Getting sucked into Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans became popular quite awhile ago, and I’m not even sure if many of those who first started talking about it still play it. I had always known very little about Clash of Clans and had convinced myself it probably wasn’t worth my time. From what I could tell it was just another take on the Simpsons: Tapped Out model where you’re trying to construct a cool town and the more you play the more you’re tempted to spend money on the game to expedite the building process (there’s not much to do while waiting for tasks to complete).

Yesterday for some odd reason I decided to finally download Clash of Clans on my iPad. Now I’m once again stuck in the mindset that if I’m not constantly putting my builders to work upgrading my town (camp? not sure what Clash players refer to their home base as) I’m essentially throwing away time and leaving my home unprepared for a siege.

Clash of Clans ipad notification

A notification from Clash of Clans that’s 30 minutes old. That’s 30 minutes that builder could’ve been put to work doing something else!

So far the game is enjoyable, more so than I expected it to be. I’m a “noob” in every sense, I’m just getting my feet wet, but basically you build up your town and upgrade facilities that collect resources (elixir and gold) which you then use to upgrade more facilities, build new buildings or defenses and train troops.

Clash of Clans Elixir collector upgrade screen

 

It will take one hour and 1400 gold to upgrade this elixir collector to level 4, increasing its production rate by 200 per hour.

You use your troops to complete single player objectives where you can raid encampments in order to steal elixir and gold, and also earn stars based on how much damage you do before all of your troops are killed (3 stars if you completely destroy everything). You can also raid other player’s camps, however if you do so within your first three days of gameplay you also become vulnerable to invasion by other players (for the first three days you have a shield which prevents you from being attacked. You can also purchase additional shield time with gems).

I haven’t seen any of the player vs player combat yet since I’m still within my first three days of gameplay, so I can’t really comment on that, but I presume that’s where where real fun begins. I’m also not eligible to join a clan yet, so that’s another area of gameplay I can’t comment or speculate on.

clash of clans town

My humble little home

I’m interested to learn more about the game, but for now I’m just working on upgrading my town as much as I can to prepare for the moment I become vulnerable to invasion in two days.  I’ll admit I already spent $4.99 on the game to purchase 500 gems which were required to receive a third builder. Builders are what you use to construct and upgrade your facilities and I felt too limited with just the two builders you start out with. You can earn gems without spending any money, however it will take patience which I don’t quite have.

Clash of Clans treasure page

A look at Clash of Clan’s in app purchases

Do you play Clash of Clans? Have any advice for a newbie? How about the Star War’s version, Star Wars: Force Commander?

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Candy Crush players, save some money

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I started playing Candy Crush yesterday and immediately found out just how frustrating it can be. Every time I’d fail a level I’d instantly hit retry, and soon I ran out of lives. I came so close to beating a level I decided to fork over $0.99 to instantly refill my 5 lives (otherwise you get one life per half hour, or you can get lives from Facebook friends). Before long those five lives were gone as well and a Google search for “how to get Candy Crush lives” brought me across an article that describes an exploit in the game that allows you to refill your lives for free, and without waiting.

All you have to do is go to your device’s date and time setting and advance the time forward a few hours. This tricks the game into refilling your lives and you’re good to go, without waiting and without spending any money. If you reset your device’s time back to the current time, however, the game will still show you need to wait until after that future time to get a refill (so essentially the game will show a wait of several thousand hours before long).

There is a way to avoid this, however. After you change your device’s time setting to a time in the future open Candy Crush. You will show 5 lives, but before you start playing you need to close Candy Crush, set your time back to the current time, and then continue playing. This way when you spend a life you’ll only have to wait 30 minutes from the current time, rather than 30 minutes after the time in the future. You can also uninstall and reinstall the app to reset the wait time if you happen to end up with a thousand hour wait. You will not lose any of your progress if you are synced to Facebook.

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I hope this has helped. I’m sure they will patch this in the future so that you either have to wait or spend money to refill your lives, but for now this will help you play on through the night, because really, who needs sleep?

Wordament

Wordament is a fun and addicting iOS game and it’s also the first iOS game to feature Xbox Live achievements (if you login via an Xbox Live / Windows Live account). It’s basically a boggle game but it’s unique in that there’s always a game going on. As soon as you open the app you can be thrown into a game in progress and finish out the round. You’ll get a score based on the words you find in the round and at the end of each round you’ll see a leaderboard showing you how you match up against everyone else who was playing that round.

There’s no waiting for games or waiting for your turn, it’s always on in a sense. This is what makes it addicting. You’ll be telling yourself “one more round” as you lay in bed and next thing you know an hour has passed.

I love that it has Xbox achievements and that it’s 100% free. Sure the achievements are only worth 5 gamerscore each, but it’s a nice addition. Let’s hope Microsoft brings more games to iOS soon.

Final Fantasy Dimensions….let me get this straight

So I’ve been debating whether to pick up Final Fantasy III on my Kindle Fire HD or Final Fantasy Dimensions on my iPhone. Last night I was checking out Dimensions and the reviews in iTunes seriously annoyed me. The game is listed as free because you can download it and play the prologue for free and then purchase the other chapters as you progress (or all at once). Chapter 1 is $2.99, while chapters 2, 3 and 4 are $9.99 each ($33 purchased separately). There’s also the option to purchase the chapters as a set for $28.99.

Yet so many users have given the game a one star review simply because they feel it’s ‘false advertising’ or a ‘complete ripoff’ to spend $29 on a mobile game (some even fail horribly at math and claim it’s $40 somehow). Have any of these people never purchased a GameBoy game? A DS or PSP game? This is a full Final Fantasy game with every bit of quality as a full retail game, so why are people so surprised? What’s the deal? They want this game to be $0.99 like Angry Birds, but do they not get that this is not your typical phone based mobile game, but rather an all out video game experience?

Final Fantasy III (and the other ports) are $15.99 but these are older games ported to mobile devices. Dimensions is a brand new game, a brand new experience that is supposed to play like the older games (in other words it has a retro style).

The IGN review calls the price ‘fully justified’ and notes the game includes at least 40 hours of gameplay. When you consider console games such as Homefront offer less than 6 hours of gameplay for $60, I’d have to say this alone justifies the price.

What do you think? Have you played Dimensions? Is it worth $29? How about Final Fantasy III?

Family Feud and Friends

So a lot of people at work have been playing Family Feud & Friends on their phone and it seemed like a fun time. It’s certainly fun to battle it out with strangers and come up with “good answer”(s). However after downloading the free app myself I’ve run into nothing but problems.

First off, the game requires coins to play, and each game of Family Feud costs 2 coins. You start out with 10 coins and get 2 coins for leveling up (you level up by earning money). However after no more than 20 minutes I was zero balance on my coins. So I have the option of paying anywhere from $1.99-$99.99 for additional coins. $1.99 will net you a total of FIVE games of Family Feud, or 15 minutes or so of fun. Most definitely not worth it. And anyone who spends $99.99 on an iPhone game (or even thinks about it for that matter) needs some help.

Every day you get to spin a slot machine to earn more coins, but most often you’ll only get 2 or 3 coins. So you can play one game a day if you don’t shell out cash.

What’s worse is the fact that the app itself never works. Most of the time I open the app I get a never ending connecting to server and an error saying the app failed to retrieve information from the server, try again later. Great so I can’t even get my daily spin to earn free coins so I can actually play the game.

This in app purchase model is not a winning model. I would rather pay $2-5 for the app then have to continuously dump $2-5 a day into it. Even if you bought the $99 coin package I doubt that would last a person a year. What a shame, the game is fun, but it apparently doesn’t want to be played.

What if Nintendo made iPhone games?

I was reading an article in Edge about how Apple has revolutionized mobile gaming and is gaining more and more of the market that used to belong to Nintendo, and it got me thinking…What if Nintendo made iPhone games? Wouldn’t that be awesome? There are plenty of incredibly designed games out there in the iTunes market, but Nintendo still has the ability to create some of the best games on the mobile platform. So is the solution just to buy a DS? Not for me. I don’t want to have to carry a DS around with me at all times and even if I did I doubt I’d find the pocket room.

To me mobile gaming is about having quick access in times of need, say on a bus ride or in line at the store. I don’t want to make the conscious decision, ‘Hey I need to bring my DS in case I end up with some free time’, rather I want my games readily accessible in a way that doesn’t create any unnecessary burden. Therefore having a phone double as a gaming device is the perfect solution. I always have my phone and it has plenty of practical uses other than gaming.

The iPhone is as capable (well I’m no technical expert, but from what I’ve seen) as a Nintendo DS. There are some games with pretty decent 3D graphics that run and play well on the device. Grand Theft Auto III is a great example, it’s a PS2 game that looks nice on the iPhone. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is actually a DS game that is ported to the iPhone, and again it works just as well as it did on the DS.

So why can’t I have New Super Mario Bros. on my iPhone? We all know the answer, Nintendo wouldn’t do this because they want you to buy a Nintendo DS to play their games. The problem is there are thousands of gamers out there who would gladly shell out for quality Nintendo titles on the iPhone who have absolutely no interest in purchasing a Nintendo DS. Is there any middle ground here?

Microsoft has announced it plans to bring its Xbox Live marketplace to the iPhone and Android devices which had previously been exclusive to Windows phones. They realize there’s plenty of money to be earned selling games to those who have no interest in the Windows phone platform.

Nintendo is losing its hold on the mobile gaming market faster than ever, and I think the solution is to sell its games on other devices. Maybe they could release a DS app for the iPhone for say an initial price of $50 that would earn them some money to make up for people not buying the DS hardware, and then inside that app sell the DS games for let’s say $15-30 a piece. They’d easily dominate the top 10 charts which have been dominated by the $0.99 Angry Birds for what seems like forever. It’d be win-win, we as gamers would get access to some of the best mobile games out there, while Nintendo would earn some money in what is becoming one of the largest markets in video games. That’s right, not just in mobile gaming, but in video games period.

I know this will likely never happen, but a guy can dream can’t he? What do you think?