Gaming on the Cheap - Amazon Appstore
Written by Craig Will, puffkix Thursday, 16 June 2011 11:00
Outside of a few hours of Modern Warfare 2 with my brother I haven't had time recently to really dig into any games on my home consoles. Just like the last Gaming on the Cheap article, I've resorted to playing games on my phone while on break at work. I have a couple new games to share with you and I wouldn't have found them if not for the Amazon Appstore for Android. The Android app has really blown me away with how slick and user friendly the front end is. It's also really easy to navigate and find exactly what you're looking for. If you haven't checked out the Amazon Appstore, either the app or on the computer, give it a try, there are often great deals going on like at the end of last month when Plants vs. Zombies was free for a day.
Anyway, the two games to check out are:
Godville is not really a game in the traditional sense of controlling a character... or anything that goes on really. This is more like owning a pet. That doesn't really do anything. Basically you create a hero by assigning a gender and a name. Then the game plays without you, giving you status updates as to what your hero is doing or thinking. What's the fun in that? Well, there are a couple ways to interact with your hero. By using godpower (like mana) heroes can be influenced in various ways, and each level up expands how many times you can refill your godpower. Godpower can be used to offer encouragement, which often results in healing your character when they're hurt and it aligns them on the side of gentle. It also seems to make them a bit complacent and gives them a sort of "I do what I want attitude." On the other side you can Punish your hero, which tends to hurt them, literally dropping their HP, and pushes them towards an evil alignment. I haven't played too much with the Punishment side of things but I imagine it makes them much more aware and reverent of your mighty powers. A third way to interact is to type in a message to send to your hero, and although my hero hasn't directly responded to the suggestions I've given him, they do seem to have a slight influence over his next actions. Finally, after reaching a certain level you can zip your hero off to the arena to do battle with other heroes. This seemed like it would be a blast though it turns into a longwinded text-scroll-athon as each "god" can heal their hero as they get low on health. And since the heroes have to be a certain level to even enter the arena there is much godpower to be used, which can make the battles very boring as each person continually heals their hero. The best part about this game is the fact that it plays itself, making it perfect to open and encourage/punish your hero every couple of hours. No long-term contract required.
Star Traders RPG Elite is the exact opposite of Godville. Instead of a casual light game that plays itself while you're away, this is a deep space RPG reminiscent of the Orion games of old and it will eat up hours of your life if you let it. Like so many other games/apps on the mobile market there is a free version and a paid version of this game. The difference between Star Traders and other games with two versions is that the paid version doesn't remove some lame ads in the game, it actually adds content and unlockables not available in the free version. I downloaded the free version, fell in love with it and sprang the two dollars to gain access to everything in the paid "elite" version. Boy, was it worth it. On top of all the unlockables the star map interface receives an overhaul that makes navigating the game a bit simpler and definitely more enjoyable. The game focuses on you, a starship captain, and your exploits throughout the galaxy. When you start the game up you must name your captain, choose a difficulty (8 to choose from), select a profession (there are dozens available and a couple to unlock), pick a faction (6 total), and select your starting ship. There is only one choice for the ship the first time you play and the other 5 need to be unlocked through acheiving awards on various difficulty settings. There are around 30 awards to receive, though a few are only available in the elite edition, and guarantee replayability. Gameplay is broken up into space travel (a gridlike travel system), planetside urban interactions (each planet is owned by a different faction and the access you'll have to supplies and contracts there is dependent on your relationship with that faction), planetside exploration of wild zones (each accompanied with its own risk factor and the higher the risk the better loot you can find), and space combat (where commands are given to fire torpedoes or guns, advance or retreat, hit their deck or engines, or board and duel the enemy captain). There are many different ways to play the game, from exploring for treasures to blowing everybody else's crap up to making a profit by running goods as a merchant. It's really an intricate, well made game that has to be played to do it justice but if you've ever been a fan of RPGs, adventure games, space, pirates, or treasures (again pronounced tray-zures if you want to be my friend) then this game is right up your alley. Now if you'll excuse me I need to get back to dueling enemy captains, enslaving their crew, and looting their ship before I blow it up. Ah, a space pirate's life for me.