Emerald Monthly Update – January 2017

Welcome to the start of a brand new year! How’ve you been? Me? Oh, between walking feeling like I’m wading through oatmeal and having about the same amount of energy as a tranquilized sloth, I’ve been just dandy. 

Yeah, not a promising start of the new year. Physically, anyways. A lot of it I spent in bed, and most of this month’s list will reflect that. I went out on a limb and got a lot of mobile games, and the one real game I played took a grand total of about four hours to beat going slow.


Gunpoint for PC

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Let’s get the real game out of the way right quick, stupid real games stinking up our Android master race. What’s Gunpoint by Suspicious Developments got? Retro 2D graphics? Stealth? Building hacking puzzles? Platforming with Tigger-channeling jeans? All wrapped up in a somewhat self-aware film noir detective story? Pfff, whatever, it’s not on phone so it’s automatically trash.

Real talk though, this game’s actually really good.

In Gunpoint, you play as detective Richard Conway, a name I can’t believe I remembered on the first go of writing this, as you try on your spectacular new Tigger-pants and proceed to bounce clear out of your window , hit the building next door and crash into a ceiling window below. Unfortunately, you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time and see something you weren’t supposed to see, and now look what you’ve done, tangling yourself into this web of conspiracy, mystery, backstabbing and intrigue.

Maybe I’m dumb, but I lost the story around the fifth or sixth mission. I really did feel like it started to get too convoluted, and following the money got too hard, too fast, so I just decided to not really care about a lot of the story and stick to the gameplay which I loved. Where the game shines is in its stealth, Tigger-bouncing and hacking. Not only do you have Tigger-pants, you also inexplicably have Spider-man wall crawling abilities, and I’ve gotten frankly silly amounts of giddy satisfaction from quickly leaping from one upper corner of a wall to another with precision timing so the guard coming in wouldn’t notice me directly above him. Maxing out your pants  (a phrase I never thought I’d type) grants you the ability to damn near bound over entire buildings which…man, that’s just fun.

The hacking is pretty neat too. A few missions in the game they require you to get your hacking device from the shop, and with a simple flick of the scroll wheel you can enter an entirely new mode of sight, rewiring power conduits and switches from a distance. There’s a lot of neat tricks to do, such as wiring a security camera to open doors upon seeing you instead of setting off an alarm. It made me think but didn’t make me feel stupid (until the last level, that is) so most of the hacking puzzles felt really satisfying to me when I managed to figure them out.

My two criticisms of the game are as follows: one, I felt the plot to be a little too convoluted to follow all the way through, and eventually I forgot what role or purpose I served, as well as most other characters in the game (that could be chalked up to my poor memory, admittedly), and two, I never really understood why the game made me buy essential items instead of just giving them to me flat out if they were that essential. Admittedly small annoyances for an otherwise great game.

One last thing, despite the spring-loaded pants and high-tech remote hacking, they really do nail the film noir aesthetic, particularly in the music department.  The more I played, the more I found myself wanting to don a tan trenchcoat and light up a cigar of my own as I kept going.

I don’t even have any desire to smoke.


Little Alchemy for Android

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Alright, enough of that baby stuff, it’s time for some REAL games. And boy, am I striking the hottest of irons today. Little Alchemy, made by Recloak back in 2010, is a…game? I’m not entirely sure it’s a game, truth be told, it’s more like an electronic toy.

Let me try to describe the game. You start out with your main four elements: Wind, Earth, Fire and Water. You can combine them to make new things, for example, Earth and Air makes Dust, Fire and Water makes Steam, and so on. You can then combine these things to make new things – Earth and Fire makes Lava, Earth and Lava then makes a Volcano.

It’s less a game and more a timekiller, really. Speaking of which, time is one of the things you can eventually make and work with. There are a total of 560 combinations, including your first four elements.

That’s…that’s it. That’s the game.

I’m at a bit of a loss for what to say. The gameplay is dragging one element to another and seeing if it works, going by deduction. Honestly, it’s fun for the first half an hour, but you’ll probably get bored of it after an hour or so.


Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Link for Android

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I was the founder of my high school’s Yu-Gi-Oh club.

That’s not a joke. I’m absolutely serious.

To some, this may be one of the most embarassing blights in their life history. Personally, I’m pretty okay with it. Great times were had back in the club, and in its prime it was actually one of the more popular clubs around. I met most of the friends I made through the club, and they’re still pretty good to me to this very day. Lately, I’ve craved the back and forth of the duel once again, but few have been able to sate my craving.

The thing is, I don’t really like dueling apps and games that grant me all the cards at once, like YGOpro. Having access to all the cards at once kind of makes me feel like I’ve enabled cheats. I prefer working with a limited pool, and being able to open packs. Something about that feeling is really nice.

I must admit, Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Link does deliver pretty well in that department. It simulates the booster pack sort of thing that I find very nice in this sort of card game. It’s a sort of challenge I enjoy, making something out of nothing. It felt nice and organic, sort of combining the whole Yu-Gi-Oh booster pack thing with the feeling of opening a loot box in Overwatch.

I do have complaints, however. For one, it’s really babies’ first Yu-Gi-Oh. They halve the total life points from 8000 to 4000, and you can only have three Monster and Spell/Traps as opposed to the five in the real game. For two, it’s really hard to get orbs to get new packs, which may be intentional, but I also suspect that it’s to do with that good ol’ friend MICROTRANSACTIONNNNNNNNNS! Bleh, it skeeves me out.

Why does it skeeve me out on a phone, when in reality, booster packs are nothing but microtransactions?

It scratched that itch for card games just fine, but I prefer the real thing. Something about it seems more honest. It could totally be irrational, admittedly.


Orbit for Android

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Okay, I’ll be honest, I don’t even like mobile games. I was just desperate for something to play while I was bedridden and had no energy for real games.

Here’s the game for Orbit by HIGHKEY games. You shoot balls into black holes and make them orbit around the black holes for about a second before the required fufillment is fufilled and bam, next level. Make sure your balls don’t collide or else you’ll have to start all over.

That’s it, that’s the game. It’s fun for about an hour but after that hour you’ll probably never want to pick it up again.


Tunnel Rush for Android

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Oh my god screw these mobile games. Okay, last one, right?

Tunnel Rush, by developers Deer Cat. See, you’re in a tunnel, right? And then you’re dodging things while cool music plays. And then…then, right, guess what? You go out of the tunnel and on top of the tunnel! And you’re dodging things again! Move left or right to dodge sonny boy, it goes faster and faster over time.

That’s it. That’s the effing game. The music is great but man I dunno, it’s samey and after an hour you’ll probably get bored of it. Sound familiar? 


That’s it, that’s the list. It’s got terrible repetitive gimmicks and after an hour you’ll probably tire of reading it. Here’s to another year, hopefully I can get to some actual games next time.

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