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Matt Fern

Matt Fern

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I always enjoy finding horizontal scrolling games that are similar to classic arcade games such as “Galaga.” I’m also a pretty big fan of World War II gaming. Wouldn’t you know it, I found a great little horizontal scrolling game called “1945 Air Force” that hit the sweet spot of that particular Venn diagram.

In “1945 Air Force” you control a warplane in an alternate WWII setting that is taking on enemy forces in over 350 levels. You are either flying solo or alongside other smaller planes that are part of your squad – they shoot when you shoot. In each level, you take on other planes by moving your plane left or right and firing at them, all while dodging their ordinance. As you level up, you can upgrade your plane with different ammunition and abilities to cause more destruction and mayhem.

As you tear through the levels, you eventually reach high health and challenging bosses, that range anywhere from gigantic flying fortresses to massive tanks and battleships. Each boss has small weak points on them that you can attack to eventually destroy them while helping ensure your survival. The game is not too easy, but it’s not too challenging either; it hits a great middle ground, especially if you are familiar with this style of arcade game.

With hundreds of levels, over 30 historical planes from countries from WWII and some fantastic graphics, special effects and sounds, “1945 Air Force” is a great time waster to add to your app list.

“1945 Air Force” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Many of us out there mow our lawns from time to time, as the grass gets tall and makes the exterior of our home look uninviting. Well, what if you could take a break from mowing your own lawn … and mow some virtual lawns instead?

Don’t let the title of the game “It’s Literally Just Mowing” fool you, as the game is LITERALLY just about mowing lawns and nothing more. In this game, you have a driving lawn mower, and you are tasked with mowing various lawns around the neighborhood. Each property has a few obstacles to try and mow around, such as garden plots, houses, and trees, and with those obstacles in mind you need to make sure you get every single blade of grass to complete the level.

You control your mower by swiping the screen to have it change direction, as it is constantly moving. There are a few cool unique levels you can play, such as a football field; there are tons of different customization options with which you can outfit your mower as you complete each level. The grass is also worth mentioning – it looks insanely realistic for a simple mobile game. It’s almost soothing to watch it sway in the wind and watch it get cut as your mower rolls over it.

“It’s Literally Just Mowing” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

There are many racing games out there on mobile, but one of the biggest household names in the racing scene will always be “Need for Speed.” I was unaware all this time that the game series was on mobile devices, so of course when I found out, I had to dive in and see it for myself.

“Need for Speed: No Limits” is a free-to-play racing game that puts you in the shoes of a street racer looking to win races, build street cred, and earn money to buy faster cars and bigger upgrades. The game has fantastic graphics for a mobile game, which comes at the cost of sometimes running a bit slow or having long load times, so it might not play well on an older phone.

The game has a pretty decent story, but it is dragged down by mediocre characters. The main bread and butter are the races themselves. In “NFS: No Limits” you don’t need to worry about pressing an accelerator pedal. In this game, your car is always going full pedal to the floor, the only thing you need to do is tap the left or right side of your screen to turn. Swipe up to boost and swipe down to drift around tight corners.

It sounds easy, but there is plenty of room for error, and as you progress through the story, the races get much tougher, as do the opponents. There are a few types of races throughout; each race lasts less than a minute on average. There are also over 70 cars in the game, ranging from street and classic cars like a 2013 Impreza WRX STI or 1960 Dodge Charger RT, to a Hyper car such as a Ferrari LaFerrari.

“NFS: No Limits” is a free-to-play racer made by a huge publishing company, so there are a few caveats to understand before you go in. You can only play so much a day, as you use “fuel” in each race, so when you run out of fuel, you must wait to play again later. It also takes time to rank up and earn currency, so there are of course premium “paid” currencies to help you progress faster if you want. Other than that, “NFS: No Limits” is a fantastic racer that will be sure to burn some time – not to mention some rubber.

“Need for Speed: No Limits” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores!

Wednesday, 23 June 2021 09:44

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Enlisted’

For any of you who are lucky enough to have gotten your hands on a next-gen PS5 or Xbox Series X/S, congratulations and welcome to the future of gaming! With a new generation of consoles comes a new generation of free-to-play games, and in my opinion, one of the best to play so far is “Enlisted.”

“Enlisted” is a free-to-play first-person hardcore World War II online shooter. You play as a squad leader who has a squad of A.I. soldiers under your command that you lead into battle. Each real person has A.I. soldiers as well, so there are hundreds of soldiers in any given battle, which makes it feel like a real massive-scale war is going on. In “Enlisted” you can play as infantry, a tank crew or even an aircraft pilot, as you take the war to land and air.

The game feels extremely historically accurate, what with the weapons, vehicles, uniforms and more. It is a hardcore shooter as well, so everyone is eliminated in one or two shots instead of soaking up bullets like in most shooters.

There are currently three campaigns in the game: the Invasion of Normandy, which has an amazing beach landing map to mark the beginning of Operation Overlord, Battle of Berlin and Battle for Moscow, which contain the playable factions of Germany, the United States and Russia. The battle of Tunisia is soon to be added, as well as other unannounced campaigns hinted at by the developers down the road.

As you play, you unlock different historical squads and weapons, and you can customize your squads to your playstyle. You can build your squad with snipers, assault troopers, engineers who can build bunkers and weapon emplacements, radiomen who can call in airstrikes and much more. Personally, I’ve found that playing as a tank crew is one of the most rewarding experiences as rolling around in armor feels extremely realistic. The tanks move slow and they turn slow, but when you hit the frontline, you feel like an unstoppable force of reckoning. And there are LOTS of WW2 tanks to unlock as well, ranging from Panzers to Sherman tanks, which are armed with HE rounds for infantry, AP rounds for other tanks and a heavy machine gun to mow down soldiers; you can make a huge different on the battlefield in a tank.

“Enlisted” is a massive game, that provides an incredible WW2 experience, and with so many large maps, vehicles, weapons and planes to unlock, it is going to keep you busy for hundreds, if not thousands of hours. On top of that, you get to partake in some of the most famous battles in WW2 history, and get to learn a thing or two along the way.

“Enlisted” is free to download on the Playstation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and on Enlisted.net to play for free on PC. It should be noted that “Enlisted” is an early access game (open beta), so it is not completely finished yet and is subject to having a few bugs and glitches. That said, the game is constantly being updated and tweaked, so you get to play the game and be part of the overall experience which will help shape the game to be an amazing finished and fully released free product in the end.

Tuesday, 08 June 2021 18:41

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Solar Smash’

We’ve all seen the movies about Earth on the brink of teeming destruction from outer space. “Armageddon,” “Deep Impact,” “Independence Day and many others. Well, the Earth may have come out relatively unscathed in those movies, but in “Solar Smash,” you can destroy the Earth – and just about any other planet out there – in the palm of your hand.

“Solar Smash” is a planet destruction simulator that arms you to the teeth with many weapons to destroy a planet. Missiles, lasers, asteroids – pretty much anything you can think of. The game is simple, and it has no real objective other than to destroy a planet through any fun combination of attacks you can think of.

As you fire upon the planets, with Death Star-caliber lasers, planets get blown to bits in cinematic and detailed fashion, creating an explosive show. There are lots of combinations that you can destroy planets with, including some that have some crazy results. Pairing a UFO fleet to hit one side of the planet and a massive monster to destroy the other, and then finishing it off with a well-placed asteroid - just one of the many destructive tools at your disposal.

In “Solar Smash” you may not be destroying real planets, but it certainly wastes some time and blows off some steam.

“Solar Smash” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Some time ago, I wrote a piece on “World of Warships: Legends” as it had just recently released on console as a free-to-play game. Two years have passed and a lot has changed, so I thought it would be a good time to give a nice update on it and revisit it, as “WOW: Legends” is a game that should be on your gaming console once again.

In a quick recap, “WOW: Legends” has you taking command of different naval vessels from the WWI/WWII eras in multiplayer combat, ranging from destroyers all the way to the big, bad battleships. The objective is to either destroy the entire enemy team, as every player only gets one life, or to capture the enemy bases or flags on the map.

Originally the game only featured the USA, Japan and United Kingdom factions. They have added more iconic ships to unlock for those factions, but they have also added some new countries. Germany, Russia, France and Italy have joined the warship roster and they each pack some interesting new punches in different areas.

Another huge change, and a welcome one, is the addition of aircraft carriers to the game. Aircraft carriers are a great addition to “WOW: Legends” as they offer a completely different playstyle from the main ship types. As an aircraft carrier, you carry torpedo planes and bombers. You launch your aircraft in wings and take complete control of them. As you make your bombing and torpedo runs, the anti-aircraft guns of the enemy ships are constantly firing upon you, trying to rip your planes out of the skies. The addition of the planes makes for some truly cinematic moments, especially from the point of view of other ships. There are also plenty of iconic ships to unlock now in “WOW: Legends,” ships such as the Yamato, the Alaska and more, which you unlock by researching them and playing.

Another big change to the game is that it’s fully cross-play enabled, so people with different consoles can now play with each other! If you are lucky enough to have a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S, you also have a nice treat of getting a version of the game with nice graphical and performance updates, providing a much smoother experience, and full 4K support with an applicable TV.

With more ships, countries, and maps to experience, “World of Warships: Legends” is a highly recommended time waster to revisit or experience for the first time if you get the chance. “WOW: Legends” is free to download on the PlayStation and Xbox stores.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021 11:03

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Line Driver’

A classic game from back in the day everyone used to play on their computers was “Line Rider.” This game still exists today, but it costs money to play on your mobile device. So why not just play a free version instead?

“Line Driver” is a game about a little man on a sled trying to get from one end of a track to another. That’s it. The premise of the game is simple. With 50 premade levels to play, you must draw lines to create a track and get around dangerous obstacles and get your sledder to the end. The caveat is that you don’t want your sledder to fall off his sled or you fail the level. This game is very creative, so you can solve a level in pretty much any way your imagination can visualize.

There is also a nice creative mode, where you can either create your own tracks or you can play other people’s insane tracks that they make. And when I say insane, I mean it. Some of the most creative people in the community of this game have conjured up some incredible tracks from their imagination, tracks that will have your sledder doing more loops and jumps than you can fathom. As you play the game, you can eventually earn new vehicles to use on tracks, upgrading from the simple bobsled.

“Line Driver” is an awesome free take on a classic that took up many hours of our time years ago. My lone complaint is that ads pop up pretty frequently while you are playing. If you can deal with that one issue, though, it’s an extremely fun time waster.

“Line Driver” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 13:51

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Lifeline’

Text-based games have always been fun to jump into from time to time, as they always provide so many choices to create a story, using the power of your imagination to bring to life the story you are creating. That said, it’s rare that I ever find one I’m willing to pay for. Rare, but not unheard of. And so, here’s one that’ll cost you a (very) little, but it’s worth it.

In “Lifeline,” you help an astronaut named Taylor who has awakened on an alien moon after a crash landing and must make life or death decisions to survive. The rest of the crew is either dead or missing and Taylor’s communicator can only contact you, the player, who helps him make his decisions.

The game has an absolutely gripping story, and the decisions are presented in an A or B format, but even just two choices can create a butterfly effect for the rest of the story. The game utilizes your mobile device in super creative ways, in which the story is playing out in “real time.” You might have to close the app and go into Google to search whether or not something might kill Taylor, like you would at real mission control. You might even have to step away from the game, but even while you’re away, the game sends you mobile notifications from Taylor, letting you know what he is up to on the alien planet. The game ends if Taylor dies; you can either start completely over or you can go back to a certain point of your story and make different decisions. Starting over feels more fun though; it’s a chance to help Taylor in a whole new way.

The game plays out in small three-minute average chunks as Taylor has to sometimes take real time to perform a task, which is great if you don’t really have a ton of time. If you like science fiction or text-based story games, “Lifeline” fits super great into a niche that includes both. With so many outcomes to each play through from so many decisions, “Lifeline” will provide many hours of fun beyond the first story you experience.

“Lifeline” is a small $0.99 investment on the Android and IOS stores. It’s just a dollar, but it offers an amazing amount of storytelling and intrigue for that one dollar.

A game that you might have seen in this feature earlier this year – a widely popular one – was “Among Us.” It amassed a huge cult following and remains extremely active – well-populated with people and shenanigans.

“Suspects: Mystery Mansion” brings some of the heart and soul of “Among Us” into the murder mystery genre of party games. You know the ones, the games where your friends invite you over for a dinner party, someone is the murderer and everyone else must figure it out. “Suspects: Mystery Mansion” puts you alongside nine other real players who have the task of solving a recent murder inside of a mansion. One or more of the players is a murderer and the others are investigators who must carry out various tasks throughout the mansion to aid in their investigation.

During each round, while the investigators are out and about, the murderers must blend in and try to kill them. At the end of each round, everyone comes together to discuss everything that’s happened, and make a guess on the identity of the killer. Once the person is chosen, the game lets everyone know if they were right or if the suspect(s) is/are still at large.

The game has a fantastic art style; the little woodland creatures you play as for characters have a lot of creativity and personality poured into them. “Suspects: Mystery Mansion” is a great way to bring some friends or even some strangers together digitally and keep the spirit of game night alive!

“Suspects: Mystery Mansion” is currently free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 09:44

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Knight Brawl’

What do you get when you put a bunch of sword-fighting knights together with wacky, bouncy physics? You get “Knight Brawl.”

In “Knight Brawl”, you play as a knight who battles other knights in gladiator-style battles. Instead of being a grim serious take on sword fighting, “Knight Brawl” instills physics that just plain don’t make sense, with a weightlessness that creates some hilarious battles for fun and enjoyment. Instead of slashing and stabbing, your sword swings around your body, which propels you in the air and lets you do somersaults and flips. This spinning of your weapon is both how you fight and move around.

In the beginning of “Knight Brawl,” you are armed and protected with a simple weapon, a barrel for armor and a plate for a helmet (no one said you were a WEALTHY knight). With some victories and gold collected under your belt, however, you get to upgrade your knight with better weapons and armor. When you face off against other knights, your goal is to smash their armor so that you can strike a final blow against them. You are just as vulnerable as they are however, so they can take you out just as effectively and easily as you can them.

There is a lot of scenery in “Knight Brawl,” with battles in many different locations, as well as different game modes. For instance, Tower Climb has you climbing to the top of a tower and fighting enemies along the way, simply using the wacky physics to go upwards. Castle Rush is the best one though; you storm different castles and rob kings of their greatest and most valuable possessions.

“Knight Brawl” has a lot to give and doesn’t ask for anything but your time. There are plenty of laughs to be had, which is a big part of what makes it one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in a long time.

“Knight Brawl” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores, as well as free to play in a web browser on various websites!

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