Tag Archives: Mobile Madness

Hearthstone Trial By FelFire Review

Introduction

Hearthstone Trial by Felfire just proves that someone at Blizzard is a frustrated poet. And that they want the entire world to know it.

Hey, I’m not one to cast aspersions. After all, I have written my own version.

What is all of this rhyming about? Keep reading and you just might find out.

The Great

Free: Normally there is a fee. This time, the adventure is free. I am glad there is no charge. I didn’t want to pay 20 large. sure, I could have used gold. However, using it for that instead of packs gets old. And so, I played. And discovered the true prize is the friends I made.

Packs: Actually, the adventure comes with a quest. And, what is there in that chest? For your trouble, you get three free card packs. They can be won without any hacks. Simply complete Chapter 1. There, now you are done.

The Good

Variety: There is a variety of fights. It isn’t all about might. Sure, some are a race. That require you just to go face. Others require a different tact. And, that is just a fact. Against one boss a fatigue strategy works well. After drawing his last card he faces the death knell.

Length: Even though this adventure is free. There is plenty in Outland for you to see. Four rounds of four bosses. Be careful for some may cause losses. Then, at the end. You face off against one who was a friend. In order to escape Outland, you must take a stand.

I was prepared…

The Decent

Reward: Other than the cards, all you get is a card back. Compared with other adventures, that’s kind of wack. Again, I realize that it’s free. But it just seems like to me–that they could give more. Instead they put a bundle in the store. Like a sucker, I paid. But it included some packs, so better decks can be made.

The card back isn’t even that good of a design.

The Verdict

Overall Trial by Felfire is fun. Even if you don’t do the adventures, you should try this one. The story is decent. You won’t be sad you went. To the plane of Outland. Just make sure you have a plan. You wouldn’t want to get lost. And captured by some demons and tossed–into a pit of despair. Or maybe they’d just set fire to your hair. So pay my warning fair heed. And get on over to this adventure via your trusty steed.

(Mine)Crafting a Story

(Editor’s Note:

Introduction

Aiden recently let me know that I could download Minecraft Story Mode and play through at least the first episode for free. A�I was under the impression that it cost money. A�That’s the only reason that it has taken me this long to try the game. A�Although I haven’t played much Minecraft in any form over the last month or so, I remain addicted to the game. A�Because, every time I do sit down to play it, I lose several hours to whatever silly job I end up creating for myself.

I have yet to play any of the “story mode” games. A�I’ve been introduced to the Guardians of the Galaxy one and find it intriguing because I enjoy the movie and comics so much. A�I even went as far as to download the Walking Dead one. A�None of them, though, have enticed me enough to load up and start playing. A�Until Minecraft. A�Because we need some filler/an easy topic to get back into the podcast, I’ve played and written about the main game on more than one occasion, and I just discovered that part of it is free, join me for my introduction to “story mode” with one of my favorite games of all time.

The Good

If you’re anything like me, you will totally geek out the first time he talks.

Voice Acting – The first thing that I noticed, and I’m sure this was intentional, is that Patton Oswalt does the voice of the main character. A�I didn’t recognize any other voices and I’m a little surprised that Patrick Warburton didn’t voice any characters, but hearing Patton’s voice as one of the first things in the game has gone a long way to increasing my enjoyment of the game.

It’s Minecraft: A�I know that I was using this old trope quite a while to illustrate the good in these articles. A�However, I haven’t used it much recently, so I feel safe resurrecting it now. A�The game is recognizable as Minecraft, even if you aren’t performing many of the same actions as in the main game.

Decent Story: A�The story isn’t great, by any stretch of the imagination. A�It was interesting enough, though, to keep me playing. A�First, I wanted to see how the building competition might end (as I expected, but a twist to make it worth the wait), then when the pig ran away, I really wanted to chase after it, and now I want to see what happens with the Wither skull and diamond trade.

Funny: A�It is genuinely funny, too. A�Both Aiden, who heard some of the dialogue and me, as I played through it, laughed at more than one part. A�It isn’t side splitting, but there is humor and it is welcome.

Choose Your Own Adventure: A�The game tells you that your choices matter. A�It also helpfully reminds you at times that a character will “remember” your choice for later in the game. A�I don’t know exactly how true that is since I’m only part of the way through the introduction, but it is valid enough that I consider my choices before making them. A�I could go back to play through again, similar to how I used to read the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books until I got the best and the worst ending, but right now I’m treating it like a game, taking it seriously, and considering the circumstances of my choices.

The Bad

In spite of the bad voice acting, this game genuinely frightened me in more than one place.

Voice Acting: A�How can this be both good and bad? A�Well, as I already mentioned, other than Patton Oswalt, I didn’t recognize a single voice. A�That’s not necessarily bad, but at least one of the voice actors seems to have taken a class at the Resident Evil school of voice acting. A�It’s not awful, but it isn’t good, either. A�It is just bad enough that when you hear the voice, it takes you out of the story for a moment as you realign and try to fit this bad into something that overall is actually decent to good and might become great later in the game.

It isn’t Minecraft: A�Wait, you are probably thinking, now you are just talking in circles. A�While that might be true, let me explain. A�It is recognizable as Minecraft due to the graphics and overall feel of the game. A�However, and I’m not saying that it is trying to be, it isn’t anything like Minecraft in terms of gameplay. A�Sure, you mine and you craft, but those are accomplished only to advance the story and only by rapid pressing of a single “button”. A�Overall, it’s just not that engaging and doesn’t add much to the game other than make it more game and less of a movie.

The Ugly

I mean, this is running on a super duper high end computer and they look like this.

The graphics: A�Again, the game knows what it is and it has been successful in spite of the fact that it uses blocky, retro style graphics during a time when games are becoming more and more realistic and pushing for realism to add to the appeal of virtual reality. A�But, seriously, the graphics are not just retro, they are retro in 3D. A�Sometimes the style is just jarring and I wish for slightly better aesthetics. A�But, I know it won’t ever happen, so I’ll just keep complaining about it. A�That’s what we old guys do, right?

The Verdict

It’s not quite Minecraft, but it’s close enough. A�It’s named for its story, which isn’t great, but is just good enough. A�Some of the voice acting leaves quite a bit to be desired, but Patton Oswalt makes up for all of that. A�Minecraft Story Mode isn’t a great game by any measure.

What it is, though, is a good enough game. A�It does just enough right to make me want to finish the first episode. A�We will see if I can continue to forgive the not so great and keep playing once it isn’t free anymore. A�I get the feeling that I might end up just buying it. A�That will most likely lead me back down the rabbit hole of the main game and both will feed one another.

 

Mobile Mining

(Editor’s Note: A�I’m pretty sure we’ve done an article on Minecraft for mobile before. A�However, I’m sure that there have been many updates since that article. A�Also, it’s been a while since I’ve fed this particular addiction. A�What could go wrong?)

I loaded up Minecraft on the phone earlier today. A�I’ve been keeping an eye on the updates that have been happening in recent weeks. A�For a while there, it seemed like they were coming in rapid succession. A�It might have just been because they were working so hard to get all of the versions compatible.

Ever since (and maybe even before) Microsoft acquired (invested in?) Mojang, there has been a push to make Minecraft cross platform. A�They’ve already experimented with the idea. A�The boys and I played on a “cross platform” version of the game. A�They played on their Kindles and I played on my computer on the Windows 10 version. A�I put “cross platform” in quotes because Windows 10 is Microsoft’s attempt at merging their mobile and PC markets with the same operating system.

Now, however, I’ve heard that they’re talking about allowing players to play simultaneously on PC, Mobile, and XBox One. A�There were rumors that Playstation would be included, but those have been tempered. A�Because Microsoft owns XBox and Sony is a direct competitor. A�I still hold out hope that Minecraft can be the game that overcomes the console wars and gives us our first truly cross console game.

Imagine all the Steves…living life in peace.

One of the roadblocks to bringing the three other platforms together was that some platforms didn’t allow for infinite worlds. A�Another was that the non PC versions were often several update cycles behind. A�As I mentioned earlier, they seemed to be working hard to remedy both situations through an intense series of updates earlier in the year. A�From what I was able to see on the mobile version, at least, they were successful.

The Good

The best thing that I can say about the mobile version is that it is much closer to Minecraft that I recognize. A�The last time I played it, there was much missing from the game. A�It didn’t impact playability, necessarily, but it did obviously limit the options in the game. A�The first improvement I noticed was the opening menu. A�It is much more user friendly. A�Also, infinite worlds!

That might not seem like a huge improvement. A�Even the old worlds are huge. A�However, there were a few times, mostly during multiplayer games with the boys, that we mined up to the edge of the world. A�It takes you out of the fantasy a bit when it happens. A�Plus, one of our borders was on the ocean, which is doubly annoying because there could have been a water temple down there! A�Alas, that’s not something that we have to worry about anymore.

This must be from an earlier edition before they added the ability to choose infinite worlds, but it’s there trust me. Or don’t. See if I care.

The other great thing about the game that I noticed was that opening your inventory automatically shows you the items that you can craft based on the items that you’ve collected. A�Then, you can just click on that item and it will automatically add the items for the recipe. A�Again, it is a small improvement, and some more traditional players might not even consider it an improvement, but I love it. A�The first thing I do on the PC version is I download an addon that does something similar to this. A�It just saves the time of not having to alt+tab to a browser and look up recipes.

There are other cool things. A�Addons, as you can see in the screenshot above, have been added. A�The nether is more than just a new dimension. A�The last time I played, the nether was there, but the only mobs were Zombie Pigmen, so it wasn’t very interesting to explore. A�Now, everything is there. A�Ghasts, Blazes, those little hopping things, firebats, fortresses! A�It’s going to be a ton of fun playing this game.

The Bad

The only bad thing that I could find about the game is that the controls are still super awkward. A�I don’t have a bluetooth controller for my phone, so I have to use the touch controls. A�While they lend themselves to an easier crafting experience, the mining and moving leaves much to be desired. A�I can’t cont the number of times that I’ve accidentally started combat with a farm animal instead of cutting down a tree or mined the wrong block because of the controls. A�It’s a minor annoyance, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it at times made me not want to play the game until I’m able to get a controller.

The Ugly

I know that the game is known for and defined by it’s blocky graphics. A�And, I’m usually a sucker for old school games with terrible graphics. A�But, the graphics in this game are really awful, even by the campy standards that should allow for bad graphics. A�I mean, honestly. A�The basis of the gameplay is simple. A�The graphics are terrible. A�Why is this game so popular?

Seriously, Grandpa. What am I doing with my life? A�What madness is Minecraft?

I know that I mentioned earlier that having the nether in the game was a good thing. A�That’s true in the context of making the games compatible for cross platform play. A�However, having lost many a game and too much inventory to even count when I made a misstep and fell off of a cliff into a pool of lava that I twitched a little bit when I set up the nether portal and took the trip into that burning hellscape, even though it was on creative and there was no chance of me dying.

The Verdict

I said earlier that I might not play again until I am able to get some kind of controller for the phone. A�I might even have to get a tablet for the bigger screen. A�I doubt that I’ll ever go through with it. A�First, that requires spending money, something that I’ve only done on beer and comics the last 3 months. A�Second, having played the game again, I realize just how much I enjoy the game.

I can and often do already play the game on the computer. A�There’s no reason to abandon that for a game with inferior controls. A�Of course, in less than a month, I will be back at work and not in front of a computer most of the day. A�Well, I might be in front of a computer most of the day, but my employers would frown upon me playing Minecraft instead of illuminating people on the wonders of math and physics. A�If I could port my PC worlds to the phone…

I agree, Batman. It’s just crazy enough that it might work.