Monthly Archives: February 2017
Roller coaster and theme park enthusiasts have some options when it comes to building the parks of their dreams on mobile. RollerCaster Tycoon Classic is a pretty faithful recreation of the first two PC games, complete (for better or worse) with decidedly old school graphics. For a more updated spin, Atari has also released RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, designed to marry some of the original gameplay with modern systems.
It succeeds for the most part, at least in the sense that you feel like you are building an amusement park and catering to the guests’ desires while watching the bottom line. The graphics got a big kick in the pants, and there’s no question that it is very much “of the moment” in the way that it manages your time and gameplay sessions.
You can be the judge when it comes to the merits of those changes. What we’re here to do is provide some RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch Tips, Cheats and Strategies to help maximize your park-building acumen and make the cryogenically preserved body of Walt Disney blue with envy at your vision (blue instead of green since he’s frozen). Let’s get our tycoon on.
Bigger is Better
Where the original RollerCoaster Tycoon games generally presented you with scenarios that tested your ability to fulfill certain objectives in a specific amount of time, Touch has no such time constraints. Your goal is simply to have the most impressive park possible, zoning regulations be damned, we assume.
That doesn’t mean you can just build willy-nilly. Just like its predecessors left you at the mercy of your research department when it came to what rides or attractions you could construct next, the gods of randomness are present in the form of card packs. Each time you open a pack, you’ll either get a new card, opening up that item for construction, or cards for rides, stores and scenery you already have. Obtain enough duplicates and you can level up that attraction, increasing its usefulness to your park.
BONUS TIP: You can often build several of the same ride or store if desired. Look at the number on the left-hand side of any card and you’ll see how many copies of that structure you currently have in your park and the maximum number allowed — which can be increased at times by leveling up the card.
The park visitors, or Peeps, can also help guide you in the right direction when it comes to what to build next. If you tap on the smiley (hopefully) icon at the top of the main game screen, you’ll get a graph of the Peeps’ average satisfaction that has three bars: Fun, Food and Hygiene. While everything you build affects these scores in some way, a general way to look at them can be expressed pretty simply:
- If your Fun is low, build more rides.
- If your Food is low, build more restaurants.
- If your Hygiene is low, build more bathrooms — and if you’re maxed out on those, you might want to consider leveling up cards specifically to lower their Nausea ratings since that helps keep Hygiene high.
BONUS TIP: While you’re going big, you’re eventually going to run out of space. Starting at level 10, you can purchase park expansions off on the perimeters of your land just by tapping on them and paying the (fairly significant) amount of coins. A new expansion will open up for you every few levels.
Coins are Key
There’s no overstating how important coins are to RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch. Literally everything you want to do requires coins, and you don’t earn them all that quickly in the early stages of the game.
To build a new ride or attraction or lay down a new piece of scenery, you need not only the proper card but also the required number of coins. The same is true when you’re looking to upgrade anything. You’re going to run out of coins and find yourself unable to do anything at times. It’s just the reality of life as a tycoon.
There are some ways you can earn coins faster. Everything in the park, from the front gate to the shops (not bathrooms, though if memory serves you could charge guests to use them in the original RollerCoaster Tycoon games) has an adjustable ticket price for the Peeps. Just tap on an attraction and then tap on the price tag icon and you can use the slider to set the current price. Pay heed to the feedback about whether peeps find it to be too expensive. A good rule of thumb is to set it as high as possible while still falling in the ‘Good Value’ range.
Since this is a free-to-play game, you can also buy coins. Just tap on your coin balance at the top of the screen and you’ll see your options, and as with most F2P titles, it’s probably a smart move to wait for a special offer if you’re going to take the paid plunge.
BONUS TIP: Real life logic applies to what Peeps are willing to pay just to set foot in your theme park masterpiece. As you add more attractions, you’ll find that the Park Entrance price can be adjusted upward without it having a negative effect on guests’ attitudes — and you definitely should whenever possible.
Save Your Tickets
Tickets are the premium currency in RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, and as such, are pretty valuable. You won’t earn them as often or in the same quantities as coins, and they should be carefully stockpiled as a result.
At launch, tickets can be used right away for two purposes: completing missions instantly and buying more packs of cards. The first use is really only something to consider if you desperately need experience points to level up or coins in a hurry, depending on the mission reward in question. More often, you should be saving your tickets for card packs.
Spending 10 tickets on a Folder of Cards is tempting since you can earn that many tickets quickly by turning in missions or knocking out achievements. It’s just that the Binder of Cards is a better value: 38 cards for 35 tickets. That’s the way to go whenever possible.
One extra way to earn tickets is by tapping on the ‘Offers’ button in the store and checking out what Tapjoy has in store. You’ve probably encountered Tapjoy while playing other mobile games, but just in case, it often asks you to spend money on products or services to get some in-game currency in return, so be forewarned.
BONUS TIP: After you’ve played for a while, you’ll unlock the ability to promote your park, driving in more Peeps using the bullhorn icon in the bottom-right corner. For 25 tickets, you can get a 15 percent attendance boost for 12 hours, which isn’t that bad. However, you can also get a 5 percent boost for three hours simply by watching a video. That seems like the better play in most circumstances.
Design Your Own Thrills
One of the cooler features of RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, even in a relatively limited form, is the ability to design your own roller coasters. It’s not quite as intuitive as constructing and placing everything else in your park, but it does offer you an impressive amount of control given the overall simplicity of the game.
To build a coaster, you’ll first need one of all four kinds of basic cards: station, train, tracks and chain lift. There are seven types of coasters in all, each with their own additional feature cards, but they all share the four basics.
Construction begins by placing the station and making sure you have plenty of room to lay out the track. You can manage the elevation of different parts of the track so that it goes over existing attractions, but until you get the hang of it, the easiest thing to do is to build near the back of your land or in a freshly opened expansion.
Inside the build menu, you lay out track by simply dragging out your finger from the station or the last node. At each node, you have the following options:
- Slide the track around on the X and Y axes.
- Change the elevation of the track, moving it up or down.
- Tilting the track left or right, as you would to bank the turns.
Any or all of those options can be performed at each node. Then you simply build out to the next one. If applicable, you can also tap the ‘Add Special’ icon to throw in a loop, spiral or other fancy track section, though there might be some prerequisites to doing so. For example, you can’t add the ‘Wooden Helix Down’ special card to the wooden coaster unless your track is already high enough off the ground at that node to accommodate it.
Special elements are great for raising the Intensity and Excitement ratings of a coaster, so don’t hesitate to use them when possible. Also, keep in mind that each basic and special card in a coaster can be leveled up separately, giving you some options on how to boost its performance and desirability to the Peeps.
BONUS TIP: Want to build a longer coaster with more nodes and elements? You’ll want to level up the tracks card, as that will give you a length bonus and allow you to add more.
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It’s not always the way to go, but there’s something to be said for keeping expectations low. Pokemon GO is a great example. After the massive frenzy it created upon release last summer, Niantic made only small updates the rest of 2016. So when 80 Pokemon from the Johto region finally joined the game recently, it was like the Greatest Thing Ever™.
We kid because we care. In any case, most of the Gen 2 Pokemon can be encountered out in the wild, and you’ve no doubt seen that your normal crew of Pidgey and Weedle joined by the likes of Sentret and Spinarak. But you can also find some of the Johto region Pokemon in eggs as well.
Which ones? That’s what we’re here to break down for you. Credit for the leg work goes to the devoted peeps on Reddit and especially the minds behind Silph Road, who have hatched a ton of Pokemon Eggs to give the world more insight into what’s inside.
Here are the new Pokemon you can expect to find inside eggs of each distance:
Note that the original Pokemon found in eggs are still there as well, and in greater overall numbers than the newcomers. That suggests that you’re still more likely to hatch something you’ve seen before than something new unless Niantic has tilted the numbers heavily in favor of the Johto crowd, but time will tell if that’s the case.
In any case, as the weather turns warmer, new Pokemon to find in eggs is a great reason to get out walking again and remembering why you bothered learning how many blocks were in a kilometer in your neighborhood last year. For more on hatching Pokemon Eggs, please check out the guide we wrote back in the magical summer of ’16, which still has plenty of helpful advice for Pokemon GO even in its updated form.
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Considering the ubiquity of mobile puzzle games, finding a fresh approach to puzzle mechanics is no small feat. Causality from Loju makes expert use of a familiar isometric design, cute little bots, and simple swipe-to-move controls. But that familiarity quickly gives way to complicated time manipulation and paradoxes of time travel which will befuddle even the most passionate puzzle fans.
Causality offers four progressively more difficult worlds, with ten levels each and five bonus levels per world that are even more difficult. These 60 levels provide increasingly more complex ways of playing inside and outside of time and space, as you guide little helmeted astronauts through a dangerous path to their goal. Though “time” functions conceptually as the measurement of progress, there aren’t countdown timers you need to beat. Instead, you’ll progress along a timeline with the steps you take and the moves you make. As you advance, you can scrub back through the timeline to undo mistakes by “rewinding” your progress and moving back in time to make a better choice. Console gamers may recognize the influence of the groundbreaking indie game Braid from 2008, which allowed players to “rewind” their gameplay and move backwards in time in order to complete each level. However, Causality also incorporates additional versions of multiple timelines and characters, with all actions tightly bound to one another.
The difficulty ramping is reasonable in the first world, though once you move to the second world, and timelines start shifting, things will get very challenging. If you’re looking for a relaxing, peaceful puzzler, Causality will probably lead to a lot of frustration. However, if you’re a puzzle master constantly searching for mind-melting mechanics, you’ll likely enjoy the challenge. The designers were thoughtful in how they introduced new mechanics, ensuring there is a simplified puzzle to first help you learn how to navigate in each new scenario. Thankfully, if you get stuck you can return to the main menu and skip the level you are currently on and move to the next level. This keeps the game motivating, rather than just frustrating.
The key to progress in the game is learning the idiosyncrasies of negotiating time and space as they come up. For example, if there is more than one astronaut on the screen, their actions are tethered to one another, meaning that they both advance at the same time. If they come into contact, they must change directions because they cannot pass one another. Learning how to direct these two figures in tandem, as they must do different things and reach different goals, is the discovery and fun of the game.
Similarly, learning how to manipulate timelines while warping back and forth between portals and facing multiple versions of yourself requires patience and practice. Where in the timeline you encounter a portal determines how your astronaut will move forward and back. The paradoxes of time travel and orienting yourself and other selves in those timelines can be difficult to navigate.
The graphics are impressive, with beautiful, dimensional environments growing and glowing around our little explorers as they progress toward their goals. The ambient outerspace-cum-underwater soundtrack is pleasant and relaxing, though I do recommending lowering the volume of the sound effects if you’d like a more mellow experience.
With its lovely aesthetics and unique mechanics, Causality is a satisfying challenge that will make you feel pretty darn accomplished for getting through it. If brains need workouts to get stronger, I can guarantee that Causality will have your brain doing some handstand pushups in no time.
RollerCoaster Tycoon was always meant to be played on a touchscreen. Everyone who spent their weekends hunched over their Windows PC playing the original must have mistakenly tried to adjust coaster height or place the perfect hamburger cart with their fingers at least once or twice, much to the annoyance of anyone else they shared their smudge-stained monitor with. While different versions of RollerCoaster Tycoon has been available for mobile for quite a while now, it’s never been as good as it is with RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, the first iteration of the game that fully takes advantage of the capabilities of today’s mobile devices.
The most significant upgrade setting RollerCoaster Tycoon touch apart from its predecessors is its graphics. RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch is a far more beautiful and intricate game than RollerCoaster Tycoon World, 3 or 4 for mobile. In fact, it’s so beautiful it even makes bathrooms look pretty. Looking this good doesn’t come without a downside, however. It’s a heavy game, and if you want it to run smoothly, hopefully you’re already working with a newer device. Still, if you’re a diehard RollerCoaster Tycoon fan, this game might just be the reason to go out and get a new phone or tablet.
The second most significant change is the move from scenarios to challenges and card packs. RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch is very much a free-to-play mobile game in this regard. Completing challenges earns you coins, tickets and/or card packs — which are also available via in-app purchase.
Card packs are what unlock new attractions, facilities and decorative features, so getting as many different cards as possible is one of the big keys to success. Doubles are counted towards upgrades, so as frustrating as getting your twelfth joystick arcade in a row might be, it’ll pay off in the end. Tickets are used to purchase card packs in the shop, so make sure to take advantage of every opportunity you’re given to earn them.
Coins are the central in-game currency, and needed to place and upgrade attractions and facilities. Keep a close eye on your coin count because all the cards in the world won’t help you if you don’t have enough cash to do anything. The shops and attractions generate revenue to visiting the game frequently to collect is a good idea.
Another big difference with RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch is just how intuitive its touch controls are. Making a path is no longer a chore: just drag your finger across the screen to build or erase. You can even manipulate the screen as you are path building to make sure you’re not leaving any gaps. Moving a building is as simple as tapping, holding and dragging it to its new location. These perfectly sensitive touch controls make building coasters a breeze, too. For anyone who has ever struggled with closing the loop, the new coaster builder is a godsend.
Together, these changes make for what is easily the best RollerCoaster Tycoon experience since RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 was released back in 2004. The free-to-play nature of the game slows the experience down a bit from the paid versions, but RollerCoaster Tycoon was never really meant as a game to spend every waking minute with (even if that’s what most of us did). Just like a real tycoon, you check in on RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch several times a day for ten minutes at a time, taking care of business so the money starts to roll in on its own. Whether this is your first experience in the RollerCoaster Tycoon universe or your umpteenth, you’ll be feeling like a boss in no time.
February is always kind of a funny month. It’s the outcast at just 28 days (yes, 29 on leap years) and thus has to squeeze the same goodness we expect from the rest of the calendar into less time.
Did that affect the output of the mobile games industry this year? Not really! Gamers on the go were treated to the same mix of quantity and quality you’d expect in any month, leaving us with the usual task of identifying the true gems and putting them out in the open for all to see.
And as Will Smith once said in a movie where he dressed in monochrome fashion, you’re looking for the “best of the best of the best, sir!” We think we’ve found them from February.
Sometimes a game concept is just genius from the start and should be recognized as such. As evidence, I present Slayaway Camp, a puzzle game that traffics in horror movie cliches. As in oblivious victims, masked killers, ridiculous numbers of sequels, you name it. Also blood. Somehow Blue Wizard Digital stirs all of those things up, mixes in a heaping helping of legitimately challenging puzzles and comes out with a stew that is both entertaining and hilarious. Highly recommended, even if you usually get the jitters from things that go bump in the night.
- Slayaway Camp Review (5 stars)
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Hey, this game was already on mobile years ago! What gives? A lot, actually, since this is a complete re-doing of the original game, which in itself was an adaptation of the classic physical gamebook from even further back. Tin Man Games spreads its wings a little more here, blending its core competencies with gamebooks and expanding into tabletop miniatures-style combat. The mix turns out to be really compelling whether you have some familiarity with the source material or not.
- The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Review (4.5 stars)
Tiny Striker: World Football
I think I read somewhere that soccer is the world’s most popular sport. There have certainly been enough mobile soccer games to back that up, but they tend to naturally self-segregate into action and simulation categories. Tiny Striker threads the needle between them by featuring simple but addictive gameplay and also adding in a surprising number of management considerations. You’d never the expect the latter if you just looked at this game for a few seconds, but that’s why it’s worth investigating further.
- Tiny Striker: World Football Review (4.5 stars)
RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch
What a time to be alive for RollerCoaster Tycoon fans. First, the original games come to mobile, in not quite exact port but nevertheless faithful form. Then Atari cooks up a new vision of park-building specifically for phones and tablets and manages to avoid the mistakes it made last time. Touch packs in a lot of options for laying out the theme park of your dreams while making it simple to do so, and it even lets you dig into details like laying out roller coasters exactly to your liking. It falls back on some current F2P tropes too, but not enough to recommend against trying it.
- RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch Review (4.5 stars)
Game over folks. When there’s an endless driller out there, you can feel pretty secure in the notion that everything endless has been done. But hey, at least Digby Forever is taking it out with a bang; it gives you some Dig Dug nostalgia and smacks you right in the grill with a drill thanks to challenging game mechanics that go on … well, forever. Plus the graphics are superb and the F2P elements nicely balanced. Sounds like something you should be playing, yes? Yes.
- Digby Forever Review (4 stars)
Hidden Folks is one of those games that demanded your attention from the first time its developers started spreading the word about it. The game simply looks like a work of art, and it is thanks to its carefully hand-drawn, black and white environments. The object is to find specific people in its densely populated scenes, but there’s a lot more going on than just that since the backgrounds are highly interactive. If you’re looking for a bit of whimsy to insert into your mobile gaming mix, this is what you seek.
- Hidden Folks Review (4 stars)
Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet
One of the great parts of the mobile gaming boom of the last few years is that it’s helped great but overlooked franchises and characters find new life. That’s definitely the case with Nelly Cootalot, who brings her unique pirate style effortlessly from PC to touchscreens. The result is an interactive adventure that’s fun for all ages, brought to life with stylized visuals and and excellent voice cast. When one of our reviewer’s main concerns was that the game was too short, you know it’s hit upon something good.
- Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet Review (4.5 stars)
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