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Matt Fern

Matt Fern

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Wednesday, 28 October 2020 11:48

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Eyes: Scary Thriller’

Well folks, Halloween is just around the corner, so it seemed only appropriate to find something scary and unsettling to play as a time waster. Boy, did I come through.

“Eyes” is a game that is reminiscent of the old “Slenderman” games, where you must walk around a map, collect things and avoid a scary monster. In this case, you walk around a creepy mansion, collect money bags and run away from a horrific, flying serpent head with teeth. Emphasis on the horrific.

This game is weird – and I mean SUPER weird – between the sounds, the eerie music and the atmosphere of the game in general. That’s what this spooky time of year is all about though, right?

You use a virtual joystick to move your character and pick up objects by tapping on them. I will admit though, as easy as it sounds, if you plug in a pair of headphones and play in the darkness of your living room, mustering up the courage to do that sort of fades away. Every room has an ominous look to it. The wind howls and your footsteps are loud. Clocks tick in rooms and hallways. Doors creak when opened. However, when you hear the warning sounds to let you know the monster is nearby (I won’t tell you what they are, you need to experience the sounds for yourself), you know it’s time to run! There are a few other levels and monsters to experience, but they all play the same – just some different scenery!

“Eyes: Scary Thriller” is available to download for free on the Android and IOS stores. As I said, headphones and a dark room are highly recommended.

As Halloween approaches, we often find ourselves diving into spooky movies, mysterious stories and even games that allow us to explore the unknown. “Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery” does just that in a small package that is simple, yet also extremely fun.

“Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery” puts you in the shoes of a detective who returns to his father’s town, only to find it completely deserted. Of course, being a detective, you take it upon yourself to figure out what happened and where everyone went – straight out of your typical mystery movie.

You do this by exploring the town, which has many interactive 3D levels that you can rotate and inspect. These levels are filled to the brim with clues to find and puzzles to solve. This game has a great mix of playing through different escape rooms and general quests to get you one step closer to solving the mystery of the town. It’s the type of game that is easy to play, but also makes you think a bit.

You might find a house that has no electricity and needs a fuse, which you find in another location, hence leading you back to where you were to continue to explore. You might find a mysterious bookshelf that needs the books arranged in a certain order to unlock what is behind it. You could be looking for a missing mailbox on a property and find it where you would never have expected.

There is so much variety and so much to solve, you’ll be busy for quite some time. It’s a great themed game during this mysterious and spooky time of the month, so get out there and find out what happened to this detective’s father.

“Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020 12:01

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Monster Dash’

If you’ve ever played any “endless runner” styled games, then you have definitely sunk a few minutes of your time into a classic called “Jetpack Joyride.” Well, the creators of that also made a game called “Monster Dash,” and it’s quite fun.

“Monster Dash” as stated, is an endless runner game, with the point being to see how far you can get into the never ending level, every time you play. Each time you play, you are hoping you can beat your personal best. What makes “Monster Dash” a nice change of pace from endless runners like “Jetpack Joyride” or even “Temple Run”, is you get weapons, and yes, running and gunning is the name of this game. Most endless runners just see you trying to survive by not being touched by hazards in the game, but at least in this one, you get to destroy them.

You play as Barry Steakfries, the typical Hollywood ripped-sleeves, five o’clock shadow, hair spiked badass. You must guide Barry as he runs and dashes on his quest through the endless level, where you will meet hordes of zombies, mummies, demons and more. As you run through the level, you pick up coins, which can be used to purchase both upgrades and cosmetics for Barry. As you run, you also find different gadgets, weapons and power-ups along the way, to assist you with getting farther than your last attempt.

“Monster Dash” has no real point to it, seeing as there is no real endgame. However, that’s what makes it so much fun. There is nothing to work towards, but your own enjoyment when you need to kill a few minutes of time. Trust me, “Monster Dash” will end up taking a fair amount of it.

“Monster Dash” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 07 October 2020 11:50

Weekly Time Waster - 'Among Us'

It’s not often that a game slips past my radar these days, especially during these crazy times where gaming is a large part of what I’m doing at home. Apparently, I’m late to the party, as “Among Us” released over two years ago. However, between my discord group and seeing multiple streams on YouTube as of late, this game suddenly became some huge cultural phenomenon out of nowhere, and I had to be a part of it.

“Among Us” is a free-to-play multiplayer title developed by InnerSloth. You are an astronaut, part of a group of 5-10 other cute little astronauts that must repair your ship and keep it in good running order. What’s the kicker? One crew mate is actually an imposter, an astronaut who doesn’t want to fix everything and leave. The imposter must pretend to do the tasks of repairing the ship, while killing off every other crewmate, one by one, and making sure no one else on board the ship suspects them at all.

If a body is found on board the ship, a crewmate can call a meeting, and everyone on board the ship chats to try and figure out who the imposter is. It’s a fun murder mystery, only in the depths of space where no one can hear you scream.

Playing as a basic crewmate, you move from room to room of the ship and complete goals while making a case that you aren’t the imposter – making sure you have an alibi and proving you are in the clear. As each meeting is called, votes are tallied; whoever gets the most votes is booted out. When you are booted out, you become a ghost who gets to spectate how the rest of the match plays out. This is where the game shines, as during meetings, people throw out some of the most amazing (and sometimes borderline insane) accusations against each other I have ever seen in a video game chat. Some people are indeed lying and some people are plain telling the absolute truth; it becomes a fun group effort to sift through the lies and deceit. The accusation chat is half the entertainment.

For a free game on my phone, “Among Us” might be the most addicting I’ve ever played. Grab some friends, because it’s immensely more fun to play with people you know and laugh at how each match ends. You also get to find out which one of your friends and family is the best at telling lies, and who has absolutely no lying bone in their body.

“Among Us” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores!

With the NFL season upon us this week, I always like to remind everyone about the “Madden Mobile” app, to play some fun digital football along with the football season. It is that time again! However, this year, things are a bit different.

“Madden” as a franchise has always been a yearly release title, and Electronic Arts has decided to push that into the mobile universe as well. In fact, “Madden” in its mobile form is now an entirely new game, so everything you might have had or the team you build in the old game is gone and everyone gets to start over! Yay? A bit sad for people who might have invested heavily in the old app.

So what is “Madden NFL 21 Mobile”? You take on the role of an NFL general manager, and your goal of course is to take your team to the super bowl. You do this just like the old app, by continually collecting, and upgrading your players. It is a bit like building a fantasy football team, except you start with low ranked players, and constantly swap them out with better players as you collect them, building your team to an overall rating between all players. The players can be anyone from current NFL players to legends from the past.

The GM mode takes you through the real NFL season, but of course, you can also play against other people online. There is also a new game mode called “The Yard” which lets you create a football player and play in an almost backyard football fashion in 5v5 scenarios like you would play with your friends at the local field. The offense has a quarterback, a running back, a center to hike the ball, a tight end, and a wide receiver. The defense has a defensive tackle, a middle linebacker, two cornerbacks and a safety. Your created player can be any of the offensive skill positions, which is nice for people who don’t just want to always play quarterback. You can edit how your player looks, how they enter the field, how they celebrate their TDs and how they act when they lose a game.

There is a lot to love from the new concept of “Madden NFL 21 Mobile,” but there is also a lot to dislike, as this newly released game can be a bit buggy. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying it this NFL season. “Madden NFL 21 Mobile” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores. Get out there and hit the gridiron!

Thursday, 02 July 2020 11:44

Weekly Time Waster - ‘BE-A Walker’

Have you ever wanted to land on an alien planet and destroy its local inhabitants, a la “Avatar”? All while claiming it for your own selfish resource and colonization needs? Have you ever watched “Star Wars”, and felt the need to hop in an AT-ST walker and squash Ewoks? Well, in “BE-A Walker,” you get to do all those things and more.

“BE-A Walker” (it stands for “Biped Enhanced Assault Walker”) throws you into the drivers’ seat of a two-legged AT-ST-looking battle-mech with the mission of defeating hostile natives and protecting your colony. The game’s premise is that Earth is dying and overpopulated; humanity has found a planet called Eldorado to colonize. It is Earth-like, with massive amounts of rare minerals to extract. Problem is, the atmosphere is poisonous and there is a native race of warlike creatures that aren’t too happy about the new “sky people” trying to invade their home.

Problem A can be solved through atmospheric filters. Problem B, however, requires … other measures.

The walker you pilot is a phenomenal machine, armed to the teeth with lasers and rockets and with massive legs that can easily stomp and crush your foes. Also cool - you have to control the battle-mech one leg at a time. Basically, you have independent control of your legs to move or squash your enemies.

Let’s be clear: in this game, as you destroy helpless inhabitants on a planet that isn’t your own, you are clearly the bad guy. There is no doubt about that. Real talk. Now, not everyone likes playing the bad guy. In an effort to cater to those players, the story can branch off into letting you decide you would prefer to become a humanist trying to protect the natives as you take the side of the aliens. You become a traitor to your own planet, sure, but at least you can crush your human friends and destroy the colony they have built up if you want. So there’s that.

Destroy the native aliens or lead their forces in their effort to protect their planet. The choice is yours!

“BE-A Walker” is free to download in a fun demo form only on the Android store; however, unlocking the full game does cost a small donation of $4.99 on both the IOS and Android stores.

New battle royale games seem to constantly pop up out of nowhere; I always try and cover the best ones I’ve played in this space. Most of the new battle royale game that crop up are cheesy, but there is occasionally a diamond in the rough that comes out of left field. That diamond in the rough is “Call of Duty: Warzone.”

In 2019, the “Call of Duty” franchise gave itself a facelift by bringing back and revitalizing the
“Modern Warfare” series. This included bringing in realistic and tactical gameplay on top of guns and explosions with well-recorded and compressed sound effects and even a visual fidelity upgrade. On top of this, they recently announced and released their own take on the battle royale genre in “Call of Duty: Warzone.”

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 13:29

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Overdrive City’

There are a lot of city builder games out there, but they are all more or less the same. However, if you are a fan of cars, this game might be for you.

“Overdrive City” tasks you with building a town entirely dedicated to cars. In this city you manufacture cars, you drive cars, you even race cars. Everything is just about automobiles and it’s a lot of fun. It’s almost like if you took the Pixar movie “Cars” and built a city that you know all the characters would dream of living in (though the cars driving around your created town are stripped of any anthropomorphic qualities).

“Overdrive City” has you manufacture over 50 real licensed cars all the way from Porsche and BMW to Ford and Chevrolet. In your manufacturing process, you have full creative control of what goes into them. One of the goals is to manufacture one of every car, and stuff your personal garage with one of each, that you can drive around the city you’ve built or race within a career mode. You must also build buildings that manufacture or trade car parts, such as bolts, transmissions, and even engines.

You are the mayor of this town and you want to make this town the Silicon Valley of automobiles. This game is a great celebration of car culture, which goes beyond just racing. Buying, collecting and tuning cars are massive parts of the culture; it’s a great pairing between that and building a city dedicated to cars themselves.

“Overdrive City” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores!

Tuesday, 03 March 2020 12:20

Weekly Time Waster - ‘ID Please’

One of the caveats of going out to the club on the weekend, is getting past the bouncer with not only your identification, but sometimes your appearance and personality. Have you ever been to a club before and your entrance to a fun night of dancing to loud bass music was denied by the bouncer?

Well, in “ID Please,” you get to be that very bouncer … and now YOU hold the torch of decision.

In “ID Please” you are the bouncer of a night club, and your job is to deal with any incoming patrons seeking entrance to the newest, hottest club in town. However, the owner is picky on who can come into the club on any given day, so not “everyone” gets to come in. Each day, you are given certain criteria to decide who enters or who does not. You can break the rules of course, but it can cost you in score. For instance, one night, the club owner might only want people with blue shirts and no drunks. Anyone with a blue shirt and isn’t a drunk, you let them in by swiping right. Anyone else, they get a left swipe.

While you have your set of stipulations, you will also have tricksters try to get in, people fighting that you have to tap the screen to break up and you might even get the occasional bribe to let someone who doesn’t fit the criteria enter the club. At the end of each day, based on the goals you completed, you get money and stars. You can use your money and stars to customize your characters house, as well as appearance. With over 50 levels to try for three stars, there’s plenty of time to waste here.

“ID Please” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020 13:09

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Dip Master’

As someone who spends way too much time on YouTube, I often stumble upon things that I wouldn’t otherwise have found. The “recommended videos” in the sidebar often leads down a rabbit hole of randomly unconnected videos (and occasionally into the “weird” part of YouTube).

However, one of the types of videos I’m always recommended to watch for no apparent reason is videos on “how to hydro dip.” There are all of these people out there devoted to “hydro dipping” everything you can imagine. Shoes, gaming controllers, even their various favorite sporting equipment. Basically, hydro dipping (also known as water transfer printing) is a process where you can apply different color patterns or graphics onto just about any object. You do this with the use of a special hydro film that sits on top of water into which you dip objects. And since it’s all over the internet, someone obviously made a game about it.

“Dip Master” is exactly what it sounds like. There isn’t much else to say – it’s a hydro dipping simulator that takes you through 20 different levels where you hydro dip various objects in any way, color and/or design that you like. As you hydro dip each object, you are graded on your end product and you move on. Your goal is to become the “dip master.” That’s it!

This game was an extremely relaxing experience. You get to be both artistic and creative with the various items and the colors you can mix, as well as pretend to do something that I now want to try on some objects of my own. Thanks a lot video games and YouTube – now I’m into hydro dipping.

“Dip Master” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

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