Divine New Year in Dragon Mania Legends

Dragon Mania Legends is a typical phone game in that there are multiple currencies in the game, and one of them is purchased using real money. Their events ramp up in difficulty in what I assume is obviously an attempt to get people to spend money to finish them. And I don’t spend real money on this game.

In this style of events, you go through multiple levels unlocking chests. A chest can contain the key to the next level or a puzzle piece toward unlocking a dragon. (Collecting dragons is the primary goal of the game.) The last level has a chest that will contain the a dragon itself, and this is basically the goal of the event. This event celebrated Chinese New Year, and the final dragon was the Nezha dragon.

For the first time, I was able to get that final dragon! The event ends tonight, and I got it this morning. And yet I did some quick math and found that it would be impossible for me to get the puzzle piece dragon at this point without spending real money. Still, I’m happy I finally got the end dragon in one of these events!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – New Year

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I’ve been playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp recently. Is it time for a new hat, or can I wear my Happy New Year hat for a little longer? I realize I haven’t blogged here much in a while, and part of that is because I think I need to say something specific. Should I explain what Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is and review it before I start to write about it? No, I don’t want to do that. I just want to talk about the game. But if you want to add me as a friend, my ID is 2604 7697 654!

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Also, this amuses me. These are my only two friends in the game that I actually know, and for a moment I wondered how my friend could be in two spots at the same time. It took me a second to realize that they just dressed similarly today. That’s gem on the left and Anela on the right. Nice fashion!

Pixel Press Floors

[Updated on 1/30/15.]

Pixel Press Floors is an iOS and Android game that allows you to make your own platformer levels. I Kickstarted this around June of 2013 because of an interesting hook: you actually design by hand on paper and take a photograph of the paper to import it into the game.

There were a few hiccups, such as the Android version being significantly delayed. As an iOS user, this didn’t bother me. However, two others things did. First, the game changed from a paid game to a free game with in-app purchases. As someone who backed the game early, I got an account in the game that reflected this. Supposedly this would give me bonuses. I don’t know what those are. I thought I was supposed to be able to place enemies in my level (it’s normally an IAP), but I don’t see any option for that currently. [Update: I contacted the developer, and they fixed everything for me within a day. Great customer service!] The second, bigger problem is that the creation mode ended up being iPad only. That’s great if I owned an iPad, but I don’t.

Regardless, I finally had a chance to sit down and make some levels with gem’s iPad, and it was a ton of fun. I’m still annoyed about not being able to create on the iPhone, and I’m hoping they add it. As for the backer bonuses, I don’t know what the deal is there, but I just reached out to Pixel Press to find out.

As for making levels? Fun! You don’t get to change any of the physics or design your own sprites, but you still can set the layout of levels. Even though what initially piqued my interesting was designing on paper, I did the whole thing on the iPad. You can watch the video embedded above to see my level, appropriately named The Adventures of Peter. And hey, I published it around 1:30 today and it already has 77 plays!

If you like platformers, you might want to give this a try. As mentioned, it’s free. There are a ton of community-created levels, and you can search for mine as well.

NVIDIA SHIELD details revealed

ShieldImage courtesy blogs.nvidia.com.

The NVIDIA SHIELD is NVIDIA’s entry into the game console market. I had forgot about this, but the launch details were just announced yesterday. SHIELD is an Android console running Jelly Bean on a Tegra 4 chip. It looks a lot like a 360 controller with a flip up screen. It looks bulky and ugly, but I think it could be interesting. It’s most interesting feature is likely its ability, launching as a beta feature, to stream select Steam games from a PC using a GeForce GTX desktop GPU. Sadly, it’s 650 or higher, which mine is not. Presumably, streaming only works locally. It’s an interesting feature, but would I use it? I think I’d rather play my PC games on my PC unless I could actually stream it over the Internet.

Chuck's ChallengeImage courtesy of ChucksChallenge.com.

Chuck’s Challenge has been optimized for the SHIELD as well. It’s developed by Niffler with creator Chuck Sommerville. He’s the amazing talent behind Chip’s Challenge and of course the Chuck’s Challenge for iOS. I backed the 3D port of Chuck’s Challenge on Kickstarter, and from the beta, I can say that it’s very cool.

There are also two Double Fine games being optimized for the SHIELD. There will likely be more announcements in the future as well.

Sources: 5 Cutting-Edge Games That Will Rock NVIDIA SHIELD, Jordan Dodge, NVIDIA Blog, 5/14/13 and Portable Handheld Android Gaming | NVIDIA SHIELD via Chuck Sommerville.

Osmos


My friend Alex showed me Osmos over a year ago, but I never got around to playing it until a couple months ago. It’s available for Steam, iOS, and Android; I played it on Steam. Osmos is heavily physics-based and deals with orbits and mass. The idea is pretty simple. You want to get larger. Running into something smaller than you allows you to absorb it. If you run into something bigger, you get absorbed. You move by expelling mass in one direction, causing you to move in the opposite direction.

Osmos starts out very tranquil and relaxing. A lot of games begin with tutorials, but Osmos is almost lying to you by trying to be seen in this light. The later levels are incredibly difficult and can take a long time to complete (after many, many retries). Sometimes you have to act quickly to beat other “characters,” but sometimes you can take all the time you need. You unlock levels in groups, giving you choices that work well to act as breaks from other, more frustrating levels.

The graphics and audio are both absolutely fantastic. The game looks beautiful and detailed whether you’re viewing your surrounding closely or from afar. Depending on what you’re trying to do, sometimes you’ll want to zoom close for detailed control and other times you’ll want to zoom out to see the entire area. In addition, you can change the speed that the game runs. I found myself making very slight tweaks to my orbit and then speeding up time to see the results. The music remains tranquil throughout the game, even when the levels get stressful. It sometimes even seems to reflect the orbiting, repetitive nature of the game. Usually when you hear a game’s music described as repetitive, it’s a bad thing; It’s not bad in Osmos.

Different people might get stuck on different levels, but level F3C-3 was my final level and took me a long time to finish. The video above is the recording of my eventual completion of the level.

Thanks, Alex, for the great recommendation!

Backing up Android’s World of Goo saves

While Android is more free and open than Apple’s iOS devices in many ways, there’s one major problem I’ve found. How do you keep your game saves safe? Android devices don’t sync to PCs like iOS devices do. You have a file manager, but most applications save their data in private directories. The default save location is only accessible by the application itself per Android specifications. Yes, because my save file is so private. That means there’s no way to move it to another device, and if you need to reset your device, you’re out of luck.

One game I really wanted to play on Android was World of Goo; Luckily, I found a thread that explained where the save file was located.

World of Goo Full
/data/data/com.twodboy.worldofgoofull/files/pers2.dat

– motomeup, forum.xda-developers.com

The default File Manager’s “root” isn’t the real root (it’s /sdcard/ despite not being an SD card). Well, maybe it is on some devices. I don’t know, but it wasn’t on mine. I could use other, third-party file managers that showed the actual root but couldn’t navigate into the /data/ folder. I realized that it was because it didn’t have permission to list the files in /data/ and display them.

Android Terminal Emulator, by Jack Palevich let me do what I needed to do. Strangely enough, I couldn’t use the “ls” command to list the contents, but I was still able to navigate to the file because I already had the path.

Here you can see I’ve successfully managed to copy the file out of World of Goo’s data folder. I’ve also confirmed that I can put the file back again and have effectively moved my progress to another Android device. Success!