Games of the Week: Million Second Quiz, Cookie Clicker, Puzzle & Dragons, RPG Bonds of the Skies, and Call of Duty: Strike Team

| Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

We know that you’re going to be a little bored waiting the next two weeks in your tent, so we’ve got some games you can play while you wait to see your new phone…

Million Second Quiz – iOS (Universal)

MSQApp

NBC is trying a unique take on the reality genre, a real time twelve day game show, complete with an at home game. That’s where this iOS game comes in. You log in using any of the big three social networks, if you’re anti-social you can set up an account directly with the game, and you square off against friends and strangers alike in trivia challenges. These aren’t Jeopardy level questions, most of the questions are either pop culture or current events.

The hook of Million Second Quiz is that once you score enough points you are added to the pool of potential contestants to be sent to New York City to appear on the show. While Ryan Seacrest’s creepy mug on the title screen should be enough to talk most people out of appearing on the show, it is neat to see a trivia game tied to an actual prize. However, yesterday after the show started the game became unavailable even hours after the show was airing.

What’s Good: Fun trivia game with the opportunity to actually win a real prize.

What Sucks: NBC’s servers don’t seem to be able to handle demand. Title page has an abnormally creepy photoshop of Ryan Seacrest.

Buy it?: It’s free on the App Store, and hey we might see you on TV. Grab Million Second Quiz on the App Store.

Cookie Clicker- Web

CookieClicker

Once and awhile a game comes along that is the perfect mixture of weird and awesome that it’s instantly addictive, no matter how stupid the premise. Think Animal Crossing, Ridiculous Fishing, or Pocket Planes. Cookie Clicker is a web game that joins those ranks, even meriting a mention on the Penny Arcade homepage. The premise is simple, you click a cookie to generate cookies. You can begin to purchase things to automate your clicking, such as cursors, grandmas, and portals to the cookie dimension. You can then keeps adding to your cookie empire, generating millions of cookies per second.

This is a fun game you can just leave running in the background while you catch up on RSS or tweet about your new music. The game saves locally between sessions, but you can export it if you want to play on another device. As you keep unlocking the game rewards you achievements and bonuses that exponentially increase your cookie output. The game is still being actively updated, with the next update promising dungeons to help you get even more cookies.

What’s Good: The game’s odd mechanics combine with a variety of production methods and upgrades to unlock to elevate this time waster to guilty pleasure.

What Sucks: There isn’t a lot of variety, if the base mechanics don’t interest you there isn’t any reason to stick around.

Buy it?: Another free game, give Cookie Clicker a try on its website.

Puzzle & Dragons- iOS (Universal)

P&D

Puzzle and Dragons is an extremely derivative game, it borrows from Puzzle Quest and Pokemon and creates an entirely entertaining experience. Like Pokemon you select your first monster and set out on a quest to catch them all. The game strips away most of the RPG trappings for Pokemon and instead of search around towns and fields, you select dungeons to battle through. To battle you move gems around a grid making groups of three or more. You need to match the various colored gems with the appropriate elemental monster. You’ll also need to mind the elements of your enemies as well.

There is a social element to the game that allows you to invite friends, or draft random players, to assist you in your battle. This adds more bonuses which allows you to unlock more monsters. They use their own friend codes and since your progress is tied to a single device, make sure that you keep your iPad or iPhone backed up. Once you have your set team, you can continue to draft new monsters and combine them with your existing ones to unlock experience. Since the game is free, there are some ways they attempt to monetize the game. The first is that you have a limited number of stamina, so you can only play for so long without paying for a refill. You can buy coins to pay for combining your monsters. You also pay for Monster Orbs that you use to purchase continues.

What’s Good: Fun mix of monster collecting, RPG, and puzzle games. Social options add to the experience without getting in the way.

What Sucks: The stamina limit keeps you from playing the game more than an hour or so a day.

Buy it?: Pokemon fans and Puzzle Quest fans can both scratch their itch with this game that manages to make both genres feel refreshed. Grab it for free on the App Store.

RPG Bonds of the Skies – iPhone

RPGBonds

Though it has a name that cries out for more efficient App Store search, RPG Bonds of the Skies is a game straight out of the SNES era of RPGs. The art style is reminiscent of the great Square pixel art, and the music hits all the right cues. If you ever spent a weekend furtively hitting the advance dialog button hour after hour, this is the game for you. The story is a vaguely fantasy world where elemental gods bond with humans to grant them magical powers.

This is a classic RPG, menu driven combat. You can control the game by either a virtual controller or direct touch controls. The touch controls are a bit finicky, especially when it comes to movement. You’re much better off sticking to the virtual controller. You can dip in and out of this game pretty easily, as you can save at any point but combat or cut scenes. (Which you still advance manually, so you’re more than able to just lock the screen quickly if your boss walks behind you.) The magic/skill system is pretty deep, as the element gods you bond with synchronize with your character allowing for more powerful attacks.

What’s Good: Classic RPG gameplay and storytelling is a great trip down memory lane. Art style is both retro and detailed.

What Sucks: Touch controls are a little finicky.

Buy it?: RPG fans should grab this game from the App Store. You can grab it for $3.99 on the App Store.

Call of Duty: Strike Team – iOS(Universal)

CODST

Many big name franchise have not fared so well in their translation to mobile. So when you see Call of Duty hit the App Store, it’s probably best not to get your hopes up. In the case of the new Strike Team installment in the franchise, you actually get a real game. Though it sticks to the FPS formula of the console games, it adds an additional tactical element that allows you to see the entire battlefield. They even allow you to shoot enemies in this mode, so if you’re not into shooters, you can play a pseudo RTS to experience the same story. That said, it’s really meant that you are supposed to play in a mixture of both modes. If you like the Tom Clancy stories of the COD franchise, you get a bit more of an action movie take on those in Strike Team. You begin by assaulting a secret ICBM base in Alaska that has been taken over by a rouge Russian team, and you have to destroy all the important intelligence in the site.

Fans of the multiplayer aspect of the console/PC Call of Duty games won’t find anything for them here. However, they have done justice to the controls, though they do end up pretty much frame the entire bottom half of the screen. That tactical mode allows you to manage your entire squad, but it can cause a delay in trying to switch back to the FPS mode if you need to react to an enemy. Another issue with the controls is that the aim relies more on the snap-to feature than manual aiming, which can throw off experienced players.

What’s Good: The story and basic action of the Call of Duty franchise in a mobile game. New tactical UAV view allows for a new twist on the gameplay.

What Sucks: Controls are a little finicky and complex. Could use some sort of multiplayer component.

Buy it?: Fans of the franchise’s story should find enough here to keep them entertained. Grab it on the App Store for $6.99

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