Saturday, 13 September 2014

Confessions on Character Wasting.

Or Why I Felt Like A Hypocrite.

Shortly after I wrote about Artix Entertainment leaving their HeroSmash characters to rot while making new projects, I was reminded of one of my abandoned concepts that I had "discarded" out of embarrassment.

This character in question was Purpure, a pirate catgirl. When I first designed and roleplayed her in 2007, she was portrayed as a pushy and somewhat nymphomaniac illegitimate child. It wasn't who I was at all, and I had gotten to a bad start in Puzzle Pirates because of it.

In 2008, I had changed her concept slightly, and she supposedly went back to England to study as a governess and become a time-traveler. That was around the time I quit Puzzle Pirates for several years out of boredom.

Now, in 2014, I have gone back to playing Three Rings' flagship game due to my dissatisfaction with Artix Entertainment. I have seen that although Three Rings focuses on other projects like Spiral Knights and Whirled, they still pay attention to Puzzle Pirates and don't over-extend themselves to the point AE did. (AE expanded at a rate of one major game project a year as of this post.)

Another key difference between Three Rings' and Artix Entertainment's approach to being close to players is that the former participates actively in their own sites and games, while the latter prefer external social networks to playing their own games.

Three Rings hasn't left as many games to rot like AE did, the former might still conduct maintenance checks even if there are no major updates. Artix Entertainment? To hell with everything except AQWorlds, it seems.

As befitting a return to an old game, I revised Purpure's concept once more. She is no longer a nymphomaniac, but she's still be a British catgirl, a bastard child adopted by her kindly step-uncle, and a fairly successful governess among the pirates.

If I hadn't, and continued to ignore the potential an ex-pirate time-traveler has in my repertoire of characters, I'd be hypocritical for criticizing Artix's wastefulness and being wasteful myself.

Afterword: Seems that pirates don't really mind English governesses after all, even if they've got animal bits where human parts should be.

Purpure's looking quite lost. (Source)

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Angry Gran Racing iOS Review and Guide

The Angry Gran series is currently managed by AceViral, and was originally by Box10 Games. The Angry Gran is a nasty old lady who robs people of their money, but she has a change of heart in Angry Gran Racing, and has stopped hunting punks.

This game is available for iOS and Android, and was released in June 2014 (iOS version).

In Angry Gran Racing, you control the Angry Gran's driving by a pair of arrows at the bottom of the screen. The right arrow drives her forward, and the left arrow backwards. It's not smooth sailing, as the driving tracks are full of lumps and bumps.

Sofa car in action.
She has a variety of cars that can be unlocked, starting from her rickety old scooter to a fish delivery truck, a homemade sofa-car, a beach buggy, or a rocket-powered car.
Mrs. Fries has fallen over her fish.
Each car has three basic upgrades and one unique upgrade exclusive to the car. The basic upgrades and functions are as follows: -
Engine: Makes the car move faster.
Suspension: Reduces the speed lost when the car falls from a great height.
Tire grip: Allows the car to climb hills easily.

Time for an upgrade.
The unique upgrades will be described in-game, but they include increased fuel usage, bigger tires/better tire grip, or an easier time turning an upside down car the right way up.

At the start of a race, the game provides a selection of perks to use during the drive. They are a magnetic side car that attracts coins, extra petrol, and a crash helmet. The player can choose more than one perk to use at once provided the choices are made quickly.

Pick-ups are items that the Angry Gran can drive over. They come in two varieties: Cash and Powerups.

Coin - 10 or 50 gold.
Orange Monkey - 100 gold.
Green Dinosaur - 500 gold.
Purple Pinata - 1000 gold.

Bean can - Mrs. Fries will go faster for a few seconds. There's also a green gas from the car's rear.
2x coin - Money picked up will be doubled for a few seconds.
Petrol can - Refuels the car.
Icy petrol can -  Stops the fuel meter at the bottom of the screen from decreasing until the ice breaks off.

Mrs. Fries will also earn extra cash by doing stunts. These stunts include air time and wheelies. Performing air time or wheelies for at least one second will net you 25 points and 10 points respectively, and each following second adds another 25 or 10 points. Points in this game will be converted into gold at the end of a driving session, which ends by either knocking Mrs. Fries' head against the ground, or letting the car run out of fuel.

The game is not without its flaws. For one, the game often crashes randomly, and the amount of gold earned is not saved until the driving session ends.
If the app happens to crash halfway through a long race, you might as well say goodbye to the gold.

The starting curve is also steep as far as money is concerned. You will have to run several short races in a poorly equipped car to save up for the next upgrade or car model. This is rather time consuming.

The steep hills were tricky to maneuver as the player has to reverse the car and go forwards again to climb up, until a recent August update made them a little easier to climb those hills.

While the music of the game brings to mind classic cartoons like Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, or even Disney's shorts, I miss the hip-hop-rock theme of the original Angry Gran and Angry Gran Run.

In short, Angry Gran Racing is a passable game, but can get repetitive if you try to focus on it for a long time.

(All image sourced from iTunes or Google Play.)