Time Waster Weekly (310)

Wednesday, 09 September 2020 12:45

Weekly Time Waster – ‘Madden NFL 21 Mobile Football’

Written by Matt Fern

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’

Written by Matt Fern

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.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020 12:43

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’

Written by Matt Fern

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’

Written by Matt Fern

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’

Written by Matt Fern

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’

Written by Matt Fern

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.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020 13:43

Weekly Time Waster - ‘AI Dungeon’

Written by Matt Fern

If you’ve ever played a text-based adventure game, you know that you play through a story where there are choices you make along the way; these choices eventually lead to one of multiple endings based on your influence. But what if the story never ended or just kept evolving into something that doesn’t even utterly make any sense anymore?

That is the joy, comedy and frustration of “AI Dungeon.”

“AI Dungeon” is controlled by an artificial intelligence (oh no, not Skynet!) that creates and adapts an adventure story based on what you type in. It’s like talking to a chatbot on a business website, except that this one writes you fun stories instead of telling you it can’t solve your problem.

You start off by selecting a story genre ranging from fantasy to apocalyptic to science fiction to anything you can think of with a “custom” option. From there, the AI takes over and crafts you the beginning of a random adventure, seeking your input for each encounter.

In my first playthrough, I was aboard the USS Enterprise as the captain of the vessel, encountering the invasion of a planet by Klingons. By the end of the story, I somehow was a ruthless galactic tyrant who was helping the Cylons from “Battlestar Galactica” enslave humanity.

Based on your input, a story can deviate and go completely off the rails; if you are unsatisfied with the direction a story is going, you can either type “/revert” to go back and try a new input or you can just start over. Playing this game was like doing improv with a partner, except your partner is either super into the story or just completely drunk and spewing out hilarious nonsense.

“AI Dungeon” is absolutely a blast if you want to waste your time, and hey, what more can you ask for from a game that lets you survive the zombie apocalypse with your best friend Indiana Jones while catching Pokémon in the wild?

“AI Dungeon” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020 11:45

Weekly Time Waster - ‘World Robot Boxing 2’

Written by Matt Fern

Remember “Real Steel,” the movie about robot boxing being a staple sporting event in the future? It was cool, it was unique … and I kind of wish there was a sequel. Of course, what would be a movie without some type of game based on it?

“World Robot Boxing 2” is basically a game version of “Real Steel,” just with no Hugh Jackman. Set in the not so distant future, you control a boxing robot looking to become the next robot boxing legend. With many different classes of robots to choose from, ranging from slow and heavy robots, to very agile robots, there are many different options to fit your specific style of play. There are 67 robots in all, and six classes to choose from. The game features 14 different countries to represent, which is a cool feature.

The game starts with you fighting in the illegal underground matches, letting you rise through the ranks to eventually becoming a world champion on the grandest stage. With lots of different abilities to choose from and ways to train your robot, your fighter eventually starts to grow on you. You control your robot by performing various swipes and taps on your screen; you string together combos to take down your opponent. You also can also choose from 48 signature moves to finish off your opponents; every fighter needs a signature finishing move, right?

“World Robot Boxing 2” is super fun to play; it starts you at nothing and challenges you to rise to the top. There is plenty of time to be wasted in the 12 different battle arenas. The game is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Tuesday, 04 February 2020 11:07

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Army Men Strike’

Written by Matt Fern

When I was a kid, I used to stage massive battles with bags upon bags of green and tan army men. You know the ones; you can find them at the dollar store and just about every toy store. My dad and I even built a command center out of wood and spray painted it camo colors; it was always used as the base being attacked or defended in my childhood scenarios. There have been plenty of video games over the years that portrayed this childhood memory on the big screen, but I finally found one that does it in the palm of my hand.

“Army Men Strike” is a strategy game that features you as the captain of the green army, tasked with fighting a successful war against the evil tan army. You must recruit soldiers and obtain vehicles and drop them onto the battlefield in a tower defense-type scenario. Basically, there will be a tan base on a carpet in a kid’s room; you have different areas around the carpet where you can deploy your troops. You want your heavy vehicles/soldiers to deploy near bunkers and hard-to-defeat targets and then roll your infantry into areas where they can attack other infantry.

And would it be a kid’s room without toys other than green army men? You also can deploy toy jets, transformer robot and more! With many different scenarios and different tactics to try, you truly get to feel like a kid again playing with plastic army men. While you’re attacking the tan army, you also get to whistle along to military tunes such as “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “On, Brave Old Army Men.” Oh, and there is a multiplayer aspect; you can attack other people’s bases if you so choose, but it is not necessary.

“Army Men Strike” is available to download on the Android and IOS stores. Head out there and melt down that evil tan army!

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 14:10

Weekly Time Waster – ‘Mobile Legends Bang Bang’

Written by Matt Fern

One of the most played video games in the world is “League of Legends.” At over 80 million players a month (an impressive figure), “League of Legends” continues to grow and thrive; it has spawned gaming tournaments that bring people together to play from all over the world. However, you can’t find it on a mobile device, but here’s the next best thing!

“Mobile Legends Bang Bang” is one of the best 5v5 multiplayer online battle arenas on the mobile platform. Yes, the name is cheesy, but the game more than makes up for that. The objective of the game is to destroy the enemy team’s base while also defending your own. You do this by fighting on three-lane maps - a top, middle and bottom lane. Each lane has a few towers within it that must be destroyed to advance down that lane. On your journey to the enemy team’s base while defending your own, you will face five other players with the same objectives, as well as computer-controlled minions that will try and fight you. You want to push together as a team to win, so strategy and teamwork are very important.

What’s nice about this game is that each match is only 10 minutes long, so it won’t take a lot of your time. In “Mobile Legends Bang Bang” there are over 80 heroes to choose from (although not all are free of course - eight heroes in my experience so far are free to play); each one has unique attacks and abilities to master. The characters range from tanks, mages, marksmen, support characters and more.

With such variety in both maps and characters, there is a lot to try. The graphics and music are also a treat! If you aren’t familiar on how to play these games, there is even a beginner’s tutorial that tells and shows you everything you need to know.

“Mobile Legends Bang Bang” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores!

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