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?

Unfortunately I'm the type of player who likes a little punishment, so I'll probably grind out a few more hours in hopes of beating the game  . . . and then probably not 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 interest 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:

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!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


It's that time of the week again where from Tuesday through Thursday in Animal Cove you can play the baby animal event and earn yourself A SUPER CUTIE!  This week I was working towards the baby piglet. It's rescuin' time!

Is that a Trevor Wrecks easter egg on the left hand side?

It was a pretty awesome set of six levels that gave a good challenge and, yup, I spent coins and boosters on this one, but Oinkster is completely worth it.

4 stars and 8 tikis? ON IT!

He has possibly the craziest backstory of them all.  Especially, um, this part, "That's why I didn't really like the Baby Animal Shelter. All the humans kept their distance and when they did come see me, they wore funny rubber yellow suits with windows in the hoods."

Is that a pig stink joke or a radiation joke?

Did you know you can buy one of those suits if you have $1,310.99? LOL!  I love that they put the 99 cents on there because let me tell you . . . $1,311 would be just OVER THE LINE for me.

 I now need this Winston outfit . . . thanks Oinkster for pointing that out to me.

Just one more baby animal and I'll have all five! (until, you know, we release a few more baby animals that is . . .)

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Four Privateer Henchmen Walk Into a World of Dreams

Last night I decided it was time to level Friendly Thomas for real this time, not like last time on the Test Realm.  I pretty much followed the same path, but it went much faster this time for some reason.


Take that crab boy!

What I didn't personally do on the Test Realm was the new Old Scratch promotion quest, which is also the introduction to the new Skeleton Key bosses. I haven't seen the latest KI Live yet, so the promotion quest was essentially brand new to me.

So I sauntered up to Old Scratch and asked him what that big yellow question mark above his head was all about, and MAN he was really laying the mumbo jumbo down thick!

Settle down, my dude! We got this!

So, as I gathered, there was an "other side" where Evil Old Scratch was working up some evil mojo that would certainly be the doom for a very confused Good Old Scratch. Madame Vadima knew what was up though.  She let us know all about this crazy, alternate dimension we'd never heard of before . . . the world of dreams!  Sounds awesome until you hear about those "Nightmare Doors" on an "Isle of Bones."

Always loved this place . . . nice choice Pirate101 Devs.

No one was around and not knowing what I was in for, I decided . . . what the heck . . . let's give this a whirl.  I jumped in the fight and soon discovered that this looked to be a multiplayer affair. GULP!

Wow . . . the levels on these enemies! YIKES!

Nightmare Old Scratch was no joke as he had a spell that pretty much damaged everything on the board at the start of every round.  My companions were quickly taken out, and I knew I faced certain defeat soon, so what did I do?  I did what every decent human being with a supply of Crowns would do and ordered up a whole team of those level 70 Privateer henchmen!

My own "world of dreams" team!

An old trick of Old Scratch's was to summon up a whole bunch of evil lackeys to fight us, so, lo' and behold, there was nothing better than using Blast of Discord on them round after round thanks to my amazing team of Privateers!

The betrayal! Gasp!

Between that, the bombs, the heals, and everything else a whole team of level 70 Privateers provide, I was able to pull out a win for Team Friendly and, most importantly, my good bud Ol' Scratch, who now has a shiny new promotion look! Woot!

Nice hook upgrade -- looks like you could give someone a good "scratch" with that . . .

I suppose now I just need to level my Privateer and do it all over again because, DANG, that new Old Scratch ability . . . WOW!  That's awesome!

Is this real life?

Happy dueling!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The week in review 9/22/2018

Hey all,

I haven't blogged in a week, and I'm not sure if anyone really missed that or not, but hey! A lot happened over the week, so let's take a moment to review.

TellTale Games Layoffs
Quite sad to see this happen to any games company. To be honest, I hadn't played many Telltale games aside from Minecraft Story Mode with my kids, but I did play a lot of LucasArts games back in the 90's, and from what I understand, TellTale was a break off of LucasArts.

Anyway, it was big news and you could hear people talking about it all over the KingsIsle offices expressing that "hushed tone of sadness" for the fine people now out of work. I've heard that same reaction every time a new bout of layoffs was announced somewhere. You always hope the best and know that it could happen to anyone. It happens too often in this industry. The worst part was hearing that a staff of 250 was brought down to a staff of 25 and no severance package was given to the employees. 

Super sad news.

Animal Cove's next 100 levels
On a totally different topic . . . whew, we worked super hard last week finishing up the final touches on our batch of 100 levels that hit the streets on Friday! I know that some of you may be a bit disappointed no story came along with those 100 levels, but not to worry, more to the story is on its way while the level design team keeps chugging out new puzzles for you. :)  I really hope you enjoy them.  We're already hard at work on more levels  . . . and other surprises!

A week of limited gaming
So, there are several reasons why I haven't been playing many games this week, but the major reason is my son took over my computer so he could play A Hat in Time. My computer is the only one in the house where the game isn't a complete lag fest.

This game looks really fun though and he's been having a blast with it.

I'm still logging in to Paladins every day and at least grabbing my daily reward, which was extra amazing this week with a 2x bonus.  It was pretty awesome on the Crystal days. Gotta love that x2 rewards!

Of other news, I re-downloaded Elder Scrolls Online . . . why? I miss my scaley boys!  This is my "Stingite" creation.

I gotta do something about that awful hat though

He's a sorcerer focusing on Summoning and using big weapon attacks. I logged on, re-familiarized myself with the game's controls and even completed a quest chain where I saved the King of a place called Daggerfall?

Nice goatee my dude!

I may get back into leveling a bit in this game, so more blog posts about ESO are on their way I suppose?

Nintendo Switch Online
Other big news this week was about the new subscription service for Nintendo. Polygon had a great FAQ article about it here if you don't know what I'm talking about.

Picture compliments of Polygon's Article here.

OH THE COMPLAINTS FROM MY DAUGHTER about this new online service. I spent the majority of two mornings (the time we get to talk most together) hearing all about the injustice of this new fee for online game play.

OH THE MOCKING I heard from around the net (careful with that link . . . it goes to reddit) about how silly it was an how it doesn't provide any value.

Well . . . we're now subscribed as a family . . . so . . . complain and mock all ya want, my dudes. I can't wait to check out the extents of the sub plan and also, I'm just glad my daughter can play the online portions of Splatoon again. She's all about this game, and I hate to see her not be able to play with her buds.

I suppose you can hear more about that here too. :)

I'm anxiously awaiting the release of episode 32? 33?  32.5? of my Wizard101 walkthrough with The Art of Warlord. Morgrim hasn't uploaded it to YouTube just yet . . . but we're busy questing through Polaris together at the pace of one hour every couple of weeks. BLINDINGLY FAST SPEED RUN!

If you haven't caught the series, or just need to see our wrap up of Dragonspyre, you can check it out here.

ALSO, don't forget to tune in to Morgrim's stream of us playing Jackbox TV with a few KI Devs this week. Sure to be a lot of fun. :)

And that's all the catch-up news I've got in me this morning! WHEW!  Thanks for reading and as always . . .

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Digging the "Rolled & Told" Comic

The other day I was in Wonko's toys and games looking around at the store for the first time . . . just checking the place out. They had a ton of board games and a decent collection of D&D stuff. I really appreciated the beholder guarding the place from on high.

All mouth and eyes that one . . .

As I walked past the counter, I noticed a free comic called Rolled & Told from Lion Forge. Noticing instantly the nerd symbology of the D20's instead of o's, I picked it up and started thumbing through it.

This definitely won't end well for the adventurers . . . I've read ahead.

I was kind of happy at the find, and even more so when I looked at the cover and it said "free." It was such high quality that I even doubled checked it with the nice lady behind the counter and she giggled as I asked about it and said, "I'M TAKING IT THEN!" I mean, a free mag about D&D, I'm all in.

As it turns out this was their pilot publication . . .issue #zero as it were (thus the free price), and the next one comes out about 10 days from now. Yup, I did some research on this. I read all about how this mag was all the rage at Booth 118 at Gencon. And all the cool people who had been running the Thunderlock Barcrawl adventure found within its pages.

Looks like a really fun dungeon full of death and bemusement. Plus there's a cool comic to go with it and four pre-generated characters that look to be the heroes found within the comic's pages.  In fact the cover of Rolled & Told issue #1 has already been revealed.

What kind of crazy airship adventure is this?

I haven't even read the 4 page write up on the Memorable Mimic Monster yet, but . . . come on . . . the mimic is a classic D&D monster. This is going to be a great read (when I finally get around to it)!

Unfortunately it doesn't look like this one-shot adventure has been brought to Roll 20 yet, or I'd probably spring for it. :(

Anyway, just wanted to say how cool this little free find was and how I had that feeling again . . . you know, the feeling of being a kid who loves D&D stuff and kind of geeking out over issues of Dragon Magazine. (I subscribed to it for a year when I was a kid)

I'll be looking forward to September 26th and checking out my local comic shops to see if they have the latest issue in.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Paladins: Completing the Dragon's Call Rewards

I only recently started playing Paladins after the release of the 1.4 patch update, but along with that update came an event called Dragon's Call. It's pretty great. You can read the full information about it here, but to sum it up, it's a capture the flag type of event where you capture a ball (or "the key") from the center of the arena and run it / throw it into your enemies goal. The first team to 4 goals (or the most goals in 15 minutes . . . or the first team to touch the ball if you're tied) wins!

Gotta get them goals, kids!

Along with this event comes a reward track where for every goal your team scores (win or lose) you gain a point along the reward track, so you're winning cool stuff all along the way.

Gotta get that loot, kids!

As you can see from all the check marks and blue boxes above the rewards in the above picture, this morning was my morning to finish this event up and get all my dragon's call loot! Well . . . I say all the loot, BUT WAIT . . . THERE'S MORE!  Well, I should say there's more if you'd like to lay down 1,200 crystals (around 25 bucks) to buy the entire dragon's call bundle. I have to admit that this "Raeve" "Maeve" skin is super tempting. I'm really loving the Deadmau5 vibes they're dropping here with this skin.

Gotta get that cool skin, kids! 

 To make their bundle extra sexy, you get double goal points on your reward track if you buy it . . . and even if you don't play the event, when the event is over, they're going to give you all those reward track items for free anyway.

So, it's not all cash grab. It's actually a fun event regardless if you get the rare skins or not, and it was a fun way for me to finish up my quests for the day in Paladins.  Here's a video from one of my winning Dragon's Call matches where I was playing Grohk.

Woot best in class!

Rumor has it that the event will end when the 1.6 patch goes live in what is anticipated to be October, so you still have some time to play. Also, you'll notice a few weird bugs when you play the event, like these:

  • If you score two goals and then the opposing team scores one goal, it says, "your team has taken the lead" even though you already have th elead.
  • You have to play one extra game to collect your rewards even though you've made your goal.
  • The reward screen will be blank if you win that next match, but it will show your reward if you lose your next match.
  • FX from how you were killed (like fire) will still be displayed on your character when you are revived.
  • Sometimes you pass right through the ball.
  • etc.
It's not "perfect," but it's nothing super game breaking and still a lot of fun. I'm sure it's hard to ship an event like this bug free (believe you me, it's next to impossible from my previous CM experience with how updates go).

Happy Dueling!