Matt Fern

Matt Fern

edge staff writer

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Wednesday, 20 October 2021 11:27

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Wordscapes’

I download and play A LOT of different time wasters, all in hopes of providing you with fun and new experiences. This means that I have seen my fair share of ads inside of these games while I play them.

One that always seemed to pop up in the ads was “Wordscapes.” After trying the demo many times (to make the ad go away), I figured it was time to play the real thing. Yeah - they got me with the games ad. I can’t lie about that.

“Wordscapes” is an interesting take on both word searches and crossword puzzles. You have a crossword-type layout to fill and you have an assortment of letters in a circle. There are lots of words you can make with these letters, but not all of them go in the crossword. When you play each level, you just use your finger and connect the letters together in the circle to make words; you can only use a letter once.

The game makes you think, but it’s also a nice relaxing game to play, as it doesn’t offer any type of challenge to frustrate you. There are over 6,000 puzzles to play total, and each one gets a bit harder than the last. If you like games like “Scrabble”, crossword puzzles or even if you simply like solving our weekly “Boggle” game here in the pages of The Maine Edge, “Wordscapes” is a nice way to waste time similarly – all in the palm of your hand.

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

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 12:25

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Yeah Bunny 2’

Platformer style video games have been around since the beginning of gaming history; even today, in the modern era of gaming, platformers are still around and kicking. There is just something so relaxing and stress-relieving about simplistic-yet-challenging 2D platformers that make you want to keep playing until you complete every single level possible.

“Yeah Bunny 2” is an arcade-style platformer with an awesome 8-bit retro feel. The game plays like any platformer you can imagine out there (like “Mario”) where you can move left and right and need to jump vertically to get onto higher areas of the map. You play as a little bunny character who is trying to collect carrots and keys trying to complete each level that is thrown at you. There are 50 different levels to play, enemies to crush along the way and pretty cool boss battles to fight every few levels or so.

As you complete each level, the next one seems to always be more of a challenge, as it will throw more enemies, unique landscapes to travel and/or surprise boss battles at you along the way. The keys unlock doors and there are teleporters that take you to different places to collect stars and unlock new levels. You also are being chased by a giant pig king through the entire game so mistakes can get your small bunny eaten!

“Yeah Bunny 2” won’t ever compete with the likes of a “Mario” game, but for a fun little free adventure with a floppy eared furry friend, “Yeah Bunny 2” is a pretty darned good time. “Yeah Bunny 2” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 06 October 2021 12:51

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Text or Die’

We all love some good trivia-style game shows, right? Well, “Text or Die” brings the combination of trivia and game shows and takes it up a notch!

In “Text or Die”, you are pitted against other players around the world to answer trivia questions with the goal of being the final contestant left. But there’s a catch: each question can have multiple answers, but it’s the people who answer with the longest words who remain “safer” than the other players.

You’re standing on a tower and the water is rising. You answer a question. However many letters there are in the word you guess, your tower will grow by that amount of blocks. For instance, there could be a question such as “Name a state.” The person who guesses Pennsylvania will build up their tower over the rising waters substantially more than the person who guessed Maine.

That’s pretty much the entire premise of “Text or Die.” You must not only get correct answers to the questions, but guess correctly with the longest answer you possibly can. As each round goes on, the water rises higher and higher, eventually engulfing the players who just can’t keep up with the deluge of many-lettered answers.

The game certainly has its quirks – if you play against the bots, they can sometimes give ridiculous answers – but overall, it’s a great game to waste a few minutes of time on.

“Text or Die” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021 12:37

Weekly Time Waster - ‘GeoGuessr’

If there are any geography nerds out there, this Time Waster is for you! And if you aren’t a geography nerd, well … you’re about to become one!

“GeoGuessr” is a sweet little game that throws you on a random street somewhere in the world and you have to figure out where you are. That’s right, it’s the equivalent of waking up one day, not knowing where you are and embarking on a quest to find where you’ve somehow ended up!

“GeoGuessr” basically uses Google Maps Street View and lets you move up and down roads and explore where you are. You need to utilize all the information within view to guess your location. Street signs, languages, flags, major landmarks – they are your best friends in “GeoGuesser.”

The game sometimes throws you onto tiny back roads and into back-alley towns across the world. The addictive part comes when you find those small clues that give you an idea of where you might be. You might see Spanish writing on a sign! This is great news, as you’ve now narrowed down where you might be, but that is only one piece of the puzzle. You simply guess what country you are in based on the clues you’ve found; the game will tell you whether you are right or wrong.

“GeoGuessr” is great, because you not only get to embark on all of these adventures of discovery, but you get to learn a lot about parts of the world that you otherwise might not give a second thought. It gives you an appreciation for the many towns and landmarks all throughout the world, whether big or small.

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2021 11:29

Weekly Time Waster - ‘F1 Mobile Racing’

You’ve probably noticed that more than a few of my recent time wasters have been racing games. Well, get ready, because we’re continuing that theme this week!

As many of you may know, Formula 1 is one of the highest classes of single-seat automotive racing in the world; unsurprisingly, the series has inspired a fair number of video games. Codemasters, the developers behind the extremely successful “F1” franchise on console and PC, brought the game to phones – and it’s a great experience.

In “F1 Mobile Racing,” you take on the role of a new driver in the league, one who must build up their car and compete with the other big racing teams and big names in the sport. To do this, you win races and get cards which can upgrade your F1 car. The game contains everything you’d expect from Formula 1; each track is recreated with very high attention to detail and all the racers from the current season – names like Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo – are in the game.

When you start the game, all driving assists are turned on, which helps you brake and steer more effectively, but you can turn them off if you want a more advanced feel to the racing. You can control your F1 car by touching the screen or tilting your phone or a combination of the two. You can play single-player against A.I. racers, which is fun for a while, but the real challenge is racing against other real people from all around the world. The single-player portion is a great way to practice on certain tracks that give you trouble before you race real people.

When you aren’t racing, there is a cool customization portion of the game, where you can upgrade and change the overall aesthetic of your car. There are lots of colors and styles to choose from as well, giving you a chance to stretch your creative muscles when you’re not hitting the track.

“F1 Mobile Racing” certainly isn’t as good as its console and PC counterparts, but for a mobile racing experience, it’s solid – better than most racing games you’ll find on your phone. If you like Formula 1, then this game very much should be on your time-wasting list!

“F1 Mobile Racing” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021 12:28

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Chessplode’

I love chess. Always have. Two people taking each other on, in the ultimate game of wits and strategy. Some might call it hardcore checkers, as checkers has fewer moves and board combinations. Others might even call chess plain old boring. One might even argue that chess has always needed something to make it more, exciting. Well, “Chessplode” aims to change the game of chess for us all.

In “Chessplode,” the basic rules of chess remain the same. The difference in “Chessplode” is simply this: there are explosions. You heard me – a chess game with explosions! Explosions in video games make everything more fun, am I right?

In “Chessplode,” if you take an opposing piece on the board, you better pay close attention, as the piece will explode and take out ALL pieces, including your own, in certain vertical and horizontal rows. The only exception is if there is a king in the explosive path. If there is a king in the row, all pieces will survive and the piece that you took is the only one removed from the board. The king, essentially becomes the most powerful piece on the board. It has the power to save life!

It's actually very simple; after a few rounds you will have the hang of it. It makes a regular game of chess become something somewhat new, but for skilled chess players, these new rules definitely are a gamechanger in terms of planning your future moves. In “Chessplode,” you can change the difficulty of the computer player from rookie to pro, but I suggest you start with rookie to get a handle on the new rules of the game.

“Chessplode” is a wonderful take on the classic game, and for newcomers and masters alike, it is well worth wasting a bit of your time. “Chessplode” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores!

Tuesday, 07 September 2021 13:59

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Madden NFL 22 Mobile’

It’s another year, which means another NFL Football season is here. Along with another NFL season, we get a new season and new features in “Madden Mobile.”

What’s even cooler about his new season of “Madden Mobile” is that two fantastic quarterbacks are on the cover: Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. This is each quarterback’s second appearance on the cover of a “Madden” game; it’s also the second time in “Madden” cover history that two players have been featured, the first was Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu in 2009.

“Madden Mobile” returns this year with some new gadgets and gizmos, but for those who haven’t played it, we’ll do a quick refresh. In “Madden Mobile 22,” you take on the role of a general manager, and your goal is to build the best team possible, to win the Super Bowl. You build essentially a fantasy football team using players you either earn or buy with in game currency. You start off with low-ranking players in the beginning and build your team over time. The players on your team can be anyone in the current NFL, as well as assorted legends from the past. Most of the modes from years past have returned, such as GM mode which takes you through the current NFL season’s schedule, to playing online with others.

This year, there is a new feature called “Journeys.” You’re given a series of themed challenges that get harder as you progress. The further you progress, the better the rewards. You also get to relive the Super Bowl LV run of the Buccaneers and completing it can give you a Tom Brady card to put on your team. Patrick Mahomes is also an earnable player. A new “Training Center” feature also hits the gridiron that lets you take on daily challenges to level up current players on your team.

The last new feature is “The Tour.” The Tour lets you play real-world live NFL games during the NFL season. As you play these games, you earn “fans,” and the more fans you have when your team wins, the higher the rewards you get from those games. As you play “Madden Mobile’ this year, every day that you login consecutively, you earn free daily and even monthly rewards, all the way from Madden cash to free players.

“Madden Mobile” never really seems to break through into crazy new territory each year, but it’s always a fun supplement to add to the NFL season, giving you a chance to waste some time when there isn’t a game on TV.

“Madden NFL 22 Mobile” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021 11:58

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Hawken’

Once upon a time, there was a popular game series called “Mechwarrior” – and I played it a ton. There was nothing better than being strapped into a robotic mech and blowing everything up while fighting other mechs along the way. Those games still exist, but I found a similar game that has scratched the same itch that those games satisfied.

“Hawken” straps you into different war machines in a multiplayer area, where you are tasked – either by yourself or as a team – with destroying other mechs. The game is a fast-paced first-person shooter; think “Call of Duty,” only with mechanical war machines.

There are three types of mechs that you can use: light mechs, medium mechs and heavy mechs. Each mech serves a different playstyle; there are many to unlock in each category to keep things fresh. A light mech, for instance, has low armor but high mobility so they can rely on speed to get in and out of combat. Whereas a heavy mech is 100% armor and weaponry; they can dish out a lot of damage, but they soak up a lot of damage as well due to how slow they are. Each mech has various power-ups, utilities and weapons that can be unlocked, so there is a lot to grind through.

“Hawken” features five game modes in which to wreak havoc, including classics like Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. “Hawken” might not be the best mech game I’ve ever played, but it’s one of the most accessible and interesting ones I have found in a while.

With lots of things to blow up and unlock and plenty of places to engage in combat, “Hawken” is a great free-to-play time waster on any gaming console.

“Hawken” is free to download on the Playstation and Xbox stores.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021 11:54

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Pocket City’

If you’ve ever played city-building games like “Sim City,” you know how addicting it can be to start with a blank slate and construct a city to your specifications, making it a functional, living place. While there are lots of city-building games that flood the app store, “Pocket City” is one of the most fun versions I have found in a long time – it actually reminds me a lot of the “Sim City” games.

In “Pocket City”, the premise is typical of a city-building game. I should note that the version I am reviewing is the limited free version, but there is a paid version that unlocks a massive amount of more content for three dollars.

As you start out, you must build roads, residential zones, commercial zones and important buildings that play a role in the function and development of your city. Like the old “Sim City” games, there are disasters that pop up from time to time that will throw a wrench in what you are doing; sometimes you also have to deal with economic problems too, not to mention crime. As you build all the different zones, you must supply water and power to them; to make your citizens happy, you must build recreational areas and more.

The game goes deeper as you eventually start to deal with taxing your city and even managing trade. The game’s art style is quirky and fun; it doesn’t look realistic, but has a nice simple graphic and color scheme that works well on the eyes. If you like to build cities in your spare time and you want a game that isn’t loaded with bloat and asks more than you can give, “Pocket City” is a phenomenal choice.

“Pocket City” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores. If you like the game a lot, feel free to support the developers by buying the full version of the game for $2.99 that unlocks a load of extra features!

Some time ago, I wrote about a game called “Vega Conflict.” It was a cool sci-fi strategy game that has definitely stood the test of time. Well, if you played it and liked it (or are currently bored with it) I have something new for you!

“Stellaris: Galaxy Command” is a sci-fi strategy game loosely based on a larger-scale PC strategy game. In “Stellaris: Galaxy Command,” a catastrophic war with an alien species has left the universe in shambles and you are put in charge of rebuilding a human space colony and fleet. In this game, you build and upgrade a space station, explore the galaxy itself, survey planets, fight pirates and even fight other players in fleet-to-fleet combat. After you work through an in-game tutorial that shows you how to build and upgrade your base, you get a ship and start to explore.

From there, the game opens up, as you are tasked with attacking some pirates to see how combat works. One area that it differs from other similar games – a slightly disappointing difference – is that instead of controlling your ships tactically in battle, everything is done automatically on autopilot. You basically just watch the battle play out. The only tactics you can do are selecting which ship your fleet attacks. Winning or losing seems to be mainly a dice roll of who has the better fleet, or whose fleet lands more hits.

As you play, you start to give your colony a political identity in the universe. Do you want to be militaristic? Maybe your colony will be xenophobic and accept no alien species, even those friendly to your trade routes. The choices are up to you. As you align yourself in politics and trade, you can explore the many solar systems of the universe. The map is so large, it even splits the universe into what factions are prevalent in them. As the game is multiplayer focused, you can form alliances with other players and trade with them or just simply take everyone on yourself and be a lone wolf in a massive universe.

“Stellaris: Galaxy Command” is a great sci-fi strategy game that offers a large amount of freedom to how you want yourself to be known in the massive galaxy … and it is sure to waste a ton of your time.

“Stellaris: Galaxy Command” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores. If you happen to like the game and its universe, check out the paid strategy game on which it’s based, on the Playstation, Xbox or Steam stores!

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