Well, it’s time for another helping of the Games I’ve Been Playing series!
As you’ve seen from the title, we’re only going to talk about one single game this time. And it’s not because I haven’t played any other mobile games, it’s just that this is the game that I’m most excited about right now. Not to mention that this game is rather unique so doing a thorough examination of it would be fun.
To tell you the truth, I could have talked about a recent super popular indie game called Ridiculous Fishing. Unlike most people though, I hated that game. So I don’t know if I’m qualified to write about it since I haven’t played much of the game. May be I should just write a short rant about it some time later.
Anyway, yes, I’ve been playing a lot of Nimble Quest lately. In case you don’t know, Nimble Quest is a game from NimbleBit, the creator of Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes. Seeing their track record of producing awesome games, could Nimble Quest be another hit? What is it about anyway?
In Nimble Quest you take control of a group of heroes fighting monsters in various places. This group of heroes will keep moving forward so you have to control their movement direction with a swipe of your finger to avoid hitting walls or monsters. As those monsters are defeated they may drop a power up or an additional hero that can be added to your group.
It’s funny how most article about this game likened it to Snake (yeah, that classic game on your old Nokia phone) while it actually reminds me of those old JRPGs character train. You know, it’s that silly system where the main characters are lined up and moves around the map in a single row. Not to mention that Nimble Quest takes place in a medieval setting, which is one of the most common settings of JRPG.
Actually, that’s what gets me so excited about the game. If you use a bit of your imagination, you could see Nimble Quest as some sort of Action RPG where the heroes roam around the map battling monsters. And if the mechanism in this game is actually good, then other developers could use the same control scheme to build a new breed of mobile RPGs (because let’s admit it, those virtual joypads suck).
Well, since I’m kinda pumped for this game, I quickly give it a try when NimbleBit provides a web version of the game as a preview. Unfortunately, my initial reaction after playing it for a while is just “okay”. The game isn’t bad, but it doesn’t make me go “Holy crap, this is the best thing on Earth!” like when I first played Punch Quest or Temple Run.
However my opinion slowly changed once I got the the game on my iPod. Somehow I still feel that the game is “meh”, but then I realized that I’m actually playing it whenever I have time to waste (waiting for a download to finish, int the toilet, etc). So is it actually a good game?
Well, part of if why I play it every time is because it has such a perfect session length for a mobile game. Games like Jetpack Joyride also has a short play session, but each time you finish a session you actually still want to play more. Nimble Quest doesn’t have that feeling, so once I died I feel it’s okay to just close the game.
Now that I think about it, may be that’s why I’m not really into the game in the beginning. Because it doesn’t leave me wanting for more.
Another factor that makes me keep playing the game is progress. Not “progress” in the sense of advancing to the next level or unlocking new stuff or revealing another part of the story. While that kind of progress would help, I would stop playing once I got stuck at something.
What I mean by progress is to have every game I played to be meaningful. To have every game session contributes to me getting stronger. And Nimble Quest does pretty well in this area since every time I play I will get some crystals (the in-game currency) and the hero will get some experience points.
I especially like how the heroes can be be leveled up. The heroes can be leveled up by both filling up their experience bar as well as by using crystals to unlock the next level. And they’re not exclusive, filling up their experience will make their leveling up cost to be cheaper. And that further reinforces the feeling of progress since anything I do in the game, whether it’s defeating enemies or collecting crystals, will make my heroes get stronger.
That said, I’m not really a fan of the game upgrading system. The game only have upgrades for those powerups that are randomly dropped by the enemy. And since they’re random, upgrading those powerups doesn’t make me feel stronger. After all, those power ups are not a reliable source of power since I some time get a powerup that I don’t need (such as an attack-increase when there’s no enemy).
The hero leveling system actually suffers a bit of this problem too. Each hero has a specific set of upgrades, like an armor increase for the first level up and an attack range for the second one. So a lot of times I found my hero level up to be kinda useless, because who needs armor when you died instantly if you run into an enemy.
By the way, while the early part of the game (like, the first four levels) kinda resembles Snake or even a simple Action RPG, the late-game part actually feels like you’re controlling this train of doom that shoots fireball to all direction. It’s a giant bundle of chaotic fun, too bad at that point the game becomes really hard.
Anyway, right now I’m kinda stuck at the Depth level (a hell/volcano-themed area) and the third hero level up requirement is kinda crazy. So yeah, I don’t know if I’ll ever finish the game at this rate.
Well, that’s all for now. Besides, this post has gotten longer than I originally planned for. Let’s hope I found another game that I’m excited to talk about!