Time Waster Weekly (367)

The Batman is one of the most iconic characters that DC has in its utility belt; his comic book adventures have spawned many movies and – of course – video games. One such game from the last few years – a game with a fantastic story – was a classic created by Telltale Games (“Telltale – The Walking Dead” series). It is, simply enough, “Batman: The Telltale Series.”

In “Batman: The Telltale Series,” you play as Bruce Wayne/Batman donning the cape and cowl and defending Gotham city from an assortment of villains who deserve their own little place in Arkham Asylum. In a typical Telltale fashion, the game plays in a very cinematic way with playable cut scenes where you must hit the correct buttons in QuickTime events and make large decisions that your choice will ripple into later sections of the game affecting the story in a massive way. Do you save a certain character over another? Do you show up to a scene as Bruce, or Batman? Do you take information from a certain character to owe them later, or solve a situation yourself? The choices are up to you, and with so many, there of course are multiple endings to the story.

The main gist of “Batman: The Telltale Series” is that allegations against the Wayne family have surfaced from an unknown source, threatening Bruce Wayne’s life and reputation. While Bruce deals with his normal life, he also does battle against a group called the Children of Arkham led by Lady Arkham and Oswald Copplepot. In “Batman”, you will see many familiar faces, from the likes of Catwoman, Lucius Fox, The Penguin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and many more that I won’t spoil.

“Batman: The Telltale Series” is a phenomenal game, withe five total chapters to play in a wild ride of a story. The only caveat is the first chapter is the only one that is free to play – the rest are paid. The first chapter is a great time waster however, and playing it gives you a great taste of the story and the game and leaves you teeming with the desire to find out what happens next.

“Batman: The Telltale Series” is free to download and play the first episode on the Android, and IOS stores.

Back in October, I touched upon a World War II shooter called “Hell Let Loose.” When I wrote about it last fall, the new console release was very much behind the PC version in terms of both content and development. That all changed May 16 with a massive content update.

For a quick refresher, “HLL” is a realistic World War II first-person shooter featuring 100 players on massive, meticulously recreated maps from WWII. Infantry, tanks, artillery and more battle in all-out warfare. Each team either attacks or defends, which leads to a constantly-shifting frontline.

Initially, the console version of the game only featured the European Front of WWII, with American and German factions fighting on maps in France, but with this new update, the Eastern Front arrives, along with new maps, tanks, weapons and factions.

In this new update to “HLL,” you will be able to fight in Stalingrad, one of the primary battles in the Eastern Front, as well as in Kursk, another major battle with a large emphasis on armored warfare. The update also features a few revisions to maps already in the game – a nice addition. Lots of new weapons – including the PPSh-41, SVT-40 and M97 Trench Gun – join the armory, as well as iconic tanks such as the T34 and IS-1.

“HLL” is an incredible WW2 simulation and if you haven’t tried it out yet, it’s absolutely worth the purchase. I know, I know – I usually focus on free, but this game goes on sale all the time. The developers have worked extremely hard to give everything a historically accurate treatment; it’s great fun to play and you might even meet some incredible people from all around the world and do battle with or against them.

Sure, this space is for a “Weekly Time Waster,” but if this kind of game is your thing, it might wind up becoming become a daily time waster.

“Hell Let Loose” is available to purchase on the PlayStation, Xbox and Steam stores.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022 10:49

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Dead by Daylight Mobile’

Written by Matt Fern

If you are a fan of horror movies or games, then this week’s time waster is for you.

“Dead by Daylight Mobile” takes the popular horror survival game from console/pc and brings it to your handheld device. Four people play as survivors trying to escape from a killer, who is played by yet another person. The survivors are tasked with banding together to complete a series of tasks to escape, while the killer hunts them all down.

The gameplay loops are simple. The killer must search for, find and eliminate the survivors; they must also shut off the generators that the survivors are trying to power on. The survivors, on the other hand, have a lot more to do. The survivors must repair the aforementioned generators, which open an exit to leave. They’re forced to do this with communication and planning, all while trying to avoid the killer; they hide when necessary.

When a survivor is spotted by the killer, they need to escape and hide; that said, when playing as a survivor, it’s best to crouch and move slowly so the killer does not see you. The game is essentially a large game of cat and mouse, except the cat is chasing four mice, so it is best that the survivors split up to escape.

“Dead by Daylight” has lots of different survivor and killer characters that players can use, each with their own unique stats and traits. The killers are all greatly inspired by assorted horror entertainments, including a few that are based on iconic Hollywood killers such as Scream and Michael Myers. This game is sure to bring the essence of old Hollywood slasher movies to the palm of your hand. You should feel free to play with the lights off … if you dare.

“Dead by Daylight Mobile” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 04 May 2022 11:21

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Fishing Planet’

Written by Matt Fern

Fishing season is upon us, but there might be some rainy days when you don’t want to venture out. So why not fish from the comfort of your couch?

“Fishing Planet” is a solo/multiplayer fishing experience that blends video gaming with simulation. The simulation aspect comes from the fact that the fish in the game use artificial intelligence that program them to act, fight and feed realistically based on the species. Certain tackles won’t work on certain fish. Fishing at certain times of day or weather patterns won’t yield good results.

“Fishing Planet” is a good simulator of fishing, and it has a steep learning curve, but it’s great fun. You might be an avid fisherman or you might not have gone fishing for years. Heck, if you’re the latter, this game might rekindle that love of fishing for you.

With over 170 species of fish to catch, and over a few dozen fishing locations, there are many different ways to experience the joy of fishing in “Fishing Planet.” You can fish offshore on docks or land; you can even venture out in a boat to try your luck in deeper waters. The game also lets you experiment with different types of fishing, like using bobbers on the surface, lure fishing, or bottom fishing/jigging. “Fishing Planet” has an incredible graphics engine as well; the water acts and ripples in a realistic manner and the fish themselves look pretty close to their true-to-life counterparts.

“Fishing Planet” is free to play, so of course there are many things locked behind a paywall; you’ll have to cough up if you want to get the most out of the game, but as far as what it offers for free, it’s a great way to virtually fish on a rainy day. In addition, you can play this game with friends and fish together, as well as compete in online tournaments with people from around the world. There is something for everyone in “Fishing Planet.”

“Fishing Planet” is free to download on the Xbox, PlayStation and Stream stores. Grab your rod, cast your line and feel the enjoyment of virtual fishing to its fullest.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 09:21

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Halo Infinite’

Written by Matt Fern

The “Halo” franchise has been around since 2001 … and saying that is crazy to me.

“Halo” took the world by storm as Microsoft’s attempt at making a groundbreaking first-person sci-fi shooter. A successful attempt, as here we are later with a franchise that includes an impressive game library, a merchandise line, and now a successful TV show. You know what is even more impressive than that?

The newest iteration of “Halo” multiplayer is here – and it’s free to play.

“Halo Infinite” is a first-person shooter which puts you in the boots of Spartans, training against each other to prepare for battle against the alien covenant. Each match in “Infinite” puts you in battle, from four versus four all the way up to twelve versus twelve, across many maps littered with weapons, gadgets and vehicles.

The two main game modes of “Halo Infinite” are Arena and Big Team Battle. Both modes have smaller sub games within them. Arena mode puts the emphasis on small scale, boots on the ground game modes like Slayer, Free for All and more. Big Team Battle opens of the sandbox experience of Halo with combined arms gameplay, with tanks, Warthog jeeps, and more, on massive maps holding game modes like capture the flag and total control where a team must capture and hold certain points on the map. Big Team Battle shows off the best of what “Halo” is and always has been to its roots, as riding around on the maps in a Warthog with all your friends mounted up on the turret and passenger seat always feels like a nostalgic experience. It brings you back to the memories of riding around on the original map Blood Gulch in “Halo: Combat Evolved.”

With all the cool changes in “Halo Infinite,” from updated graphics to new maps, the customization of your Spartan has never been better, as the developers at 343 Industries have provided all players with a battle pass, containing both free and paid cosmetics. You can customize everything in “Halo Infinite,” from your armor to the colors of your weapons and the cosmetics on your vehicles. There is a lot of room for your personality to shine in every aspect of the customization. “Halo Infinite” is just wrapping up its first season of content; it’s an exciting time to get into the game, and enjoy what “Halo” has to offer.

Grab your battle rifle and plasma grenades, and download “Halo Infinite” for free from the Xbox and Steam stores. Move out Spartans!

A little over a year ago, I dropped a game in here called “Planetside 2,” a free-to-play MMO first-person shooter. Over the last year, the game has gotten some massive updates and plenty of new content. With all these new things and more on the way, if you haven’t gotten your boots muddy in “Planetside,” it’s a great time to get back into it.

“Planetside 2” sees three empires (and you get to choose which empire to fight for) battling over the continents of the planet Auraxis, fighting for terrain and resources. As you fight for your empire, you capture points across giant maps; after about an hour or more of fighting, a victor is declared on the continent and the battle moves over to another continent. Each map holds up to 2000 players, with combined arms warfare on land and air.

With a new update and a beautiful tropical continent called Oshur, that battle has now expanded out into the sea. The Oshur update adds a new experience of diverse gameplay; there are now underwater capture points where your armor and jetpacks will help you breathe and move around and massive towers to capture in the middle of the ocean, where only air support can drop soldiers and keep the airspace clear of enemies.

When starting a match in Oshur, each team starts with its flotilla which is the equivalent of an aircraft carrier and battleship fleet off the coast of the island. Each team will mount up in their amphibious tanks and planes and make their way towards the continent. As the battles rage on above water, soldiers will fight for underwater bases in coral reefs; this underwater fighting brings new underwater weapons, as the normal weapons in the game cannot be fired in the deep blue.

The Oshur update is fantastic and “Planetside 2” will be turning 10 years old this year; the developers have been very vocal about new updates and surprises coming as they inch towards that decade mark. On the horizon are various updates that will add new weapons to unlock, new vehicles, quality of life improvements, expansions on naval combat, bastion (large flying controllable aircraft carriers) customization, and of course, the secret tight-lipped 10-year anniversary surprise update.

“Planetside 2” is still around and providing hundreds of thousands of entertainment hours to people all across the world. If you haven’t jumped in yet, give it a download and try it out.

“Planetside 2” is free to download from Steam, and the PlayStation and Xbox stores.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022 10:39

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Draw Saber’

Written by Matt Fern

Any fan of “Star Wars” knows the iconic look and sound of the lightsaber. The beautiful glow, the low humming sound as it moves through the air. The lightsaber even gives spectacle as it clashes with another in battle, creating sound and sparks from everything it touches. “Draw Saber” takes everything you love about the idea of fighting with a lightsaber and puts it into a fun puzzle game.

“Draw Saber” pits you against a computer enemy. Each of these enemies has a specific path that their lightsaber will follow. You are tasked with countering this path and striking the opponent with your own lightsaber in order to win. You do this by drawing the moves that you want your character’s lightsaber to execute; they will then perform those moves. The goal is to hit your opponent before they hit you, and even when the path of your enemy’s lightsaber seems easy to counter, a wrong move of your own can let them hit you first.

“Draw Saber” isn’t really a complex game and it’s nothing to write home about in the graphics department, but if you like lightsabers and you like puzzles, it’s a fun little game to fool around with and – as always – to help you waste some time.

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

Wednesday, 06 April 2022 12:21

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Egg, Inc.’

Written by Matt Fern

Have you ever seen that video of the 70,000 chickens running across a field? What if I told you you could basically recreate that in a game?

“Egg, Inc.” is a game about growing chickens and managing a chicken farm. You press a button as fast as you can, lay chicken eggs, hatch them and sell them for profit. Starting off as a small farm, “Egg, Inc.” lets you grow your chicken empire into an absolutely immense business.

The game basically revolves around how fast you can click a giant red button to create eggs and chickens; honestly, there is something relaxing about watching a massive stampede of chickens run across your screen. As you play and gain money, you can upgrade your coop capacities, the truck capacities that ship the eggs out from your farm, and more.

The game really goes off the rails when you upgrade your chicken farm into producing eggs that can be used for rocket fuel, medicinal properties and more, turning you into what amounts to a Dr. Frankenstein of the chicken farming world. As you play through the game, there are loads of little fun things that happen along the way, like news articles that document things happening on your farm, telling a story behind the scenes of your egg hatching escapades.

“Egg, Inc.” isn’t any sort of incredible offering on the app store, and it doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, but let’s be real – if you’re here, you’re just looking to waste some time, and this game certainly does that.

“Egg, Inc.” is free to download on the Android and IOS app stores. Hatch some eggs and watch those chickens run!

Wednesday, 16 March 2022 10:55

Weekly Time Waster - ‘The Elder Scrolls: Legends’

Written by Matt Fern

Last week, I presented the time waster “GWENT”. If you liked that card game at all, or you are looking for a more interesting take on a card battling game, this week I present a new card game as a fun contrasting option, “The Elder Scrolls: Legends.”

“The Elder Scrolls: Legends” is based on the award-winning game series “The Elder Scrolls,” the progenitor of many popular titles such as “Oblivion” and “Skyrim.” “TES: Legends” explores the characters, monsters, locations and many different aspects of the “Elder Scrolls” series. Just like in “GWENT,” you are tasked with collecting cards, and building the best deck that you possibly can, to both fight against computer players, and eventually real players if you choose to take on the challenge.

The premise of “TES: Legends” is simple; destroy the opponent’s monsters, counter their attacks if you can and defeat the enemy player. Unlike “GWENT” however, to win this game you don’t need the most points on the board in a best of three. To win this game, you must hit an opponent directly with attacks and take their health from thirty points to zero. You do this by playing both monsters, and spells to attack, defend, and counter your opponent. Each turn you gain a gem; certain cards require you to have a certain number of gems to play them.

“TES: Legends” has a fantastic story you can play through that teaches you many of the basics of the game. By the time you finish the story campaign, you should easily be able to take on other players. As you progress through the story, you earn currency and cards to add to your collection and – based on the choices you make during the story – you can collect completely different cards than someone else. When you are done with the campaign, you can move on to an extremely hard set of challenges that really beef up your knowledge of the game or you play against real players, which is where the most fun happens.

With the ability to collect hundreds of cards and build a deck however you want to your playstyle, there is plenty of content and time to waste in “TES: Legends.” And the best part? It’s all free! I liked “GWENT” a lot, but I dig this one even more.

“The Elder Scrolls: Legends” is free to download on the Android, and IOS stores. You can also download it from Steam for free.

Wednesday, 09 March 2022 11:56

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Gwent’

Written by Matt Fern

For many, their first experience with “The Witcher” was in the critically-acclaimed video game series, a series so popular and beloved that it spawned a fantastic (and also popular) television show on Netflix.

However, if that’s not enough – if you want even more from the franchise – then have I got a time-waster for you!

“Gwent” is a free-to-play card-game that is not only set in the “Witcher” universe, but actually based on the actual card game that characters play within the video game series. The goal of “Gwent” is to build a deck full of spells and monsters to fit your playstyle and outwit your opponent with your skills … and a little bit of luck.

The way to win at “Gwent” is to win twice in a series of three matches. To play “Gwent,” you place monsters/characters on the board; each unit has a value assigned to them ranging from one and going upwards to nine. The goal is to have more points than your opponent on the board at the end of a round; you can do this by placing lots of units and/or destroying your opponent’s cards.

The game simulates a battle between two armies, with you as the commander. There are many factions with which to build a deck in “Gwent,” all with their own playstyle. You can build an offensive deck that strives to put the most points possible on the board, but offers little in the way of defensive spells and counters. You can build a control-type deck, where you place down monsters of potentially low value but always keep your opponent’s board clear. Or you can try for something in between. The choices are endless – get creative.

To learn the ropes of “Gwent,” the game offers a short tutorial that shows you the basics. With many game modes ranging from casual matches to ranked play against others, there is a lot to do, with a ton of cards to collect for your deck-building endeavors. The best part? You don’t need to pay a single dime to have fun.

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

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