Matt Fern

Matt Fern

edge staff writer

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Every month or so, a new battle royale game seems to pop up, and while most of them are cheap rip-offs that barely function, there are also a few diamonds in the rough. “Garena Free Fire” is one such diamond.

Even though “PUBG” and “Fortnite” mostly control the market, they can also get stale after a while; “Garena” has a massive player base due to its recent release and I had no problems and barely any wait time to load into a game.

Just like most battle royale games, the premise is simple. You parachute down onto a map and must scavenge materials to build the best loadout you can with weapons, armor and grenades, all in an effort to be the last man standing. You’re inside a circle that slowly closes, bringing everyone together in a chaotic shootout.

But this game changes up the pace a bit. Instead of the typical 100 players, there are only 50 in each game. The rounds also last 10 minutes on average, compared to the grueling 30-minute matches involved with something like “PUBG.” This keeps each round you play short and sweet and extremely tense. There’s a good selection of vehicles to drive and lots of different ways to play, from stealth to guns blazing. You can play with your friends in a squad of up to four or you can go solo against 49 other people all by yourself. The choice is yours. I’ve had a blast playing it, and I hope you do too!

“Garena Free Fire: Winterlands” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 14:16

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Rock Hero 2’

Back in 2005, a game called “Guitar Hero” took the world by storm. You picked up a toy guitar controller and jammed out to your favorite rock songs at varying difficulties. You not only got to listen to the songs, but you got to feel like a real guitarist up on the big stage. Well, “Guitar Hero” might not exist on mobile, but I found something comparable.

“Rock Hero 2” gives the same general feel as “Guitar Hero,” but puts it in the palm of your hand. In “Rock Hero 2”, different non-licensed musical tracks are available to play, and you must tap the right notes on the screen at the right time to build up a note combo and set a high score for the song. Each song also has varying difficulty levels, adding in both speed and more notes to hit or hold; you sometimes need to press multiple notes at a time or drag the notes across the screen. Miss too many notes and you fail.

There are over 10 songs to play provided by the game, but the kicker is that you can play any song that is downloaded on to your phone! Say you want to play “Enter Sandman” by Metallica; just download the song onto your phone and voila! This is possible due to the game having an “intelligent system of beat detection.” Because of this, the possibilities of songs to play are basically endless. Now, it doesn’t work out perfectly every time, but still – the possibilities are endless!

“Rock Hero 2” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores. Get ready to rock!

Tuesday, 07 January 2020 12:02

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Forge Ahead’

I finally started watching “Game of Thrones” on HBO. Late to the party, I know. And as I’ve watched, I’ve fallen in love with medieval times again. What would it be like to be a blacksmith, having to make enough armor and swords for an entire army to defend a castle with? Well, the mobile gaming world gave me my answer, as it usually does.

“Forge Ahead” puts you in the shoes of a blacksmith shop owner. While skipping a few steps in crafting medieval weaponry, you are tasked with mining metals, melting them down, molding them into various swords and then hammering them into shape. Once your sword is complete, you sell it for money. As you play this game, you learn to combine different metals to create more expensive or even exotic swords, being able to price them high. This game is extremely simple and very inviting as far as time-wasting is concerned. The two best parts are mining the ores and actually hammering the sword into shape. It is quite relaxing putting a red-hot warped sword on an anvil and hammering it out.

There are also missions that come along while you play. For instance, one of the first missions I received was a tax collector coming into my shop and asking for a weapon within 10 minutes to protect his mother’s gold in the north. I completed his sword, he paid me; later, he visited again to tell me he completed his mission in protecting his mother. It was nice of him to check back with me, it made me feel like a competent, helpful blacksmith.

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

Monday, 23 December 2019 22:41

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Minecraft Earth’

With each month that passes, its seems like we get a new entry added into the augmented reality genre of games. The launch of “Pokémon Go” really sparked the genre into full force, but the next chapter in this genre comes from another familiar game name – “Minecraft.”

“Minecraft Earth” takes the coolest parts of “Minecraft” and puts them into augmented reality. If you don’t know what “Minecraft” is, well … call it an adventure building game. You play in a pixelated world placing blocks into any creations that you would like while also going on adventures. To build, you must collect resources such as wood, stone or dirt by mining them; you place blocked forms of those resources on top of each other to build. While doing this, you must defend yourself against enemies called “mobs,” which range from zombies to creepers (who explode if you get really close to them, destroying all your hard work).

“Minecraft Earth” takes these concepts and drops them into augmented reality, letting you build what you’d like and then putting it into the real digital world. In tabletop mode, you can build something that you’d like in detail and then blow it up life-size for others to see. Maybe you want to build a castle wall around your real-life home or put a pool in the backyard. You can do that, and anyone walking by your house playing the game will be able to see it.

What’s fun about the game is that everything persists, so what you build is there to stay unless you destroy it. If you play the game around neighbors who are also playing, you might watch their creations evolve over time. There are also the “mobs” in the game, so you can grab a bow with some friends and go hunting for enemies around your neighborhood if that sounds fun.

“Minecraft Earth” isn’t the greatest augmented reality game we’ve seen so far, but it certainly offers a way to waste plenty of time as you build your dreams into reality. “Minecraft Earth” is free to download in early access on the Android and IOS stores.

If you’ve been a part of pop-culture for the last decade, you know about “The Walking Dead.” Based on a graphic novel series, the show has become a cult phenomenon in the TV world. Well, there are plenty of games based on it as well – and “The Walking Dead – Telltale Series” game is one of the best ones.

A small disclaimer about this game: it’s episodic. Basically, there are five episodes in the first season and five episodes in the second season; the first episode of each season is free to play. It provides about an hour or so of gameplay. After that, if you REALLY liked what you played in the first episode, I highly recommend supporting the developers and buying the rest (as well as the second season if you want to know how the game ends).

“The Walking Dead” is a five-part, multi-season series set in the same universe as the TV show. You play as a character named Lee Everett, a convicted criminal, who at the beginning of the game is given a second chance at life after a prison bus crash. With the zombie apocalypse ahead, and a young orphan girl named Clementine joining along the way, you must make choices and help the pair survive this changed world.

This game features a “butterfly effect” choice system. Choices you make are neither right nor wrong – they simply keep the story moving, but each choice can have consequences later in the story. Sometimes small, sometimes huge. For instance, you might have to choose whether to save one person when two people are in peril. Based on your choice, a certain character with a relationship to the one you didn’t save might not have your back later in the story or might be grateful you didn’t save that person and offer help. These choices make for easy replay ability as you can play the game again making opposing choices you. In addition, many characters from the TV show make occasional appearances in the game; you visit some familiar locations as well.

Episode One of “The Walking Dead – Telltale Story” is free to download at the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 11:46

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Perfect Slices’

Sometimes it’s fun to just sit down and play something so simple and easy that you don’t really have to think at all while you play it. That’s what “Perfect Slices” was for me.

In “Perfect Slices,” you play as a chef, one armed with your trusty knife set - made up of iconic knives like cleavers, santoku and of course, the chef’s knife. Each knife has a different attribute that help you. You must slice up ingredients to make soups and other food that you can sell for money.

It’s all pretty straightforward. The game basically judges you on how well you slice. You don’t want your slices too thick or too thin, you want just right. Ingredients come toward you in a conveyer belt fashion, leaving you to slice as fast as you can as you find the right rhythm. You do this simply by tapping the screen quickly, which in turn moves the knife in a chopping motion. Every now and again, there are objects you aren’t supposed to cut; these will penalize you.

The game is honestly very relaxing and slicing up colorful vegetables and watching the juices fly off the cutting board becomes slightly hypnotic to say the least. Eventually, the game throws some odd bonus levels at you which require you to cut unlikely objects with your chef knife, such as gold bars and computer components. Why do you do this? For the money of course!

“Perfect Slices” makes you feel like a pro chef - and I loved every slice of it. The game is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019 11:39

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Sonic Dash’

With the new “Sonic The Hedgehog” movie trailer dropping last week, I figured it was time to feature Sonic as a time waster. Sonic as a character is a true classic; it was only a matter of time before he hit smartphones as a fun, family friendly game to play. There are a bunch of Sonic games that have been released recently; games like “Sonic Classic,” which embodies the original Sonic game. However, I chose to highlight a “new” game.

“Sonic Dash,” which released just a few weeks ago, is an endless runner game just like “Temple Run” or “Minion Rush.” The point is for Sonic to run on different endless maps, collecting as many coins as he can and getting the highest score possible.

“Sonic Dash” plays just like any other endless runner game. Swipe left and right to avoid obstacles and swipe up or down to jump or slide over things. As you play the game, there are special power-ups that you can pick-up and use to avoid failure when used at a specific moment. There are also pretty fun and challenging boss battles with Dr. Eggman and Zazz – a great new metric to an endless runner game!

“Sonic Dash” wouldn’t be a “Sonic” game without unlockable beloved characters! Through collecting coins, you can unlock Tails, Shadow or Knuckles with whom you can endlessly run on your journey to the highest score.

“Sonic Dash” is a fun endless runner, with enough little pieces that make it unique from other similar games to be one of the best ones I’ve found so far. “Sonic Dash” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019 12:55

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Ink Inc.’

Ever wondered what it is like to give someone a tattoo? Want to experience that feeling without actually having to buy a machine or, you know … learn how to tattoo? Well, that’s what video games are for!

In “Ink Inc.” you are a tattoo artist who must please all your customers who come into your shop. As each customer comes into the shop, they will request a certain type of tattoo, which you must draw and color as close to the design as possible. Following dotted lines, you must try not to make any mistakes, or you will dissatisfy your customer. Each tattoo has a difficulty level, ranging from drawing a simple filled-in cloud to an extremely-detailed bird with multiple colors to fill in.

When you’re done drawing each tattoo, the game compares your drawn tattoo to an image of a perfectly-executed one and gives you a rating. After that, you get to see your customer react to the tattoo you’ve just drawn and walk out of the shop; they’re either smiling or regretting their decision to ink their arm.

The game has a nice simple art design, while the sound of the tattoo pen is about as realistic as one you would hear in an actual tattoo shop. The designers of the game also tapped into your phone’s vibration function; your phone will give you a nice haptic feedback experience while you are inking your customers.

Whether you like tattoos or you’re just a fan of art, “Ink Inc.” will let you enjoy drawing and coloring shapes to your hearts content. “Ink Inc.” is available for free on the Android and IOS stores.

Tuesday, 05 November 2019 11:55

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Real Driving Sim’

Sometimes on any given day, you just want to climb into your car, get behind the wheel and drive somewhere. Other days, you want to do that same thing, but you also don’t want to leave your couch. What if I told you you can drive a car and you don’t even need to get up to do it.

“Real Driving Sim” is a little game that lets you drive. With over 80 real (unbranded) vehicles such as the Dodge Challenger, Toyota Supra and more, you can drive around and explore a massive open map without having to get out of your chair. This game has lots of different cars to drive, ranging from family sedans, SUV’s, off-road vehicles and the aforementioned sports cars. The cars also feature nice realistic sounds, interiors and even realistic handling.

As you drive around the open world, you can do different challenges and mini-games such as racing, high speed driving, and even a challenge where you have to drive from point A to point B as fast as you can, without taking a single ounce of damage to your vehicle. You can play online with friends if you’d like, but I had fun just driving around by myself. Is there much here beyond the cars? No, not really. “Real Driving Sim” is a game that simply lets you drive around just for fun.

With over 20 cities to explore, highways, deserts and mountains to climb, there is a lot to enjoy in “Real Driving Sim.” You even have the option of driving all the vehicles with a manual shift option if you prefer. If you like driving, or just cars in general, this is definitely the game for you!

“Real Driving Sim” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

If you’re familiar with actor/comedian Seth MacFarlane, then you’ve probably seen his show “American Dad!”. With many adult animated cartoons having their own game out there in the mobile world, “American Dad!” finally gets its time in the spotlight.

In “American Dad! Apocalypse Soon,” aliens have invaded Langley Falls and taken Stan Smith’s family hostage. You must build an underground base under Stan’s house, build an army by cloning Roger the alien and fight to take back the town and save the Smith family.

“American Dad! Apocalypse Soon” is basically a shelter design and base building game similar to “Fallout Shelter.” As you build your underground base, you create different types of rooms, such as utility rooms to produce energy, armories to produce weapons such as baseball bats and plasma revolvers and even a mint to produce currency. You do all this to work at equipping your Roger clones with the best weapons and gear possible so that you can eventually send them into battle.

There’s some idle time while you’re producing resources, filled in by completing missions. The game has plenty of missions to complete with various stages. As you get to the final stage in each mission, you attempt to save a missing family member. The battles are also fun as your clones participate in turn-based combat against enemies. When your clones go into battle, you’ll acquire chests which give you random rewards to be used to upgrade your army or base.

The game also gives you tasks to complete, which is nice as you have structured goals. Of course, this wouldn’t be an “American Dad!” game without the comedy. And there are many laughs to be had; the narrative was written in collaboration with the “American Dad!” writers!

“American Dad! Apocalypse Soon” is a fantastic base-building RPG game, sure to not only waste your time, but give you some laughs along the way! This game is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

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