The Wanderer

The Game

The Wanderer is a mobile game made by Jamie Parish, an indie developer. The game draws inspiration from other post-apocalyptic titles (a few nods to Fallout), you will be challenged to survive and wander around the irradiated plains of what used to be a civilised world. At the beginning you are given a base camp where you can manage and store your resources, upgrade certain devices that will aid your survival and generally rest and reset between exploration missions. The core gameplay loop consists of you venturing out from your camp to various points on the map where you hope to find resources. Each hour of movement will cost you water and food, which you must replenish with the resources that you find. You will also have to maintain your health, illness and radiation levels as various foods or events can have an impact on those.

The game gives you some neat customisation options when starting out as well as a list of options that can make your playthrough even more challenging (should you choose to enable them). You will also have skill points to spend and you’ll earn more each time you level up. On your adventures you will often encounter random events where you will have a choice between several interactions – sometimes you may run into someone who requires some items, other times you may get attacked by irradiated monsters or bandits. When you arrive at points of interest you will be able to collect resources, these will reset each time you return to your home base. While there isn’t much to the core loop it can be quite addictive as you try to collect the resources you need to upgrade your tools and the ultimate goal is to repair the old van, which will massively aid you on your journeys.

Worth it?

The game has come a long way from its humble beginnings and there is really very little to fault on it. It’s great as both a casual game or something you spend hours on, trying to gather the right resources. There are some very minor gatcha elements like a log in reward, reward chests and you can watch videos to help boost XP or buy premium currency (which allows you to fast travel or respec), but for the most part these are completely unneeded and not intrusive at all.

Overall it’s a great little game and has all the key elements to keep you engaged for longer periods of time – things to build and upgrade, plenty to explore, some tricky resource management at times, quests, achievements, levels and even things like daily login rewards. It can be great for either a short play where you just go and explore a few locations or for extended sessions where venture much further from your home base or work towards building that van and upgrading your camp as much as possible. Definitely worth checking out as it is still being updated and actively improved,

Tips

  • If you are over exposed to radiation you will mutate – this will prevent you from getting radiation or illness from eating bad food, but you will lose health every hour. This can be easier to manage than constantly buying radiation masks
  • Revisit places near to your base – these reset every time you go back to your home base.
  • Focus on upgrading your backpack and base storage
    Recruiting the dog companion can be very useful as it can do really good damage at a higher level, however you will need to give it food and water
  • Don’t bother healing the dog as it will restore health provided it’s got food and water
  • Invest some points in Agility and Strength in order to increase the size of the hitbox in combat, as sometimes combat is pretty unavoidable
  • Ammo sells for quite a few caps
  • Karma will affect the sort of things that you find when scavenging – better karma, better loot

Useful Links

The Bonfire 2: Uncharted Shores

The Game

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.

Worth it?

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.

Tips

  • 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

Useful Links

Home Quest

The Game

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.

Worth it?

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.

Tips

  • 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

Useful Links

Infinitinode 2

The Game

Infinitinode 2 by Prineside takes tower defence games to a whole new level. The game is a follow up on the quite successful Infinitinode, taking a lot of what made that game great and improving on it. Amongst some of its most notable features are the mind-boggling research tree, the custom map creator and editor, regular updates, daily quests and seasonal leader-boards.

In total the game has 15 unique towers, each with it’s own set of in-game upgrades which allow you to specialise that specific instance of the tower. From Tesla coils to flamethrowers, cannons to lasers – this game has them all. The game also features 9 regular enemies and several bosses – each enemy has specific tower’s it’s weak against, so it’s up to you to place the right towers in the right places.

If all the defending wasn’t enough the game also has mineable resources on each map. You can build special excavation units on these positions in order to harvest said resources. You will need these to upgrade your towers.

The game offers a series of pre-made maps as a campaign – especially challenging towards the end. If you complete the campaign you will unlock endless mode, which serves as the “endgame” – offering better prizes, infinite waves, harder enemies and even more research.

Worth it?

The game has an option to watch videos to increase a level’s winnings by 25%, it also has a chest decryption element that will give you prizes over time, once your chest has been decrypted. Other than these two “gatcha” elements, the game does a very good job of keeping you in without bombarding you with ads or crappy micro transactions. It offers you daily missions with rewards, I even missed a day and it saved my progress allowing me to resume from the last day I completed. There are some purchase options around double gains, personally I haven’t purchased any of these but if you’d like to support the developer this is probably a good way to do so (and reduce your grind time).

Overall this is an amazing tower defence game with excellent RPG elements – the skill/research tree is a really addictive element, wanting to constantly upgrade and improve your towers, buying global perks or improving your resource mining capabilities. The custom map editor, daily challenges and endless mode give the game insane replay value and will keep you coming back for more and more. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good tower defence game.

Tips

  • Set up a custom farming map on which you can grind papers and resources
  • Make sure you progress the story branch of the research tree in order to unlock levels
  • Get the BOUNTY modifier tile as soon as you can, this will help you massively when grinding coins in game
  • Use the wiki and reddit for more advanced tips

Useful Links

Pocket City

The Game

Ever wanted to play a city builder on the go? But you can’t deal with all the gatchas and pay to wins? Pocket City by Codebrew Games is exactly that. Its aesthetically pleasing isometric cartoon art style and the smooth delivery of classic city building mechanics make this a great choice for anyone looking to build some amazing cityscapes.

The game relies on familiar city building requirements such as zoning for residential/commercial/industrial, as well as maintaining services and resources for your citizens. Keep your city pretty with parks and various types of special buildings, make use of the sky rail, bus or airport to transport people around your city. The game does a nice job of providing a wide variety of specialist buildings from animal pastures to banks and some neat landmarks as well. You can also invest in various policies that will make your life easier. But watch out for the disasters (which you can inflict on yourself if you are so inclined).

The game also has an awesome quest system with objectives you can work towards. And once you have built up your amazing city you can start a new one in the same region and gain income from your neighbouring cities.

Worth it?

There are both a free and a paid version available, it’s £2.99 for the full version and it’s absolutely worth it giving you full access to all buildings and sandbox mode. There are no transactions in the game, no wait times, no BS.

The game plays great in both portrait and landscape, has a huge variety of buildings, models, events and quests. Grow multiple cities within the region. Overall it’s a solid city builder with nice graphics and good controls. The game has a lot to offer and for that price it’s a no-brainer.

Useful Links

  • Use events to gain decent chunks of XP.
  • Monitor your income and expenses through the stats tab – make sure you’re making more than you’re spending.
  • Keep an eye on your goods tab, because if certain goods can’t be sourced locally they will be imported, which can get quite expensive.
  • Having excess goods is a good thing as you will export any extra and help boost your income.
  • Complete quests for good chunks of XP or cash, some involve finding things on the map – so zoom in and look around, you’ll be amazed at the details.

Tips

Wiki: https://pocketcity.fandom.com/wiki/PocketCity_Wiki

Pocket City Free Google Play:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.codebrewgames.pocketcity&hl=en_GB

Pocket City Full Version Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.codebrewgames.pocketcitygame&hl=en_GB

Pocket City Full Version Apple Store:
https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/pocket-city/id1330451888

Developer Site: https://pocketcitygame.com/

Tiny Space Program

The Game

Tiny Space Simulator by Cinnabar Games is an interesting and quite aesthetically pleasing space simulation game. The game is free to play with regular updates coming out (although last update was April, so may be affected by lockdown). It’s a nice take on the genre, not focusing so much on the launching and flying, but rather on colonising, tourism, research and resource management.

You start on earth and your first tasks is to set up base on the moon. Building things takes real time and jobs can be rushed for premium currency or video watching. Honestly I haven’t really felt a need to rush or boost anything in this way and in that sense the gatcha element isn’t very intrusive. However maybe the game could have made use of some sort of login reward system to at least keep you coming back.

As you research new ship parts and upgrade what you have you will be able to venture out further in space, build more and make more money.

3….2….1…. Lift off!

Worth it?

Since it’s a free to play it’s definitely worth a play. I think the game still has room to grow quite a bit and some of the “coming soon” features do sound quite good.

Personally some of the waiting times are a bit tedious and keep me from playing the game for longer stints at a time. It would also be nice to be able to be able to set workers to do tasks automatically once completed.

Overall a fun game, good take on resource management and simulation. Mostly a casual game to be played in short bursts. It will be interesting to see how the game develops from here on out.

Tips

  • There is a series of tips and tricks in game to help get you started
  • Completing the basic missions when you first land on a planet/moon can be a great source of cash
  • Tourism can be a good source of income, but requires a 500 coin upgrade to start
  • Research better ships for more carrying/crew capacity

Useful Links

Wiki: https://tiny-space-program.fandom.com/wiki/Tiny_Space_Program_Wiki

Trello: https://trello.com/b/KVZlAV0r/tiny-space-program-idea-list