Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This blog is for me to meander about whatever's on my mind. Right now, that list is pretty short:

  • Alex's lack of success with the no-pullup thing since last week
  • Penny's general surliness
  • A co-worker's very serious and sudden illness
  • Boring work crap
  • Assorted dorky iPad games
So now you will appreciate it as I launch into a quick review of my latest game obsessions.

Plants Vs. Zombies - An oldie but a goodie. I loved this enough to plunk down cash for both iPhone and iPad versions of this, but I'd played it through multiple times and got all but the most difficult achievements, so I thought I was pretty much done with this game... until about a month ago, when the iPhone update for it included the Zen Garden. Zen Garden is like crack cocaine, apparently; I've played the rest of the game through at least twice in the last month just to earn cash to buy plants for the garden, and hoping to get chocolate bars for the snail. (If you don't know what I'm talking about... just trust me when I say it's got me re-hooked on this game.) Well played, PopCap. Well played. Now, if you would just put it on the iPad version, I'd never stop playing.

Except to check on my Pocket Frogs. I blame this wholly on Elizabeth, who mentioned it offhand on Twitter one day. I looked it up just to see what she was talking about, and bam! hooked! How can I resist? Cute widdle fwoggies! Fun color combinations! Decorative elements! Achievements and requests! I'm about this close to signing up for an account so I can trade frogs and items with Elizabeth and Adin (likewise hooked), except that having an account allows for device synching, and I don't know what that would do to Penny's frogs on my phone. I particularly love that, even though it's built on the freemium model, there doesn't appear to be anything at all that's unavailable to non-paying customers -- you just have to wait longer to get it. And there are free, in-game ways of speeding things up, though my play is slowing down a bit now that I'm reaching the higher level stuff that takes up to two days to complete.We shall see if my patience eventually forces me to drop actual cash and, you know, support the game developer.

I'm also checking into Dragonvale a bunch of times a day. Now that I'm past the game's opening stages, it's slowed down a lot -- it's another freemium breeding/building game, but unlike Pocket Frogs, there's nothing I can do to speed things up without spending actual money. It's also mildly frustrating in that it requires an internet connection to play and is very slow to load, so I don't know how much longer it's going to last. But it's dragons, so that earns it an extra dozen or so free passes for me.

Like PvZ, I thought I was done with Kingdom Rush, too -- I'd gone so far as to put down the dollar it cost to get the premium content and play the new level. But then they released it for the iPad and it's hard to beat this game for fun art and great gameplay, so of course I'm working my way back through it again.

As I mentioned a few posts back, I recently completely finished Where's My Water -- tri-ducked all levels, found all the secret levels, tri-ducked those. There's just a few achievements left to work on, and then my interest in this will probably slip some. But that's okay, because it looks like they release fresh levels once a month or so, so I'm looking forward to the next update of this!

So overall, my hooks tend to be cute art, and gameplay that I can access from multiple directions. I like puzzle games, but I'm often weirdly bad at them (games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, which ought to be right up my alley, have both stymied me by being too hard for me to complete the free versions -- which doesn't entice me to buy the paid versions) so Where's My Water? is something of a standout on that front.


Lynn said...

I play Sim Social on Facebook, to the point where I actually bought SIMS3... altho I find the actual Sims game to be too time consuming. I can sit down, lose an entire day by accident, and not really accomplish anything with my Sim.

Elizabeth R. said...

Re: PvZ - I bought the Mac version a while back, so I've had the Zen Garden from the get-go. I like when the snail goes wizzing around after eating the chocolate :)

Everything else you've mentioned, I'm currently playing or have previously tried on the iPad, and loved. Not a huge Angry Birds fan, but Cut the Rope, Where's My Water?, and of course Pocket Frogs (level 10! woo!) are awesome. Dragonvale I tried and didn't really get into so I ended up deleting it; I think that was largely from getting annoyed that I couldn't move the trees and rocks that were already there without deleting them.

Used to play Sims Social too, but it was taking up more time than I'm willing to spend on it on the laptop, and I can't play on the iPad, so I finally deleted it. There is a free Sims iPad app, but it sucks; it's like it's trying to be the full Sims 3 on iPad, but the things they've left out (like being able to queue up actions - wtf?) are serious losses. I wish they'd just made an app version of the Facebook game; that'd I'd jump on.