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

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

Big Pharma

The Game

Big Pharma by Twice Circled is a simulation game available on virtually every platform (except mobile). The game is a conveyer belt manufacturing simulator in which you combine various ingredients to create new and wonderful medicines to help people with their illnesses. Overall the concept is fairly simple, however the initial learning curve can be quite steep. There are quite a few tutorial missions and they can be quite daunting, but once you get to grips with the mechanics you’ll also realise that the game does quite a good job of telling you exactly what to do with each ingredient to achieve the desired effect. Note that I played the PS4 version, so some comments may be specific to that, the obvious benefit (as usual) of having a PC version is mods – although these aren’t available through the Steam Workshop as with other games, so may be a bit of a hassle.

The game features research trees and various exploration missions that you need to undertake in order to discover new ingredients and improve your machinery. At it’s most basic level the game is based around increasing or decreasing the concentration of various ingredients in order to achieve desired effects (these can be seen in the info panel of each ingredient). When at a certain concentration some ingredients can be combined with others or run through a specific machine in order to change or upgrade their effect completely. This is where the game gets interesting and a lot more complex. Combining various ingredients and increasing/decreasing their concentration until you achieve the perfect cure can be quite a complex process and if you don’t do it efficiently enough, you won’t be making much of a profit.

Worth it?

Generally speaking the game will set you back between £20-30. Honestly I find that a bit on the expensive side, so look out for any offers. It does offer a lot of scenarios to play through and a lot of depth and there’s a free build mode too. On PS4 the controls can be a bit of a challenge to get used to and don’t always feel very intuitive to use, it sort of goes without saying that it’s a game made for a PC.

Overall other than some control issues and the slightly elevated price, the game is quite addictive and can be really satisfying once you get that supply chain up and running properly, it has some really satisfying sound effects and will keep you coming back for more. There’s plenty of scenarios to keep you playing for a while and if you’re playing on PC you can even have a go with modding the game.

Tips

  • Keep an eye on each ingredient’s info card – it will tell you what concentration you have to get it to and what device you then need to use to get the desired effect
  • The info card will also tell you the total manufacturing cost and medicine value – don’t overextend for really good drugs early on as you won’t have the machinery to make the production line efficient enough and you’ll end up losing money
  • Hire researchers as soon as you can afford to so that you can begin researching better machinery – focus on the agglomerator and ioniser
  • If you can’t get rid of a negative side-effect, turn that medicine into a cream – it will reduce the negative score from the bad side-effect by 50%

Useful Links

Island War

The Game

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.

Worth it?

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.

Tips

  • 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

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

Top 5+ PC Games You Can Play on Your Phone

With second lockdowns already happening and more on the horizon we’re going to need some pretty solid games to get through this. Not all of us have the convenience of a gaming PC at home or even a console – sometimes we just have to settle for our trusty smartphones. But don’t think that just because you’ve got a smartphone you can’t get a proper gaming experience as you would on a console or even PC.

This is a list of 5 games (with some honourable mentions) that have a PC or console counterpart and that will keep you playing for hours. Some are paid, some are free, some have free modes.

RollerCoaster Tycoon

RollerCoaster Tycoon is an all time classic PC game and while the original is over 20 years old, the gameplay and graphics are truly timeless. This mobile port combines the best of RCT1 and 2 into tens of scenarios that will keep you playing for hours. It will set you back £5.99, but it’s definitely worth it.

Check out my full review:

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is an incredible RPG and life/farm simulator game that will give you many many hours of entertainment. Again this is a paid title, but for £7.99 it’s absolutely worth it and will provide you with countless hours of gameplay. The game is also often on sale so definitely worth the purchase if you see it reduced.

Check out my full review:

Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact is a recent free to play open-world RPG game available on various platforms and even includes PC/mobile cross-saving. The game is quickly becoming a new household name in the world of gaming as it offers an immense and beautiful open world – for free. New content is constantly being added to it and there are big plans for it in the future.

Check out my full review:

Mini Metro

A minimalist game for the more casual player – mini metro will challenge you to create the most efficient metro system in cities across the globe (perfect for a time when we can’t travel). The game is available for £0.99 for Android and a touch more for iOS, but definitely worth a play as it has regular daily challenges and the occasional new map released.

Check out my full review:

Exiled Kingdoms

This RPG will keep you playing for hours on end. There is a free but limited version that will still offer you about 30hours of gameplay, but I recommend upgrading to the full version for only £3.99 as it will give you a lot of convenient bonuses, new classes and even more game play.

Check out my full review:

Honourable Mentions:

These are some well known games that are worth checking out, again a mix of free, freemium and paid:

  • Game Dev Tycoon – a paid tycoon game, all about running your own game dev studio. Check out my review: https://random-games.com/2020/07/18/game-dev-tycoon/
  • Mindustry – a free sandbox, factory-like tower defense game: https://mindustrygame.github.io/
  • Auto Chess – while I would regard Auto Chess as more of a genre than a specific game this is a good choice for those who enjoy PvP and some strategy – there’s Dota Underlords, Auto Chess or Teamfight Tactics. All options are free to play. Game length can sometimes take a while and being an online PvP game you can’t really pause.
  • Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition – one of the most challenging and relentless survival games is available on mobile for £3.99, however there’s some criticism in terms of bugs and game controls. It’s available for both iOS and Android.
  • Hearthstone – not sure if this one needs any introduction, Blizzard’s iconic card game. A freemium game which sadly over the years has become a bit of a pay to win and is difficult to get back into after a break.
  • Gwent – If you’ve played Witcher you will know all about Gwent – a bit of a half-way house between Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering. Available on Android/iOS: https://www.playgwent.com/en/play-mobile

Really Bad Chess

The Game

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:

  • Daily Board
  • Weekly Challenge
  • Ranked Mode
  • Freeplay
  • 1v1

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.

Worth it?

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.

Tips

  • Think ahead
  • Know how to play chess

Useful Links

TAP! DIG! MY MUSEUM!

The Game

Tap! Dig! My Museum! by Oridio Inc is a simple but addictive game in which you dig up and collect dinosaur skeletons. Manage your museum by putting anything you find on display. The game has a very simple core gameplay loop in which you excavate bones on a hexagonal grid. Your pickaxe starts out fairly weak and you only have a limited number of taps to uncover all bones on the level. Once you start making money you will be able to upgrade your digging abilities. Upgrades are limited at first, but y There are also some premium boost items that can be used to help both in your excavations and in the museum, a little bit more on those later.

The are three tiers of dinos to excavate, various species and types ranging form marine life to therapods or pterosauria. You will gradually turn your dusty old museum into the most dino-packed building imaginable. Upgrade rooms, shuffle exhibits around, change the lighting and much more. The game offers a decent range of customisation for the rooms and you can group or theme your rooms as you please.

Worth it?

Overall this is a very addictive game, the completionist in me just wants to keep digging for more and more dinos. The game can be a bit repetetive, but that’s to be expected given the simplicity. When running low on cash or digs you may resort to video watching, and that can become quite a big part of the early game. I’m not against video watching as a whole, but the occasional free power up or an ad free version would be nice options. A few less videos to watch or a ad-free version could help.

I also feel this is a bit of a missed opportunity on an educational front, even just some bullet points with facts in the dinosaur book in-game. Overall though I would say a very fun, addictive and quite rewarding game – digging those massive dinosaurs out bone by bone and piecing them together really keeps you coming back.

Tips

  • Upgrade your digging ability as much as possible at first
  • Sell old exhibits or redo them when you can clear the level quite easily
  • For the secret fossils you can keep digging or reset as specific dinosaur until you collect all secret fossils from the specific location – check the wiki for more details on that.

Useful Links

Wiki: https://tap-dig-my-museum-wiki.fandom.com/wiki/Tap!_Dig!_My_Museum!_Wiki

Apple Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tap-dig-my-museum/id1460645640

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.oridio.museum&hl=en_GB

Game Dev Tycoon

The Game

Game Dev Tycoon was released in 2012 by Greenheart games and was an instant hit amongst Tycoon-game players. The game lets you create and manage your very own Game Dev Studio (the clue is in the title). You start out as most start-ups in a dingy garage, coding away on your own, smashing out new titles every few months. You will be able to choose your platform and game genre and theme. Then you will need to manage your time spent on the various elements of the game – get all of these combinations and balances right and you might just land yourself a smash-hit success that gets 10s across the board. However, if you get something like the theme and genre combination wrong, you could be facing a serious loss that may even put you out of business.

The game allows you to research better game engines, features and themes. You will eventually be able to make AAA games, have a maturity rating and release on multiple platforms simultaneously. You will also grow your office and recruit new members of staff to help you build better games (and to keep you from overworking yourself – don’t forget that occasional holiday). In the late game you will be able to fund an R&D lab and give them special projects, as well as your very own Hardware lab, which will allow you to make and sell your very own console (and of course put games onto it).

Worth it?

The game costs £4.99 for iOS or Android and it is available for £6.99 on Steam (with the added benefit of mod support). Is it worth it? Absolutely. The game offers a good deal of replay value, especially as your first few companies may tank – all part of business, as long as you learn from your mistakes.

Having a PC experience on mobile for a 5er is money well spent, my only criticism would be that once you do get to the end-game and you’ve got your own hardware, there really isn’t that much more to do – you can train your staff and do all the research, but at this stage the game cycle is already a bit repetitive. However I would say there’s a good few days, possibly even weeks of play before getting to that point. Not only that but if you have the PC version you will be able to mod it to your hearts content.

Overall a great tycoon and management sim, reinvigorating the genre and a great PC-like experience available on your phone, should you opt for that version.

Tips

  • Don’t rush into upgrading your offices or hiring new staff – the bills can add up very quick and sink you before you know it
  • Train your employees – late game you will want specialists for each of the major game components, also don’t forget to send them away when they are overworked
  • Know what makes good game/genre combinations – use a bit of common sense and real life experience here
  • You can turn tips on/off for second playthroughs – can be very useful in knowing what’s needed to deliver a hit game as often as possible, it is based on your previous attempts and the analysis of what has worked and what not

Useful Links

Wiki: https://gamedevtycoon.fandom.com/wiki/Main_Page

Developer’s Site: https://www.greenheartgames.com/app/game-dev-tycoon/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/239820/Game_Dev_Tycoon/

Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.greenheartgames.gdt&hl=en_GB

App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/game-dev-tycoon/id1162580001

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