Review
Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight

It’s been almost 8 years since Hollow Knight was released, and it still has its own unique charm that brings a player into an new and immersive world through simple platforming action, and this is our view before its sequel releases.Hollow Knight is a metroidvania platformer game, where the world is a single, large, connected map that can be explored to and fro. Explored areas can be revisited anytime, as some areas need special items or skills in order to be reached.It offers a very challenging platformer experience, which requires precise movements using its limited controls. The protagonist is still a normal knight who can take hits, swing his weapon, and move in linear movements, so using his capabilities as best one could takes quite the skill.In addition to that, the map is carefully and masterfully designed. It’s interconnected with each other, and obstacles may seem impassable at first, but with the right tools, players can progress further in the stage. It also tests the player’s mechanics as there are paths that needs precise movements, and one mistake can cost the player to restart the whole segment.Another good thing about the game is how it rewards the players for exploring each map thoroughly. Rewards come in different forms. Some are Geo (in-game currency), Charms that greatly improves the knight’s capabilities, or rare items to be traded for Geo or gain access to secret rooms.This mechanic keeps the player on their toes as they keep looking for hints of secret rooms, bonus Geo, and even new parts of the map. It may sound tedious, but it lets the player experience the whole game without any exception. I admit, there are times that I want to skip some parts, but it leaves the question, “did i make the right turn?”For a game developed by an indie studio (Team Cherry), the game’s graphics and overall art direction is too good to be called an indie game. It didn’t use pixel art, which is popular for indie games.The game also has a diversity of enemies, and it's pretty evident, especially on each map. There are different interactions everytime the knight encounters a boss. For example, there’s this Mantis Village filled with hostile enemies. It’s boss is a trio of mantis lords, and when they got defeated, the mantis enemies now pay respect to the knight.It’s challenging yet rewarding. Understanding how enemies move takes quite the effort, but its usefulness goes way beyond a single enemy. It sharpens the reflexes of the player, as they react faster and better on each defeat. I died quite often, especially during boss fights. During these boss fights, I saw how vast my improvement was. From getting killed almost instantly to seeing myself dancing through enemy attacks, it was exhilarating and left me wanting for more.Another thing that made this game challenging is its save mechanic. Players can’t easily save or quicksave anywhere. They have to find a bench to sit down, take a rest from the adventure, and replenish the lost health during combat. This also becomes the spawn point if the player miserably dies, no matter how far they have gotten without using any bench.Seeing this bench after a long time of exploration, it can put a struggling adventurer’s heart at ease. There were moments where i barely made it into the next bench, and it felt like arriving home from school or work, laying down on the bed, and sleeping all my worries away.Death in this game can be stressful. When the knight dies, all of their Geo are gone and the Spirit meter is cracked. However, it leaves a shade to a nearby area where they die, which the player needs to retrieve in order to get back all the Geo and the missing Spirit meter. Although, if the player dies before collecting the shade, say goodbye to all the Geo as another shade gets spawned, which removes the previous one completely.Another thing that i liked about the game is the godly music. All the themes are beautiful. Hearing all of it is a must before you die, literally. There are variety of music for each section of the map during exploration, and a new track plays during intense boss and other important battles.In addition to that, Team Cherry has brought in a few free content updates for the game. Four DLCs has made it into the game, which expanded its world. Each new DLC also has great soundtrack. For them to be given for free is too much of a bargain, if i say so myself.All in all, it’s a great platformer that may surprise you when someone say it’s an indie game. This is definitely one of the best indie games available in the market, and it now covers platforms such as Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.I can that this is a must-try game, and after you finished and enjoyed it too, let’s all wait for the incoming Hollow Knight: Silksong.

Durango: Wild Lands
Durango: Wild Lands

A brief introduction: Durango: Wild Lands is a mobile game by Nexon, where you’ll explore a world where dinosaurs exists and other kinds of beasts roam the wild. Crafting is a huge part of the game, and you’ll need to use materials in different islands to make an item to suit your needs and to have a better chance at survival.People seem to pick on Durango: Wild Lands as a dead game. It sort of… was. People were excited, What! Studio has been working on it for years and it feels like those MMORPGs in the early days. Here comes a global CBT more than a year ago and that lasted for about 6 months rather than the initially announced limited time beta test. CBT closed for the global server and the Korean server was officially launched, followed by the opening for Indonesian players, for the rest of the world however, it was static. No one knew when it’ll launch worldwide, its own subreddit was inactive. Someone would occasionally ask when it’ll open again and no one can give a definite answer. Fast forward to 2019, Nexon announced that the game will be soft launched in some Asian countries with global launch set soon after. Now here we are! I’ve participated in the Closed Beta Test since the server was opened for my country and at first, it was pretty much so-so. The graphics were okay for a mobile title, especially now that mobile titles look really fancy and all that in the recent years. The gameplay is something I personally enjoy, I do love finding materials and crafting my own stuff with them. You have a bunch of skills you need to level in order to make something even better, let’s say you’d like to make your character the best weapon crafter around then you’ll have to make different kinds of weapons or tools to gain experience. What probably sold me was the use of the auto system. Now I know a lot of ‘MMORPG’ type of mobile games use that, heck, even PC MMORPGs do as well, but how exactly these MMORPGs implement them is what makes or break them for me. I appreciate that Durango doesn’t have any auto-path. Depending on the request, you’ll be given a quest marker and that’s it; go there, do whatever that needs to be done, then get back to camp and submit the request. All of that manually. It reminds me of Ragnarok Online quite a bit. You either go all the way somewhere or use a warp system to get to a certain place. That also includes its battle system, you can set your character to automatically use a basic attack then manually tap a ‘skill’ to use against a beast. You can also dodge by timing a roll when attacked. Controls are easy to grasp, you can control your character with the help of an in-game maneuver stick and you’ll only have to tap to different icons to do actions. UI is a bit confusing as there are sub-categories in them, but they’re less cluttered than before.What doesn’t sit well with me are the timers and fatigue level, or more like its implementation as they’re somewhat detrimental in everyone’s progression. We’re all probably aware with timers, a lot of games use timers especially when upgrading stuff like weapons or machinery. Okay so some games have these timer systems, that’s cool and all, when you have the option to pay some sort of currency, well that’s still cool. But when said currency is real money or can be bought with real money then that’s a real head scratcher. People who have the money to burn in the world can just pay to advance and in the end, it’s a pay-to-win situation. As for the fatigue level, every time you do a certain action, your character’s fatigue increases. It’s also tied to an island’s type and current equipment, let’s say you’re in a snowy island. Your character’s fatigue rises much faster depending on your equipment, if it has a cold protection buff, then the fatigue bar will slowly rise. Once your character’s fatigue level rises up to Exhausted, then you’ll have a nasty debuff and cannot do any other action such as crafting. There are items to lower your fatigue, these items are given by completing certain tasks, and they can be bought with, well, real money. In this case, the currency that can be bought with real money in Durango is called Warp Coins, they can also be earned by completing tasks as well. Players who can burn money like with the timer can simply buy tons of the restorative item and continue playing. While some players will easily dismiss these, the implementation can hurt the playerbase in the long run, similar with other free-to-play MMORPG titles and it doesn’t matter if they’re mobile titles or PC ones.To the lesser evil things, some newcomers might be turned off with the item durability. Every item you get will have some sort of durability: food, weapons, crafting materials, etc. Durability sometimes depend on the item’s attributes or where they are stored. It’s not a big issue for me, tons of games have this kind of system. Perhaps I was used to it, or it adds some kind of immersion. Things in real life break if they are used countless times after all. For CBT players that jumped in the game after so long, there are a lot of Quality of Life changes in the game, and other post-game things to do. Post-game was understandably lackluster back in CBT, there’s nothing else to do if you have maxed out all of the skills possible. Previously players are only able to get a domain on civilized islands, you also need to ‘pay rent’ for that domain. Now players will immediately have their own island to put whatever they want in it and the number of domain slots can be increased with your Pioneer Level, more on that later. You won’t be getting the Dirty debuff when the item you get is of Low Durability, you do however get the debuff when gathering or crafting fails. Tasks are relatively easier now, especially Mission Tasks, than when the game soft launched. Before you need to complete 30 Missions in the day to get the last Mission Task reward, they lowered it to 16 as 30 Missions to complete in a day was really time consuming, with Missions refreshing after 30 minutes too. You can now get support from the different factions you encounter and they have different kinds of supplies to give depending on their Trust rank. It can range from food, health items, Fatigue restorative to weapon and tool crafting materials. The item level depends on the player’s level as well. There are plenty more changes, but these are some of the noteworthy ones. Let’s talk more about post-game stuff. Items that you gather will have a certain Pioneer Level attribute, once you reach level 60, you’ll have the option to install a building called Personal Communication Center that increases your Pioneer level. Investing in it will give you several benefits like crafting Tech Labs that can increase your stats and adding more plot lands to your Domain. There’s also the addition of the Physical Resistance Level, if your character’s level is maxed out to 60, the EXP goes to its Resistance Level to the environment of the island. For example, completing a request in a Desert island type will give you points to Physical Scorching Sun Resistance Level, reducing the amount of fatigue you’ll get due to the island’s environment.If you’re looking for a classic MMORPG experience in mobile, Durango: Wild Lands is a good one to start with. There are lots of things you can do and the system doesn’t hound you all at once so you won’t feel too overwhelmed. I do think it has improved a lot since the global CBT and they managed to balance out the different beasts in the game as well as the weapon types that players can use. 

A Hat in Time
A Hat in Time

A Hat in Time is a platformer initially released for PC, PS4, and Xbox One back in 2017, with a Nintendo Switch port coming this year. We got plenty of platformers in the recent years, we had Super Mario Odyssey and we also saw the remakes of Crash Bandicoot with the N. Sane Trilogy and even the return of Spyro. There’s also Yooka-Laylee made by former Rare employees, and if you’re not familiar with them, they developed the Banjo-Kazooie series, one of the renowned platformer games of its generation. With all these games with the same genre, how does A Hat in Time hold up? Should I play it now?First point, if you’re new to platformers or not really good at them but wanted a starting point then A Hat in Time is a good game to start. Not too good with platformers myself, I’ve only played a handful such as the old Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, the first Spyro game, and a few other titles, but I found A Hat in Time enjoyable as it’s not too hard yet not entirely a breeze. You’re given some items to combat bad elements in the game, for the first act it’s the Mafia members of Mafia Town and that changes on each act. At later parts of the game you earn badges that gives you specific abilities to help in your goal of obtaining Time Pieces. Hat Kid can also obtain a variety of hats that has different kinds of abilities, which are helpful in some situations and an absolute must in some of the puzzles to get the Time Piece in the level.Since we’re at the levels, Mafia Town is the basic one where you complete different objectives per act although it’s confined in one big area, think of it as a tutorial act. There will be a variety of acts at later parts of the game where stealth is added in platforming and even timed missions. It may be a bummer to some but it’s well implemented.The controls are pretty tight though new players may struggle with Diving and cancelling at first, other than that the game is comfortable to play with either a controller or keyboard. Personally speaking, my preferred input is controller since I’m more used to controllers when it comes to platformers.A Hat in Time has its own story, it’s not too deep or anything though. For the lack of lore, it makes up with the dialogue. The lines of minor characters and arc bosses are pretty hilarious in context. Hat Kid doesn’t speak herself but she owns a diary where you can read her thoughts on Act parts that you finish. Hint, hint. It’s not available until you gain a certain hat.If there’s one thing that’s absolutely fantastic in this game, it’s the soundtrack. There’s the original music and the remixed tracks that can be obtained in the game, the background music of some levels can be changed to the remix track that you can get. Most of it was composed by Pascal Michael Stiefel along with a few guest composers contributing too. The Original Game Soundtrack and the B-Side Soundtrack are available in Spotify if you want to listen to it, as well as the official Gears for Breakfast YouTube Channel.Once you’re done with all the acts and reached the end of the game, there are still other things to do in the post-game. Plus the addition of the Seal the Deal DLC in 2018 gives players another chapter to play with several acts, and a co-op mode featuring another character named Bow Kid. Another DLC, Nyakuza Metro, is slated to launch on May 2019.Whether you’re a fan of platformer games or not, A Hat in Time certainly is worth your time. It’s not as hardcore when it comes to collectibles like some platformers, but you’d still find yourself play certain acts again because of the level design and going around them with Hat Kid is a fun experience. There’s also the Steam Workshop for PC players, tons of fan made contents are uploaded for you to try, ranging from player-made levels to skins and items.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

Just like the PSP game that started the series, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is an interesting team-based fighting game that throws in almost every character from previous Final Fantasy titles. Famous characters from the PlayStation One classic Final Fantasy Tactics and Type-0 which was released in multiple consoles are also included in the character roster.   Dissidia Final Fantasy NT has a unique combat system for a 3v3 arena brawler, which focuses on strategy and executing a proper team structure. Fans of the Final Fantasy franchise will be delighted to see a mix of characters like Kefka from Final Fantasy VI and Dragoon Knight Kain from Final Fantasy IV duke it out in a familiar yet beautifully redesigned arena.The PlayStation 4 graphics engine did a great job in giving old-school FF title characters a fresh coat of paint that’s pleasing to the eye.The soundtrack of the game is also masterfully done, with the developers bringing back familiar theme music from previous titles. The cutscenes are also a sight to behold and newcomers to the Final Fantasy world would definitely enjoy the downtime given to them by the carefully edited scenes.The combat system of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT uses new ideas that would surprise gamers already familiar with 3v3 brawlers. It starts off with a basic introduction of a fighter class for the 13 strong character roster. Players need to balance excellent teamwork along with the careful coordination of attacks with the use of a Marksman, Assassin, and Vanguard.The Marksman is tasked with bombarding the enemy with multiple-hit projectiles and wide area-effect spells. The Assassins are given a huge mobility boost, which makes them perfect for hit and run attacks, while the Vanguard’s job is to implement immense damage to the opponent through multiple combos.  Teamwork is essential in order to achieve victory in Dissidia NT, along with proper character combinations.  An example is the team-up of Ultimecia and Squall from Final Fantasy VIII which shows a Marksman that can hit opponents from a distance and an Assassin working to get close to launch a multi-slash attack.  The game also introduces the new Bravery attack, which is divided into three airborne moves and three ground attacks. Each Bravery assault can steal Brave points from the enemy that can be added to the player’s team. The collected points can be used later to launch a heavy HP-reducing move against opponents.In Dissidia Final Fantasy NT there’s no need to memorize long combos since every move has an automatic startup that leaves an opening for the enemy to exploit. The game took the primary design of fighting games and gave it a new twist for a 3v3 arena brawler title. On the downside, Dissidia NT has too much clutter that makes it intimidating for most people to play the game on a casual level.Too many target reticules and power meters can be seen on-screen during battles and these can confuse gamers playing the game for the first time. Another weak point is the single-player mode that hasn’t been given enough attention compared to the PvP mode.Overall, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT will please fans with its polished design and interesting combat mechanics. But Square Enix still needs to find the right balance between adding challenging elements and keeping other aspects of the game simple enough for most players. 

HeroCry Saga
HeroCry Saga

Role-playing games are a staple for a gamer’s device, whether it’s a mobile, PC, console, or any gadget that can have video games in it. As the genre suggests, people can have characters from all shapes and sizes. But, if you’re one of the people who wants to role-play cute characters, well, HeroCry Saga is for you.HeroCry Saga is a role-playing game developed by Monster Smile Inc., the same developer of the game MonsterCry Eternal, which is pretty fun game that made me grind for more powerful cards up until now. Knowing that they have the same developer, I immediately tried this game out.The AdventureStarting the game out, I was immediately greeted by a great 3D animated opening sequence followed by a battle against a powerful Lich. Seeing that I have started with five powerful heroes, I know that there will be something cool that will happen, and there was. I won’t show it to you because it will ruin your experience.After that opening battle, my real adventure began. I got a female warrior with a badass axe and shield. Then she immediately met a fairy and an elf. I already thought that I will have a multi-race team. This is a very rare scenario as more often than not, a strong and muscle-packed hero is the first character you can get.Then, I finished the whole tutorial battles of the first chapter in this adventure. The game has a total of eight chapters, but I’m pretty sure that this will have more chapters as the game updates in the future. It has also a Normal mode and a Hard mode for each chapter, so that’s a total of 16 chapters to be completed and grinded until our fingers collapse, right? Each chapter also has epic bosses that has great character build up. Like in the first chapter, most stages in it contains an orc or a goblin monster. Then, the boss that you will face is this hulking meat of strength called the Orc General, and he does the slitting the throat gesture, how fun is that!Heroes I know you want to know about the game’s heroes, right? Well, I don’t want to list all of them apples because they’re way too many, as in WAY TOO MANY. Considering that this game needs you to collect heroes, they are classified by their rarity. The rarities are B, A, S, SS, SSS, and SSS+9, B being the lowest. There is also an M which contains monster exclusively for enhancing, but we’ll get to that later.In my example image there, the SSS class is already 15 characters. I dare you to collect them all and have a wide range of heroes to choose from. Versatility and a balanced team will make you win your battles, so train all of them!This Hero information panel shows everything that you can do with your hero and I found very useful things here.Level Up is used to make one of your characters catch up with your main party’s level. This is very useful for a newfound SSS hero that you want to be added on your team.Enhance, Evolve, and Awaken is what I found out to be the most useful of them all. These three can make an A level card to an S level card. The +5 that you can see next to the heroine’s name is the result of Enhance. A plus in each card is done by using weaker cards to power it up, or use powerful M cards that can make upgrading faster.The violet stars are the result of Evolve. If a character reaches +5 Enhancement, you can Evolve them by using a card with the same rarity and stars, and the character’s stats will increase, making them even more powerful.Awaken unlocks the Hero’s fourth skill. Those skills are mostly passive, but, the benefits of those skills are significant to your team’s stats, as well as making that character deal more damage, or heal them.These upgrades will increase each character’s strength by tenfold. It is a great mechanic if you have a character you love and you don’t want them to be removed from your team.Equipment, Skill, and Rune are the common elements of an RPG, upgrade them to your level and that increases their strength, if you manage them carefully. Game modesThere are multiple game modes that can be experienced in this game apart from the classic Adventure mode. The first thing I like to talk about is the Arena.In this game mode, your team will fight against other players’ team around the world. Pick one out of the three people that they randomly suggested to you and fight them but, it will set to auto so you will have to factor each of your character’s power or you will end up losing even if the meter shows you that you’re powerful than them.Next is the World Boss inside the Dark Castle. This game mode pits your team against a powerful boss that can’t be killed. This boss just takes your damage like a sponge and a counter of your total damage dealt is shown above as his health bar. For two minutes, try to deal as much damage as you can because your team and all of your cards are with you, literally. Still inside the Dark Castle, there is this mode called Chapter Boss. This mode lets you fight against a more powerful Chapter Boss from the adventure mode. If you defeat a boss, it will level up by five points, so this poses unlimited challenge. I just fought the Orc General there and my characters are just lucky that we won with them left a sliver of health.The last is the Expedition which contains several modes that rewards the players’ hefty amounts of useful items, Gold, and Hero materials.The Expedition contains the Daily Dungeon that changes depending on the day of the week The rewards and the challenge changes, so a wide pool of heroes is very useful. It also contains the Axolotl Gold Mine that easily rewards the player 75,000 Gold every clear. There is also the Temple of Blessings which rewards the players Awakening materials for their Heroes. There are multiple available challenges and each has its own rewards, so depending on your need, you should check them out. These modes can be explored once every day.Magic Hall of the World is where you can farm runes to make your character stronger. Farm your Heroes rune needs so you can build them correctly. Exploration offers various treasures such as Gold and Blue Gems, and all you have to do is wait a certain amount of time after sending your exploration team, as long as they fit the conditions, they are fine. Shop, Currency, and CommunityLet’s talk about the currency used in the game and how they can be obtained. Gold is the commoncurrency in the game which you can earn literally anywhere in this game. This will be used on almost everything that strengthens your characters, so save them up. Red Gems uses real money, but this is very optional. You will only buy it if you’re rushing to get a hero or two. Blue Gems are rewarded as you play the game. These can be used to buy new cards, premium cards. But it will still rely on your luck, so buy cards carefully.There is also the Stamina in which the players use to initiate a quest and earn everything. Your capacity will grow more as you play the game.Why add Currency along with the Community? Well, there is a Friend and Guild feature so you can travel the lands with a companion, so you don’t have to go alone. You can send ‘Friendship Points’ to your Friends and vice versa, these points are used in the Shop to buy items. Guild gives you boosts on Experience gain, as well as Guild Points that you can use in the Shop as well.The Shop is where you can buy useful things and get new cards as well. Arena earn you points, World Boss gives you points, and Guild and Friends give you points and all of those will be spent here to buy Stamina, Awakening potions, and various other things that will be beneficial to your progress. GameplayBut, how does the game play out? Well, for starters, you can create a five-man team, each are equipped with up to two active skills. There will also be an ultimate skill that can be manually or automatically used which can be a game changer, considering the damage it deals.I can also consider that this game has the hybrid turn-based battle system because there is a timer before casting each skill but every character can attack normally every once in a while. The ultimate skill, however, can only be casted once, so always make it count.Character positions also plays a great part in the game’s mechanic. Characters move while doing attacks such as a Shield Bash or a Sword Thrust. If a character moves out of their original place, attacks are surely going to miss. Timing will play out in this kind of mechanic too.Team’s position on the team is also important. There are Heroes that can be considered as tanks, fighters, magicians, and more. How these Heroes are placed in the team will not only give them strategical advantage, but also gives them boosts.The game also has Auto Battle and Repeat mode so you can just leave your phone and the game will play by itself. That’s easy and hassle-free farming for you and for me. Graphics and SoundsThis game’s graphics are cute, VERY CUTE. For a guy like me who grew up playing MMORPGs on PC, I strived to be the cutest among all the badasses. This game just blatantly made me cute. It also contains numerous creatures that, even though they’re supposed to be scary, they’re too cute.Every character’s attacks are animated, which not only adds to the game’s cosmetics, but also takes part in its mechanics as I’ve said earlier. These attacks have special visual and sound effects that increases its beauty.Also, every stage is beautifully drawn. Every background gives the game its characteristics and an overall beauty in each and every look.All of these visual candies combined with adapting music adds intensity to every battle that you will ever partake into. In a simpler terms, it is a very appealing game. I Got the Icon!I don’t share this information about myself too often but, I burst into tears when I get the featured character of the game. In this game, they used the face of this hero named ‘Momo’ and I must say that I already found her.This moment when I found her in one of those hundreds of cards, it’s like the first time I completed Yu-Gi-Oh!’s “Exodia the Forbidden One” and you bet that was when I was younger. Can you imagine a full-grown man crying because he found the game’s icon character?Momo is one of those characters which is packed with cuteness and deadliness. In her codex, she is an apprentice ninja who wants to take on dangerous missions. But look at her cuteness! Can you imagine that she can kill hordes of monsters with that look? I know I can’t because of that overwhelming cuteness.Her active skills combines death and cute. Her first skill is called Rabbit Dagger in which she throws rabbit-themed throwing knives to all of the enemies in the front line. Scamper Skill is her second active skill in which she does the classic slash and dash, leaving piles of bodies behind. She also has an ultimate skill that can be equipped called Replication Technique. This is like Naruto’s Shadow Clone Jutsu and it damages all enemies.She really is the epitome of cute without e. A ninja, a cute girl, a cute ninja girl, that’s what she is and that’s what she will always be. AfterthoughtsWell, there aren’t much to tell you about the game except that it’s a great game that is pretty much worth your time. I highly recommend that you download HeroCry Saga if you’re into RPGs and cute things. As I’ve said earlier, this game is made by Monster Smile Inc. and they really develop great games such as MonsterCry Eternal. But I warn you though, you might get addicted in this game just like I did. Please send help because after writing this I’ll get back on my phone and play the game again.Check them out on Google Play and App Store here! 

PangYa Mobile
PangYa Mobile

Bang! The fun-tasy golf game returns as PangYa Mobile!  My first encounter with PangYa was also pretty much my introduction to golf as the sport isn’t that popular here in the country I live in; it’s usually a sport that only the privileged can play. Without any knowledge of how golf works, it took me long enough to know the basic rules and terminologies since I was around my 4th or 5th grade back then. I thought having a plus in my score was a good thing while it was the opposite, never knew what Albatross, Eagle, Birdie, Par, or Bogey was, or what the different parts of the course is. The game had been a part of my childhood and even my college years when PangYa was released on the PlayStation Portable as PangYa: Fantasy Golf and got up to World Pro before my handheld died out (Goodnight, sweet prince), and while I didn’t stay too long in the PC North American server, the server closure on December 2016 was a sad day.  It was in 2014 when PangYa Mobile was announced and boy did that make me excited! My PSP died, I didn’t have much time for PC games that year, and while I do have a Wii to play Super Swing Golf, that’s not an option since I don’t want to accidentally break our television. So my last option was to wait for the mobile version… and there goes the years without much updates, a lot of people initially thought that it was quietly canned until late 2017 when NCSOFT announced that they licensed PangYa Mobile to LINE. I wasn’t able to get in the CBT since it was a bit short so I had to wait out until it was officially open. Then here comes February and PangYa Mobile is now in my Google PlayStore, heck yes! Storywise, this seems to be loosely based from PangYa: Fantasy Golf’s own story mode or at least some of its points. Instead of Nuri (Scout for some regions) and Hana (Erika for the Japanese server) as the first characters to use, PangYa Mobile stars Marr, a new character for the mobile version, Arin, and Tiki. Arin has been a playable character in PangYa and its console spin-offs while Tiki, on the other hand, was originally one of the caddies that support you in the game by giving you additional stat boosts. A new threat seems to be looming on PangYa island and it’s up to the three of them to check it out, they meet other characters along the way like Lucia, Cecilia, Ryan, and Lolo. If you played the PC version, Lucia and Cecilia are playable characters while Lolo was a caddie. Ryan is a new character (A Max clone. No, not really, he just looks like Max.) working for Kooh and one of her pirate crew, quite unfortunate that he’s scared of water. There’s a total of seven playable characters at the moment with more to come, one of the possible characters would be Kooh as she was shown to be playable in the trailer and has her own model in-game. The same goes with Kaz since he shows up at the start of the game and was briefly playable. If you want Nuri or Hana to join in the fun, it’s possible that they’ll be added at some point since they are mentioned early in the story. Old favorites like Max and Azer (Uncle Bob in some regions) may have some chances, but still unsure. Now let’s go to the gameplay. Unlike the previous versions where you only use one character for the whole game, now you need to use a team, composed of three characters, in each game for the mobile version. How does this work? Each of the characters have their own strength. Let’s take your first team as an example to explain.  Marr is a Power type, his shots can travel farther than the other types, a good choice to appoint as the first striker to cover a lot of distance. Preferably for Par-3 Hole maps as your objective is to reach Green in less shots as possible. Their control is somewhat terrible though. Tiki is an Accurate type, this type honestly confuses me as their strength is… what? Accurate Pangya shots? They do seem to have better control than other types, more distance than Putter types, but less than what Power types have.  Arin is a Putter type, she’s best used when it’s time to make a shot in the Green since Putter types are the most stabilized characters in that field. But they have horrible power.You can switch characters in the middle of the game. I’m not sure if it’s fixed, but I’ve reached Stage 3 in Story mode, played Challenges, and PvP as well and the amount of character switching available is always set to 1 per game and one game has a standard set of 3 maps. So in all of those 3 maps, you only have one chance to switch to another character, not counting the ‘Friend’ you can bring in the game but that’s not available during PvP. This is where it can be problematic, you’re forced to use all of your characters for the rest of the game if you used your tags early. Some might say “it’s for you to have strategy” but it only limits all the possible strategies that you can do.Other gameplay stuff are still similar to the other versions, there’s a bar on the lower part of the screen to determine the distance of your shot and direction. Tap the ball on the screen to start your shot, tap it again to the distance you want and the last tap will be the direction. I say direction since if you miss the Pangya area of the Impact zone, it’ll either go left or right depending on where the cursor ends. There’s still the wind mechanic to look out for, your ball’s direction and mileage may also vary depending on the wind power and direction. Let’s say your wind says 5m to the left, once you make your shot, your ball will adjust to the wind direction and power that will end up with it going left. That’s why you have to adjust your shot in accordance to the wind power and direction first.Of course it’s not PangYa without its special shots, although not all of them made it to the mobile version. The Tomahawk made it in, Cobra and Spike didn’t make it in but the mobile version special shots called Blade and Cannon. These special shots seem to be character type specific, Marr and Ryan have the Blade shot and they are both Power types. Tiki, Cecilia, and Lolo have the Tomahawk shot and the three of them are Accurate types. Arin and Lucia have the Cannon shot and they are both Putter types. There’s no “Power” version for these special shots since you are locked to two uses of special shots per game. For the Power Spin and Power Curve, these special shots are now character specific skills; Tiki has the Forward – Backward After Spin, Cecilia has the Curve shot, and Lola seems to have Right – Left After Spin. This part may need an update later on as I based this from the skill description and it may or may not be accurate. The skills mentioned has to be unlocked first by upgrading your character.I just mentioned skills, yes, characters have specific skills that they can use depending on their specialty and type. These are used by filling the Skill gauge on the lower left part of the screen, and that can be done by making a shot or getting skill gems floating in the map. For example, Marr’s first available skill increases his covered distance.How does the game perform on mobile? I’m using a Sony Xperia XA Ultra and it works well on High graphics setting, there are some noticeable lag in frames if there are lots of things happening on the screen but it doesn’t happen very often, if it does then you can still adjust the graphics setting to Medium and Low. The graphics of the game itself somewhat captures the feel of the PC game, ‘somewhat’ because of the hardware limitations of course. One of the things that you might see is that the model texture resolution goes down if the characters are talking in visual novel style even on high settings. The game does slow down and can be choppy in PvP since it depends on your network connection as well, and it can get frustrating since there is a chance of missing a Pangya shot because of the choppy frames.Does it have the relaxing music that the PC and console games have? It sure does! When I play mobile games I rarely have the music on, well, except with games that revolves around music like School Idol Festival of course, but this is PangYa and I love PangYa’s course background music. Not the same as the music in previous games but it has the same feel to it. The characters also have their own voice actors, albeit in Korean, and they are pretty great. Marr’s VA especially since he captures his character real well. Miss that voice who shouts “PANGYA!” whenever you make a Pangya shot? It’s back!Is this game going to be Pay-to-Win? Honestly, it’s possible. As far as I can remember PC PangYa didn’t have a Character upgrade system, but it had its Clubs, Clothes, and Accessories that you can equip to your character to increase their stats. In PangYa Mobile however, it has a Character, Club, and Clothing upgrade system. While both versions used Gacha to get some of these items, the amount of time or money you have to use in the Mobile version is much more than its PC counterpart since the amount of games you can have in PangYa Mobile uses Hole pins to start a game in Story, and you can buy Hole pins using Garnets, thus you can farm more if you buy more Hole pins, then you’ll get the items needed to upgrade your characters that way or you know, just let Lady Luck deal with it in Gacha and buy the other stuff using your money. Can Free-to-Play players compete with whales? Yup, with enough dedication. The game hands out a bunch of free stuff as you progress and during events so those who are not able to buy items with their money can still catch up, and maybe have some sense of pride and accomplishment along the way?What if I want to just play some fantasy golf and not be competitive? That’s not going to be a problem at all! I’m not a competitive person myself and I just play to have fun and I’m absolutely having fun with it, just not when I accidentally have bad shots, it’s rubbish. The Story mode games only have 3 Holes so it doesn’t take very long to complete, plus there are twists in the gameplay like defeating a huge monster that looks like Dolfini, destroy blocks using your Aztecs, there’s even monsters on the field that you can defeat with your shot and you can earn more points if you do so. The Wiz Wiz-like map, King’s Haven, has this warp gate thing that you can use to take advantage of; if your ball goes through the warp, it’ll send the ball flying further. It’s really fun to think how you’ll do your shots in specific maps.So to end, let’s have a bit of a summary and get to the pros and cons of the game for hardcore players, the casual ones and even those who are old PangYa players like I am and the newcomers to the game.PROS+ The games don’t last too long. If you want a quick match just to pass time, PangYa Mobile is perfect for that.+ Same old PangYa with a twist. It’s PangYa on the go, and it won’t always be the same maps, the same goals, the same mechanics. There’s always something new in maps so it won’t bore you out.+ A lovely soundtrack. Relaxing music and golf? I’ll take it! It’s not easy to have a track that can ease up your nerves in a really tight match with someone in PvP.+ Learn golf, have fun. First time playing a golf game? No problem. The game teaches you how to play PangYa and it does have the same mechanics as real-life golf. With the exception of Tomahawk shots though.+ Great for people who wants a single player experience. Not a fan of playing against other people? The Story mode already gives you a great game experience. You can play PvP here and there but it’s not required in order for you to enjoy the game.CONS- The games may be a bit too short for hardcore and old players. Tournaments can last up to 18 Holes and that takes a while, but the challenge and fun was still there. Sadly it doesn’t seem to be present in the game right now.- The Team mechanic. While the idea of making characters have their own set of skills and types was okay since it makes them unique, being forced to switch characters severely limits what you can do in a game.- Possible Pay-to-win. It’s not surprising anymore but still a bit of a turn-off. As mentioned earlier there’s already a Gacha system in PC PangYa but the mobile version cranks that up.Overall, I still like PangYa Mobile despite some of its flaws, it’s relatively easy at first glance, but the difficulty shows itself later on. It’s not as simple as tapping and getting all those Pangya shots, it takes skill and even calculations to get the lowest possible score (If you’re not familiar with golf, a negative score is better). There are things that could be improved on with the gameplay and its current English translation. As far as reports go, LINE has released the game on three countries and will launch in South Korea sometime this year. With an English translation already up, it’s also possible that they will have it published for other countries in the West, despite the closure of the PC North American server, PangYa is still a beloved arcade golf game in the region.

Tekken Mobile
Tekken Mobile

Most developers have a hard time getting fighting games to translate properly on mobile, due to two major reasons. One, most gamers are already used to playing fighting games in consoles and arcades, so playing it on a mobile platform would just be awkward. The second reason is very obvious; tablets and smartphones don’t have buttons and joysticks, so trying to initiate multiple combos and special moves can be quite tricky. Tekken Mobile tried to find a way to at least solve one of the issues, and in a way, it works like a charm.  New controls for an old-school gameHarry Slater from Pocket Gamer mentioned that the new Tekken for mobile gamers is similar to Marvel’s Contest of Champions, where taps and swipes are needed to perform specific moves.  The guys from Bandai Namco decided to make things simpler for tablet and smartphone users. Pushing the left side of the screen will bring up a guard, tapping the right on the screen would start a combo. Holding down on the screen will charge an attack, which can break an opponent’s guard.  If players swipe right or left, their character would shift towards that direction. Another new element for mobile Tekken is the addition of special move cards. They are located at the bottom right of the screen and with a single tap, the player can initiate a move that a card represents. There’s also an option to change the deck, which would bring up various options during a match.The key to using the special move cards is to chain them together with regular attacks, which will start a heavy barrage against an opponent. The final output is similar to what’s commonly found in Tekken console titles.   Smooth graphics for mobileThe graphics for Tekken Mobile is strikingly similar to what can be seen in the PlayStation 2 and the PSP. It’s high-quality and the environmental effects are also great, with the concrete being smashed every time an opponent falls down after a combo.The background design is also very pleasing to the eye, with players being transported to different interesting locations with each new stage. There’s also great attention to detail given to the design of the characters from King to Jin Kazama, and fans of the series won’t get disappointed. The VerdictThe mobile version of Tekken is mostly intended for an audience who aren’t familiar with previous Tekken incarnations found in consoles. Hardcore gamers can check it out, but they shouldn’t expect too much. The developers successfully integrated the touch screen controls of a tablet and smartphone, in order to bring a near-fluid arcade fighting experience for the mobile generation. Play the game on Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.bandainamcoent.tekkenmobile&hl=enPlay the game on iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/tekken/id1245078891?mt=8

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