AgithaHime Diaries: Step by Step
I’ve spent a lot of time by myself this year, from my mostly solo travels in Asia to moving across the country alone. It’s been an amazing six months of developing my sense of identity and trusting in my faith. However, it came with a lot of loneliness and though I’ve been filled with love by my friends from both New York and San Francisco, I found a lot enjoyment in keeping myself entertained with some mobile games.
There was a reason most of my gaming was done on my phone this year – I detoxed from the computer for 37 days during my travels, and when I moved to San Francisco I only brought my Macbook since the PCs belong to my parents. I also left behind my consoles because there was no room for them in my two suitcases.
Each of these games has a place in my heart because I remember the life segment of this year when I was playing each of them. These games were like a step by step to inspiring me in user interface and gameplay design for my thesis game, which I will write about very soon!
January: Neko San
My Airbnb in Hong Kong in did not have Wi-Fi, so Neko San came in handy when I was jetlagged and waiting for the sun every morning. It also kept me busy all the time I spent taking trains through Singapore – a country much bigger than it looks.
You play as a kitty cat named Neko, and your goal is just to collect all the stars (and optional fish) in each level! The game only has one function – you tap your screen to control Neko, who can only jump in one direction at a time until he hits a wall. You must time your jumps to avoid enemies and spikes, or on and off walls to climb up. If you collect enough fish you can trade them to unlock other characters, such as a pink-bowed kitty or a monkey!
I found Postknight when I was in bed with terrible jetlag after returning to New York. It snowed a lot that month, and whenever I wasn’t visiting my friends in the city, I was preparing and packing to move. This game was perfect for de-stressing.
If you want to re-imagine RPGs for mobile, look no further, because Postknight does it perfectly! You’re a Postknight, a knight who doubles as a postman because the roads in this world are too dangerous. You have to fight wild creatures and mean bandits that have taken over each of the many creatively designed locations, and you only have a sword and shield mechanic. You can only use your sword or shield every few seconds so you have to time your attacks and defenses, especially since Postknight moves on his own. You can collect different armors for and use their effects to your advantage (like increased dodge rate, increased HP). Another gameplay element I love about this game is the relationships with several girls. If you give gifts to the different girls, it increases your bond with them and you will receive useful gifts in return.
March: Love You to Bits
I’ve had Love You to Bits on my wishlist for ages, and it was free on the Appstore for a short while! It coincided with when I first moved and was jetlagged by the Pacific Time Zone (I see a pattern here).
Your robot girlfriend accidentally destroyed herself and scattered her mechanical parts all over the universe, so you must travel through colorful planets to put her back together! Each level was a unique point-and-click puzzle to finding the mechanical part, with a lot of cute characters and personality. There were even levels inspired by Zelda, so I had to screenshot those. Aside from your girlfriend’s parts you can also collect mementos, each with a memory of your love story! It’s adorable and quirky.
April: Fallout Shelter
I gotta admit, I’m not proud of this one. I was very addicted to this game when the excitement of San Francisco went down and things got real. Some days I spent more time than I should have playing Fallout Shelter. Eventually I got sick of it.
Like any city-builder game, you have full control of what goes on inside a vault in the Fallout wasteland. You must protect the dwellers inside, and the game gives you about 12 to start a whole new population. There are many different rooms to build to sustain your community, such as food production, water treatment, power generation, and even rooms to assign a male and female to reproduce. You must assign dwellers to the right rooms based on their talents to ensure maximum survival. It’s pretty straightforward, so a lot of players invented challenges to make the game more fun than it is. I took the challenge of assigning one family to each room based on their talents – so my dwellers were monogamous, haha. The game is a little hard in the beginning because you get attacked by monsters tougher than the weapons you can find. I one time had nearly half my vault dead by a mole rat attack! Once you unlock legendary characters from the main Fallout series, they’re very helpful to getting you good weapons.
I did not get a chance to play a new mobile game this month, as I was busy with graduation and also brought back my Wii U for Breath of the Wild. That game is a whole other story!
June: Magikarp Jump
… the only reason I am playing Magikarp Jump is because it’s so nicely designed! Somehow Pokemon is able to get people hooked with a silly game concept like this.
Finally poor Magikarp gets some love! You raise Magikarps and train / feed them to increase their jumping power to complete in Pokemon leagues that challenge the height your Magikarp can jump. If you fail a league you can train another Magikarp and another! The training methods are creative, and the cameos from other cute Pokemon make it entertaining. The Magikarps you can fish also have many different patterns that are not in the main games. Otherwise, there’s not much to it. I’m not sure why I’m still playing it.
Out of these games, I would recommend Love You to Bits if you want to play a game that isn’t frustrating or badly addicting. It has a story and an ending, and you don’t have to waste money or cheat to get ahead! Now that’s the kind of mobile game I’d want my thesis to be.