Mobile Gaming on Holiday

Hello EGF Family, it’s been a while.

I’ve been, neglecting writing my own things lately. I could make a lot of excuses (travel, work, etc), but to be honest, it’s just because I wasn’t feeling it. Lately, I’ve felt like I was getting out of my funk, and now I’m back (for better or worse).

I wanted to return with some crazy, incredible topic; but to be honest, that was putting more pressure on me than actually just writing, so I decided just to do something I know. So let's dive into this Breaking my Backlog Article, with a couple games that haven't exactly been on my radar, let alone my backlog.

I spent the first week of this month traversing a small(ish) island in the middle of the Northern Atlantic named Iceland. My wife and I visited waterfalls, relaxed in the Blue Lagoon, ate absolutely amazing food (including Puffin and Reindeer), and generally just enjoyed ourselves on what I think was a well-earned vacation. I would honestly move to this beautiful, sparsely populated island if I could.

While the trip was calming, and a much-needed break from everyday life, I will admit that at times I kinda wished I had a game to play. The days are long in Iceland, with the sun rising about 4 AM for us (but the sky lightening around 3:15) and setting around 10:30 (but dusk remaining until closer to 11:30). Those long days mean that when you’re done exploring, unless you’ve infinite energies, and infinite monies (foods expensive in Reykjavik Y'all), you’re going to have at least a bit of downtime. Seeing as I long ago sold my PSP, and never got around to buying a Vita, I didn’t have a game system with me. The 3DS that I once owned was traded in for my PS4.

This lack of portable gaming systems left me with one option, the most portable system one can have… my mobile device. I’ve often scoffed at mobile gaming, unable to try anything for longer than a few hours. This time was different however, my wife was playing Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery whenever we were relaxing at home and she had enough energy to do anything. I needed to find something to satisfy my fix as well.

With that I set off on a new mission. I would download at least one game to play. One game turned in to two, and I found myself with both Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, and StormBound on my phone. Here’s how that went...keep in mind, in no way, am I a “Mobile Gamer”.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

I’m still the first year, but I’ve spent a bit over two weeks playing this game at random points. HP is more of a visual novel than a true game, mixed in with an idle waiting game you can imagine.

You’re a newly minted witch or wizard as Hogwarts Mystery begins. Professor McGonagall has written your acceptance letter, and you’re on your way to Diagon Alley to grab your new school supplies and meet your new best friend Rowan.

From there, you find out you’re the younger sibling of a student who was expelled from Hogwarts and may or may not have left to join the Dark Lord.

Honestly, I’m about 50/50 on this game so far. 50% of me (the HP fan) is in love. 50% of me (the fan of video games) is...less than excited. I honestly don’t mind the slow pace or the fact that your energy must reload at the rate of 1 per 4 minutes, but the writing and general atmosphere of the game is a bit cringy. We’re not talking Netflix’s “Everything Sucks” level of cringe, but it’s definitely a bit of a “we’re writing for a younger crowd and we know it” cringe.

As far as the “gameplay”, well that just consists of you waiting (hoping) until you have enough energy to continue, then selecting options on the screen and furiously (unnecessarily so) clicking on that option until it disappears.

Again, this isn’t all that bad. I didn’t download this game for an action-packed adventure, I downloaded it to go back to Hogwarts. For fans of HP, I would say this is worth the free download, and may even be worth throwing $5-10 down if you yourself enjoy it. If you’ve no real draw to Rowling’s world, then I recommend avoiding this game.

StormBound

Hearthstone lite*.

Stormbound has given me about two hours of enjoyment total. The game is a card-based, base assault similar to something like Hearthstone. You and your opponent each have a base with 10 life. Every turn your mana increases by one, allowing you to cast more and more powerful spells. Those spells place either units, or structures on a 4x5 chessboard between bases. From there, the units and/or structures advance against your enemy, attacking each other, or dealing damage straight to the enemies base.

This game starts out well, but you can immediately see that at some point, you're either going to be grinding out ways to upgrade cards, or just hitting a wall against more capable decks.

Playing against the “AI” is decent, although you'll make quick work of the 4 part series of challenges.

Ultimately, this was a nice time sink while on vacation, but I've yet to play it since returning home. I doubt I will and am mere days away from uninstalling it. I don't think I could recommend this game, and honestly, there hasn't been a Mobile game I could recommend since Monument Valley or Out There.

Do you have any mobile recommendations? Do you disagree with my feelings on these games? Do you agree and just want to tell me how awesome I am? If so hit me up @ArWh1te in Twitter.