Evil Hunter Tycoon

The Game

Evil Hunter Tycoon by Super Planet is a mobile game based around managing a city and its heroes in a typical fantasy RPG world. The concept can be a bit confusing at first, but once you get your head around it you will be hooked. Essentially you will invest in buildings and create weapons, armour and various services for your heroes. The heroes generally do their own thing and will grind monsters and collect loot and gold. As the shop owner you can then buy loot from the heroes, it can then be used to produce items and services to sell back to the heroes at extortionate rates.

There are 3 main areas in which your heroes can grind, they can also complete bounties that you set them for XP and gold. There are various tiers of hero as well, so you will want to try and collect the best of them (Legendary). There’s a good variety of alternative tasks such as dungeons and boss fights. Heroes will level up from slaying monsters and completing quests, getting them up to level 100 will also allow them to reincarnate – this is the game’s “prestige” element. The reincarnated heroes will start from level 1 as a much enhanced version of their former selves. Reincarnate enough heroes and you can increase the “difficulty” of the world, this will “prestige” the world by enhancing enemies, their loot and your heroes.

Worth it?

Evil Hunter Tycoon approaches the idle and tycoon genres (especially with regards to mobile) in a very interesting manor. There are also some great RPG elements sprinkled in there. The game doesn’t actually progress or do much when you don’t have it open. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about this, but this actually makes it that much more addictive. Sure, you can probably leave your phone running with the game to grind up some cash, but progress won’t be as good as it would from active play. As you progress you’ll kit out your heroes with better armour and equipment, you’ll level up your various buildings and improve your little town.

The concept of buying resources and materials from your heroes as opposed to farming them yourself is a nice twist and while it can sometimes be a bit of a challenge to get an exact idea of what you’ve got and what you’ve ordered, overall it works quite nicely. Overall it’s a very addictive game, great for active play sessions. There’s no offline idle progression, but that helps make the game more compelling than most typical mobile idle gatcha games. There are a few “watch ad” or gatcha elements, but they are not at all intrusive or needed. There are various methods of acquiring new heroes, but again no need to spend real money. There is a VIP subscription service, which we’re used which offers various bonuses, cool down reduction and (perhaps most useful) is an automatic dungeon runner. Personally it’s a bit on the pricey side and I’m not very keen on these subscription based models for mobile games. The game screen can be a bit intimidating at first as it’s a lot of text and various options all around, but with some time (and by minimising the chat window) you can get a better overview of things. The difficulty/prestige system also ensures you will keep playing for a long time as there are a total of 8 tiers, each with an improvement in your heroes outfits, a “new” or upgraded set of enemies and more weapons and armour.

Overall I’d recommend giving it a go, it’s a good game for medium to long active play sessions. There’s no offline progress and you probably won’t miss it that much as there’s so many other things going on. The simple pixel art style is very aesthetically pleasing, it’s a nice twist on the typical mobile idle game and will keep you coming back (there are events and login rewards).

Tips

  • Hero hierachy/tiers go Normal, Rare, Superior, Heroic, Legendary – when banishing your heroes keep that in mind
  • You can upgrade weapons or armour from a previous tier
  • Make sure you’ve always got a bounty running
  • Make sure the Inn, Restaurant, Tavern and Infirmary are always stocked up
  • You can place an order for infinite items, meaning that any time a hero has that item they will sell it – for some things like linen or fruit this can be very useful, but be weary as it will eat into your finances
  • Don’t bother summoning Normal heroes unless you’re really struggling, always try and get Superior or better
  • Do dungeons regularly (they also drop hats for your heroes)
  • Don’t forget to learn skills and traits (whenever you reincarnate)
  • Leave your phone charging and running (with stocked up services) in order to grind some easy cash and loot
  • “Normal” dungeons start after the 25th floor
  • If you minimise the dungeon, don’t forget to collect the chest and dismiss your heroes, otherwise they’ll be stuck there

Useful Links

Magic Survival

The Game

Magic Survival by LEME is a simple but addictive mobile survival bullet-hell(ish) game available for Android. The game concept is based and you (a magic being of sorts) surviving and ever increasing onslaught of evil squiggles. There’s only one control and that’s moving, everything else is automatic. As you navigate the world there are MP orbs to collect, these will help you level up. At each level you get to choose a skill (or to enhance and existing one). There are also chests with equipment dotted around the world. In a nutshell that’s the game and the core gameplay loop – survive as long as you can, while upgrading and evading the enemies.

There are also points that you accumulate after each attempt. These “experiment points” will help you unlock new classes of magical beings – witches, druids, shamans, you name it, they’ve got it. The difference between classes being that they start out with different abilities (the ones you get from levelling up). There are currently 24 classes to unlock. Whenever you pass a certain threshold on a map you will also unlock a new map with a different modifier or challenge. There are also different models you can pick from for your character, these will cost you points which can also be spent on permanent research skills.

Worth it?

Magic Survival is a very addictive game, perfect for killing time as most times you’ll survive around 10-20 minutes. There are some skippable ads (after an attempt) and you can revive for watching an ad. Other than that they aren’t very intrusive, I barely noticed them. There are a few purchase options – a 2x all rewards for $2.49 or an add free version for $3.99, both of which are nice ways to support the developers but not really required. It’s apparent the game has been translated and some of the abilities aren’t always 100% clear, but you can figure most of it out through play.

Overall I’d recommend giving it a go – as it can be played with 1 hand, it’s the ideal casual game. The simple scribble graphics make for a quite pleasing aesthetic. There’s also a good amount of unlocks, upgrades and things to try and collect/achieve. There isn’t much compelling you to return to it every day, but the game is there for whenever you need to kill 10-15 minutes.

Tips

  • After investing 2 points into an ability the next time it’s offered to you it will have a special upgrade option where you can “Manifest a talent” giving it a major upgrade
  • Ability Fusion makes things very interesting – this is a perk/ability that will rarely be offered to you upon upgrading, it allows fusion between two of your existing abilities
  • Getting at least 1 point in many abilities will ensure that you’re always using something and not a sitting duck
  • Purchase permanent upgrades/research between games

Useful Links

Final Fantasy VII Remake

The Game

Final Fantasy VII Remake by Square Enix is a brilliant introduction to the Final Fantasy series for anyone who’s never played any of the other games in the series. The original game was released in 1997 and made quite the impression. 23 years later the remake version was released. It keeps much of the original story, modernises the visuals and and has a truly unique battle system.

The game is a JRPG with “turn based” strategy elements in the combat – they aren’t really turn based, but you can essentially pause time and pick a move to perform. During fights you will be battle using your basic and heavy attacks to fill your ATB gauge, once that’s filled you can essentially pause the game and choose from a variety of spells and abilities to perform on your enemies. This system is quite rewarding, and fun to use, the combat itself can be quite hard as you block and dodge attacks and spells. There are some truly epic boss fights and monsters in this game, becoming more and more powerful as the story progresses.

The story is based around a group of “eco-terrorists” attempting to take down the evil corporation Shinra that is destroying the planet by draining it of its magical life force – mako. It’s set in a steam-punk(ish) fantasy world and you play as Cloud, an ex-SOLDIER – as you find out that means you have some pretty unique combat skills and are generally quite powerful. You are a mercenary, but you find yourself helping out Avalanche (the eco-terrorists) and cultivating your friendships with the key characters of the game. The game is rich with amazing side characters and stories all set in a detailed semi-open world (zone/level-based).

Worth it?

The game has a gripping story that makes you want to keep playing for hours on end. The combat system is quite unique, although it can take some time to master blocking due to the fact that dodge can be somewhat unreliable. There are some truly epic boss fights and the game is visually stunning. Levels are generally quite linear (except the more notable districts). The game is exclusive to PlayStation and will set you back around £60 on the PlayStation store, so you may want to keep on the lookout for better deals or discounts. Admittedly it’s only a year old and has hours of gameplay for you – with side questing (which I highly recommend), it took me around 32 hours to complete the game.

Overall I’d highly recommend the game, especially for anyone who’s never played a Final Fantasy game – it turns out there’s actually little connecting the various games in the franchise story wise, so this is as good a game as any to jump into the series. The game offers a good challenge, hours of gameplay, a rewarding and unique combat system, stunning graphics and a compelling story.

Tips

  • Always have Materia equipped so that you can level them up – they increase their level simply for being equipped in battle
  • Get the Assess Materia as soon as you have an option to do the side quest for Chadley, which is basically one of the first side quests in the game
  • Use blue Materia in linked slots in order to enhance or interact with the other Materia – Magnify and Elemental are two of the more notable ones
  • Always be on the look out for hidden chests and destroy any Shinra boxes you encounter
  • Interrupt enemy spells by using spells or abilities on them while casting (while they have a red text above them)
  • You can reset your weapon points/upgrades by visiting Chadley
  • You can use healing spells outside of combat

Useful Links

Vampyr

The Game

Vampyr by Focus Home Interactive is a decision based action RPG, heavily focused on dialogue and decisions that will affect the world around you. The game is available on virtually every console and will see you take on 1918 London in the midst of the Spanish Flu epidemic – it’s actually quite amazing to observe the parallels with our 2020 pandemic. As the title suggests however, influenza isn’t the only thing going around London. You wake up as a newly born vampire on a mission to find out how and why you were turned. Being a vampire you can only go out at night, meaning the game is quite dark and grey but that works well to create a good atmosphere and really plunge you into the chaos of disease ridden 1918 London. Some of the public health posters and messaging in game are especially close to home in 2020.

The game’s core mechanic is your ability to prey on the civilians that still inhabit London. These are NPCs with side quests and stories that you can delve into through the plentiful dialogue options. The more you know about someone, the more XP they will give you if you feast on their blood. However, if you prey on too many civilians you will plunge the neighbourhood into chaos, killing all other civilians and causing it to be overrun by enemies. This in itself is an amazing take on a decisions matter type game. The importance of each character, the respective XP and their own personal story will all factor into your decision on whether to spare their life or take it – it makes for some really gripping story telling and some very critical decisions that will affect everything around you.

The combat is predominantly melee options between various weapon types, there are also ranged weapons but I found I only needed them in the more challenging boss fights. The combat starts out feeling a bit clunky, but as you level up and improve your skills it becomes more fast paced and exciting, but you still need to have your wits about you and make sure you dodge out the way in time. You’ll find yourself fighting all sorts of vampiric creatures as well as vampire hunters while you explore the various London boroughs.

Worth it?

Generally speaking the game will set you back £34.99, however it’s frequently on sale – you can get it for under a tenner. It was also free in October’s PS Plus games, so if you haven’t downloaded it yet – I would definitely recommend you do. The game offers a good deal of game play especially if you fully engage with dialogue options and characters, there are times when all you will be doing is talking to people (for a considerable amount of time). To a degree the basic dialogue options are similar, but the more you find out about other citizens the more dialogue options you get. Depending on what fate you choose for people in London the game also offers a good deal of replay value. Each major boss will offer you a choice and there are actually 4 different endings to the story depending on the choices you make. These choices will also affect dialogue with NPCs and even your ability to complete quests or purchase items. In that regard the game does an amazing job of really making every decision impactful. However, I would note that most of the key plot points will remain the same, but dialogue, district status and ending scene will be affected.

Overall I would recommend getting the game on sale when possible, being a couple years old I am not sure I can justify the full price. Personally I am not really one for replaying something so story driven, but for a completionist there is some replay value. At times the game does feel like a conversation simulator, but the dialogue is well written and well acted, it can just get a bit tedious trying to find out as much as you can about everyone. One weird design decision is that there’s no fast travel, which most of the time is ok, but there are times when it would have been a great feature, especially considering you have “safe houses” around the city that act as bases. The music and atmosphere of the game are great and give it a great cinematic feel and the aesthetics are great despite the fact that the colour palette consists of mainly greys and red. The game will definitely keep you busy for a few days and maybe even give you a bit of insight into how bad things were in one of the worst pandemics man kind has experienced.

Tips

  • Buy handle parts whenever you can, especially the rarer ones
  • Curing people of their illnesses will help stabilise your district – it’s always worth carrying a few spare medicines around
  • Certain dialogue options will mean you fail to discover a clue about someone, so be careful what you say
  • If you plunge a district into chaos all remaining civilians will be killed, so if things aren’t looking too good – make sure to harvest their XP before resting
  • A good tactic for big XP gains is to complete everyone’s side quests in a district and learn as much as you can about them before feeding on them, probably best to do this once your Mesmerise Level is high enough to get most civilians in the area

Useful Links

Genshin Impact

The Game

Genshin Impact by miHoYo came out last week and it’s really something. The game is absolutely immense and best of all it’s free to play. Genshin Impact is an open world anime action RPG. The game features a character collection (the gatcha) element with a fairly familiar upgrade and ascension system whereby you can trade in gems and weak gear to upgrade and ascend the levels and ranks of your best gear or character. It starts out very story driven with a decent amount of questing to be done in order to get you up and running. But once you’ve got through most of that it really opens up in terms of questing and exploration that you can do. The world is big, not massive but with a packed good amount of treasures, mobs, side quests and collectibles.

The game is available on basically every single platform. I played it mostly on Android and that’s probably the most significant platform that it’s available on – this is a great game regardless, but for a mobile game there isn’t much quite like there. The game offers Zeldaesque pastel scenery and a really punchy, dynamic and fun combat system based around elements, weaknesses and combinations, forcing you to swap between characters to deal with different enemies. You are also accompanied by a Claptrap-level nuisance with a similarly annoying voice – Paimon your “trusted” assistant. Together you are on a mission so you may be reunited with your lost twin and help restore order to the realm (standard fantasy stuff here really). One feature that it could use is some sort of target lock system when in combat, especially on mobile as the camera can be a bit hard to control during an intense fight.

Worth it?

The game is free to play and from about 20hrs of playing I am yet to feel a real pay wall or gatcha element. There are no ads and there’s so much to do that I haven’t thought twice about any catches. Where I am sure this game will begin to challenge you is ascending your characters to the higher level and getting more of the rare ones. Nothing a bit of grinding can’t achieve – you get a decent amount of Primogems completing various tasks and quests – these can be exchanged for Wish, which can be spent on loot boxes for better characters or weapons. However you can also find rare loot in dungeons and from bosses, so there are definitely ways to get there without spending your hard earned cash. The game also offers cross-save for PC and mobile, PS4 sadly is not included in that.

Overall I’d say that this game has really elevated free open world RPGs especially for mobile. A massive open world, a great story, plenty of quests, regular updates, a lot more in the pipeline, events, the list goes on. Be warned it is a battery drainer, always requires a internet connection and is a hefty download. You can’t really have a proper play session in under 10mins on it so it’s definitely not a casual mobile game. If you are into RPGs and detailed open worlds and story with a lot of depth then definitely check this out.

Tips

  • You can heal your party at the Statues of the Seven
  • You can exchange your Primogems in the Shop for Wish which you can spend on loot boxes in the Wish section of the Paimon menu
  • Check your mail for rewards and daily login prizes
  • Learn the elemental weaknesses and combinations
  • Cook food and utilise the food bonuses you get off certain dishes before a big fight

Useful Links

Exiled Kingdoms

The Game

This one really took me by surprise – I kept seeing it recommended on the Google Play store, but didn’t think much of it. I had no idea what I was missing out on. Exiled Kingdoms is an action-RPG by 4 Dimension Games that pays homage to many classic isometric RPGs. The game is set in a fantasy world with hundreds of years of lore and history. On mobile there is a paid and free version. The free version is quite a lot on its own, but certain features and classes will be disabled. There are 4 classes to choose from in total – warrior, rogue, cleric (paid), mage (paid).

The game is based around completing quests and there are tens of side quests, in the paid version there’s an option to get randomly generated quests from the town hall that also give gold and reputation. The story is very well written, as are all side characters and lore. You have the option of recruiting a companion who will act as your sidekick – there are 3 to choose from and you can equip and upgrade their skills as well.

Each class has it’s own talents that can be improved, but there are also guilds that can teach certain advanced skills – some of these advanced skills aren’t specific to the guild, i.e. a Warrior could learn some advanced Rogue skills or vice versa – this makes for some very interesting builds. Quests often have multiple solutions with different effects o

An absolutely immense open world.

Worth it?

I don’t think there’s a game I would recommend more than this, especially for anyone looking to scratch an RPG itch on mobile – this offers the complete PC experience in the comfort of your hands. While the free version is quite decent in itself I would 100% recommend buying the full game – extra classes, town hall quests, more areas, the full story, the ability to travel using boats and best part is supporting the awesome developers.

For a game that could potentially offer you over 100 hours of gameplay the price is completely acceptable. Overall definitely worth the investment.

Tips

  • Save frequently!
  • Save wolf pelts to sell to the Varannari – white ones are exceptionally valuable.
  • Save emeralds to sell to the guy (Orduc) in Jabal.
  • Try and get one of the 3 companions as soon as you can, don’t bother with day hires.
  • Hirge is a great companion as she has a healing ability.
  • The Wiki has a lot useful tips and guides so definitely worth a check for more information.

Useful Links

Wiki: https://www.exiledkingdoms.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page