Mobile Games – Pay or Nay?

I have only written about Mobile games here once on the site, and that very recently. Odd for me to think especially considering I am always loading up a few titles to mess around with. Before I get into the ones I am playing now I want to share a brief history of the devices I have gamed on since the smart phone era.

I was an early buyer of the iPhone and it really was amazing. From there I went to a newer generation iPhone, and as I grew increasingly frustrated with the locked down nature of the iOS I was ready for a change. Android would be the natural next step for someone looking for freedom but I was feeling unashamedly pro-Microsoft at the time and decided to give Windows Phone a whirl. I was not disappointed one bit. The challenge happened when my phone broke (and by broke, I mean, was dropped by me) and when I went to get a new Windows Phone the handset I had liked (Samsung Ativ S) was no longer offered. The options left weren’t desirable so I had other choices to make. That being moving to an Android based phone. I suppose that was (is?) the one big negative about the Windows Phone platform – the limited options.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 was already out was well reviewed so that is what I am using in my day to day work and play. It is a great device and great system. Mobile games don’t grab my attention too much, they are more time killers and fillers. As such, I tend not to pay for them (yay for free options) but as a conscious supporter of the industry if I have an experience that I feel is worth investing in I tend to do so. So far League of Legends has been a generous beneficiary in the F2P genre but it’s not mobile. So here is the slate I am currently playing, and what I am paying.

Candy Crush Saga

Laugh it up, fuzzball! I have avoided this game like the plague for a long time while the rest of the world was knee deep. I was travelling for work with a colleague and she was playing it, and I helped her beat a couple levels. She was level 135 at the time and I became interested enough in the game to download my own version. I wanted to see how far I could go before hitting a wall (surprisingly far). I also got it in my head that I could catch and surpass my co-workers without spending a dime. Turns out, that is a pretty impossible feat. I have failed so many levels by a single candy to crush that it has to be “fixed”. How can you fail the exact same, super difficult level, by one candy 6 out of 8 times? It just doesn’t feel probable. The more time that I spent just barely failing – and getting it into my head that the failure is programmed, not genuine failure, the less I played. And the consideration to pay was non-existent based on that factor. I wonder how honest that game really is.

Clash of Clans

My 9 year old is in an all school-only clan and watching him play it made me laugh a bit – I had read a lot about the game over at Hardcore Casual and Syncaine is a big fan of it. The thought crossed my mind here that Syncaine and his bullies have been beating up on school children in the game! Then the realization came that I was probably the one getting my ass kicked by kids. Either way, any game with a level playing field on a 30 year spread is well designed. I am slowly building my clan up and I prefer defense over attacking (which is just time in my case, and non-optimal CoC playing). The sad part is I am not part of a Clan yet – been in and out of a couple but the invites I have received haven’t really stuck around. I did get in my son’s clan but his friend kicked me out [“sorry, you suck. and you are old”] was the cole’s notes of the message. The pacing is good in CoC because really you only need to check once a day. I bought some gems to get extra builders to speed up my defense building. I won’t truly get to experience or fully enjoy the game until I get better immersed in the clan and attacking side of things. I have some time and many upgrades to go. CoC is well designed enough to earn some of my money.

Marvel Contest of Champions

I am on a bit of a super hero binge right now and really missing City of Heroes. This game is a basic fighting game with your favourite Marvel Characters. The one issue I have with the game is that you have to play several game modes in order to advance. My goal is to get my favourite old comic book heroes which I have a free random chance of getting once a day, or after certain completions. The Quest system is so slow now that it takes a couple days to get through to get any “free” currency for that random chance for the right hero. The other gate is improving characters through standard quests, but also for certain catalysts you have to have – and you can’t quest for currency and catalysts at the same time, meaning you always feel like you aren’t doing what you should be doing. I am playing this one less and less now and will go elsewhere for my superhero fix (I think) unless I somehow land a 3 star hero in the next week or so (for free). I am always a fan of the idea that you make a game that people can play and enjoy, and you will probably get paid for it. Force roadblocks for the sole purpose of encouraging payment, and you get an uninstall. This premise hurts PVP based games even moreso.

That is the current trifecta and probably no surprise that the one I am most interested in holding onto is Clash of Clans. I’m finding with my Surface Pro 3 I can game more standard wherever I am so phone gaming is really relegated to waiting rooms and bathrooms (you are welcome for the visual). Any games you can recommend? Any worth paying for? Curious – I don’t research or follow the industry much having tripped over the above three titles. Surely I am missing out on something =)

Also a couple housekeeping things:

  • Do you find this site responsive, or a bit chuggy/slow? It’s been hit or miss for me lately, hoping it is just the maple syrup fueled interwebs up here.
  • Pingbacks *may* be working – I’d be thankful if you did a test for me!

9 Comments

  1. bhagpuss

    Site’s working fine for me.

    Android games are deeply disappointing. I need a better tablet and much though I dislike Apple I am strongly considering an iPad just for that reason alone. The Surface Pro would be even better but that’s just not financially viable.

    The few posts I’ve done about mobile MMOs have been among the least-viewed I have ever written but I did them a long time ago (relatively speaking). No-one seemed to want to know about mobile gaming then but gradually I see the topic cropping up across the blogosphere.

    People say there are no half-way decent mobile MMOs but I’ve played a few that aren’t bad. My problem is that I don’t really like mobile controls for MMO gameplay. Plus I’d almost always rather read a book/watch a dvd on my tablet than game anyway. I only really like gaming at a desk.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      I find some of my best available gaming times is when I don’t have a desk – so while I would love to agree with you, I can’t always get that pure gaming experience. Thankfully the SP3 covers some of that ground.

      Reply
  2. Wilhelm Arcturus

    I am coming up on playing Candy Crush Saga for two years now, and I am only to level 315 out of nearly 800. It has become a minor mission in my life to win while never giving King a dime. (I think they’ll go into full Zynga nose-dive at some point.)

    There are a lot of levels where you clearly need a very fortuitous starting layout in order to beat them without paying for a few extra turns. I think I spent almost a month on one level. There are also a bunch of levels that you get in one-shot, so it sort of evens out at times. (218 was my favorite level so far, and I have been on 315 for a few days now. It involves moving fruit over two rows before it can drop out the bottom.)

    But I also don’t play very often. It is a light game to pull out and run a few times while watching TV or sitting in bed… and I haven’t given King any money.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      That is how I started but I get frustrated too easy with paywalls. I am only level 75(ish) and this level has me crushed. I like your persistence though, and I started trying to beat that level again. 800 is quite the journey.

      Reply
  3. The Mystical Mesmer

    “Sorry, you suck. And you are old.”

    Join the club, Gramps. Story of my life.

    The site loaded up just fine for me in both Feedly and Chrome.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      I used to do that. I should get back to it. I tend to think my leet skills will overshadow and outcompete the ageism =)

      Reply
  4. Jeromai

    See, the tactic is to not suck first, before ever revealing your age. Then they look at you in awe like Old Grandma Hardcore. ;p

    Site loads fine for me, in Chrome on an iPad.

    As for mobile games, I’m more of a fan of the pay-once-for-an-app model, as I find the free-to-play models the apps use tend to be more exploitative, Zynga-style.

    A great deal of my Android collection comes from the Humble Bundle deals, it’s a nice way to try a variety of games for a reasonable price.

    I tend to favor the tower defence and fantasy gamebook genres, which can be played in bite sized chunks, with a side of puzzlers. Gemcraft, Kingdom Rush, Bloons TD are all fairly entertaining TD games, and searching Tin Man Games, Fighting Fantasy, Sorcery and Gamebook tends to pull up most of the decent ones.

    If you can deal with the more esoteric interactive fiction genre, the free Frotz is an interpreter that can play Z-machine text adventure games.

    There’s also, of course, the more popular apps more ‘normal’ people are playing, Hearthstone, Ingress, etc. and I’ll guiltily admit to finding Dragonvale (essentially one of those time management facebook farming games, but with dragons!) rather captivating for a while before I lost the habit of checking in regularly.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      AH tower defence! Has been forever since I have played one of those. Used to love them to. *itch*

      Reply
  5. Isey (Post author)

    Thanks for everyone for the site loading feedback! Helpful to know!

    Reply

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