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By Jessica Brister On 22 Aug, 2015 At 05:43 PM | Categorized As Featured, Mobile Gaming, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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If you were like me, you were delighted to hear at E3 that Bethesda Softworks had a free gaming app called Fallout Shelter. It sounded like a cool diversion before Fallout 4 came out. Then the Android users got a slap in the face: Fallout Shelter would only be immediately available for iOS. Yeah, as an Android user, I was a bit bitter. Yes, I know it’s a free app that Bethesda totally didn’t have to do, but I wanted to play it right then and there. It was a bit of a disappointment. However, the app is finally out for Android, and I have been playing it a lot. Apparently, so have a lot of other people. I wanted to love the game, but there is one major thing that I don’t like about it that have pretty much stopped me from playing it altogether.

Fallout Shelter is addicting, but it has one major downfall.

Fallout Shelter is addicting, but it has one major downfall.

Fallout Shelter is fun. Don’t get me wrong. It’s addicting. It’s clever. There is a lot right about it.

When I first started to play it, the game really reminded me of Sim Tower (anyone else remember that game?). The player is responsible as a vault’s Overseer to keep the place and people in order. You start off with a few dwellers and try to increase that number as well as manage resources and keep people happy. The three most important resources are power, food, and water which are harvested by placing certain rooms in the vault and having the dwellers work them. Of course, building rooms cost caps. To get more caps, a player must either level up the dwellers, successful rush a room (speed up the resource gathering process), send dwellers out to the wasteland, or complete objectives.

When objectives are achieved, they sometimes give out lunchboxes. These lunchboxes give out a few cards that award extra resources, outfits that raise dweller stats, special characters, weapons, or extra caps. At first, the objectives are easy, and players can easily get several lunchboxes. After awhile, though it gets harder and harder to get the goodies. Extra lunchboxes can be bought through in-app purchases.

Dwellers also have SPECIAL stats (just like in the actual Fallout games). Putting certain dwellers with certain stats will make material collection and successful room rushes easier. A player can increase a dweller’s stats by adding rooms that can train them. Players also need to keep an eye on the happiness level of the vault dwellers, since that can affect their performance. Happiness can be raised by rushing rooms or things like…making babies. Of course, besides worrying about the basic resources and happiness levels, there are also issues with radiation, rad-roaches, and raiders. Add a slick-looking color scheme and the retro 1950s Fallout-style, and you get a really awesome app.

Rushing a room unsuccessfully can be disastrous.

Rushing a room unsuccessfully can be disastrous.

It’s actually one of the best game apps I’ve played on Android. So you may be wondering to yourself, “If you think it’s a great app, why were you disappointed? Why did you stop playing it?” Well, there is one major thing that has forced me to stop playing altogether, and that is…

It’s so demanding that it’s ten times worse than a Tamigotchi. If you don’t know what that is, I’m sorry, but your childhood was not awesome.

Okay, I may be kidding on that one, but seriously, the game is demanding on a level that I haven’t experienced since I had this thing in Middle School:

Yes, I have saved this thing for the last (almost) twenty years.

Yes, I have saved this thing for the last (almost) twenty years.

The game cannot be minimized for too long because things will still keep going, even if you aren’t actively playing. I can understand that if it’s just running in the background, though that is still annoying. However, I have completely shut down the game and turned my tablet off, and when I get back on, the happiness level of my vault has dropped from the 90% range to the teens and most of my resources are gone. The game is unfortunately focused too much on real-time. It’s not an app that you can casually play. It demands a lot of attention, which is why I have dubbed the game “Tamagotchi on Steriods.” This means that if you want to be successful as an Overseer, don’t go to sleep and don’t stop playing.

I wish that the game would actually pause, but it’s too focused on real-time play. If Bethesda would fix this, it would be the best gaming app I’ve ever seen. However, unless they do, I just can’t play it anymore. It was taking over all of my time. That’s not something that I wanted in an app, something I I may play on occasion when I’m sitting at the doctor’s office or when I’m nursing my daughter. Let’s hope that we can actually pause Fallout 4. *Tee-Hee*

By Jessica Brister On 12 Mar, 2015 At 11:55 PM | Categorized As Mobile Gaming, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSmartphone and tablet users are constantly hounded by a barrage of gaming apps, most of which are mediocre at best.  These apps pass the time when a person is waiting around at the doctor’s office, but they are usually not that great outside of that.  Sleuth is a bit different; it’s a game that actually makes a person think.  Part trivia, part Wheel of Fortune, and part Pictionary: Sleuth is a creative and addictive game that is a blast to play.

good sleuth logo

Sleuth gives out four pictures and has the player try and determine a particular “mystery.”  A player is initially shown a category, which include people, movies, places, words, history, television, books, and songs.  There are then four tiles that appear on the screen.  Each tile slowly reveals a picture that gives hints to what the mystery item might be.  Above the tiles the answer is given in a Hangman or Wheel of Fortune-type style.  A player must start typing from the beginning of the sequence in order to get the answer correct.  The letter will show up green for correct and red for incorrect.  After awhile, letters will begin to appear in the answer boxes to give the player a bit of a hint.

There is a timer that  counts down, and the quicker a player solves the puzzle, the more points he or she ends up receiving.  When the time goes down, the points fall as well.  Guessing an incorrect letter will also drop points as well as not getting a puzzle at all.  A player’s points carry over, so it’s important to try to solve the mystery as quickly and accurately as possible.  Players may use in-app purchasing to buy hunches that reveal letters.  However, a player can refer a friend and get free hunches.

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Players end up competing against each other from around the world because there is a leader-board for the highest scorers.  The top month’s scorer gets a Sleuth t-shirt and the top annual winner will get an iPad.

The game is not one of those apps that someone can “space out” and play.  One must really think to do well.  Puzzles can range in difficulty depending on the player’s trivia skills.  The variety of puzzles also can keep a player on his or her toes, since the categories can range from popular culture to geography.  The pacing and scoring of the game make it addicting, since guessing wrong or not getting a puzzle correct will decrease the score.  It’s easy to go, “Just one more puzzle,” and end up playing for a lot longer.

The best part about Sleuth is its uniqueness and possibilities for play.  It’s different from the typical game app because it relies on a player’s knowledge instead of gaming skill.  It is geared more for adults, but it would actually make an interesting app for older children as it reinforces spelling, visual cognition, and common knowledge.  The game would also be great for parties and gatherings if used on a larger tablet.

Sleuth is developed by SimWave and is available for Android this week and IOS next week.  It is free with ads and $.99 without ads.

Overall, Sleuth is a lot of fun.  It’s different, challenging, and has a lot of potential.  This one is a must-add to your list of game apps.

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IPod Touch, Only One of Many Forms of Second Screening.

Now, this is only my opinion on the matter and even though I’ve only had one form of  “Second Screening”, this is going to be my overall take on it, going from TV and iPod connectivity alone and do not reflect the obvious differences of the Wii U.  After the first hour of a 3 hour episode of WWE Raw, I’ve got to say that I’m not impressed with the first experience.

The Good:

The idea of having behind the scenes videos during commercials is the best thing any company can do during shows, live or otherwise. What is normally bathroom breaks, is me awkwardly walking to the bathroom with my iPod and Tritton Kunai headset as I am keeping a eye on show content. During the live portion of the show, the app is continuously updating with polls and tweets from the fans as I browse the app after the video abruptly cuts off for  reasons beyond my control.

The Bad:
The content that updates while the show is going on, actually kept me from watching a Pay Per View quality match. I was too in depth with what the WWE Universe (Stupid Fans as Glen Beck puts it.) that I completely missed parts of it, and was super happy that they replayed the dive that Danial Bryan did mid match. This is the only downside to the entire second screening experience, as I have not yet dove into the other realm of watching while a episode of “The Walking Dead” is on.

WWE-app-iOS

What Did I Get From Popping My Cherry?:

Second screening is pointless. I’ve heard people talk about this awesome experience as people tweet, Facebook and interact with friends about what they are watching, but the only thing I’ve gotten out of it was a poor excuse to promote a app, and whore out their wares from their website.

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As Far As Gaming Goes:

With the most recent updates to the Playstation 3 and the PSVita, they added the ability to play ranked and player matches on Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken from your PS Vita to the console counterpart. Does anyone remember the Dreamcast VMU’s and the ability to have stats of your Madden, or Ready To Rumble matches on it? I do, and as shitty as it was, we loved it when we could take it to school and breed Chaos in the middle of study hall. What about using the PSVita for the ability to see your stats in sports or RPG titles? No one will ever think of it, because Sony is using the Vita as a handheld and not as a potential platform for a killer gaming experience.

What is your thoughts on the ability to have a “Second Screen Experience” and where do you think It can go with gaming in the next generation? Tweet me @CupcheckGE 🙂