I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company (opinions are my own etc), so I’ve been trying to expose myself to more games in this market and attempt to gain an ever-better understanding of them. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is in trying out new games, seeing what they do wrong and right, and try to draw conclusions from them that I can use in the future to make our games better. One of the resources I’ve been using for this is TouchArcade (not sponsored), and their columns listing the new iOS games of the week.
This resulted in me playing a lot more new games during my daily bus rides, but I also feel the need to discuss them somewhere and keep a log of my thoughts instead of just internalising them. So, Commuting Cognition. These will be brief, bus-ride-long thoughts on these games, and should be seen less as reviews and more as first impressions. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.
Dark Beyond is a puzzle game, ostensibly, where you tap on bubbles. That’s basically it.
You’re introduced to two mechanics: tap once to get rid of hollow bubbles, tap twice to get rid of solid bubbles. For those paying attention, that’s really just one mechanic, as you can just spam-tap the screen to get rid of everything.
Next up you’re introduced to swiping, where you can theoretically swipe from one bubble to another and get rid of everything inbetween, but that worked very unreliably for me, so i kept spam-tapping the screen.
Afterwards you’re introduced to timed bubbles which you must tap first, before their timer runs out, but that just basically means that you spam-tap on a different place.
There’s zero feedback to what you’re doing other than a few strings changing in the middle of the screen, which you probably won’t see because you’re blocking the screen by spam-tapping it. Honestly i really don’t know why levels ended; the matches started taking way too long as i just kept tapping the screen, but i kept clearing levels, somehow. The levels end really abruptly.
Simple Knights is skinned as an RPG but it’s really an idle game. Characters automatically fight wave of monsters, requiring minimal input from the player other than levelling up the characters and using the occasional skills against bosses.
The game goes on above a horrible stack of buttons, none of which are explained at all. This includes the level up button, and you’ll quickly die without using that one.
There’s a minimal story behind the game, paired with constant dialog from the characters as they move forward wave after wave, but those are marred by the broken English and can’t hold the gameplay on their own.