Grinding certainly feels like less of a grind when it’s something you’re doing during your commute. 

Dragon Quest II

So yeah, after playing through the first Dragon Quest game, I couldn’t wait to play II, and so that’s what I’m doing. So far (a couple of hours in), I’m enjoying it as much as I did the first, and it’s nice to be building up a party (although I didn’t mind at all playing solo in the first game). I’m also playing it on my iPhone, which I really feel is a great way to play these. Grinding certainly feels like less of a grind when it’s something you’re doing during your commute.

Dragon Quest

Even though I have a big amount of respect for the series, I don’t actually have that much experience with Dragon Quest games – the first one I played was DQ8 on PS2, and then I played a bit of DQ9 on DS, but didn’t get super far in it. This year I played a bunch of Dragon Quest Heroes, and liked it for what it was (Dynasty Warriors-like with more RPG elements and pretty graphics), and then played the Dragon Quest Builders demo. So after all of this, it was a couple of days ago when I watched a recent documentary from NHK about the series (in celebration of its 30th anniversary) that I just got in the mood to go and play the very first game, which I had bought for iOS a while back, but hadn’t really played much. I started the game again, and 2-3 hours later I was still playing. Two days later, I’ve reached the final castle, and am just in need of a bit more grinding before I’m ready to face the final boss. And yes, I’ve already bought Dragon Quest 2 (the DQ games on iOS are currently on sale). As for the quality of the iOS version, I’m not crazy about using a virtual pad to move around, but I do find it convenient to play (I’m playing on iPhone this time), and I’ve gotten used to it.

Super Mario Run

I’ve been loving this. Sure, the fact that you need to be online at all times is an annoyance in that it prevents me from playing while on the subway, but it doesn’t change that the gameplay itself is hugely satisfying, and once you get past all of the levels, it’s also quite fun to concentrate on getting all of the special coins in each level. I think that “Toad Rally” is a pretty neat mode too, and find myself playing it much more than I thought I would. Currently my favorite character to use is Peach, who was also my character of choice in Super Mario Bros. 2.