Android

By aaron.axvig, 25 March, 2020

I tried to play this for about an hour but I just couldn't figure it out (on mobile).  It is like a joke to control this kind of game with a touchscreen, and that was a sufficient obstacle to figuring out how to build a house that I just gave up.

Maybe five years ago I played Terraria some on PC, maybe 10 hours?  From memory I would rate it OK.  Not sure why I expected it to be better on mobile.  I guess I should try with a controller of some sort.

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By aaron.axvig, 25 March, 2020

I have played this a lot!  The Star Challenges are what appeal to me the most--I have 1026 stars currently.  For some of the themes I have trouble distinguishing between whatever two colors they choose to swap for red and black; usually I can fix that by playing with the Android color-blindness compensation settings.  I think I have all the achievements too, except for the Daily Challenge ones.

The expert level Spider and Freecell games can be real stumpers.  Also harder Klondike can be difficult to strategize.  More then once I have asked Anna to figure out a Klondike deal for me and she beats it on the first try.

It is fun to play on PC occasionally too, very nice that all my progress syncs.

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By aaron.axvig, 25 March, 2020

While I have long been familiar with Sudoku puzzles, this is my first experience doing them at a rate of more than one per several years.  I cannot imagine a more helpful UI that wouldn't feel like plain cheating.  Which is to say that the UI is very helpful but I am still convinced that I am really good at solving.  Doing puzzles on paper would surely be a slow and frustrating experience for me.

The achievements are well done, pretty standard for a Microsoft Casual Gaming game.  I am working on doing all of the challenges for this month, but doubt that I will do them for 12 months to get all the achievements.

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By aaron.axvig, 25 March, 2020

Anna plays the new puzzles as they come out and I play from the archives.  I have completed May and April 2019 and almost completed March 2019.

For Monday and Tuesday I can usually finish the puzzle after revealing 1 to 5 squares that stump me.  For all the other weekdays I play with autocheck on, which helps a lot because I can guess.  Then I still usually have to reveal ~5 squares, and often more on harder Friday puzzles.  I often play in the evening when I have had a few drinks or in bed while falling asleep so not when my mind is the sharpest.

There is one annoying bug: with autocheck on, if you put in the first character of a rebus square there is no way to change it.  Say the correct rebus is SALT and I type an S in the square.  Now there is no way to change that square to SALT, because it counts the S as a correct answer.

Overall I have gotten a lot of enjoyment from this app.  It is pricey though!

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By aaron.axvig, 9 February, 2020

I found this game on the No Bullshit Games page, which lists games that don't have IAPs or ads.  So generally they cost a couple bucks, and I believe this one did.

I really like the mechanics of this game.  Little agents move around your system of facilities automatically performing tasks.  It reminds me of the World/Kingdom of Keflings which I played nigh on a decade ago.  Setting up automated systems like this is one of my favorite game mechanics.

I don't like that the campaign levels are so short.  It seems like I could get more enjoyment out of the effort I put into setting everything up.  Actually these short levels would be OK for a few tutorial levels, maybe even 10 learning levels.  But it keeps going, and with seemingly random new things mixed in.  I have passed level 27 in the campaign and it keeps throwing in new concepts that are only used for one or two levels.  By now I am maybe four hours into the game and I am tired of learning one-off things.

It would help a lot of the buildings and/or resources were intuitively named.  Gumballs are made in a laboratory?  How am I supposed to remember that?  Maybe it should be called...a gumball factory!

At this point I don't really feel like completing the campaign.

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By aaron.axvig, 1 February, 2020

I found this clone of Civilization (the fifth release I believe?) on the F-Droid app store.  I played through on the apparently pretty easy settings that were mostly default and got a science victory on my second playthrough.  On my first playthrough I reached 100 turns and got a message from the developer saying something like "I'm sure by now you've noticed that the game is incomplete" and just sort of put the game aside for a week or two until I decided to try it again.  Maybe the AI isn't finished as I was never attacked, or maybe it was just on that easy of a difficulty.

Overall the game played quite well.  The graphics were occasionally a little difficult for me to figure out but got easier as I got more experienced.  There is a lot going on!

It was fun to build out a big civilization and I could see myself doing it again in a month or two.

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By aaron.axvig, 4 January, 2020

I played the version available on F-Droid. On my third attempt I achieved a 2048 block. The statistics say that I have played for 0.92 hours.

I see that 5x5 grids and larger are available too so I may try that out sometime.

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By aaron.axvig, 22 November, 2019

This is a puzzle game with a UI that is well-suited for a touchscreen.  I did pay for the DLC that removes ads (I almost always do this).

The puzzles are all very well designed.  There are several groups of levels that have some nice variations.  For example some types have new bubbles constantly being added so there is that element of randomness being added.  And others are very carefully designed to play a specific way, even requiring careful timing as the bubbles collapse on a few of them.  On a few of the levels I got impatient and used the hints.  In general, as I played the game I would become tired of it after 6-8 puzzles (30 minutes?).  I think that is fine, as this allowed me to kill time on many different occasions and I always enjoyed playing those 6-8 rounds until I tired of it.  Maybe it means that the game was mentally stimulating and tired me out.

There is one mechanism throughout the game where two bubbles of different colors combine to make a third color of bubbles.  In the normal color mode I believe it is pretty intuitive how they combine, for example yellow+blue=green.  Unfortunately I am color-blind and I had some challenges with the normal color mode.  Fortunately is a colorblind mode and those colors are easy for me to distinguish.  Unfortunately then the colors don't combine very intuitively, for example white+yellow=darker yellow.  After a while I just memorized the combinations, so it isn't a game-ruining issue.

I could maybe see myself replaying some levels in the future.  There is an Infinity mode where you get some moves every few hours.  I did a couple cycles of this but wasn't that interested.  This is probably a mechanic to drive you to purchasing micro-transactions.  I almost universally avoid those.

There are achievements; I don't have any desire to finish them out.

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By aaron.axvig, 29 October, 2019

A great sequel, improved in many ways and true to the spirit of its predecessor.

A little bit more story but again I didn't really get that into it.  Some additional interesting mechanics, a second character in some puzzles, and very cool graphics.  Again one level with trippy upside-down walking but it was a bit more understandable to my eyes.

The game says to make sure you have the sound on in the beginning and it is right, the sound design is amazing.

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By aaron.axvig, 25 October, 2019

Great puzzles with flawless gradual building of skills.  I never had to look outside of the game for help (The Witness comes to mind) nor use an in game hintsystem (none exists) a la The Room.  The only ridiculous level design was level six in the Forgotten Shores DLC where I found it difficult to visualize a continuous plane in some circumstances where the character is walking upside down.  But the solution was decipherable anyways so I didn't spend much time trying to convince my eyes to see something.

Story...can't say I paid much attention to it.  I guess some "ancient beings" or something left the puzzles as monuments.  Whatever.  It is not crappy and stays out of the way.

I played the original game, DLC levels, and the Ida's Adventure standalone part.

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