Geekly’s Free Video Game Summer: July 1, 2016

FreeVideoGame4

This edition of Geekly’s Free Video Game Summer includes nothing but free-to-play games. (If you missed our “6 Things to be careful of in free-to-play games,” here’s a link.) We’ve got a lot of games to cover, so let’s get cracking.

RodeoStampede

Rodeo Stampede

This game is a lot of fun. Players rustle up new zoo animals by lassoing and taming them. Rodeo Stampede’s game play is simple but elegant. You hold your finger on your touch screen to stay on your animal buddy and slide you finger left and right to avoid obstacles. You can switch animals by lining up a new animal in front of you, removing your finger from the screen, and placing it back on the screen once the new animal is highlighted.

You’ll want to catch new animals but eventually, the animal buddy you’re riding will grow tired of you and buck, kick you off, or in the case of ostriches, run so fast you can’t see what’s on the horizon. Zoo upgrades are fair. The game play is easy to learn but difficult to master and filled with variety. Rodeo Stampede will stay in my rotation. It earns a strong recommendation.

NinjAwesome

Ninjawesome

I liked Ninjawesome well enough but it was off in a few places. The theme was appealing—Ninjawesome’s classic Ninja Gaiden vibe was a great touch—but the controls were difficult to nail down. I’d forget which tap or swipe did what or that I even possessed a particular ability. The character’s constant movement didn’t help either. Ninjawesome plays like a side-scrolling Temple Run. That’s fine, but you don’t have as many options in Temple Run as you do in Ninjawesome, and yet Ninjawesome’s worst offense is treasure chest management.

Each mission takes twenty seconds to a couple of minutes. You earn a treasure chest with each successful mission, and you have four slots for treasure chests in your inventory. That’s fine too, until you factor in that you have to wait ten to fifteen minutes to open a chest. Either you wait to open up a chest—and not play the game because no matter how long you wait only allows you to open one chest at a time—or you can spend in-game gems to open chests early. You earn gems at a decent rate but you won’t earn them as quickly as spending them in order to open chests—and of course there’s the option of purchasing gems with real world money.

Despite these flaws, Ninjawesome is still a fun and solid game. I can see how some folks could love it, but it won’t stay in my collection. The treasure chest scam is a deal breaker.

Re Dungeon

Re Dungeon

Re Dungeon is a top-down, platforming dungeon crawl. Players have to avoid the various traps and enemies the dungeon has to offer. It’s a simple concept and Re Dungeon executes it well. I enjoyed the mazes and how the pieces fit together. The game has plenty of variety, and unlockable adventures you can add to your party lead to greater depth of play. Re Dungeon’s classic game play leave me wanting more. It’s not an easy game. The perils build on each other and it takes cunning to make it through a level. I could play Re Dungeon for hours and would highly recommend it if it wasn’t for one thing: videos.

Re Dungeon crams so many promotional videos down its players’ throats that you’ll forget that you’re playing a game. If you don’t mind a heap of videos, Re Dungeon can be a rewarding experience. I hope the developers tone down this issue, but until then I’m on the fence with whether or not I can overlook Re Dungeon’s video mountain.

AdventureCompany

Adventure Company

I’ll go on record as saying that I don’t care for touch screen mobile games that try to mimic 3D console game controls; the controls get buggy or cause game glitches. Knowing this might clue you in on the following review. Adventure Company does an above average job of porting 3D console game controls to a touch screen device and still, the controls are a bit clunky. It doesn’t help that enemies often come from the bottom left of the screen and that’s where the game wants you to place your finger to move your characters. More about this in a bit but let’s cover Adventure Company’s story or lack thereof.

The theme is uninspired: adventures seek fortune in a bland fantasy land. The enemies are generic: goblin #241695. The previous games on this list didn’t have a lot of story either but at least they had character. Adventure Company has decent graphics but limited appeal. I’ve seen this type of game before and it was better constructed.

There are three forms of in-game currency—right on the cusp of too many—but one currency concerns me the most: stars. You only get stars if you complete a mission with accomplishing the bonus goal, and the bonus goal is typically one where you’re not supposed to take any damage. That’s where we get back to Adventure Company’s controls. Most levels have archers or some ranged units, and the bulk of your enemies are coming from the left of the screen. Your characters can’t move quickly in first place but with how the enemies are placed, you could get hit with a phantom arrow because your finger’s in the way. This breeds nothing but frustration.

Is it necessary to get stars? No but it’d be nice to get one every once and a while. I guess I could overlook this if I cared for this type of touch screen controls. If you do, Adventure Company could be worth a look. But the game’s banality forces me to pass on it.

We’re just getting started with our run of free-to-play games. I hope you enjoyed these reviews, and until next we meet, thanks for reading.

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