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.
I’ve been a longtime fan and supporter of the work of Nosigner (aka Eisuke Tachikawa, whose monicker is now the name of his firm), covering many of his early works in my “On Design” column and elsewhere, and it makes me happy to see that he’s gotten to a point where he’s headlining his own show at the Ginza Graphic Gallery (“Reason Behind Forms,” running this month until October 31). One of the main installations in the show is what you see pictured, which represents all of the technology that has been engulfed within the iPhone. There’s more to see in this Spoon & Tamago post.
I use the Line app once a month, and for the exact same reason every time: to check the new messages from the official Japanese Nintendo account, for the purpose of downloading the new iPhone calendar wallpaper it shares each month. Pictured above, the wallpapers we’ve gotten for July, August, and September (which is now adorning my iPhone lock screen, a bit ahead of schedule). I absolutely love these.
I wrote the other day how I was getting excited about playing a few iOS games, and this is another one of them. I really loved the first season of Mr. Robot – and am currently waiting for season 2 to finish before watching it – and when I saw that there was a new game from Telltale based on the series, well, that meant an immediate purchase. The developers of the game are Night School, the studio behind the game Oxenfree, which I haven’t played yet but have definitely heard great things about. So far, I’m digging this. It plays like Lifeline (a game I also enjoyed), in that it’s a text adventure/choose-your-own-adventure type game, but under the guises of you communicating with someone (or in the Mr. Robot game, someones). The game is presented as an E Corp messenging app, and so you wait for messages to come in, which advance the story. I started playing this on iPad, as that’s where I usually do all of my iOS gaming, but it felt more fitting to play it on iPhone (to continue the illusion of using a messenger app), and I’m really enjoying playing it that way. Every time I go in to make the story advance, I then play a few rounds of Reigns.
A lot of people are playing with this right now (it came out outside of Japan on Thursday), and you’re hearing a lot of “what’s the point here,” and the thing is that there isn’t one, really. It’s just a way to spend some time looking at funny things, with a light level of interaction (answering questions, and reading answers from friends) that doesn’t demand too much of your time. Oh, and there’s outfits too. The best feature by far are the photos you can take with your Miis (and Miis of your friends) posing on top of any image. It’s the kind of thing that I would normally imagine that, although I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, I’d probably quickly lose interest (as much as I loved playing Tomodachi Collection, which influenced this, I did drop off after a few weeks), but if they can continuously add new features or mini-games, it might end up keeping me checking in for a while longer.
Last night I was re-watching the Dragon Quest episode of AmeTalk (which originally aired late last year) and although it was fun, it made me realize how DQ illiterate I really am – I’ve only played 4 (the updated version with 3D graphics that was released on the DS), 8, and 9. Since these games are now all available on iOS (up to 8 at least) I decided to grab the first one, which sells for about 3 bucks. I started playing on iPad, which is where I usually play iOS games, but found that the on-screen virtual control wasn’t comfortable to use on the big screen, and so started again from iPhone – which is definitely better, and you can tell that that’s the screen this iOS version was designed for. I’ve only played a bit so far, levelling up a few times, but I’m enjoying the simplistic story/gameplay so far, a nice change of pace from everything else I’m playing these days.
I’m not usually into action games that use on-screen buttons, but I still had fun playing the first Wind-up Knight, and the sequel that just came out pretty much feels the same, although it looks even better – it’s a really nice-looking game, quite slick. It’s a free-to-download game, but it acts as shareware, as you only have access to the first 8 levels, and need to unlock the rest. They are trying to encourage you to buy right away by letting you buy the game for $4 if you do it within 30 minutes, instead of the regular $9. I might have been tempted, but since I had not points in my iTunes account (I buy point cards at the combini) I lost out on that deal, and I don’t feel like paying $9 for this. Oh well. Worth downloading to check out in any case, to try out those early levels. I played on iPad, but I imagine the controls would work better on iPhone, because the buttons are a bit spread out when on the big screen.
I still remember the original Eliss, and it being one of the first cool “art” style games to come out on iOS, as a sign of the truly amazing games we would eventually start seeing on the platform. Eliss is back, this time in the form of Eliss Infinity, and it’s just as fun and mesmerizing as before. The best thing about the sequel though is that you can now play properly on an iPad – playing on a larger screen really suits the game.
Speaking of great digital card games, another one I’ve been playing of late is SolForge, available for both iPad and iPhone. I believe this game was Kickstarted a while back, and it’s free-to-play, meaning you start with a couple of theme decks to play with, and then can buy more decks, packs of cards, etc. I’ve been playing for a while, and haven’t felt the urge to buy anything yet. It’s a style of play that I quite like, and it reminds me a lot of both Spectromancer and Kard Combat, two other card games I spent way too much playing – it’s the same idea of having lanes in which you place your creature in, and that creature automatically attacks the creature in the opposite space. Well worth checking out.
A sequel to this game recently came out, which reminded me that I had bought the first one, but hadn’t really gotten around to playing it much. I have now done just that, and wow, this game is really well done. Yes, it’s based on the old choose-your-own-adventure books, but the presentation and interactive elements really make it feel more like a game than a book. Can’t recommend this enough, and I’m already excited to play the sequel too (and the 3rd and 4th games, which have already been announced). An adaptation of the old Lone Wolf books has also just come out – by a different developer – and I’m looking forward to checking that out too.