Card Guardians (as it should be called) is a deck building turn based combat game by Tapps Games – PT. The game has likely drawn a good deal of inspiration from the popular Slay the Spire. It is a simple concept based around fighting various mobs using a deck of various cards. Every time you beat an enemy you will advance on your current adventure – you will get to choose a card to add to your deck (for this adventure only) and a choice of what to do next. Sometimes you will get to choose a way to improve your deck or heal up, other times you will have to choose which enemy you would like to take on.
Your adventures will get you gold and armour – armour can be upgraded in quality by merging 4 alike pieces. Each piece of armour can then be upgraded using gold to increase the base stats that it provides (gloves boost attack, helmets boost defence, chest pieces boost health). There are different types of armour and armour sets that provide unique set bonuses which will give you a better chance at the start of the battle.
Overall the game takes some clever and familiar mechanics and delivers an enjoyable and challenging experience. The game is also easy to pick up and drop as it will save your progress on your last run. My biggest issue with the game is that in a way you are “forced” to watch videos after each battle to get the better loot. While you don’t have to, if you want more gold and a better card selection – it will be in your interest to do so. One slightly annoying aspect is that it seems you need 4 piece of the same armour to upgrade the quality as opposed to 3 (which is sort of what the UI suggests). The game currently has two playable characters which are completely different – giving the game quite a bit of variety in terms of play style.
The ad-free version is £6.99 which is a bit on the expensive side for what it actually offers – the key benefit being a free way to upgrade your loot after each battle and a free revive if you die on an adventure. If the overall price was 15-20% cheaper it would make a lot more sense to go for as the perks are pretty useful. Gameplay is fairly repetitive but the randomness of the cards you may get allows you to try different tactics and ensures that each run is completely unique.
You can use defend or magic cards once you’ve filled up your super power without resetting it.
Exile cards can only be used once per battle, but will return to your deck in your next fight.
When offered the shop choice – you can buy multiple cards using gold.
Your armour will be lost on your next turn so don’t overextend your use of “Defend” cards.
The Gauntlet by Cutlass is a minimalist turn based RPG. A simple, retro feel and a great time waster. The game is focused on combat over 100s of floors of monsters. You can also permanently upgrade your heroes or purchase new ones with your
You can pick what difficulty gauntlet you’d like to start, after which you select your fighters – initially there are 4 classes available and more can be unlocked through cash or in-game currency. The 4 base classes are Warrior, Thief, Mage and the Knight – each offering different stats and its own skill tree. Once you’ve selected your 3 fighters you are plunged into the gauntlet and you’ll start fighting waves of enemies. The game will cycle through your characters allowing to choose your moves – attack, defend, use items or cast spells. Beat all the floors and you’ll have mastered that gauntlet.
Overall it’s a brilliantly nice and simple game with a unique art style and solid gameplay. There is potential to expand on the game by having equipment for the different classes, more achievements, challenges or perhaps even some different game modes. Each new class costs $1.99 or 50 000 souls, which are fairly easy to collect from a few successful runs. This means there’s no pressure to actually purchase classes, but buying them is a great way to support the developers. There are also no ads, which is awesome. When you need to do something else you can just exit or pause the game and it will save your progress, convenient for when you’re out and about and just need something to do for 5-10 minutes. The game is worth a download, just don’t get too distracted because you will keep thinking “just one more floor” and we all know how that goes.
Use items to restore health/mana, also items are per character rather than a shared pool of items
Clear smaller easier units before focusing on the boss
Mage is useful against phantom characters, who don’t take damage from physical attacks (they do take damage from various spells though)
Knight has a “Provoke” (Taunt) ability that will make enemies more likely to target it
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.
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. It would be nice to be able to sort or group heroes in some sort of way. The difficulty/prestige system 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).
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
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.
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.
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
Island War by Fastone Games HK is a mobile first take on the familiar mechanics popularised by games like Bad North. The game is built around collecting an army of various units, upgrading repeat versions and using that army to destroy other player’s bases. That’s essentially the core game play loop and it’s available in several different leagues and challenge modes, all designed to put your army to the test. You will also have to set up a base to defend your own island.
The game rewards you frequently in terms of giving you new units and coins. Premium currency is also fairly easy to obtain, although spending it doesn’t always guarantee a great reward. There are some gatcha elements like a battle pass for extra rewards, but the game is still ok without them.
If you’d like to play something similar to Bad North, but can’t afford to buy it, then Island War is a good option to check out. There’s plenty of cards to collect and upgrade. It also looks like the game is still being worked on with new updates and features ahead. The core gameplay loop does get a bit repetitive but the frequent awards, level ups and challenges keeps it quite varied. The gatcha elements are plenty, but generally you can get on quite nicely without having to use any of them. There are few ads and the challenge modes can be quite tough to crack.
Overall I’d say it’s worth a play, it will keep you busy from a few minutes to an hour a day, limited only by how many levels you unlock – if you exceed the level limit, once the new level limits are unlocked you will receive any backdated rewards. There are some lag issues with big armies on bigger islands, but other than that it’s a solid and simple take on a good game mechanic.
When attacking other player’s islands try and put your rafts down in such a way so as to hit the three core buildings fastest (Army Camp, Gold Mine, City Hall)
Use paratroopers to your advantage once you’ve lured away defending armies
Combine troops to upgrade as soon as you can – you can also look into specialising each raft for a specific purpose
Upgrade your City Hall and Army Camp asap to allow you more rafts and higher army upgrades
The Bonfire 2: Uncharted Islands by Xigma Games is a sequel to the quite compelling The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands. If you’ve played the original you will be familiar with the general concept of managing your settlers and expanding your settlement around the ever-burning bonfire. The first game showed a lot of potential and could get quite challenging, it was also presented as a 2D “side-scrolling” game. In this epic sequel the game developer has moved from a 2D world into a full 3D one for something of a paper-cut out aesthetic.
The game will challenge you to grow and expand your settlement while ensuring you manage your resources and workers in such a way so as to maintain optimal food and resource supplies. Where The Bonfire games differentiate from some other city builders is the nightly attacks. Every evening various beasts – ranging from wolves to spiders and other quite scary monsters will swarm your village and attack your settlers. You will need to ensure you’ve always got enough guards on patrol and that they are all well equipped. The sequel adds even more depth to what was already a quite deep mobile game. There are a good variety of buildings and production chains which will challenge you to expand your settlement even further than before. You also keep unlocking more buildings with practically every building you construct.
Be weary though – some of your settlers may decide to steal from you or leave you! All settlers have unique characteristics and special skills. The skills combined with suitable tools will allow you to specialise your people for the role they were born to do, be it farmer or guard. The settlers will share their thoughts with you regularly and won’t hesitate to let you know when they are unhappy – something you really want to avoid.
A free version of the game is available, but you are only limited to 10 nights. Personally I didn’t really like this method of getting me to buy the full version for £4.49 on mobile and £9.29 on PC. I would have preferred limiting the number or types of buildings that can be created in the free version, because 10 days are up quite quick and you are essentially forced into the full version.
Free version aside, the paid version is – generally-speaking – worth buying. There are some slight issues, like some performance issues with bigger settlements, not being able to remove trees, some minor visual bugs and it can be quite battery intensive. As a mobile game this is definitely a great choice as there are no gatcha elements and you will find yourself thinking – just one more night for quite a while until you realise you’ve spent the last 3 hours on the game. The expeditions allow you to discover new islands and continue scaling up your resource production. I am unsure if I can justify the full price for PC, although I would also expect less performance issues. The game is also still being worked on and developed further so there will hopefully be future updates with even more amazing things to do with your settlement.
Overall definitely worth checking out, you can always play the demo/free version and if you decide it’s something you like, you will have to purchase the full version to play any further.
You can’t remove or move trees/rocks – plan accordingly
Make sure you can equip your workers with carts and appropriate tools (especially builders) – this will greatly speed up their work
Match settlers to their jobs based on their special skills
Always ensure you have more guards than you think you need – sometimes waves of monsters may attack from different sides
Build homes to house your settlers – they are less vulnerable to attacking beasts than if they sleep by the bonfire
You need a trading dock to be able to send your ships on expeditions
Home Quest by codeSTREAM is a free to play mobile game that let’s you build cities, manage your workers, create an army and much more, all from the palm of your hand. This minimalist game is beautifully simple in its design, yet has a surprising amount of depth. You start out by creating a settlement and building houses and farms – all in order to gather resources. As you gather these resources you begin to unlock the other parts of the game, like assembling an army for example. As you battle other tribes and continue to grow your settlement you will add new types of resources, new buildings, new units and eventually further settlements. New settlements will have new types of resource that you will need to collect and manage.
The game also features a “Soul Harvesting” part, where your shamans harvest the souls of your dead enemies in order to produce resources. The depth the game offers in terms of military units, resources and buildings is genuinely amazing. Just as you think you’ve discovered most of what the game has to offer it throws some more enemies, buildings and units at you to keep you going.
The game is free to play, but also offers a paid option – for £4.49 you can have the “full” game. The paid version doesn’t give you all that much – it extends your building queue by 2 and allows you to have unlimited Soul Wells (otherwise you are limited to 3). That is probably the most worthwhile part of the paid version (along with supporting the developers), as Soul Wells can be quite crucial in getting you big lumps of resources, including some you can’t normally collect from the world. Free or paid version aside the game has so much to offer and there isn’t much to fault it on as a base. It is still being improved and worked on it – it could use some sort of achievements or integration to Google Play Games for Android to give it just that little bit more. Maybe something like daily quests. Another little pet peeve is being able to swipe away Soul Well notifications and some minor visual improvements – like a little exclamation mark showing free workers in a settlement or similar.
The game isn’t actually very long, but has good potential to be expanded on. It took me a couple weeks of regular play to complete v1.0 and I’m looking forward to any future additions or campaigns.
Overall this game is a masterpiece and it would great to see it developed further. Its brilliant simplicity, the seemingly endless depth and potential scale give it a lot of potential for growth. You are constantly encountering new enemies, unlocking new buildings, units and creating new settlements. The game is good for both an active session as you manage and expand your settlements and armies or for a more idle type of play where you leave your civilisation to gather resources while you are away. There are basically no gatcha elements and I cannot recommend giving this one a try enough – a definite must play.
Keep fighting enemies – you are limited to 4 sets in view, usually one of which is a boss, the others will give you new units, some will give you new buildings and the easier ones will give you resources
Send lower grade troops (after unlocking better versions) to Valhalla in order to add Valkyries to your army – they can revive other units
Move your workers around depending on what resources you need at the time
Once you unlock factories and villas you can really scale up your production and speed massively
MMA Manager by Prey Studios is a mobile game based around running an MMA gym and building a roster of fighters. The game let’s you build and customise your gym, the equipment you choose will let you train your fighters in different disciplines. Of course you’ll need trainers and coaches as well to boost specific stats from each discipline. You can set your fighters to train for either a short or long period of time (minutes or hours).
Once you’re confident in your fighters ability you can take them to the arena and choose from a selection of fight modes. Campaign provides a good challenge but little rewards, whereas the quick match gives a somewhat decent reward and if you have a good fighter you can go on some good winning streaks. Tournaments consists of a series of fights at various time intervals – a few hours apart. They offer a great payout if you can make it to the end. Gym fights are 7v7 mode where you take on other player’s gyms – the matchmaking on these feels a little imbalanced and you also want to make sure most of your fighters are the same level.
The game offers some great gym customisation options and potential for upgrades. Fighters also feature a talent tree that you can unlock as you level them up. There are 3 main “special” martial arts – BJJ, Wrestling and Muay Thai, they allow you to upgrade the most stats. There are also more specific routines for less stats upgraded. This is where the short and long training sessions are useful. If you are looking to be fairly active, do a few fights, check back in the gym – then you can set a short training sessions. If you’re going to be offline for a while, use the long ones. Before each fight you will get an overview of your opponent and you can adapt your strategy going into the fight. The fights themselves can be quite fun to watch and can deliver some pretty exciting results (the fighters are not player controlled), but there is a skip option should you get bored of them.
The gatcha element isn’t too bad on this one, you can get on fine without needing to worry about premium currency and while cashflow can be a bit challenging at times, a good winning spree and completing daily quests can help in that department.
Overall the gameplay can get a bit repetitive, it’s also an always online so you won’t be able to play it without internet. Initial progress can be quite fast before hitting the first major hurdles. Other than that however it offers a good deal of gameplay and a nice element of strategy, as well customisation. It’s worth it if you’re looking to play a few active sessions a day and it’ll keep you coming back for a good while, but will eventually begin to feel a bit repetitive.
Avoid Gym vs Gym unless most of your characters are around the same level (you will need 7 to do this)
Check and ensure that the trainers you hire will work with any equipment as well as actually contribute to the fighter’s stats (after a while a fighter will outgrow the trainer and will no longer gain stats)
Leaving a player idle for a while will give them a training boost – this allows you to receive double stats awards on short trainings
Buy decoration for your gym as it’s the best way to get prestige – more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean more prestige
When fighting other players – look at the types of hits they’ve made the most of statistically and block/defend against those.
Gumslingerby Itatake is a mobile physics based action game about a good ol’ fashioned Western shootout. The game has simple controls – swipe to draw your gun and tap to fire. Aim for your opponent’s weak spots and you’ll win the dual, get hit and you’ll go all wibbly wobbly, because yes – you are made of gum.
The game is has you collecting various Gumslinger characters, unlocking new guns and completing challenges. You progress the most by duelling other player’s characters in tournaments, it’s not actual PvP – although that would be a nice addition to the game. The tournaments take place in 5 stages, you have a chance to heal between rounds provided you have a medkit – you can usually buy one for 100 coins (you can watch adds for coins), or you may unlock them through progress. Winning the tournament gets you a hefty amount of coins (150) and doubles it if you’ve completed it with a new character. This is the core gameplay loop and for what it’s worth it’s quite addictive. Super simple concept that works, but be warned you may end up throwing your phone at the wall in frustration at some points when you think you’ve won the round, just to get sniped at the last second.
The game is free to play, but also offers a £4.99 Pro version – which gives you more rewards, no ads (unless you want extra coins), the ability to customise your gumslinger’s colours and a skin pack for guns. The game’s ads are generally non-intrusive and allow for a good amount of uninterrupted play. If you’re someone who likes customising their characters then it may be worth getting the Pro version, but other than that it’s a bit on the expensive side for what it offers. At least it’s a one off and will help support the developers, who are constantly bringing our new characters.
Overall it’s a great time-waster – perfect for a quick 5 minute session while you are waiting for something or trying to kill time. It can be extremely rage inducing and a live PvP mode could add to it quite a lot.
Check the strengths and weaknesses of various characters – but generally aim for the head
Try and win tournaments with a new character every time to maximise your winnings
Bored of the conventional chess format? Really Bad Chess is a game by Zach Gage that will make you rethink everything you know about this all time classic.
There’s not a lot to it, but essentially it’s chess with randomised figures – you can play a game where you have 3 queens or your pawns are on the back row, the possibilities are endless. The game features several game modes:
Most of those are pretty self explanatory. One of my personal favourites is 1v1 as it allows you to play with a friend in the same physical space – it will simply flip the board whenever it’s their turn. The game also has ‘undos’ which allow you to go back one turn – these can be useful in the ranked mode when you are close to beating an enemy, however often times you’ll find you need a lot more than one undo to get it right. The undos can be purchased or gained through watching videos.
A great time killer, especially when there’s 2 of you together. The game also allows you to customise and change the colour palette allowing for a more personalised experience. The undos aren’t really worth it, but can be a nice way to support the developer of the game.
Overall it’s a fun twist on an all time classic, very lightweight and a great time killer or way to have fun with a friend.