Heroes of Dragon Age is a Free-To-Play strategic, CCG-inspired 3D combat game from EA Swiss Sarl.
Here the goal is to build the perfect squad, using a combination of tabletop-like figurines based on characters from across the beloved Dragon Age universe, including rare dragons, giant golems, and other devastating creatures – each with unique abilities, stats, and factions. Once gathered you can then send your squad out to face epic quests and boss battles, giving you the chance to relive places, times, and storylines straight from the franchise. And of course, there is also the online leaderboard, where you can fight for eternal glory by facing your squad off against other random players’.
The premise has a lot of promise, however despite the slight strategic elements present, the gameplay is simplistic to the point of being non-existent, and fails to deliver. It is not helped by the limitations placed upon the game by the Free-To-Play model either – unfortunately at the end of the day, it is almost impossible to advance in the game without paying for premium content, making this a strictly Pay-To-Win title.
- Impressive graphics and character designs.
- Random drawing of characters as ingame rewards. Supposedly all of the characters have a chance of being drawn – but non-paid drawings have extremely lower chances of winning you the higher grade and the more useful characters. This strangely gives the game an almost addictive quality, since you are constantly wanting to reach that next “just one more” reward drawing.
- Restrictions and the Free-To-Play gameplay designs makes this game almost unplayable without paying.
- Difficulty of the main story quests makes it impossible to proceed in the game without the more powerful higher grade characters – and unfortunately the higher grade characters are next to impossible to obtain without paying.
- The same problem exists for the leaderboard side of the game, where you are faced off against players with much higher grade characters, making it impossible to compete without higher grade characters of your own.
- Elements like character factions and abilities add supposed depth to the gameplay. However any depth proves to be artificial, since all strategy are overpowered and rendered inconsequential by the grade of your characters.
Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign, from the developer Demiurge Studios, is a variant of the game Puzzle Quest, a gem-matching puzzler with RPG elements. Some mechanics have been altered to fit the game into the Free-to-play model, however, the simplistic core gameplay remains virtually unchanged – enter a battlefield with your chosen hero characters, and then match up lines of three or more gems of the same colour to attack your enemies, with the goal of lowering their health to zero, before they do the same to you.
Initially I had avoided the game, being skeptical of its F2P model, having heard complaints of it being pay-to-win. However my skepticism proved to be unfounded. Everything ingame can be unlocked with minimal effort (for the most part), and all without paying a single cent. And indeed the game does an amazing job drip feeding its players little chucks of carrots, with ingame currencies and free new playable characters being awarded at every possible turn.
Being definitely NOT a fan of mobile or F2P titles, I have to say my current addiction to this game surprised the heck out of me. But, at least I’m not playing Farmville or Candy Crush, thank god for that.
[EDITED 30/01/2014: The game was patched today (Data: 175039.0.175039), with changes to the gameplay which completely destroyed the Free-To-Play playability of the game for me. This game is now unfortunately absolutely Pay-To-Win. Previously you were given three chances to defeat your opponents in the live events, giving less powerful players the chance to rechallenge and wear down more powerful opponents with repeated attempts. If your opponents proved to be more powerful, you were also able to give up on a challenge before your three chances were used up without losing points or ranking on the leaderboards, giving even lower-tiered teams a decent change of earning high level tier rewards.
However with this patch you are now only given one single attempt per opponent, and you now immediately lose points and ranking placement upon losing. Experiences will vary, but from the few hours I have played since the patch I am sad to report that the team with the higher tier and level heroes will pretty much always win, giving the average player no chance of winning useful rewards unless they are willing to pay. NOT impressed at all.]
- Marvel license. All the Marvel characters you have grown to love (and hate), complete with alternate costumes.
Non-restrictive / non-intrusive Free-to-play gameplay.
- Evolving storylines – story events introduces regular new story elements and characters.
- Regular competitive events with tiered rewards.
- There are light strategy involved, but unfortunately most of the gameplay is heavily based on luck.
Competitive leaderboard gameplay requires minimal skills. The more you play, the more points you will accumulate, so basically the more time a player has the higher they will rank. This can get frustrating for the more casual players, or for those of us with jobs and lives. With the changes to the game it is now heavily biased towards players who are willing to pay. The main storymode is still playable for your average Free-To-Play player, but sadly it is no longer plausible for non-paying players to remain competitive in the live event portions of the game, which unfortunately is where all the new and more powerful and interesting characters are unlocked.
Written and performed in the style of classic radio dramas, FREEQ, by developer Psychic Bunny is an interactive audio adventure game, where players are able to influence future events by hijacking and meddling with radio signals from the distant future.
It has an interesting premise, and the presentation is amazingly well done. Unfortunately the game itself is too short; its limited gameplay borders on being annoying; and its story, flawed. Ultimately it just don’t quite have the oomph to grab or stay with you afterwards.
Having said that, I have to say this is perhaps one of the most unique games I have ever experience on a mobile platform, so unique that I would go as far as to say the experience itself is worth the price of the download.
To check this game out, please visit out your local Google Play or your friendly neighbourhood Apple App Store.
- Interesting premise.
- Amazing voice acting and overall production value.
- Limited repetitive gameplay that borders on behind annoying.
- Flawed story.
- Too short?
If you have any interest at all in augmented/alternate reality games, then you need to do yourself a favour and check out this amazing little game from NianticLabs@Google , by the name of Ingress.
Although simplistic at first glance, Ingress actually has a surprising amount of potential depth and intrigue backing up its gameplay. The premise of the game is that a mysterious energy of unknown origin and purpose has been unearthed; an energy, that some believe is influencing the way we think. As a member of one of the two factions, players must move through the real world using their Android devices and the Ingress app, to discover and control sources of this mysterious energy, which is now all around us. Utilising their devices’ GPS, players are charged with locating and capturing/defending public monuments around their local locations in this global game of tug of war.
The game is currently in an invite-only stage (or so I have been told – however I was able to install it with out an invite), and is due to be released world-wide on December 14, 2013.
For more info visit:
- Augmented/alternate reality on a global scale.
- Active gameplay that encourages movement and exercise.
- Social gameplay potential.
- Intricate evolving story.
- Attacking/defending real world locations in realtime with other unseen random nearby players provides an amazing experience that no other mobile games can match.
- Gameplay can be limited and repetitive.
- Can be a lot of work – too much perhaps – for the more casual players.
- Possibly a case where perhaps the premise of the game is more enjoyable than the game itself.