Sunday, November 25, 2018

My Hunt for Match-3 Dungeon Games Part 3 -- The deeper dive

Ok, all the standard searches have been expended, and now I'm going DEEP into the bowels of the Google Play store (and beyond) to see what I can dig up that's a match-3 and also in some way related to a dungeon. It's been a fun journey that's unveiled a lot of "match-3" and not a lot of "dungeon," but in my never-ending quest . . . I have MORE to share. MORE! MUHAHAHAHA!
~~

War of Heroes
Not to be confused with the now defunct MMO Marvel War of Heroes . . . this is War of Heroes the "Match 3 Puzzle RPG - War of Hero - Dungeon Battle" with 5,000 downloads. Yup, it was the "Dungeon Battle" part of the title that click-baited me into downloading this game. Unfortunately I've yet to run into anything resembling a Dungeon Battle . . . I think it may happen around level 30 or so? Getting there looks to be hard to do for the common Tom like me.


So the basic gist of the game is that you make matches to strike out at your enemy, and you're not really going to damage your opponent much unless you make 4-in-a-row or 5-in-a row matches or a cascade of "combo" matches. Speaking of enemies, you face the exact same enemy model for 10 encounters in a row until you reach that 11th encounter when you get to fight this blue-looking guy.


The difference here is that the combat is turned based between the "boss's turn" as it says and "your's turn" -- quote unquote. This game really needs the loving touch of a copy editor.


The only thing that makes me want to keep going is the leaderboard . . . I really want to rise above rank 0 and get in that Top 50! Why? Just imagine the clout I could throw around by saying, "I'm a Top 50 Player in the game Match 3 Puzzle RPG - War of Hero - Dungeon Battle." Good news is that I'm Level 8 and the lowest level 50 player is Level 9. I GOT THIS!

Unfortunately . . . the dungeon battle part of the game seems to be non-existent and there are strange grammar errors all over this thing.  It feels like it just exists to spit out Legendary Game of Heroes ads. In fact, if you watch 20 ads in a row, you can unlock Hercules as a playable hero. Too bad I can't actually take him into a dungeon, which is what I really want to do.

Dragon Strike Puzzle RPG
Honestly I don't know how this particular game got on my radar as a potential Dungeon Match-3 game. It's not, it's an Empires and Puzzles clone game with a more cartoony art style, which is great . . . don't get me wrong.


I haven't yet talked about Empires and Puzzles, and that's because it's not really a Dungeon Match-3.  An RPG-based Match-3 with guilds, evolvers, and a builder aspect, yes, a "Dungeon Match-3," no.

And that's why I'm going to stop the discussion of this game here and . . . uninstall. Doesn't mean it's a bad game (probably just the opposite), just not what I'm looking for.

Match 3 Dungeon
HOLY WOW . . . a game named exactly what I'm looking for?!  I sense a great lack of naming imagination and with an astounding 5+ installs . . . you read that right . . . this game has only been installed five plus times . . . could this be some strange diamond in the rough??

Well, I played it!  And, I'm now Number one on the leaderboards for this game. WOOT!


Basically, the board is made up of five colors and you make simple matches. Because the board is simple, you can get some pretty insane chain reactions. Unfortunately there is no real depth here.  It's basically the Flappy Bird of match-3 dungeon games. How long can you survive the onslaught of monotonous match 3?! Your fingers and eyes are so busy clicking around that you don't even notice the high-fantasy 2D art striking out in fury at you, but LOOK . . . YOU'RE IN A DUNGEON!


Eventually you just get to a point where you can't take it anymore, or reach a level where they start to do more damage to you than you can keep up with healing and BAM . . . game over, level up, try again?  That's basically all there is to this game.


Can you beat my high score?  Lemme know!

Dungeon Adventure Demo
It's another deep dig!  I downloaded the "demo" version in the app store for free, but you can also buy the full version on Steam for this game. This is another game with really small install counts . . . we're talking like 10+ on the app store it looks like.


Up front the concept doesn't seem horrible. Basically it's like Hearthstone meets Match 3, but without all the complexity and depth of Hearthstone. This game ends up being a lot like the game I reviewed above (Match 3 Dungeon) only . . . not as good, and there definitely aren't really any "dungeon" aspects other than the look of the game.


To sum up how combat works, you have control of a knight and a wolf. You make matches to power up their attacks.  Both the knight and the wolf have two attacks each. When you power up an attack, you drag that power in the direction of the enemy you want it to strike. It took a bit to discover how to do this since there really isn't a tutorial on playing.

After winning you're granted loot from the monsters you defeated.  The three types of loot I found were gems (no idea what these are used for), healing potions (use those out of combat to heal your knight and wolf), and a mortar and pestle (seems to be some kind of crafting component?).


I had the game lock up on me once and eventually lost my wolf and reached an unbeatable point in the game. In the options you could trash your data and start again, so I did that and started up again.


I don't know if I could recommend buying the game off of steam since the demo lacked so much, but there's something here that if developed correctly might have some legs?  Best of luck to the developer! Hope to see this improve in the future.

Dungeon Cleaning Crew: The Puzzle Game
We now leave our comfortable home of the Google Play Store and Steam and travel to the lands of the iOS app store.

Here's a free game for all ages that really isn't much of a match 3. It's more of just a "match" game. Basically you click on a matching item, around the edges of the pile of items, to that shown on the top right corner of the screen. The object is to clear at least half of the items from the pile.


As you progress, the board gains more items that you can "find," in the "dungeon," like a backpack or a helm.


So while dungeon themed, this is basically a puzzle game that isn't really what I'm looking for, but it's headed in the right direction. I like the idea of a cleaning crew going through a dungeon! I just wish there was more to it.

~~

I'm not sure if I'll find more dungeon match-3 games out there, but for now I'm thinking the dungeon-based match-3 game I'm hunting for has yet to be developed! Again, if you hear wind of any games that haven't been mentioned yet, let me know, and I'll give it a shot.

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

My Hunt for Match-3 Dungeon Games Part 2!

Newsflash -- I've been continuing to hunt for the perfect match-3 Dungeon Game since the last time we talked and . . . Newsflash -- I'm still on the hunt for the perfect match-3 Dungeon Game.  That said, I have found a few new games, and they aren't half-bad and are therefore totally worth a mention here on The Friendly Necromancer blog. Here's what I've got:

Good Knight Story
Coming in at over half a million installs is a Match-3 app called Good Knight Story. Follow the link here to download. At first I thought this was the perfect match-3 dungeon game, but alas . . .

Possibly the biggest sin of Good Knight Story is that it makes a really bad MILF joke.


The second greatest sin of Good Knight Story is the difficulty pay wall found on Level 40.

The third greatest sin of Good Knight is that it looks to only have 125 levels.

However, outside of those three sins, I kind of liked this match-3 game, mainly because of the theme, and the interesting board mechanics like stone blocks that break after three matches have been made next to it. 

It also uses a battle mechanic where you strike at the enemy and a counter ticks down on their portrait. When that counter reaches zero, they strike back. 


To combat this you either have to have enough hearts to survive the blow or have connected at least three shield pieces to block the attack (and those shield pieces are few and far between).  Or use a third method where you cast a spell to block damage at the cost of 2000+ coins. Or use a fourth method where you let the monster knock you out and then resurrect to half health by watching an advertisement. Or use a fifth method where you let the monster knock you out and you resurrect to full health by paying a lot of coins.


Every 24 hours, you're given a gift of 2000 coins, so to continue playing without paying you just need to claim that gift every day and buy a bunch of protection scrolls over the period of a month or so would be my guess?

I *would* do this (because as we clarified in the last post, I'm a glutton for punishment), but they took me out of the dungeon I was so desperately wanting to journey through after the first five levels or so.  *sigh* I want to be IN the dungeon exploring, not out of the dungeon!  (admittedly, I'm probably in the minority)

I'm also looking for a slightly different dungeon exploration style, and this doesn't really fit the bill there either.  

It was chock full of dad puns though, so you may enjoy it! 

Adventure Quest Battle Gems
Another app with over half a million installs . . . Adventure Quest Battle Gems is a match-3 game based around the free flash-based PC game (you guessed it) Adventure Quest. That said, you definitely don't need to have played Adventure Quest to enjoy this game. Although you can link your Adventure Quest game to get a few extra bennies.

Battles in this game are relatively quick and painless. I'm on quest 34 (out of what appears to be hundreds of quests) and have yet to be defeated. As long as you keep buying clothes, weapons, and pets, there seems to be no problem with keeping up with the power curve. 


The one place you might be defeated is within PvP. I'm actually super surprised they didn't make the PvP in this game more prominent!  You find it within a sub menu and have to connect your account to your Facebook page.  Unfortunately it uses the same energy to PvP as it does to quest, so, while it was kind of fun taking down "The Incredible Magicsparkle," I don't know if I'll be doing more of that for a while when I have LOADS, and I mean LOADS, of PvE content to explore.


There are some pretty cool battle mechanics in this game such as "skull pieces." The more matches you make adjacent to the skull, the more powerful your critical attack becomes. It also uses things like chains and slimes to cover pieces where you have to break them free to do more damage.


You also get to take down Dragons who have special conditions to them such as being immune to weapon attacks.  Thank goodness you can also attack them with your pet or magic.


So far I really like this game, and while it really scratches my RPG itch, it doesn't do much in the way of dungeon delving, which is ultimately what I'm looking for (while keeping to the match-3 theme).

OH . . . btw . . . the best thing about this game was that it had me take down forum trolls.  Thank you Adventure Quest Battle Gems.


I feel you Omni . . . I feel you.

Forge of Glory
I found this game after watching an advertisement in Good Knight Story. This game has over a million installs and can be downloaded here

At first what I thought from the ads I had seen was that this game was possibly a Diablo-esque dungeon crawl mixed with a match-3?!?  I was instantly like . . . HOLY CRAP THIS COULD BE THE HOLY GRAIL!  I was wrong, of course, but that said, this was a pretty good distraction for an afternoon and will be on my phone for a bit as I explore it more.

The Match-3 board on Forge of Glory is a basic four-color board in about a 5-by-6 hex style grid that during combat fills with "combat seals." These seals affect your gameplay in a variety of ways based on the type of creature you're facing. 


Basically, the seals make combat more difficult, and it's your job to try to get rid of them before the bonuses they give the enemy make you lose the level. To do this, you need to make matches that are five in a row or more to create powerups on the board that can be used to explode or zap the seals away. Sounds easy, right?  Not really.  It can be quite difficult.


Mixed into this game is a builder, an evolver, and a social guild structure. You gain heroes that you "feed" to your best heroes to level them up and upgrade them.  


You create guards to your castle and build buildings to amp your rewards. You join guilds to go on guild raids for big rewards. So, this game definitely has a ton more depth than say the previously two mentioned games because of all those systems being added on.

I really wish they hadn't given me an auto-play button for the match 3.  As soon as a game gives me an auto-play button, I instantly tap it and check out.  That said, the AI doesn't exactly play like I would, and if a level is more difficult, I'd probably rather have full control.

Because of the depth of this game, it feels like I'm going to need a few days of playing it before I can really see its extents, but I've played it enough to know . . . it's not what I'm looking for.  Pretty good, but not the "Holy Grail."

~~

I'm on the hunt still and will continue to look for great Dungeon-themed Match-3 games.  Again, if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments, and I'll be sure to check it out.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

My Hunt for Match-3 Dungeon Games

I've been on the hunt lately for a casual match-3 dungeon game (that isn't Puzzle and Dragons), and it's led me to a few interesting finds that I probably wouldn't have played otherwise. It's varied from Not-really-match-3 to a couple Puzzle and Dragon clones.

Never played Puzzle and Dragons?  Start here. It's had over 5 million installs, so . . . well worth your time based on that number alone.

Now that that's out of the way, let me tell you a bit more about the apps and games I've journeyed through the past month.

Battle Camp
Here's your link! This one actually has more installs than Puzzle and Dragons! It's kind of a cuter style and reminds me of Puzzles and Dragons mixed with something like Poptropica. Apparently as you get deeper, there are things like cooperative raids? I'm not sure. I didn't make it past the second area of the game because I was looking for something that wasn't . . . you guessed it . . . Puzzle and Dragons.


I have to say my outfit was pretty good for being free, but I saw some people walking around with crazy stuff on and epic pets at their side.

Heroic Dungeon
You wanna link?  Here it is! This bad boy only has 5,000 installs, but I have to say, I had more fun playing it than I did Battle Camp. It's a little strange. Kind of like Minesweeper meets an AlphaCat style Match-3 game in a way.


I'm actually kind of surprised more people haven't played this game, but on the other hand, combat does get a little repetitive in that the match-3 doesn't last more than 2-4 moves usually and it's very easy to die in a dungeon and get your butt kicked. I dig the art style and cute monsters in this one (if that Kobold in the above screenshot doesn't scream "you no take candle" I don't know what does). It feels like a lot of work went into this creation, but ultimately it's not really what I'm looking for.



3 in a row pixel aka Match 3 RPG
Now THIS is a deep dig. It only has 1,000 installs and I think might have been created by a couple of kids?


I'm not sure, but at first the match-3 seemed very limited and archaic; however, as it turns out . . . it's actually an attempt to clone another couple of games that I found in my search for a Match-3 Dungeon Game . . .


10,000,000 and You Must Build a Boat
Now we're talking! I laid down $5 or so (on sale) on Steam to try out these games. I finished 10,000,000 just the other day, and it felt awesome!  Basically, the match-3 style would be what I call "Potion Motion" match-3.


I know the KingsIsle folks didn't invent this particular kind of Match-3, but most people that read this blog would know what I'm talking about when I say "potion-motion" match-3 (because it's a very well known mini-game inside Wizard101). You drag rows and columns in order to create a match rather than select-one-swap ala Candy Crush style.

The object of 10,000,000 is to raise your score to 10 million in order to escape the dungeon. Along the way, you level up in dungeon ranks; you level up your weapons, armor, shield, and magic; you fulfill quests; and you train special abilities that help raise your score.


I absolutely enjoyed myself playing game and there's nothing really like "winning" a casual game. guilty pleasure and move along.


Not surprisingly, You Must Build A Boat is the spiritual successor to 10,000,000.  It's basically the same game, but with a few more systems, hidden traps, and . . . a boat!  You start off with basically a boat the size of motor boat and end up with a giant party barge full of monsters who give you little bonuses.


Unfortunately this one requires a bit more grinding at the end game than I was hoping to encounter. Running the same dungeon 30 times just in hopes of getting a little bit gold to level up your dude's equipment was a little boring.  If I want to grind, I'll play an MMO. You know?

That said, my tolerance for punishment is high thanks to MMOs, so I'll probably grind out a few more hours in hopes of beating the game  . . . and then I probably won't be looking back.


 Match Land
My new boss actually turned me on to this game.  Check it out! This one has 100,000 installs on it. It's a lot like . . . you guessed it . . . Puzzle and Dragons, but the match style is slightly different in that, in P&D, you can grab one gem and drag it all around creating multiple matches before finally placing your gem down. In Match land you move a gem into a match-3 and then are given a timer to move another gem into a match -- once you make that match, you can move another gem . . . and so on until the timer ends. It allows for some interesting board effects like chained pieces and null pieces that need to be broken. I think I like that even better than the click and drag style of P&D.


Anyway, you basically match your way through encounters that have 3-4 waves of enemies and collect their "goop."  Then you set up shop selling their goop to people as food. LOL! I find the concept hilarious.


It's an evolver in that you evolve your heroes and even your shops.  I'm currently on the second island in this game, and I'll probably keep it installed, but it still isn't exactly what I'm looking for.

(BTW, I'm not sure if they partnered with Cartoon Network, but there's a Cartoon Network Match Land that has like 1 million downloads, so that might be worth looking at as well.)

~~

So, I'm still on the hunt. If you happen to have any great game suggestions that would fit the bill for "Match-3 Dungeon game" . . . let me know in the comments! I'd love to try your suggestions!

Happy Dueling!

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Reinhardt type of a weekend

I had a lot of fun over the weekend, both in real life and in Overwatch. Lemme break that down for you.

First up, it was my beautiful wife's birthday on Sunday, so we all celebrated with outings to a couple of great food locations like Waffle Love and Kerby Lane. We also worked hard planting a new tree and improving on a backyard project we've been working on this Summer.

Tearing up all that grass and laying down all that mulch was not easy, my friends

Secondly, the kids scored the new Super Mario Party game for the Switch. While I haven't had a chance to play this yet, I did spend some time watching over their shoulders, and it looks awesome. I'm thinking there will be more to say about this in a future blog post of mine.


Third, I worked just a bit more on my Roblox level finishing up the walls of level 2 from my epic Maze creation.

That big open area in the maze will be a "zombie village" eventually

Finally, after a break of a couple weeks, I played a lot of Overwatch over the weekend! Vanessa Mythdust and I finished up our Competitive Placement matches (yeah, as expected, I'm still in silver), and just had a lot of quick play fun, which is mostly what I do anyway. To those ends, I mostly played Reinhardt . . . it's what I do.  I sprinkled in a few bouts of Mei, Doomfist, Junkrat, and Pharah, but it was pretty much a Reinhardt type of a weekend.

A better version of me would purchase a new computer and spend time filming or streaming a lot more of my Overwatch play, but I'm happy to at least be able to show you a few of my highlights.


It's a lot of me swinging my hammer on or near the point. ;) There were a few great moments in there like when Leala and I combo'd our ultimates (totally planned . . . we wish) for an amazing quadruple kill and like when Ana boosted me up right after a shatter and many hammer swings brought me the tears of my enemies.

Unbeknownst to me, there was even some streaming going on where Chris beheld my more competitive side.


All in all I'd give the weekend, 4 Reinhardt Hammers out of 5.

Happy Dueling

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Roblox Maze Crafting -- Day 2

Last night I was able to spend a bit more time with my Roblox maze and made some great progress! This is getting to be a proper Roblox level now.

  three things . . . that's all I ask . . 

Yup, I've put zombies in the maze, and the entrance instructions tell you exactly how to handle them when you encounter them . . . run! Luckily I've made them move pretty slowly and you'll be able to run right past them . . . except for when you can't. MUHAHAHA! *cough*


I really should name the Zombies in the maze . . . like "Inky" or "Blinky" or "Clyde"

The big revelation of last night was that things come a lot easier when someone else has already done the work for you. The real problem in crafting a Roblox level when you have no scripting experience is finding a free model that comes with, not only scripting built in, but the RIGHT scripting built in.

Case in point, I found an amazing zombie boss model last night, but the scripting on it was such that it was impossible to slow him down. As soon as he saw the player, he'd make a bee line for them and kill them in one shot. That's no fun!

Eventually I found one that I could slow down just a touch to make it easier for you to run past them, yet if they caught you, it was still dangerous.

The same holds true for the traps. At first I wanted a trap where spikes would poke out of the ground, and damage you, but none of the free models really worked well for what I was trying to do. What I did find as a replacement was an amazing fire spewing heat trap and a movement delaying bear trap. Both will damage you, and the heat trap can quickly kill you, but they're very easy to avoid in both cases . . . except for when they're not. MUHAHAHAHA! *cough cough*


A bear trap next to a zombie can be a very dangerous thing

Oh yeah . . . and the dart traps . . . watch out for those as well . . .


You might want to jump past those . . .

Next I was able to figure out how to stick a torch in the player's inventory, which gave them a traveling light source, which allowed me to make the dungeon a much darker place.

I also figured out a way to create a leaderboard that ticks up "money" based on how long you've been wandering around in the dungeon -- this also lets you see who else is in the dungeon (if there's more than just you)


Hello magical evil throne!

Finally I was able to create a one-way pressure plate that teleports you up above the dungeon when you step upon the throne at the end of the maze, which eventually will teleport you to level two of the maze, but for now it just traps you in an enclosed space with a zombie. MUHAHAHAHA! *cough cough cough* sorry about that evil laugh that keeps coming out.


See Mr. Zombie peaking through the tablets?

My little buddy played through my maze last night and this time he got completely lost, caught in a bear trap, stuck with darts, and chased by several zombies.  He was all abuzz from it (probably not the best thing for me to have him experience right before bed time), and he had tons of ideas for me to again . . . make it better.

He let me know that the sounds in the dungeon were out of control now, and we need to trim those down. He also told me he was going to forward me a tutorial on how to make a shop so we can do things like purchase a sword when we make it to level two . . . so we can actually fight the zombies!

Again, if you'd like to see the progress, hop over to the maze and check it out: https://www.roblox.com/games/2420801388/Maze-Trek

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Maze Crafting in Roblox

I've been wanting to play games with my youngest lately and mostly what he plays is Roblox, so this past week, we've been playing a lot of Roblox together . . . and Mario Party 8 as well, but that's a story for a different time! For today, it's all about Roblox!!

I've never messed around with the builder studio in Roblox, so I downloaded it over the weekend and started piecing together an epic maze.  At first it just started as a drawing that I etched out on a paper in sections until I had the completed maze.

 Close enough for Jazz as they say . . .

As I drew out the map, I'd simultaneously drag and drop walls on to the game board and lay them out according to the master map.

So many walls . . .

Total labor of love this one. It took four or five hours to completely drag and drop and resize and height adjust all the pieces exactly how I wanted them.

At the end of the day, I stuck a big throne chair (thank you free files built by other players) at the end of the maze and put a couple signs at the front saying, "Find the throne."  . . . in retrospect maybe I should change that to a toilet at the end of the maze?

Who's to say that isn't just a really fancy toilet anyway?

The next thing I did was throw down a bunch of torches in the hallways and covered the top of the maze, but not too much since I'd have to put down a lot more torches to actually see where you're going in darkness. (or perhaps put a torch in the player's inventory.)

At this point I had my son enter the maze and to my surprise he didn't wander around for 20 minutes like I thought he would . . . he got lost once, but soon was back on track and at the exit -- 10 minutes tops. He told me he liked my maze, and we instantly started brainstorming together on how to make it better.

To those ends I added some music to the game and a torch sound effect and laid down a couple of traps near the beginning . . . and here's where things started to get tricky. 

Pretty "straight forward" I think . . .

The programming language for Roblox is Lua.  I haven't studied a programming language since Basic. I'm not kidding, so in order to add cool things in to the maze, I'm going to have to hunt down code that other people have crafted or *gulp* learn some Lua.

Anyway, it's loaded out there for anyone that wants to wander around in it's current state, but we're plotting an epic maze yet to come with multiple floors, monsters, traps, and way cooler stuff . . . um . . . eventually! :)


Feel free to give us a shout out in the comments if you made it through the maze. 

Happy Dueling

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Rolled and Told #1 WOOT!

Yesterday was September 26th, and as I stated 10 days ago, I was "all in" on picking up Issue 1 of the new Rolled and Told comic. I called my local shop the day before and they were kind enough to hold it at the front for me, so I could head there on my lunch break yesterday to pick it up.

Big ups to the Rogue's Gallery Comic Shop

Do I call this a comic?  It's not really a comic.  It's more like a nice comic-book-sized magazine. 


Hey! They spelled my name right!

I was more than happy to pay the $8 price tag because the quality is really worth it. The cover feels smooth in your hands, and the pages are a nice heavier bond than that easily tear-able stuff most comics are printed on.


That cow falling out of the airship is an actual thing in the adventure . . . hilarious!

Inside are five main features:
  • An adventure where you hunt down a tribe of technology thieving goblins in a high skies mission.
  • A DM advice column on how to help every person around the table shine as a character.
  • A DM advice column on critical hits/fails.
  • A fun, random loot table for odd pirate treasure.
  • A one-shot airship adventure where you become part of a ship's crew.

Love this airship deck illustration here, just wish it was on a grid!


In between each of these features are character sheets, one or two panel comics/illustrations, and at the very end of the "zine" there are advertisements for Lionforge's other products and a few pages for making notes. Awesome!  I love that this comic is meant to be used -- written on -- tucked in with your other D&D junk. You know?

I keep trying to think of ways to incorporate the adventures into the group's adventure I'm DM'ing for, and I'm sure I will find a way to make one happen, and even if I don't, it's just fun reading what these writers have come up with. Props to all the contributors.

Happy Dueling!