Death Stranding, designed by Hideo Kojima and published by Kojima Productions in 2019 was one of those games you constantly kept hearing about. Namely because of how bizarre and weird it was. The game really lived up to its reputation for weirdness – set in a post apocalyptic USA after an event known as the Death Stranding has occurred. The game doesn’t explain much in the beginning, but a few things are immediately clear – rain (known as timefall) makes time go faster on whatever it touches and there are dangerous invisible creatures known as BTs. You also quickly learn that any corpses must be burned otherwise they will attract BTs and cause a massive explosion known as a voidout.
The first parts of the game leave you with so many questions and a desire to understand and learn more about this bizarre future. The country is non existent and your mission is to journey from the east to the west coast of the USA in attempt to reconnect the bunker-like cities into what is known as the United Cities of America (UCA). In this future world there are ways to print almost anything on the so-called chiral network, however some items need to be delivered between cities by porters, this is where you come in. Playing as Sam Porter Bridges (Norman Reedus) you embark on this epic journey piling your backpack up with hundreds of kilos worth of cargo and travelling the desolate landscape and connecting cities.
The game challenges you to navigate all sorts of difficult landscapes while balancing the cargo you carry and dodging hostile factions and BTs. You can build and connect to other online players’ structures that will help navigate the world.
This really is a blockbuster game by all definitions of the word – the star studded cast features names like Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Lea Seydoux, Guillermo del Torro. All these and the brilliant vision of Hideo Kojima to create a really unique gaming experience. The game and story present an interesting commentary on society and human connection and elements of satire – especially considering how the whole game revolves purely around America without hardly any mention of the rest of the world, which is also presumably experiencing the Death Stranding. Ironically the game world itself is based on Iceland’s natural beauty (and it does a great job of recreating it). The game is a lot more than simply a Amazon/Deliveroo simulator.
The game will easily keep you busy for over 35 hours and even more if you try to 100% it (it took me 99 hours). The game really leans into the common gaming trope of delivering and transporting items by making you a very real delivery-man with a bag piled high with hundreds of kilos worth of cargo. The gradual addition of weapons and buildable structures introduces other familiar gaming tropes like stealth and combat which are also executed quite well. Having both humans and BTs as enemies provides a good variety of gameplay – stealth tactics or outright guns blazing against human enemies and stealthy navigation around the invisible enemies that are BTs. Interestingly the game can really be played as a fully stealth game (with a lot of walking and sneaking) or as a more combat heavy game in which you take down powerful BTs every time they pull you off your vehicle.
Overall this really is a unique game in many aspects – from the outlandish and bizarre story to the game mechanics of balancing boxes and avoiding damage from timefall. There are some minor issues like the readability of the GUI at times the blue hue and tones can make certain elements hard to see and at times menu navigation itself can seem a bit cumbersome. But aside from these very minor issues the game is absolutely worth playing, it’s also a fairly easy platinum trophy on PlayStation (and free with the mid tier Plus). The beautiful landscape and varied gameplay will keep you busy for hours.
Always read your mails – especially when you are trying to get some of the preppers to join the UCA – if they are stuck on 1/2 stars make sure to sleep and read your mail.
Bigger loads of cargo will give you more likes and help you level both people and yourself up faster
You can unlock backpack customisation by building up your relation ship with Southerland (South Knot City)
You can unlock the backpack cover which will cover and protect some of your cargo from rain or snow – this can be achieved by raising the Collector Prepper to 2 stars
You can unlock Grenade Pouches by completing order N37 and reaching 3 stars with the Cosplayer
Exo-skeletons are very useful for navigating the world – especially the all-terrain skeleton, you can obtain rank 3 of that by working with the Roboticist.
There are 56 total memory chips (3 aren’t displayed in the data collection part).
Avoid killing MULEs or terrorists. If you kill them you need to dispose of their bodies in a nearby incinerator or else they might cause a voideout which can basically kill you (makes you restart from a save point).
Armor plates drain battery.
Late game look to establish good zipline routes as they are a quick and reliable way to get around the map, especially the mountainous areas.
Completing the pizza delivery missions unlocks very powerful weapons, if you play aggressively then make sure you do these.
Sundered: Eldritch Edition developed by Thunder Lotus Games (the same team behind Jotun) is a metroidvania game with stunning graphics. The story follows Eshe who finds herself in a mysterious ancient ruin where she is bound to Trapezohedron, an ancient force that allows her to fight her way through the world she now finds herself permanently trapped in.
The game follows the standard metroidvania recipe of 2D platforming, non-linear progression and various weapons and upgrades scattered around the world, each potentially unlocking other areas of the map. In Sundered every time you die (or return the the start area) you get to spend all the shards you’ve collected on permanent upgrades and face the newly randomised map again. Key rooms remain in place but the various paths to get there may change. The enemies aren’t overly diverse but are stronger in later areas, you will also find they sometimes attack in hordes which will have you mashing buttons while you cling on for dear life.
As you progress through the game and acquire new skills you will also come across elder shards. These will give you an interesting dilemma that determines the end outcome of the game – you can chose to corrupt your skills moving you towards the dark and corrupted side or you can destroy the shards for a random skill upgrade and a pile of shards to spend on upgrades. As the story progresses and you defeat more bosses you learn that the ancient Eldritch powers that once inhabited these ruins were at war with the Valkyries – humans with advanced technology set to destroy the magical beings. You fight corrupted versions of both factions as you navigate the ruins.
I am personally not a major platformer player or fan of metroidvania style games, but the artwork on Sundered really pulled me in. The Thunder Lotus team has some serious pedigree in terms of other games like Jotun: Valhalla Edition and Spiritfarer. The artwork on Sundered: Eldritch Editionreally hits the mark. The gameplay and combat mechanics are also really satisfying, especially as you get more and more powerful and unlock the various skills. I did find the charged attacks a little hard to use and the enemies can get a little repetitive (especially when the mini-bosses are just more powerful versions of them). The choice between corruption and purity adds a nice bit of depth and replay value to the game – making you think about your choices and the path you would like to take.
Brand new the game will set you back around £15.49, but it’s available for free for PS Plus Extra tier and often on sale for quite cheap on other platforms anywhere from £1.50 on Kinguin to £12 on CDKeys. You will get decent playtime out of the game (around 10-15 hours) and it even has a reasonable amount of replay value in terms of which path you end up choosing. There is even an option to play up to 4 player co-op (if you have enough controllers) in Magnate of the Gong (not the full game). Overall I would seriously consider picking this game up and if you’re a metroidvania fan then absolutely check it out.
You can destroy your elder shards in order to get a large amount of shards and a random skill upgrade (this is unlocked in the skill tree and you have to upgrade your way to it).
You can use elder shards to corrupt your powers making them more powerful or giving them key modifications.
Corrupting the gravity boots is particularly useful as it allows you to crawl up any wall that you come into contact with (rather than having to start at its base with just the boots).
Sometimes it’s worth just running through an area in an attempt to unlock a shortcut or to get to a specific perk.
The gong room in the left/2nd area is much easier to complete once you have the grappling hook.
Check out the complete guide on corrupting or incinerating shards below.
Getting the skill that allows you to see treasure on the map will also show you the locations of secret elder shards scattered throughout the world.
Life in Adventure is a text based D&D RPG fantasy game by StudioWheel available for mobile. The game uses familiar D&D mechanics and delivers an experience with a surprising amount of depth and good storytelling. You start out with a randomised character (in the free version) as a person who is tired of their boring day to day life and set on becoming a famous adventurer. You progress through random encounters, each with a detailed description and a variety of options – some encounters spanning several pages or even in several non consecutive parts.
Each encounter will test your skills (through dice rolls and RNG) and you may come out victorious and stronger or you may lose health and sanity. Lose all your health or sanity and the adventure is over. You will also gain EXP and find better loot and equipment as you adventure through the world. Survive for long enough and you will become a renowned adventurer and essentially win the game. There are 4 types of starting equipment – Fighter, Ranger, Wizard and Warlock, but you can build your character however you see fit depending on your stats. Character stats are standard D&D ones such a strength, dexterity, intellect, charisma, constitution and wisdom.
The game can be played completely for free, but there is also an Adventurer’s Guild premium option which will set you back £3.99, the main advantages of this option are the ability to customise your new adventurers, a free dice reroll and the ability to speed up or skip fights. A lot of these perks can also be purchased using in game premium currency (gems). The game is quite generous with giving out gems which you can also spend on new encounters, background stories and storylines and traits. The premium option isn’t needed, however it’s a nice way to support the developers and also helps speed up the gameplay. Overall I’d recommend it for any D&D or text based fans out there looking for that nostalgia factor, the game plays in portrait mode making it ideal for mobile.
For detailed in-game tips and info check out the comprehensive guide linked below.
Avoid battles (especially early game) – trying options that will get you out of combat and events can still give you EXP.
Items like Rope, Lantern, Pickaxe and similar are very useful – hold onto them as you may need them in your adventure.
If you are Very Superior to an enemy or better you can skip the dice roll to get a 10 and avoid a critical fail or rolling less than 10.
Equip Master is an early access android game by JYSGames that simply let’s you manage and utilise vast quantities of equipment in idle combat. The premise of the game is to acquire gear through various gatcha means and by completing levels where you fight mobs. As you gather more equipment you can merge it into more and more powerful versions. There are 5 keys stats that the equipment affects – health, defence, ATK damage, fire and ice damage. There are also various resistances, lifesteal, crit chances and speed that can also be affected by your equipment. Some items will also have special abilities that allow you to summon minions or poison an enemy, for example. As you progress you unlock more ways to spend your time in the game like PvP and more ways to collect new equipment. Combat itself happens fully automatically and usually just consists of random weapons and spells being used on enemies. Some items will have special abilities which can make these fights even more chaotic sometimes.
Overall the game isn’t too dissimilar to other mobile gatcha games with various merge type mechanic, however there is something oddly addictive about having incredibly powerful armour (even if it means you’ve essentially equipped 4 sets of boots and 3 chest pieces). There is some sort of storyline that doesn’t really matter as it’s in the levels where you truly get to test out your equipment. Each area you fight in will have various special areas to complete that will add to your idle production capabilities. Some levels will have powerful bosses at the end (some boss descriptions/tips could be more useful). It would be nice to see the game get a bit more visual polish – for example different skins/looks for enemies. There are moments when you do just need to wait a bit to get the exp to level up and beat a level, which prevents you from power-levelling through the game and rather coming back every so often. Grinding resources which let you upgrade your equipment is very slow and the yields from the idle methods can be quite low, even when upgraded. There are plenty of ways to earn gems (premium currency) in game which is always a nice touch as it means you don’t have actually spend crazy amounts of money to properly enjoy the game. If you’re looking for an idle game that will keep you coming back for 5-10minute sessions every few hours then this should scratch that itch.
If you get close to beating an enemy or boss it’s always worth retrying a couple times as the RNG may be on your side the next time
Prioritise spending your diamonds on unlocking more bag space
When merging items try and merge into the highest level item as upgrading items can get very expensive
Upgrade the Equipt Collected quality and Flea Market “Gold Mine” (most likely should just be “Quantity”) and Quality in order to get higher quality equipment for merging
Use your free gatcha pass (or watch the video) on statues once you’ve unlocked them as waiting for the free one can take a while
Empire of Sin, published by Paradox Gaming is a strategy simulation game with turn based combat. You play as a 1920s gangster during the period of prohibition, competing with other gangsters for control over Chicago and running your various rackets. Rackets range from speakeasies to casinos and brothels and a few extra special buildings. The key resource that you need to ensure you have a steady production rate of is alcohol. You upgrade your breweries and the quality of alcohol to ensure a steady flow and good profits. As the game progresses and you get into the politics of it you can begin to make trade agreements, pacts or go to war with other mob bosses. You hire a team of various gangsters and when you engage in combat it plays out like a turn based XCOM-style battle.
The game allows you to build a badass crew of gangsters from a big roster of unique characters from a variety of classes and in a variety of tiers (differing in price and abilities). Each of the gangsters will have relations to others or can even develop them while you’re in a crew – for example they may fall in love with each other or if you kill one of their friends in a different crew they may refuse to work for you for a while. As you progress in the game your gangsters will unlock new skills, you will find new weapons to equip them with and their loyalty to you will improve.
Ultimately your aim is to take over Chicago by either killing all other major factions or finding ways to buy them out and establish control over all neighbourhoods.
Overall the game will set you back around £15 (or around £5 on sale) and while the theme and characters are quite cool, the game falls a bit short in terms of delivering on player experience. The combat gets repetitive extremely quickly, there’s little variety in the environments you fight in. The game makes you grind other mobster’s rackets and districts, slowly building up your empire but after a certain while you are just spamming upgrades on your rackets and fighting the same fight in the streets and enemy rackets. There are also various known bugs in the game which tarnish the experience even more.
Winning the game feels like an incredibly long grind, it would be nice to see more variety in environments and a bit more diversity in enemies and scenarios. The characters, their dynamics and their personalities are an interesting element of the game and could be built upon. There is DLC which adds an extra racket and new playable gangsters and weapons, but for £10+ it’s a considerable additional cost. Overall the concept, characters, art and theme are good but the repetitive gameplay and a buggy experience, I wouldn’t pay more than £5 and the game offers little replay value (it is free on PS Plus Extra at least).
Use taxis to travel around the map
Don’t rush into hiring too many gangsters, but at the same time their cost remains at the level it is when you first hire them (or goes down) so hiring higher tier gangsters early is better
Don’t overextend – secure and upgrade neighbourhoods before adding more
Focus on thug-run neighbourhoods – they are easy to take over and won’t affect standings with other mobsters
If you kill a gang-leader their districts will all become thug owned, initially with 0 rackets – if you take over the thug depos you will get the district clean with all rackets immediately purchasable
Remember to check the black market trader every so often
Make sure your gangsters have health items equipped
When on the streets try to ambush enemy guards to get an advantage
Focus on your character’s bonuses and types of rackets that they scale from
Try not to anger the police – don’t kill officers and don’t be afraid to bribe them
Graveyard Keeper developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild is an indie game that revolves around managing a graveyard (much like the title suggests). The game is comparable to Stardew Valleyin many ways: the aesthetic, the fun characters, the crafting, combat to name few. Graveyard Keeper starts you off in a world you are unfamiliar with (you’ve come from present day) , it seems you are stuck in some sort of medieval fantasy world and you need to figure out how to return home to the present day. As it turns out you are the new keeper of the village’s local graveyard, after the previous one mysteriously disappeared. You are introduced to various characters in and around the village and their weekly schedules and quests (the game has 6 days with various events or NPC appearances being tied to each one).
Over time you develop and fix up the old graveyard and your house, you unlock farming, beekeeping, wine and beer making. As the graveyard gets nicer and filled with better “quality” people you will unlock the church which is where the game really takes off. You will be tasked with doing a weekly prayer, this will help you generate faith which leads to the most powerful unlocks in the game. Doing tasks and work generates points – there are three types of points – red (generated by wood/stone/metal work), green (generated by doing farming work) and blue (generated by researching things and high level item crafting). These 3 types of experience points are used to unlock things in the research trees, and there is quite a good amount of things to be unlocked.
The game is incredibly addictive. It has that typical element of “just one more day” or “just one more task” that keeps you on it for crazy amounts of time. What makes the game even more clever is the way the days work – often times quests will require you to do something that’s basically 5 days away, meaning that you have to wait almost an entire week to complete a phase in a quest (during that time you’re obviously doing other quests or tasks). This has the effect of keeping you super busy all the time, following NPCs schedules and working around having a corpse delivered to you every so often as well. The game’s aesthetic is well delivered and can be very eerie at times (especially when the fog roles in). It’s perfectly matched by the sound design of the game and some of the rather dark and funny humour.
Graveyard Keeper will generally set you back around £10, which at first may seem like quite a lot, but the game really offers quite a lot, it’s also cheaper than competitor Stardew Valley. If you can grab it while it’s on sale for around £5, then you’ve got yourself a steal; it’s worth noting the game is also free with PS Plus Extra. While the game’s ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered and there are 3 DLCs that attempt to answer those, each of the DLCs will set you back around £7-8 and add a variety of new stories and gameplay mechanics (like being able to make zombies to automate tasks). The game is highly addictive and will keep you hooked for a considerable amount of time – overall the story can take around 40 hours to complete, but that could easily stretch towards 50-60 depending on what you end up doing.
Get the teleport stone from the Dark Horse tavern as soon as you can afford it – it makes moving around the map so much easier
Try to only put high quality corpses in your graveyard, red skulls reduce the appeal of a grave
Focus on opening the church in the early game so you can unlock the weekly prayers – these will generate faith for you and unlock the church basement where you can do alchemy and craft new types of items
Meet Clotho to unlock the alchemy workbench and skill tree
For a perfect 12 skull corpse you will need to have unlocked and use the various embalming injections
Blood and fat always remove 1 red skull, organs will account for a random amount of red/white skulls in each body, flesh will always remove 1 white skull
The Quarry lets you set up a little base where you can mine iron, stone and marble for extended periods of time – just make sure you have enough materials to build the workstation and storage there
Save blood – there’s a late game quest (and speed potions) where you will need quite a lot of it
The dungeons save your progress – so if you’ve killed half the mobs on a floor and exit it, that will be saved when you return
Throwing bodies into the river is ok, but if you have a poor quality body you’re better off burning it as you still get the burial certificate
Once you unlock alchemy and the tier 2 bench get speed potions – but only take them after you’ve had a sauerkraut (as it increases the duration of buffs)
Gravestones and fences generate a lot of blue points when being researched
You can purchase books containing a specific number of red/green/blue points from the astrologer
Marvels’ Guardians of the Galaxy is an 3rd person action game developed by Eidos-Montréal with some interesting combat and puzzle mechanics. Fight as the 5 guardians and utilise their unique abilities to progress the story and fight off your enemies. The game sees the iconic Peter Quill, Drax, Gamora, Rocket and everyone’s favourite Groot appear in a story based just after Thanos’ end and storyline. The Guardians quickly end up triggering an unfortunate series of events that sees them let loose an ominous world destroying energy upon the galaxy. They quickly get themselves into even more trouble with the Nova Corps. As the team embarks on the adventure Rocket and Peter end up in a bit of a quarrel. As the team manages its dynamics and learns to work together effectively they also work their way around the galaxy making new friends and enemies. Characters such as Lady Hellbender, Mantis, Adam Warlock and Cosmo the Spacedog make an appearance to help the Guardians on their way.
Each character has 4 unique abilities that can be unlocked and used in combat. They will also have various skills that can be used outside of combat in order to traverse the world. This makes for quite an interesting gameplay experience. Different skills will synergise differently, making for some very exciting combinations and combat mechanics. Overall the combat is quite fun, Peter makes use of various elements that different enemies are weak to. The others make use of AoE or CC moves or alternatively focussed heavy hitting moves. The boss battles prompt some thinking and interesting combinations of characters, overall it’s not difficult, but reasonably challenging – making it quite fun.
The game will take you around 17 hours to complete, currently the game will set you back around £20-25 on most gaming sites, up to £60 on the PlayStation store (or free if you have PS Plus Extra). The game is a great addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise keeping the good humour, great music and awesome characters. The environments, worlds and monsters are all beautifully modelled. The rather basic combat is made much more engaging with the different character abilities and the different elements that Peter unlocks throughout the story. There are times where the signposting could be a bit better and it’s possible to get a little confused or stuck (especially the Creepy caverns), but as long as you keep a look out for interactive objects and listen to the dialogue or prompts from your teammates you should be ok.
While the game is very linear the choices offer some small variations in how exactly the story pans out – most often offering shortcuts and quicker ways out of certain situations or some alternative dialogue. Overall the game lasts around 25-30 hours, it doesn’t really offer great replay value other than for completionism, it does offer a new game plus mode for an extra challenge, but realistically you will likely only play it through once. The game is definitely worth playing, especially if you can pick it up on sale (avoid paying £60.00) or free from PS Plus and even more so if you’re a fan of the franchise.
Unlock the visor ability to see /show spare parts as early as possible
Keep a look out and destroy the dark material whenever you see it
Decisions don’t really impact the overall game, but can sometimes make it a bit quicker to get through a certain area, depending on the choice you make. Overall however the game is quite linear.
Make use of elemental weaknesses – you will tear through enemies a lot easier if you hit them with the right element from your guns
Look around and behind you when you start/enter an area for spare parts or unlockable skins
Unlock the ability to scan enemies in combat – it will tell you what the best approach to taking them down is and of any weaknesses
Look out for things you can use in combat that are triggered by your team mates
The Sea of Death is an adventure puzzle game developed by HoitStudio. The game has a nice pixel graphic aesthetic and features a large variety of puzzles as you embark on a rather mysterious journey in which you attempt to figure out what exactly is going on in this world. You start the game out on a ship during a storm, but after a rather mysterious turn of events you wake up in a strange and dark world and begin trying to piece things together and to find your way out of there. The slightly dystopian world seems to focus on doing various menial jobs and talking to some rather strange people.
The core gameplay loop gets you completing various tasks for people in order to progress “up” in this unfamiliar place. You take on various jobs which involve solving puzzles, collecting items and talking to strangers. The puzzles are all quite different and unique (the game has over 50 different ones) – some of them will really challenge you. As the story develops you begin to learn more about this world and how it works, its social class system and hierarchy.
Overall the aesthetics of the game are quite appealing and it does a very good job of creating a dark and sombre atmosphere. The puzzles the game offers are quite unique and there is a good variety of them to keep you busy for a while. The dialogue is ok, can be improved in certain areas grammatically, but the story does really make you wonder what is going on and figuring out how you ended up where you did.
The full game will set you back around £3.99, which isn’t too bad given that it will give you unlimited actions to continue your adventure. Prior to that the only way to get more than your initial 500 actions is by watching videos (each one gets you 100 actions). For those of you who enjoy a good puzzle mystery game then this one is worth checking out. The game works for both shorter stints where you just do an odd quest, but is much more suited to a mid to long term session as it allows you to engross yourself much more in the story.
Pay attention to what people say or their roles – these will give you hints when someone else mentions them
Use and pen and paper – as some of the tests get more complex or involve you keeping track of numbers or even doing some calculations
Tap on the text get the entire dialogue to print out
Dunidle or as it’s listed in the Play store Dunidle: 2D AFK Idle RPG Quest is a game by ARMII Games. The game is a pixel graphics dungeon game in which you send a team of adventurers on a run of a dungeon to see how many floors they can make it up before they die. Then you just sit back and watch them die over and over again (or make their way up the floors, only to be crushed by a boss or mob on the next floor). After a short tutorial you are left to figure things out on your own as you can begin upgrading your heroes, their abilities and stats, various global upgrades such as gold generators, speeding up the gameplay and acquiring new equipment.
Initially it appears as quite a simple and shallow game, however as you complete the first 100 floors and defeat the boss at the end you are introduced to Legendary Artifacts that drop from bosses and to the “next universe” (or prestige) mechanic in which you can restart by resetting some of your upgrades. The game also features Hell Rifts which server as a type of premium dungeon in which you need to defeat 50 floors for some pretty premium prizes including Legendary Runes and some really special weapons. After you defeat your first 100th floor boss and start taking on Hell Rifts is where the game really begins – grinding for better weapons, upgrading them through shards, selecting specific runes to apply to those weapons. The game even features purchasable skins for your adventurers, which you can even get from the daily rewards.
Overall Dunidle comes across as a very unassuming game, but it’s one of those that just keeps on giving the more you play it. It keeps you coming back regularly and challenging you to push further and further and unlock more and more. The game looks amazing and has a great deal of variety in terms of equipment, types of adventurer, enemies and bosses.
There are few issues with the game that would make it a true masterclass. Things like knowing how many levels are gained each run (like the cash). Some usability issues like showing the inventory, while with the equipment shop or an easy way to transition between the two and some of the colour coding of gear. My only other suggestion would be introducing some sort of player activated spells or some way to speed the game up as a way to break up just the gameplay and make it a little less passive and a bit more active of a game.
The game is good for medium play sessions and once you get “the fastest man alive” upgrade you can do a lot more in an even shorter time. It keeps you coming regularly back to collect gold from your factory and XP from your meditation. There is a way to earn premium currency through playing as well (even though it is the most expensive upgrade). There are also a few packages, one of which will remove ads for you (for £4.99), but it must be said that overall the ads aren’t very intrusive – which makes for a very enjoyable experience and uninterrupted gameplay. After a few universe progressions and bosses it does begin to get a bit repetitive, but will definitely have you hooked for a while.
Prioritise the gold factory
Once you’ve maxed out gold factory and meditation purchase all heroes so that you can grind XP on all of them (not necessarily needed if you don’t want all, but they are worth trying)
Ensure you have the Universe gift upgrade before proceeding to the next universe
Purple (permanent) upgrades in the Party Upgrades menu are permanent even when you go to the next universe
Warp and fastest man alive make the gameplay a lot faster and will allow you to get through dungeons at breakneck speeds
Necromancers are very good for clearing levels quick as they deal damage to all enemies
The Reaper can keep one of your adventurers alive for a limited time after they have died
After you have beaten the first boss get the ability to auto-restart and grind the boss level
Focus on the transmuting bonus Legendary Artifact as soon as you get it as it will get you more from your souls
Weapons can be upgraded with rune sockets (runes drop from hell rifts) – however this will cost you gems and is likely the best use for gems
After you progress to 2nd universe you can start doing Hell Rifts – keys for these can be bought with gems or can be earned by watching videos, you will likely be able to do Hell Rift 2 after the first boss – they will give you Legendary Runes and legendary gear
Dicey Elements by DoubleThink Games is yet another rogue-like deck building dungeon crawler game. The game starts out by introducing you to its key mechanic, rolling a set of dice which determine what cards you can play. The dice effective function as mana with each move requiring a certain number or combination of dice. You can choose to hold dice and reroll others for better combos. You can only ever have six cards in play so you will have to be selective as your deck expands on your adventure. Enemies get harder as you progress and each one you defeat will give you gold (which can be used within the dungeon), stardust (used for permanent upgrades outside the dungeon) and exp (to level you up). Initially there’s only one character (The Fearless) to be played on the most basic mode (NormalMode), additional characters can be purchased and the additional modes are unlocked as you complete the previous mode.
As you navigate the dungeons, each room will have 1 – 3 exits and an enemy, shop or loot inside. If there’s an enemy you will need to defeat them before progressing. There’s a decent variety of enemies, some with special artifacts or powerful cards that will really challenge you. As you progress you will get rarer and better cards and be able to customise your deck to pull of some truly impressive combos. You will also unlock the ability to craft potions using Element Stones – some potions can be particularly useful in a pinch. You will be able to upgrade your adventure permanently through the Adventure Reform upgrade menu, as well as unlock some permanent features like blacksmiths and black marketers or even the arcade section of the tavern, which features a series of arcade games where you win tickets (although it’s not quite clear what the use of these tickets is). This section also features the daily challenge, which will feature a random character – disappointingly you cannot play unless you own the character (this could have served as a nice preview of various characters in order to help me choose which to purchase).
The game is free to play and ads are only there if you want them – in the guise of a fairy which can offer you a random prize (ranging from gold to epic artifacts) or a revive if you die. You can play the game without either of these two. There are some slightly annoying ad banners on screen, but for a free game this is to be expected somewhat. The additional characters all cost various prices – The Stealthy can be picked up with in-game currency (gems), The Chanter will set you back $0.99, while The Prophet, The Telepathic and The Greedy are $1.99 each. There is also a purchase available for additional level up rewards for $2.99. My biggest issue with the pricing of all of these is that there’s no bundle or overall purchase where I could get everything for a reasonable price. $1.99 per character is a little bit expensive, The Chanter seems to have the perfect price, however it would be nice if all characters were still purchasable with premium currency so as to make it technically possible to purchase by purely playing the game. Also none of these purchases remove ads (separate purchase), it would be nice to know that if I am spending money on a game it will at least remove the annoying banners in game. There are also the occasional grammar or spelling issues throughout the game.
Overall, the aesthetic of the game and the sound are quite unique and very enjoyable. The overall gameplay loop isn’t anything too new or innovative, but the use of the dice as mana and throughout the game works really well. A successful run will usually take around an hour to an hour and a half depending on difficulty, but if you ever have to pause or quit, the game does a good job of recording your progress. With the adventure reform and several characters to unlock and play and a variety of difficulties and challenges there really is quite a bit to unpack and get stuck into. It’s a great game, good for medium-longer play times, but can also be picked up and dropped for short sessions.
If a card is on fire it will deal damage to you for using it
Red doors are basic enemies, Pink doors are elites, exclamation marks lead to a dice battle
Elites drop better loot
Artifacts are OP, but you can only carry 10 so think carefully about which 10 are active at any point in time
Spells or abilities that restore health are very useful
Remember to craft potions using your Elemental Stones, but you are unlikely to need them on easier runs
Unlock the blacksmith from the Adventure Reform as he will allow you to upgrade and sell cards
“Pick up” from the adventure reform unlocks the arcade/casino area
Having the Black Market Merchant (All for Cash) in the tavern isn’t really worth it although he does allow you to complete quests for small premium currency awards
Different characters synergise better with different decks and playstyles – the game is all about getting the right combos of cards, artifacts and that little bit of luck
Don’t overload your hand with hard requirement cards as it could make it very difficult for you to actually play any in a turn
If you have a lot of cards of 1 element, try and get some with 1/2 Pair requirements as these can be used with any cards and won’t leave you stuck with nothing to use
Cards that generate other cards are extremely useful (just make sure to use them when you have space for the new cards) – generating new cards allows your turn to go on for longer and for you to deliver even more damage (same goes for temp cards or the Soul Flame artifact)
Be careful with the Light Scythe artifact because if you have a “the next time you deal damage” card that will trigger for the hit of the Light Scythe