Girls/Dolls Frontline (2022) TV ANIME [FIRST IMPRESSIONS]

The gacha-age of anime it’s still going strong, since after the gag anime based on Girls/Dolls Frontline debutted on BiliBili… we’re now actually getting an adaptation of the strategy gacha game’s story, because why the fuck not? Why yes?

Doesn’t matter, it’s there anyway, so let’s take a look at the first 3 episodes, i did actually play this one a lot more than most of these “things turned anime girls” gacha game, since it was actually a strategy game that held some actual gameplay alongside trying to roll the best “gungirl”.

Yep, this time we have mass-produced humanoid robots virtually indistinguishable from humans called “Tactical dolls” (referred to as “T-Dolls” for brevity’s sake), named after a specific type and model of weaponry, and a very Terminatoresque plot set in the not-too-distant future of 2045, when World War III erupts and various PMCs send out their tactical dolls to fight.

Continua a leggere “Girls/Dolls Frontline (2022) TV ANIME [FIRST IMPRESSIONS]”

[EXPRESSO] Zookeeper World iOS | Match From The Past

Look what the Apple Arcade (yeah, eventually i decided to pay for it, 5 bucks a month it’s not a bad deal overall, in my opinion) resurrected, Zoo Keeper of all franchises.

I distinctly remember when this little match-3 puzzle game came out and managed to make the transiction from cute fun free flash game to full retail release..s, not just on the Game Boy Advance and DS, but even on the PS2. Those were different times indeed.

Of course it had been released on smarthphones after that, as Zoo Keeper DX Touch Edition and it even got a free-to-play VS version, Zoo Keeper Battle.

This new game retains the distinct aesthetic that admittely makes the series stand out more than the gameplay itself, one that translates well in voxel-style 3D graphics, but thankfully developer Kiteretsu also added more aside puzzles, in this case being the ever-popular “simulation-lite” management elements of adding more stuff to increase the appeal of the zoo, fulfilling requests, or doing menial jobs like cleaning up, alongside some minigames.

The simulation elements are lite as expected and needed, but the core gameplay it’s surprisingly addictive and manages to keep things interesting enough along the way via new obstacles and gimmicks, despite being a simple match-3 affair.

Though i do wonder if it was originally built as a free-to-play game, it’s clearly structured like one in terms of unlocks and progression, there are more currencies and cosmetic stuff like a punk costume for the monkeys, but since it’s an Apple Arcade release there are no microtransactions and shit, so you can actually enjoy playing a puzzle game on mobile without being continuosly pressured into paying money to skip deliberately excessive grind.

Not exactly a “subscription seller” or whatnote, but it’s honestly just good mobile puzzle game fun.

[EXPRESSO] Pikmin Bloom iOS | Flower Fitness

Remember that mobile Pikmin game from Niantic that was announced some time ago?

Well, i kinda forgot, but it’s out now pretty much everywhere, so here we are with “Pikmin Go”.

Yeah, it uses pretty much the same augmented reality format, with the need to keep the app open and walking to hatch stuff. Here instead of eggs you have Pikmin seeds, each requiring a certain amount of steps to be taken in order to “harvest” the Pikmin, and you can use nectars to make the collected Pikmins grow flowers and award you with petals, which are needed.

To be honest, i was amazed when i played for the first time, went through the tutorial phase and realized…. that was it. Look, i have been playing Pokemon Go since launch, so i’m not that picky on regards to gameplay, but there is something as too damn simple, even a mobile game like this.

Yes, you can use up petals to plant flowers while moving, which helps in growing both your seeds, and the big flowers on the map, were you can sent the Pikmin into expeditions, to gain nectar, Pikmin cosmetic accessories and more Pikmin seeds, but that’s really it.

Not that i wanted combat from a Pikmin game, and it being very close to an idle game makes some sense, but still, i feel bamboozled, i can’t really imagine it appealing to the main Pikmin fanbase, neither so much to casual players.

I can’t really be to angry or confused about this, i really can’t since even the marketing frames it as something akin to a fitness app than a game, but it doesn’t make for an engaging activity, as there’s no stakes or big goals to work towards, even as a casual thing to fiddle with while walking.

[EXPRESSO] World Flipper iOS | Pinball Isekai RPG Action

“Flipper” it’s a short-term for pinball outside of America, FIY.

And i’m fairly sure we didn’t have a pinball RPG gacha game before, i remember there was a spin-off of FF XV of sorts for smart devices, but whatever, it’s a far more alluring proposition in a overly satured market of idle games, mild rpgs, and everything in the middle.

The plot it’s basically an isekai tropes salad, but the faux 8 bit graphics are nice enough, presentation is decent, and doesn’t bombard you with too much plot or terminology right away.

Gameplay is a bit different than expected, as it’s not set up as a traditional pinball affair, with the heroes acting as single “ball” but also able to dash while launched to attack the nearest enemy, and launch skills with a pretty typical but pretty good control scheme for touch devices.

There is a bit of depth, with enemies exposing weak points at certain times, the more combos you get in a row powering up your shot to make the team spring a stronger attack, there’s Fever Mode, and overall there’s quite enough to keep it easy to play in short bursts but not mindless.

Of course, this comes with the inevitable free-to-play trappings, events, upgrade trees/maps, but the less annoying ones, just energy consumption and gacha for characters using the main premium crystals/gems, one with gacha advantages for using gems obtained by poning up cash.

But still, it’s not that bad, and honestly it’s good, good fun, way more captivating than expected, even disregarding the obvious methods to try hook you in, World Flipper it’s one of those free-to-play games that you end up back into because you actually wanna play it.

A rare sight, even aside it delivering to the underserved niche of pinball games.

[EXPRESSO] Metal Slug Commander iOS | Cards Frontline

While that other mobile Metal Slug game (the one looking like a proper Metal Slug title, previosly known as Metal Slug Code J and now called Metal Slug Awakening) is still yet to come somewhere this year and the really promising Metal Slug Tactics is in development, SNK dropped a new mobile “RTS” title for smartphones, with Metal Slug Commander.

Apparently it was on beta test since october of last year, but i didn’t even knew the game (developed by SNK’s Hong Kong branch) existed, so whatever, it’s in open beta and available worlwide now.

More intriguing than another tapper, i guess.

This time it’s not a tower defense dealio, but the other popular mobile gameplay set-up: cards based.

You arrange the position of your cards/units in the 5 spaces (divided in 2 lanes) against the enemy formation, the units attacks automatically and you can tap to unleash a skill/powerful move when they’re able to. Pretty standard fare through and through, nothing really complex or fancy in any way, and you’re encouraged to just let it go on auto-battle, but there is something to it, as positioning the units and selecting the right counters does matter.

And as far as balancing the “pay to win” bullshit, this is a step up from Metal Slug Attack (and an idle resource collecting feature eases the grind a bit), so it feels less of a facade to justify the gacha of new characters, some sporting quite good designs.

Which just makes me wish we could actually get a new proper side scroller Metal Slug for consoles and PC to make good use of the new designs, i mean, SNK should have milked the franchise through mobile free to play games enough to warrant it.

Or re-release Metal Slug 3D, why the fuck not?

Don’t expect a review of Godzilla Battle Line

I planned to play and review this one like i did for the other mobile Godzilla titles Toho unleashed on us this year, as in via the EXPRESSO format, but the game just refuses to work on my iPhone, regardless if i reset the device, uninstall and reinstall it, remove other apps to make space in the phone’s memory storage, i have tried for 2 weeks by now to make this damn thing working on my device, but it ALWAYS, without fail, immediatly crashes after being launched.

Despite the app being constantly up to date and my device being compatible with it.

I have no clue why, the updates didn’t change a fuckin thing, and unless the next one magically fixes the issues (which seems to affect other uses with more advanced iPhones), i’m never gonna be able to play the damn thing, and hence i will never be able to review it. And i kinda wanted to do that, for completition’s sake if nothing else.

The review might happen, and they might just update the game to make it work immediatly after i post this, and tomorrow i will be able to play with no issues at all.

But until that happens, the review isn’t either.

Sorry, but that’s the situation, so expect other EXPRESSO reviews coming from tomorrow onwards, today is a forced review-less day.

#E32021 XBox-Bethesda & Square Enix [Highlights]

Still haven’t fully digested that Microsoft did actually buy Bethesda, but i didn’t have much interest in their games before… with the exception of Doom, Wolfenstein and pretty much anything they published but not developed, but still, it is a big deal.

Cared more than i could ever care about Microsoft’s offerings this last generation (and if anything so far into the X-Box One X is indicative of something, make it two), but whatever, let’s see if the two companies can offer a proper conference, at least with the standards we expect from “AAA” publishers and console makers.

Continua a leggere “#E32021 XBox-Bethesda & Square Enix [Highlights]”

[EXPRESSO] Godzilla Destruction iOS | Now BACK to Early Access!

Had to take this from the site because this fucking shit game doesn’t even have a splash screen. I’m NOT kidding.

The third and final mobile Godzilla game promised by Toho for this year, and the only one of the bunch that lets you actually control the Big G itself.

And because of some cosmic monkey paw’s doing, it’s also the worst of the bunch… actually, it’s shockingly bad, even without comparing to other two smarthphone titles in the same batch, it’s an impressive specimen of videogame dookie, so much i would rather play the shit Godzilla PS3/PS4 game Namco dared publishing some years back.

AGAIN.

Gameplay is pretty simple… scratch that, gameplay is just insanely primitive: you use a virtual stick to control Godzilla’s movement, and touch an enemy to either use your beam or a close range melee attack to defeat the enemy waves. Problem is, the virtual stick isn’t fixed, and it gets in the way when you attack, and you can’t do both at the same time, so you’ll inevitably get hit and will have to keep choosing the health recovery when given the option, as the levels are just insanely repetitive waves after waves of the same handful of enemies, able to do any kind of damage because of the shit controls and the lousy range of your beam attacks.

Eventually you’ll fight bosses that are also cheap as well, but i honestly got already bored sick in the first 10 minutes, it doesn’t help this one also sports no story or setting, it looks embarassingly cheap, on top of its abysmal presentation and glaring errors like english text clearly – and badly – overlaid over the japanese one, typos, obvious & bad machine translation, leading to odd word choices.

I almost expected the intro be an actual joke… but nope, it’s just THAT bad.

Waste of data, let alone time, even for free…..just don’t bother.

[EXPRESSO] Godzilla Defense Force iOS | ♫ To protect Mother Earth… ♫

The second of the three mobile Godzilla games promised by Toho for 2021, advertised a month ago as Godzilla Battle Line, published by Nexon and co-developed by Neople and Studio 42.

After the odd but cute stats raising-pet simulator of Run Godzilla, now we have a more traditional offering for a mobile licensed spin-off game. It’s not exactly a proper tower defense, but more of a tapper with RTS elements: units despatch and attack automatically the enemy waves from building you can upgrade, but you can also tap on them for extra damage (especially when their weak points show up), or use the various Kaiju Cards left by fallen monsters and/or obtained via card packs, of course available to purchase for real money.

It’s a decent little timewaster, a little more engaging than the usual tapper, but it’s aggressively monetized, even if it’s oddly pushy in making you watch ads to boost stats like production speed or to get resources, instead of just saying “cough up the cash to save time”, and i feel it’s the lesser evil of the options they could have gone with. BUT it still feeds into the same objective: to get you spending real money on the card packs and batches of premium currency, especially since the game remembers you revenge can be had easier by wiewing ads, etc.

Presentation is good, the story is what you’d expect, as an EDF commander you organize a defense line to repel kaijus attacking Earth, often sent and/or resurrected by the evil aliens called Xilliens. By progressing you get new locations to build bases, the ability to summon new allies with passive abilities, new monsters (some obscure references to Toho’s non-Godzilla material), making for a decent and entertaining loop, even if you’d wish for a bit more depth to it.

[EXPRESSO] Crash Bandicoot: On The Run iOS | N.Sane Freeconomy

After a soft-launch in some Asian countries last year, now the Crash Bandicoot runner (developed by trademark abuser & bully King, yes, i have the power of “memory”) launched worldwide, and since i still can’t find Crash Bandicoot 4 at a decent price, might as well review this.

Cortex is up to his usual stuff, which means he sent his minions to conquer various dimensions, but Coco found a way to kick their asses and save the multiverse, which involves Crash and Aku running their way through familiar levels.

After you’ve crafted the weapons required for the boss or to even enter the level, with the usual gaggle of resources needed to craft items and timers, all avoidable with the premium currency. And of course the usual gaggle of base building stuff and social integration. You might say it’s at least upfront about it being a free-to-play game, i will say that Activision and associates evidently don’t feel it necessary to even mask the issue, so they just start pummelling your resolve very early, even if you do know the shitty deal, doesn’t matter.

The gameplay itself it’s alright, i mean, a Crash Bandicoot endless runner makes a LOT of sense, it looks good and runs well, but it doesn’t really stand out in this crowded genre, even if this does have finite levels, alongside looping and proceduraly generated ones. It starts very run of the mill, but the level design does improve after the initial phase and there are some tough extra challenges.

Shame new areas and story runs aren’t that distinct or well designed to be worth the grinding and farming they’re locked behind, which only gets more taxing as the game progresses and keeps pestering you into buying the premium currency.

Vexation which isn’t optional, at all.