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Matt Fern

Matt Fern

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Wednesday, 18 September 2019 09:22

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Dead Zed’

When you have an online flash game that has been played over 50 million times, you probably ought to take that flash game and make it available on mobile devices. This is what happened to “Dead Zed.”

Zombies have been prevalent in video games for ages. “Dead Zed” is a simple take on the genre. As with most zombie games or movies, the dead are coming back to life, and they are hungry. To survive, you make your way through a map, progressing from location to location. The game takes you from peaceful suburb locations to an abandoned city that looks like it’s straight out of the first episode of “The Walking Dead.” In each location, you are tasked with defending your area by taking out waves of zombies.

“Dead Zed” is just like one of those arcade games that has weapons you physically hold. Your character cannot move and simply stands in place; there is nothing but your fast and accurate aiming that keeps you alive. You start the game with a simple handgun, but as you progress by mowing down zombies, you unlock many different weapons to add to your arsenal: revolvers, automatic rifles, crossbows and more. You can also upgrade these weapons to perform exactly to your comfort level. Each round lets you bring two weapons with you, so choose wisely!

The mobile edition of this classic online game wasn’t just transferred to mobile devices, but was completely overhauled with new gameplay elements, new weapons and locations.

“Dead Zed” is a fantastic zombie game addition to mobile stores – and a great way to waste some time. “Dead Zed” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

With the first regular season NFL kickoff on the horizon, it’s the time of year I like to revisit the “Madden Mobile” game. It’s a great time-wasting companion to the NFL season, one that deserves a spot on your phone to play for the next few months.

What is “Madden Mobile”? Well, it’s a free-to-play version of the “Madden Football” franchise. A cross between digital fantasy football and a card-collecting game, “Madden Mobile” sees you hitting the field as your favorite team but built with your favorite players.

As you play, both online and offline, you will collect more and better players; whether you’re playing the offline season, challenges or full games against real players in the world, there is always something to do. Last year, “Madden Mobile” added a huge graphical and physics update, a TV-broadcast style presentation, new live events, a redesigned kicking meter and more.

This year’s update to “Madden Mobile” builds on some of the same refinements, but also adds a new game mode. With each new year, you started a fresh new team to play the current NFL season. But now, a legacy mode has been added; you can play with your old superteam in new challenges and events to earn rewards that can be used to get new and upgraded players on your current season team. And as you build your current season team, you’ll also be building towards next year’s legacy team!

There are many other features that make this year’s “Madden Mobile” more exciting, such as new TD celebrations, updated playbooks, rookie players from this year’s draft and other little quirks for you to discover. This is EA’s boldest year for the game, and hey, you can never have too much football!

“Madden Mobile” is available to download for free on the Android and IOS stores.

Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you’re going to get. The choices in life you’ve made, have brought you to where you are today. With the future always being one second ahead of you, there are many more choices we will make on the horizon in our lives as well. Wouldn’t it be fun to simulate a new life, starting from the beginning and seeing where it would end? Well, now you can!

In “BitLife”, you are tasked with taking a Bit character from the beginning of their life, all the way to the end. The game is a text-based life simulator which starts you off from birth and has you make decisions through your character's entire life. Each scenario gives you a list of options on how to respond and begins to shape your future.

For instance, your girlfriend might want to break up with you, and the game might give you the options of insulting them, wishing them well, or begging them to stay. How you respond ultimately shapes the outcome of your future love life. Maybe you stay with them forever, maybe not. The decisions are endless. You could have ten kids, become a movie star, become an astronaut, become well-educated or establish a thriving social media presence. On the other end of the spectrum, you could end up descending into a life filled with crime, spend time in jail, attempt a breakout, get eaten by a shark or even become a crime lord.

“BitLife” presents you with these realistic and unique choices but does so with a light touch. You could get really sick and decide to see a doctor, or if you don’t want to spend any money, see a witch-doctor who performs some creepy voodoo on you instead. The choices are yours! No play through is ever the same – and that’s what makes it so interesting.

“BitLife - Life Simulator” is free to download on the android and IOS stores. I must warn you though – this game isn’t for the faint of heart.

Ever driven by a farm and said to yourself, “What would it really by like running a farm? I couldn’t even imagine.” Well, if you want to find out, you can try to run a farm on your mobile device! The “Farming Simulator” series has been around for a long time; a free version has made its way onto mobile.

Fun Fact: “Farming Simulator” has somehow become so popular over its life, that it has spawned an ESports league in Europe with $280,000 in prize money!

In “Farming Simulator 14”, you play as the owner/operator of a farm. You must plant, maintain, feed and harvest your crops and livestock to ensure your farm is profitable. With many real farming machines and tractors to control, there are copious amounts of tasks to be done.

Your farm contains many things: silos, a cowshed, manure and fertilizer, a diesel fill station, a mill and more. To plant crops, you must cultivate the fields, sow the seeds, and then harvest them using many different types of farm equipment. You need to keep an eye on your crops however, as if you don’t harvest them in time, they will dry up and die. Your meadows must be maintained so you have hay for your cows. You must mow, tedder and then bale the hay in your meadows.

The game starts you out in an old harvester with not a lot of money. You are put in front of a ripe field of wheat to harvest your first payday. You also own an old tractor, trailer, cultivator and sowing machine in the beginning that really could be replaced. From there, your farm – and its future – is in your hands.

What’s great about “Farming Simulator 14” is how relaxing it is, and realistic in a sense. The developers of the game really made it feel like you are driving the tractors and using the equipment when tending to your farm. It’s also a learning experience to see how things can go wrong and how you must adapt.

“Farming Simulator 14” is free to download on the Android and IOS Stores.

Tuesday, 06 August 2019 19:22

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Dr. Mario World’

If you’ve ever delved into the world of Nintendo generally and Mario games specifically, you’ve probably come across “Dr. Mario” at least once in your life. It was a popular time waster on many Nintendo systems – and now it can be popular in the palm of your hand!

“Dr. Mario World” sets you in the shoes of Mario as a doctor trying to kill viruses. To kill these viruses, you must take colored pills, and place them in the right areas. You take the colored parts of the pills and match them against the same colored viruses.

It plays similarly to a “Candy Crush” game, where you must match your pill to three or more viruses to get rid of them. You can also manipulate your pill to fit best into the puzzle presented by spinning it. With over 200 levels, the challenge gets more difficult as you progress.

To even the playing field, the game offers numerous power-ups that you can earn, such as the character Bowser appearing and torching half the viruses from the get-go. The game is also not time-based at all, so you can certainly take your time in figuring out each move you plan to do.

You do have a limited number of pills on each level; if you run out of pills, you must start over. You lose a heart (which is the unit for how many tries you have at a time) each time you lose, and if you lose all your hearts, you must wait to play again, just like most matching games.

With plenty of levels to play, power-ups to fetch and different Mario characters to unlock as doctors, “Dr. Mario World” is a fun little dive into the Nintendo world on your mobile device. “Dr. Mario World” is available for free on the Android and IOS stores.

If you were a kid (and let’s face it, we all were) you might have likely played the game of “Battleship” at least once. It was simple, sink the other person’s battleships in a guessing game and you were crowned king of the sea. Well, with the Hasbro version costing money, I turned to a free version on the app store, and it’s fantastic.

“Fleet Battle – Sea Battle” is a take on classic “Battleship.” However, there’s a twist. In the classic game, all your ships are regular linear shaped ships. In “Fleet Battle”, your aircraft carrier and submarine are irregularly shaped, with parts to be hit protruding out their sides. It makes for an interesting situation. “Fleet Battle” is the same simple premise as “Battleship.” Your radar systems have failed, so as the weapons officer, you must direct fire blindly into the enemy’s known territory. As you hit ships, you must keep guessing which direction they face.

Each player has five ships – first to sink all five wins the game. With both offline and online multiplayer that lets you rank up to admiral, there is plenty of destruction to be had. With lots of collectible blueprints in the game, you can give your ships special skins based on real ships.

There are three different ways to play. You have your classic mode, where each player takes turns firing one shot. There’s Hitting Streak mode, which is the game’s default. In Hitting Streak, every time you hit a ship, you get to fire again until you miss. The last game mode – my personal favorite – is Chainfire. In Chainfire, you get to fire as many times as you have ships available. So, if you’re down to three ships, you can fire three times. This mode is my favorite as it rewards you for good ship placement and keeping yourself one step above the other player.

“Fleet Battle – Sea Battle” is the best alternative to the licensed “Battleship” game I could find – an absolute blast! Free to download on the Android and IOS stores!

Three years ago, an augmented reality game called “Pokémon GO” took the world by storm. It allowed people who enjoyed the Pokémon universe to put down their Nintendo systems and walk around their own backyard or town and capture, collect and even battle their favorite Pokémon. The success of this game brought out many other attempts at augmented reality games, such as a Jurassic Park game and even a Walking Dead augmented reality game. Now, there’s a new kid on the block.

It’s no secret there are many Harry Potter fans out there in the world; now, enjoy the wizarding universe even more with your very own augmented reality game – “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.”

The creators of “Pokémon GO” have taken their game formula and injected it into this wizarding universe, as you will find many things to do just in your own neighborhood. The basic synopsis is that a major event has happened in the wizarding world, causing “Foundables” (which are defined as magical artifacts, creatures, wizards and memories) to suddenly appear in the muggle world. You are part of the SSTF (Statute of Secrecy Task Force) and must work with other wizards around the world (or you know, just some close friends) to solve what is happening and ensure muggles do not discover these magical events.

You do this by exploring a Google maps version of your area and going to points of interest. With many different challenges to complete, wizard battles to win, favorite spells to cast and even a photo mode to share your wizard selfies with your friends, there is a ton to do in “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.”

“Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is another great journey in the augmented reality variety of games, so get your wand ready and explore the world around you! “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is free to download on the Android and IOS Stores.

Tuesday, 09 July 2019 19:50

Weekly Time Waster – ‘LEGO Tower’

I love tower building games, and I haven’t hidden that love – you’ve seen a few in this space before. I also love LEGO, as in my childhood they were one of my favorite things to play with, and you can’t argue the plethora of LEGO movies of late have been fantastic. And now my own child gets to enjoy them, as I step on them and writhe in pain in the middle of the night on my way to the bathroom.

Guess what? “LEGO Tower” is apparently a thing now!

“LEGO Tower” is similar to other tower building games, just with a LEGO theme. NimbleBit, the creator of the game “Tiny Tower,” has taken their formula of tower building games and thrust it into the LEGO universe.

In “LEGO Tower”, you are tasked to construct the largest tower in LEGO City, and manage it. You are to build apartments and businesses in which your Minifig residents will live, work and play. Beginning with a one-story tower, you must plan carefully how many apartments and businesses you build, as you need people from your apartments to work in the businesses.

Currency is tight in the beginning, so waiting for your tower to earn money can be a drag if you build it poorly. The businesses you can build are food, recreation, service, retail and creative workplaces. Each of these businesses is themed. Same with the apartments. All of it taking into consideration of what one’s imagination can build with LEGO. Your renters also are unique, as this game takes place in the LEGO world; the body pieces and faces are uniquely randomized, and you get some very interesting characters looking to live in your tower. Pink Space Cowboy Minifigure working in a Yoga Studio? Sure, why not.

“LEGO Tower” will transcend your imagination to new heights, and waste plenty of your time as you get to know your Minifigure residents and employees! “LEGO Tower” is free to download on the Android and IOS Stores.

We’ve seen our fair share of movies in the Marvel Universe recently. And what’s great about that universe is the stories that are derived from it, with endless comic books, toys, TV shows and movies. And don’t forget video games – there are definitely games that allow us to showcase our imagination in the superhero universe.

The latest one I've discovered is “Marvel Contest of Champions” – we’ll call it “MCC.”

Tuesday, 25 June 2019 17:13

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Fun Race 3D’

A few years back, one of my favorite shows on TV was “Wipeout.” It was always a blast to watch people try to navigate intricate obstacle courses while being hit by objects, flying off of walkways and trying to make their way across the iconic big ball obstacles. So I was ecstatic when I found an obstacle course racing game that embodies most of what “Wipeout” was – and I’m here to share it with you!

In “Fun Race 3D,” you race against other players to get to the finish line first. The catch? You must avoid obstacles along the way. Everything can seem like it’s going perfectly, but one mistake on an obstacle can cost you the entire race. Each race is packed with many obstacles, and many of them seem like they are straight out of “Wipeout.” You have spinning obstacles that you must stop and time properly. You have giant swinging balls that can throw you off the path. You have giant mallets that are hitting the racing path. If you can imagine it, it is most likely an obstacle in this game.

The control mechanics are simple; you touch and hold your screen to move your character and take your finger off the screen to stop them. Timing is everything in this game! As you race through each level, you can collect coins, these coins are able to unlock new characters and skins to use, as well as intimidation/celebration dances to flaunt at your opponents. There are also a few bonus levels to play to earn extra coins.

“Fun Race 3D” is a fun homage to “Wipeout.” Be patient and be quick and you’ll be winning races in no time! “Fun Race 3D” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

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