Tag Archives: cell phone

2018 Game Review Haiku, #26 – Late Night Wanderer

A late night walk home
The paranoia sets in
Dead phone battery

For 2018, I’m mixing things up by fusing my marvelous artwork and even more amazing skills at writing videogame-themed haikus to give you…a piece of artwork followed by a haiku. I know, it’s crazy. Here’s hoping you like at least one aspect or even both, and I’m curious to see if my drawing style changes at all over three hundred and sixty-five days (no leap year until 2020, kids). Okay, another year of 5–7–5 syllable counts is officially a go.

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Some of your dreams can come true in Disney Magic Kingdoms

GD Disney Magic Kingdoms f2p mobile game impressions

At some point, I do promise to write about Theme Park, which was not the greatest simulation game ever to be simulated, but it stands out in my mind as something special because my sister Julie and I played it together, creating less-than-stellar amusement parks and laughing at how many people we could get to hurl after going on our sick–and I do mean sick–rollercoaster designs. I also remember being extremely impressed, at the time, over the visuals, especially the 3D parts where you could go through the rides view a first-person POV. I guarantee the game doesn’t hold up one lick today, but it’s a sentimental entry in my gaming history nonetheless.

Disney Magic Kingdoms doesn’t let you do that or even really run an amusement park in a simulation fashion. You can’t adjust how much the hot dogs cost or what admission tickets go for on a weekend versus a weekday. It’s instead more about leveling up, both the rides and attractions you place on the ground, as well as the familiar characters inhabiting the park from open to close. Yes, you level up Mickey Mouse, and it is both satisfying and unnerving at the same time. Also, every time you complete a mission with a character, you collect your reward by tapping their upraised hand, giving them a digital high-five. I’m pretty okay with that, especially when it is Buzz Lightyear.

Magically, Disney Magic Kingdoms does come with a plot, as well as many small, off-to-the-side subplots. Here’s the big one: Maleficent casts an evil spell on the Kingdom, ridding it of all of its powerful magic, and it’s up to Mickey and his friends to bring everything back. A bit perfunctory, but it gets the job done, and this thing is clearly aimed at a younger generation, with its bright, colorful graphics and bouncy tunes, so it’ll never get darker than that. Basically, you’ll be trying to build specific attractions and bring in famous characters from all the popular franchises, ranging from Sleeping Beauty to Toy Story to The Incredibles. To do that, you need the right amount of currency and special items, which you collect from rides/attractions on timers and completing missions. Alas, some missions take sixty seconds to do, and others go for anywhere between six to twelve hours. Yikes.

I find that, obviously, Disney Magic Kingdoms, is best played in short bursts, with the goal of returning to it many, many hours later to see what got done and start the process all over again. I usually finish everything I need to do in under 10 minutes, and once you have checked all your rides for currency/items and given every character a quest there isn’t much else you can do except stare at your screen and wait. Might as well wait doing something else. However, let me confirm that it is a big bummer when, after waiting six hours for a quest to complete, you sometimes don’t get the item you want and have to try again. I’m sure there is a way to buy the item or complete the quest using real-life U.S. dollars, but I’m not interested in that. I’m saving my hard-earned cash-money for next month for Disney Magical World 2, which should come as no surprise to those that read my thoughts on the first game.

Oh, and I never really mentioned the whole Happiness aspect. See, a bunch of the park’s visitors are looking for things to make them happy, and that could be going on a specific ride or listening to Jessie yodel. Everyone has their kinks. Anyways, if you fill the Happiness meter up all the way, you can start a themed parade, which, for a limited time, allows rides and attractions to give off bonus magic and XP, and quests will also end with better rewards. Unfortunately, the Happiness meter drains when you aren’t playing, so I haven’t focused too hard on this area as it never feels worth the effort.

Being a free-to-play mobile game, Disney Magic Kingdoms is constantly changing. The game has gone through several updates already. One update brought in a timed event themed around The Incredibles and tapping on a bunch of evil robots invading the park. Looks like this week there’s an update that’s all about Pirates of the Caribbean. When will we get one focused on The Rescuers, hmm? There are also now chests akin to the chests from Clash Royale that you can find and open, but they are naturally on timers, and you can only open so many and open them so fast unless you are willing to spend the rarer currency of gems. No thanks. I mean, I’ll continue to open one chest at a time and hope for the best, but otherwise want nothing to do with this system.

Disney Magic Kingdoms is a more enjoyable time-killer, tap-taker than other games in this genre, but I wonder if that is mostly due to my love and appreciation of all things Disney. It really does help that the quests revolve around familiar, likeable characters, and that the carrot on the stick is unlocking more familiar, likeable characters. Plus, the game both looks and sounds amazing. They have Mickey’s “Oh boy!” and Goofy’s “Guffaw!” down perfectly, and the soundtrack features a number of memorable tunes. The characters are well animated, the environments are authentic, and you’ll find yourself whistling while you work as classic Disney themes play overhead.

Look, I’ll keep going with it, but I wonder if, just as with The Sims FreePlay, I’ll hit a point with Disney Magic Kingdoms where the grinding takes too long and becomes more of a nuisance than fun and close this park for good, only to ever see it appear again in one of those posts about creepy, neglected amusement parks overgrown with rust and decay.

Building a bland city and not blowing up

Yesterday, someone called in a bomb threat to the building I work at. Not for my company, mind you, but one of the ones we share working space with, and so a little before lunchtime hit we all had to evacuate the building. This was signaled by a blaring fire alarm, and not knowing what I know now, I just grabbed my cell phone and headed outside. I left my lunch in the fridge, as well as my Nintendo 3DS and car keys on my desk. At most, I figured we’d be back inside within fifteen minutes or so. I learned my lesson.

But then fifteen-plus cop cars showed up, and numerous officers of the law asked everyone to move away from the building. Like, not in the parking lot, but maybe in the parking lot across the street. The roadways coming in and leaving the area were closed down, and cars in the parking lot were restricted to remain there. Some people managed to drive out to freedom and a place to eat foodstuff, but others were left standing across the street, huddled like cows, chewing grass and pondering life. Myself included, except I did what I always do, going solo and finding a tree to sit under by myself while I waited this whole “fire alarm” out in general curiosity.

After a while, as we are all wont to do, I began playing around on my phone to help pass time. Or at least distract me from my grumbling stomach. An hour had passed, and no one was still allowed near the building. Flashes of my lunch in the company kitchen tortured me constantly. Now, if you didn’t know, I don’t have an amazing phone–it’s the Verizon Reality–and I’m fine with that. My phone is a device I use in emergencies to call people, as well as text my wife that I made it to work in one piece. I have two full games downloaded on it: Final Fantasy and The Sims 3. So, I played a little more Final Fantasy, grinding my team of four up a whole level, but that eventually became stale. I began looking around the shop for something new, but nothing seemed interesting or worth the price.

Until I saw a game labeled FREE. It’s called Little Big City, and it’s basically the mobile version of CityVille, a game I played diligently for a month or so, but faded away from like all Facebook games. Like FarmVille, you click on things and wait for them to finish doing what they are doing. Every action is accounted for, and when you run out of energy actions, you have to wait until the bar grows again to do more. This doesn’t take terribly long, so one is constantly tapping and seeing results. It’s not the most amazing little game, but it definitely helped distract me from the cop cars zooming back and forth by or trying to listen in on their cryptic radio chatter. I planted a lot of blueberries, built some homes, played a “match two” mini-game after raising a park, and also created some city staples, such as a flower shop and bakery. Gone are the annoying parts of having to bother real-life friends for things like construction beams or lightning bolts, as Little Big City just gives you a handful of AI neighbors to help and poke when the time calls for it.

I do, however, have a major complaint, and yes, I am going to complain about a free game, so if you’re not into that thing, well…see ya. In Little Big City, you always have something to do. A list of missions is clickable on the side, and these exist to give you guidance, as well as reward you for doing big things, like constructing a City Hall. However, if you built a City Hall before you received the mission to build a City Hall…you’re boned. You either have to build a second one–which, as a city planner, makes no sense–or bulldoze the one you already built for a measly amount of cash and rebuild to complete the mission and earn the EXP and monetary reward tied to it. It’s madness, and it happened a lot. Like, I already made six plots for farming and then immediately after was tasked with making six plots. It’s like they knew. But whatever. Not everything can be retroactive, I guess.

That said, Little Big City did the job though and kept me going until we were finally allowed back into the building–somewhen around the 2:30 pm mark–and then I had to monster my lunch in a matter of minutes and get right back to work. Next time someone threatens to blow up the building I’m working in, I’m definitely grabbing my lunch, Nintendo 3DS, and car keys before getting the bleep out of Dodge.

Greeting somewhat warmly The Sims 3 on my Verizon cell phone

I can’t go into the specifics, but over the weekend I was fretting and waiting and worrying and trying very hard to pass the time in a mildly distracting way, but all I had was my cell phone and football on in the background. Ew, ball-foots. So, yeah, sports wasn’t helping, nor was watching the crazies around me. There was a very weak WiFi connection available, limiting the time I could fiddle around on Twitter and Facebook to a minimal. Yet probably enough time to download a mobile game…

…which I’ve never done before in my life.

I have a Verzion Reality cell phone, and that’s exactly what it is–a cell phone. I use it to make calls, text my wife that I made it safely to work, update Twitter rarely, and sometimes take pictures. Other than that, I don’t use it much as a piece of entertainment or gaming device. In fact, the Verizon Reality doesn’t even come with any free games. There’s three trial games for Tetris, Pac-Man, and Oregon Trail, as well as Dice…which just has you shaking the phone and rolling dice around. Exciting. But yeah, I perused the list curiously to see what was available and found myself surprised at some of the titles–Call of Duty, Final Fantasy, and Guitar Hero to name a few. How bizarre that tiny iterations of these big blockbusters exist on such an underpowered piece of equipment.

I ended up putting all my chips on The Sims 3, figuring it was the genre best suited to filling voids of time and performing mindless actions. It was $9.99. The only Sims game I ever played was the very first one, way back when, and I had a good time with it during college. My neighbors were my roommates, and I had a family, as well as a bad habit of setting myself on fire in the kitchen. I know that since The Sims released there’s been about 9,723 more editions, but that’s okay…they all play about the same, right? Sort of.

The Sims 3 mobile version plays vertically, with a mouse arrow stuck in the middle of the screen. You then slide the screen left, right, up, and down until the arrow is on whatever you desire (stove, shower, bed, your neighbor’s uncouth wife) and then tap on it to bring up a list of options (quick snack, shower, nap, seduce her and steal all her jewelry when she’s asleep, respectively). Honestly, it takes a bit of getting used to, and I do worry about not being able to get Sim Pauly over to the bathroom quick enough when he’s got to read a novel.

You start out as a jobless Sim in a modest home with a tad bit of money. It’s up to you to then form your Sim’s life. I gave mine such traits as shy and calm, and I plan to be that way as long as possible. As you play, Wishes pop up randomly–these are kind of like in-game Achievements in that they are specific tasks (example: sleep in another Sim’s bed). There are 75 in all to do…which definitely adds to the time-wasting quality here.

At this point, I spent all my money on a coffee pot and better kitchen table. Now my fridge is broken, and I don’t have the cash money to buy a repair kit. So I did some fishing (caught two catfish!), and applied for a job at the local quickmarket. Haven’t shown up yet to work. My neighbors think I’m a bit creepy. And , just like me, Sim Pauly seems to never not be hungry. Greaaaaaat…

Oh, and here’s what the game looks like if you were as curious as I was:

But yeah, I don’t foresee myself playing this a lot in my free time. I have the Nintendo DS for handheld gaming, but if I’m ever stuck somewhere and need to desperately get my mind off one thing and onto another, this should do the trick just fine. Also, I’m gonna try my bestest to set Sim Pauly on fire in the kitchen, in honor of nostalgia, as well as an excuse to blog about it on Grinding Down.