Monthly Archives: September 2016

‘Animation Throwdown’ Review – Come for the Characters, Stay for the (Brief) Fun, Wait for the Energy Timers

‘Animation Throwdown’ Review – Come for the Characters, Stay for the (Brief) Fun, Wait for the Energy Timers

Fox’s animation shows have been dominating TV for quite some time now. Family Guy, Futurama, Bob’s Burgers, American Dad, and King of the Hill all offer their own specific kind of craziness and humor. It’s not surprising, then, that Kongregate decided to develop a card game based on all five shows, and the result is hilarious, as to be expected. Yet not all is rosy in Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards [Free]; while you’ll laugh at the silly card combos and be entertained for quite a bit with the gameplay, eventually you hit so many timers that you’ll quickly regret your investment in the game.

This is the kind of game that will divide players: some will stick it out through the timers and play when they can play, but most will get tired of having to wait constantly just to put a few (quick) matches in before running out of energy. And don’t expect a CCG that requires too much strategy and tactics since the game is too easy for too long and then ramps up fast. Overall, though, if you enjoy the characters and storylines of these shows, you’ll enjoy Animation Throwdown, at least for a while.

Animation Throwdown

So, how does Animation Throwdown play? The game takes quite a few ideas from many other card games and creates an interesting patchwork of mechanics that while it will give you plenty to do, the seams don’t always hold together well. Cards have attack, defense, and – as you get better, more rare cards – various skills that might for instance automatically increase the attack of a random card or reduce the attack of a random enemy unit. Matches play like lane-based CCGs where each card fights the card opposite and if there’s no card on the opposite side, it damages the enemy hero. When your card’s attack is higher than the opposite card’s defense, the enemy card is destroyed and any remaining damage goes to the enemy hero. When it’s your turn to play a card, you can either play a card in an empty lane or play one on top of another card to create a more powerful combo card if you’ve already researched that specific combination.

The combo card mechanic is quite fun because of the crazy results you get when you put two cards together. In order to be able to play a specific combo – let’s say playing the Meg card on top of the Sports card – you first have to research it, and guess what? Each time you research a card, it takes time to get the research done. The early cards take just a few minutes, but as you start researching higher rarity cards, you’ll have to wait for hours for your card to be done. Timers, as you’ll see in the rest of this review, will be a very familiar friend as you progress in Animation Throwdown. Each card has many combos you can discover, and that is a huge part of the fun in this game since the combos are often hilarious and will remind you of various show episodes.

Animation Throwdown

In addition to comboing, you can improve your cards by upgrading them using Power, which you get from completing quests and from recycling cards you don’t need. The upgrading mechanic is pretty simple as you’ll usually upgrade a card to Level 3 and then fuse it with another Level 3 copy of the same card to get a new, improved Level 1 copy of the same card. Then, the upgrading/fusing cycle begins anew. You’ll need to be upgrading your cards often not for the early stages of the game but for later on when things get tougher and you need cards with higher stats.

When it comes to actually getting new cards in order to research and upgrade them, you buy packs from the shop with the cheapest pack going for a 1000 and from there on getting better packs either for 6000 gold or gems. The game is very generous with its in-game gold rewards, especially early on (you’ll be hearing this phrase very often for a reason) since the daily quests are usually very easy to complete and you’ll also be getting gold quite easily but, of course, barely any gems. But you can only have 70 cards at a time in your collection, which means you won’t be able to just stockpile away without first recycling and comboing.

Animation Throwdown

So, what do you do when you when you actually play cards against an opponent? Animation Throwdown offers two modes, Adventure and Arena. The Adventure is a campaign of sorts made up of 25 chapters split up between the five shows. The chapters have funny themes and if you enjoy the shows, you’ll get a giggle or two here and there. Each chapter has 3 stages, and you can play each stage multiple times for better rewards. Of course, playing a stage requires energy, with the later chapters requiring more energy per play. The other mode is the Arena where you play against other people’s decks but played by the AI instead of them. The positive is that there’s no waiting between turns; the negative is that it’s an AI, not another person. And, of course, it takes energy to play in the Arena, and it’s a different kind than the one the Adventure uses.

In the early stages of the game, both the Adventure and the Arena are way too easy and there’s really almost no challenge even without upgrading cards. I played about 10 chapters before losing even one match, and I think that’s by design. Same goes for the Arena; the challenge is minimal for a large chunk of it. You are also given plenty of all types of energy in the beginning, so it’s going to take a while before you actually have to wait for your Adventure or Arena energies to refill.

Animation Throwdown

But then matches start getting harder as the opponents start playing better and more upgraded cards. And I started losing more and had to tinker with my deck more and upgrade cards more often, but I started running out of Power and couldn’t upgrade as much as I wanted to. I also couldn’t get enough coins and gems to buy better cards, which meant the AI had better cards than me. And on top of that, I started running out of energy and guess what, it takes a long, long time for the energy to refill. Put all those together and you know what it spells; paywall. As you can see in our forum thread of the game, most players describe a similar experience where the early stages of the game are too easy and then the timers kick in and you either have to stick with it and play just a bit every day or you pour in the money and play more.

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The positive in this game is that there’s a lot of game time before the F2P shenanigans really kick in, and I felt that I got enough entertainment out of the game before having to deal with IAPs and timers. That might be enough for most players, especially for those of you who like to play a mobile game for a bit and then move on to other games. If you’re looking for a CCG challenge, this is not the game for you because of how easy it is early on and how random most of the skills are. Yes, there are some tactical decisions to be made like which card to play where and when to play a new card or combo an already-played one, but overall you won’t be playing Animation Throwdown to scratch your CCG itch; instead, you’ll play it for the fan service and for the giggles. That’s what I did, and overall I had fun. And then I hit the paywalls.

 

Why We Love Listening to Sad Music

Why We Love Listening to Sad Music

Music affects our brains in all kinds of wonderful ways. Upbeat music is great for working out and classical music can help you focus, but even sad music has its perks. Here?s why we love listening to sorrowful songs, and why they deserve to be on your playlists.

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Twitch Prime Gets You Tyrande Whisperwind, ‘Hearthstone’ New Priest Hero, for Free

Twitch Prime Gets You Tyrande Whisperwind, ‘Hearthstone’ New Priest Hero, for Free

A few weeks back we wrote how Hearthstone [Free] was adding a new Priest Hero, Tyrande Whisperwind, as part of a special promotion, but we didn’t know what that promotion would actually be. Now we do. Twitch just announced that those who sign up for Twitch Prime, Twitch’s new “premium experience” that comes free for those who already have Amazon Prime, will get Tyrande for free. The way it works is you go to twitchprime.com, and link your Amazon Prime account to your Twitch account. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can sign up for a 30-day trial on the same website and then still claim Tyrande.

Hearthstone

How do you claim the new hero? After you sign up for your Twitch Prime account or trial, you go to Twitch.tv and log in, then navigate to any channel page, and on the left side navigation bar you’ll see an image of Tyrande. Hover over the image and click on “Get Code.” Copy that code and then go to battle.net/code to redeem it. If you play Hearthstone, this is a no-brainer deal for you, so go grab it before it ends on November 5th.

‘Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot’ Is a Fun Puzzle Game Based on the Huge Disney Hit

‘Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot’ Is a Fun Puzzle Game Based on the Huge Disney Hit

Disney has been really going for it on the App Store, releasing many games in all kinds of genres – although primarily it’s the puzzle genre the company is aiming. The latest one, Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot [Free] (no, it’s not a new Starbucks coffee) is using the most popular Disney characters of the last few years, the Frozen cast. The game has you playing various Peggle-like levels where you shoot Elsa’s magical snowballs to break the ice engulfing the Kingdom of Arendelle. There are over 100 levels to play through and you’ll be using boosters and power-ups to make it through levels faster. Surprisingly, the theme actually works here because you do have a character in the movie who can shoot ice and break stuff, so not that much of a stretch.

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While there are many similar puzzle games on the App Store, we shouldn’t underestimate this animated movie’s popularity because when Frozen came out, it was everywhere. Elsa and Anna (and Olaf) continue to be extremely popular, so I expect this Disney game to do quite well. If you still have doubts, I suggest you simply Let it Go.

Marvel’s Women of Power Have Landed on ‘Marvel Pinball’

Marvel’s Women of Power Have Landed on ‘Marvel Pinball’

If you like Marvel’s many rad female super heroes, you’ll like the new Marvel Pinball [$ 0.99] update that has added many of them to the game along with two brand new tables. As we wrote about a few days back, the new update brings characters like Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, Squirrel Girl, Spider-Gwen, and many more. The first table, A-Force, is all about an alternate Soviet-dominated reality and features a fun storyline involving the destruction of a Cosmic Cube. The table’s Wizard Mode lets you control Black Widow and Madame Masque as you try and keep those Cosmic Cube balls in one piece.

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The second table is the Champions one, and in that you have to take out Bombshell using Ms. Marvel. The story here is all about Kamala trying to take Bombshell down after the latter committed a bank robbery. In order to succeed, you have to use Squirrel Girl’s “army” to track down the criminals and then use Spider-Gwen’s webbing to wrap them into little presents. As you can see from the video above, this new pack is pretty cool. You can get the new tables as IAPs and they are available now.

PewDiePie and ‘Goat Simulator’ Designer Working on New Games

PewDiePie and ‘Goat Simulator’ Designer Working on New Games

PewDiePie seems to be enjoying the mobile gaming business quite a bit. Just this week we got the PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator [Free], and now we heard that he is planning on working together with Armin Ibrisagic, one of the key people behind the hugely successful Goat Simulator [$ 4.99], to make multiple games including mobile ones. This is not a surprising cooperation because back when Goat Simulator first came out, PewDiePie played it on his channel, which partly led to that crazy game exploding in popularity (the video garnered over 13 million views). While we don’t have any specifics on the type of games that will be coming out of this cooperation, we do know that they’ll be making multiple titles over multiple platforms, including mobile.

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If you’ve ever played Goat Simulator or any of the two PewDiePie games on mobile, you’ll know that all three rely heavily on humor and absurdity, so I expect to see more of the same once we start seeing the results of this cooperation. Curious to see what we’ll end up getting. Goat Tuber Simulator maybe?

[via The Verge]

Your Favorite Front Pocket Wallet Is Saddleback’s Leather ID Wallet

Your Favorite Front Pocket Wallet Is Saddleback’s Leather ID Wallet

Three out of your four top front pocket wallet picks were new-fangled minimalist wallets, but all the cool features and unique ideas in the world couldn?t buy them enough votes to overcome Saddleback?s old school leather wallet, which took nearly 50% of the vote all by itself.

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‘Inferno Dragon’ Is the Next ‘Clash Royale’ Legendary

‘Inferno Dragon’ Is the Next ‘Clash Royale’ Legendary

As promised, Supercell has revealed the next card to come to Clash Royale [Free] as part of the latest update, and its the Inferno Dragon. As you can see in the videos below, the Inferno Dragon works a lot like the Inferno Tower (but with a shorter range) in that as time passes, its attack gets stronger. In the first two seconds of its attack, it deals 75 dps, the next 2 seconds it deals 250 dps, and then it reaches its maximum of 875 dps. So, if you ignore this one and don’t take it out as soon as possible, you are gonna get some serious damage. The positive is that it’s easily distracted by small units, so make sure you have some ready to go. It’s also relatively fragile and quite slow.

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The videos below will give you plenty of ways to both play and counter the Inferno Dragon, but given that it’s a Legendary, not many of the players will actually get their hands on the card any time soon. The card should be available very soon, so let me know what you think about it in the comments.

 

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Subscribe to the TouchArcade YouTube channel

Subscribe to the TouchArcade YouTube channel